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Shock and gore, online.
January 14, 2006 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Shock and gore. The people behind "the world's goriest website", why they do it, and what it says about us.
posted by ascullion (48 comments total)

 
What it says is people are just as curious about the dark side of humanity as they are about the light side. I don't see the difference here between this site, rotten.com and the other nasty sites like this one.

....move along.
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:08 AM on January 14, 2006


This is the only time I've ever complained about a link without actually reading it, so if I'm off-base, my apologies. I don't particularly want to be scarred, so I'm not looking at these links.

Presuming that it's what it claims to be: what part of 'best of the web' includes what is, by definition, its very worst? Why even bother posting something like this?

If, as it appears, you are simply posting bloody pictures on Metafilter... if I were the site owner, I'd ban your ass. And then I'd ban you two or three times more, just because it would feel soooo good.
posted by Malor at 8:19 AM on January 14, 2006


To me, the most surprising line in the article:

Ogrish seems to be run chiefly by Europeans, and while it often features crude propaganda from Islamic extremists, its website is hosted in the US where it is sheltered behind America’s generous constitutional protection of freedom of speech.
posted by event at 8:19 AM on January 14, 2006


Malor: the first link is an article, the second the wikipedia entry about the site. Neither contain any images. In fact, I was just about to thank ascullion for not linking to the site.
posted by Lotto at 8:20 AM on January 14, 2006


It's similar to the traffic-jam-in-the-opposite-lane-of-the-car-crash effect (tm).
posted by adzm at 8:23 AM on January 14, 2006


For goodness sake, Malor. Advance apologies accepted, but all you had to do was check out the URLs. The Financial Times is not known for hosting obscene images.

(although, interestingly enough, in the print edition of the FT today they reprint about ten dodgy-but-not-too-dodgy images from the site)
posted by ascullion at 8:24 AM on January 14, 2006


Wikipedia is pretty brutal. Interesting article.
posted by fet at 8:25 AM on January 14, 2006


I DO NOT WANT TO BE EXPOSED TO THE GHOULISHNESS OF WIKIPEDIA AND THE FINANCIAL TIMES!
posted by Kwantsar at 8:29 AM on January 14, 2006


I second the thanks for not posting the link to the site itself. It's interesting to learn about its existence (I'd not heard of it before) and reflect on its significance, but I certainly don't want to give them my traffic.
posted by tentacle at 8:30 AM on January 14, 2006


Nice job ascullion, you showed pretty solid taste in addressing this tasteless site.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:30 AM on January 14, 2006


Nah. Here's the world's goriest website.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:34 AM on January 14, 2006


so if I'm off-base, my apologies.

You're completely off-base. It's not a link to the gore itself, but the gore-mongerers behind it.

I guess I'm one of the few people that actually considers ogrish some of the absolute best of the web. You can intellectualize the awfulness that goes on in this world all you like, but more often than not, it takes the power of the image to generate any kind of reaction.

You might not like what you see, and you're free to ignore it if you wish, but I am glad there's a place to go where you can see this side of humanity in all its uncensored glory--if you can bear it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:36 AM on January 14, 2006


Interesting point from the article, although I'm not sure I agree with the analogy:
But viewing Ogrish throws up some thorny moral dilemmas. In the past few years, western governments have cracked down on child pornography distributed via the internet. Watching sexualised images of children from the comfort of one’s personal computer is morally repugnant, but it is not the same as abusing children. The rationale for sending people to jail for viewing such images is that their perverse appetites feed the production of those images, and indirectly the abuse of children.

If so, then there is an argument that we are equally culpable when we watch life being snuffed out on websites such as Ogrish. The lesson here is not that we should ban Ogrish, but that we have not yet worked out what kind of beast the world wide web is, or the responsibilities required of those who use it.
(Malor: be sure to sprinkle plenty of salt on that crow.)
posted by brain_drain at 8:37 AM on January 14, 2006


Ah, Ogrish... yet another site that got its start by ripping off images from BME (among other sites), attaching adult ads to it, and enjoying the money roll in. That said, it's fascinating where they've come since then...
posted by glider at 9:18 AM on January 14, 2006


The images on Ogrish are similar to what ER Hospital workers and police have to see all the time.

At the least I believe seeing these images would make people drive more safely.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 9:40 AM on January 14, 2006


So why does he do it? “We do think that we are offering a service to the world by showing something the regular news will not show,” he said. “Ogrish does not provide a sugar-coated version of the world. We feel that people are often unaware of what really goes on around us. Everything you see on Ogrish.com is reality, it’s part of our life, whether we like it or not.”

Bullshit.

These people repackage reality and resell it at a profit in the same way that any media outlet does. If this is "reality", so is Fox News or CNN.

Why can't FT just call these people capitalists, profiting from suffering, or is that too ghoulish an admission?
posted by Rothko at 9:47 AM on January 14, 2006


some guy, who's being hung high
or a bomb that dismembers your mom
or a shot of some bodies that rot -
that's entertainment!

some lout, with his brains falling out
or a head that's been removed from the dead
or a scene that would make bluebeard turn green
that's entertainment!

the show can be hot, simply flowing with blood
and discarded people laying in mud
it can show nasty car wrecks with no special effects
or kidnappees getting detached from their necks

it's rife, to get thrown out of life by a thug
or an avian bug, or a knife, or sectarian strife
the world is a pit, the pit is a world of entertainment

man, oh, man, people are image crazier by the day ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:53 AM on January 14, 2006


Ah, Ogrish... yet another site that got its start by ripping off images from BME (among other sites), attaching adult ads to it, and enjoying the money roll in. That said, it's fascinating where they've come since then...
posted by glider at 9:18 AM PST on January 14


Thanks for the self-link.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:53 AM on January 14, 2006


Next week in the Financial Times' Arts Section:
Exclusive interview with Goatse Man...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:07 AM on January 14, 2006


They're capitalizing on suffering a lot less than many other companies. They're not causing any of the suffering...
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:09 AM on January 14, 2006


ascullion: I should have looked at the link text before blasting, but didn't. It was early and my brain wasn't fully functioning (if it ever does :) ). So post-apologies, too.

brain_drain: I don't like salt that much. I'll eat my crow bland, if that's okay with you. :)

Civil_Disobedient: I'm not saying that it should be repressed. And, in fact, I tend to think that anyone who supported the Iraq invasion should be forced to see one of these pictures every day before breakfast. But *I* didn't, so I don't see any reason to expose myself to badly broken people.
posted by Malor at 10:24 AM on January 14, 2006


I certainly don't want to give them my traffic.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I couldn't resist.

I was actually quite impressed. It's far from being another rotten.com, and is actually quite restrained. You're confronted with a single still image that in this instance wasn't particularly graphic. The incident was far more shocking than the image, which was a picture of some homeless men who had been caught on CCTV being beaten to death by teenagers at the University of Florida.

Beneath that is a page of plain text links which allow you to visit the image or movie you're interested in, without being exposed to any that you aren't.

There does seem to be a certain seriousness of purpose about the site, in that it struck me as being almost like an uncensored news site that brings you the photographs and video that you don't get in mainstream media. I didn't see any inappropriate levity, or anything of a goatse/tubgirl type nature. No pop-ups and very restrained use of advertising (albeit mainly for adult sites.)

They seem to have a genuine news focus, and I'm guessing that they are serious about their reported freedom of speech/press mission.

I didn't look at any of the content, but it seemed to be about 50 or so war/terrorism related, with the other 50% split between accidents and crimes. It's unlikely that I'd visit it again, but it didn't strike me as being particularly objectionable.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:26 AM on January 14, 2006


If this is "reality", so is Fox News or CNN.
Why can't FT just call these people capitalists, profiting from suffering


Presumably, because the FT are in exactly the same game. Judgements about where the taste/content/quality line gets drawn are inevitably going to be subjective but I've yet to come across any branch of the media that doesn't exploit the people that it features in its stories for profit.

Personally, I find the audience for this stuff a far greater concern than I do the producers. It's just a job for the producers, whereas its a bizzare and perverse recreational activity for the consumers.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:34 AM on January 14, 2006


Thank you so much! I've been trying to convince my mom about this (note: i personally cannot stomach these sort of things *at ALL* but I defend their exisetnce), but she's so ridiculous one-track about it.
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 10:39 AM on January 14, 2006


If, as it appears, you are simply posting bloody pictures on Metafilter...

if, as it appears, you simply do not understand the operation of your browser, google for "hover+statusbar".
posted by quonsar at 10:51 AM on January 14, 2006


Interesting article.
In terms of the content on these sites, I find majority of it uninteresting. Accidents, suicides, etc, although not worthless material - provide a lesser degree of impact (for me) over time than, than say historic war material or combat footage.

These events affect all of us, and as we all know inspire many lengthy conversations and ensuing "academic exercises" in matters of foreign policy and current events. The problem is the context is lost in an extreme fashion. Others would argue that these videos are extreme exploitation and degradation of their subject material.

Speaking in terms of the footage that remains interesting to me, I cannot disagree more. The recent years of media coverage have been nothing but disgraceful, in regards to their handling and portrayal of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. From the article:

Devji argues that, like Freddy in the horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street, “the jihad appears simply to bring to life and make real the media’s own nightmares... It is almost as if the jihad is here fulfilling the desire of mass media for real horror.”

I couldn't agree more. The problem is, you don't see it for the horror it really is. What you get is a detached, ephemeral assault of buzzwords and broken logic with no relevant context outside of rote fearmongering. I would argue that kind of "information" being displayed on mass media outlets for years on end has a much more desensitizing and negative emotional impact on its viewers than any relevant content on Ogrish, however graphic it may be.
posted by prostyle at 11:04 AM on January 14, 2006


quonsar: yes, yes, you are obviously a superior human being. Best stay off that Bellygraph site... graphing your awesomeness there is likely to cause overflow errors.
posted by Malor at 11:21 AM on January 14, 2006


well, i said nada about the superiority or awesomeness of any human beings. i did embed some useful informatiom within a snark. it's apparent i struck a chord.
posted by quonsar at 11:26 AM on January 14, 2006


Yes, admonishing Malor three comments after his sincere apology apparently struck a chord. Huh, imagine that.
posted by klarck at 11:54 AM on January 14, 2006


Personally, I find the audience for this stuff a far greater concern than I do the producers. It's just a job for the producers, whereas its a bizzare and perverse recreational activity for the consumers.

That's an interesting distinction. It's okay as long as you're getting paid and publicly distributing it, but watching it privately is wrong?

I don't necessarily disagree -- yet -- I just hadn't thought of it that way.
posted by medialyte at 11:56 AM on January 14, 2006


Yes, admonishing Malor three comments after his sincere apology apparently struck a chord. Huh, imagine that.

i missed Malor's second comment in my haste to snark. my bad. now i understand his irritation. apologies to Malor.

*sends self to corner*
posted by quonsar at 12:05 PM on January 14, 2006


I find pictures like one can find on Ogrish remind me of my organic existence (I happen to be one of them sickos that actively seeks out gory images). You don't often think of the gallons of blood present in your body, or what kind of strange things would happen to your corpse when bacteria start feasting upon it.
And you could accuse ogrish of desensitizing, but I know I still freak out when Real Shit happens.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:30 PM on January 14, 2006


but watching it privately is wrong?

I'm not saying either of them are wrong, particularly, but I can understand the reasoning of somebody who runs a website like this simply to make a living. People do what they have to do, and it doesn't necessarily imply that they have any emotional connection to the material.

And I'm sure that lots of people have very innocent reasons for looking at such a website as well, from prurient shock value (a la showing your friends goatse) to a genuine curiosity about what sort of damage is done by certain incidents.

But I've also no doubt that there will be some number of people who visit such sites because they get off on looking at pictures of people being killed, maimed, disembowelled, etc. and it's that group that concerns me. Even out of that group, I'm sure that 99% of them will limit their interest to solely looking at the visual material, but I do think that there'll be some proportion of them who are psychopaths who use this stuff for intellectual/emotional/visceral wank fodder.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:18 PM on January 14, 2006


Interesting article. It's funny to me how people will muster outrage over the Ogrish dudes, but not so much over the things that led to the attrocities in question. IMHO, if you're going to wage unnecessary wars, beings exposed to these sorts of images should be mandatory on the part of the citizenry.
posted by bardic at 2:01 PM on January 14, 2006



Interesting article. It's funny to me how people will muster outrage over the Ogrish dudes, but not so much over the things that led to the attrocities in question. IMHO, if you're going to wage unnecessary wars, beings exposed to these sorts of images should be mandatory on the part of the citizenry.


Hmm, so should people be forced to see pictures of the cows and chickens they eat dying whenever they order meat? Just throwing that out.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:55 PM on January 14, 2006


Nice try, but I'm not a PETA member.
posted by bardic at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2006


Neither am I, I'm a voracious meat-eater, but you can't deny that animals have the same pain neurons that humans do, and some of them produce more blood and gore than can humans. Does that mean people should see the visual results of choosing meat? Should people see the visual results of war because they choose a high-consumption lifestyle? You tell me.
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:46 PM on January 14, 2006


Should people see the visual results of war because they choose a high-consumption lifestyle?

Yes.
posted by bardic at 3:54 PM on January 14, 2006


Hmm, so should people be forced to see pictures of the cows and chickens they eat dying whenever they order meat?

Young people should be made, as part of their education, at least once, to actually personally kill an animal they're going to eat, yes. I do think so.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:20 PM on January 14, 2006


This sort of thing has been around a long time, it's not like the Internet started it. But I do have to agree with people that say if child porn is damaging for the subject as well as the viewer, then it has to be true of violence. What you see, hear or learn changes your perspective.
posted by raaka at 4:27 PM on January 14, 2006


No generation in the history of humanity has been as sheltered from the reality of death as we are. This is an unpredecented and extraordinary situation. Most of us have never seen a dead person. If we have, they were probably in a coffin under a thin layer of wax. This is why events like Gunter von Hagen's Korperwelten (warning: plasticised human bodies), which does little more than answer the question "what's under our skin?" in a particularly vivid manner, draw such attention and controversy.

I find it completely unsurprising that some people seek this material out, and that others are there to cater to the market.
posted by Hogshead at 5:24 PM on January 14, 2006


I guess Ogrish offers a disturbing dose of reality that may, to some degree, counter the sugar coated world-view created by the filter of media outlets like CNN. But maybe we sleep better not knowing the true horror than can exist in the world, not having to face the consequences of our government's actions abroad, and most importantly not being reminded of our own inevitable mortality.
posted by Meridian at 6:09 PM on January 14, 2006


Yes.
posted by bardic at 3:54 PM PST on January 14 [!]


No fair. You have to answer both questions.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:45 PM on January 14, 2006


Citizen Premier: I know you weren't asking this of me, but... It was not so long ago, historically speaking, that people raised, killed, and ate their food themselves. Children were exposed to it from a young age, and it was an expected, normal part of life. In fact, this practice was in existence for far, far longer than our current lifestyle of never coming into contact with meat until it's already been killed and processed. The closest most people will ever come to the old ways is handling a turkey or chicken.

So to me, your question of whether people should be faced with the animals their meat came from, I really don't see why they shouldn't. For ages, they didn't just see the animals, they killed the animals themselves and were obviously none the worse for it.

So it follows that I believe our candy-coated view of world affairs that we get from the mainstream media does us no good. It may not be explicitly harmful, but I do believe war would be taken more seriously if people were faced with its consequences.

But then, I also believe the world would be a better place if wars were still fought with short-range firearms, bayonets, and swords. There's a big difference in personal impact between killing 1000 people with a GPS-guided missile, and killing a single man with your bayonet. Unfortunatley, we can never return to that state, because doing so would require everyone else to do so as well.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:20 PM on January 14, 2006


What CrayDrygu and Stavros said. But Citizen, your questions are based on the strange premise that human life is equal to animal life. But yeah--any meat-eaters (myself included) should at least see the process of butchering an animal (or go read Fast Food Nation). Why not? It would be educational, at least.
posted by bardic at 10:51 AM on January 15, 2006


Well bardic, I can understand how intelligence might make human life worth more, but there are plenty of humans (i.e. babies and the mentally retarded) which are dumber than my sister's dogs, yet are endowed with many more rights by their governors. I guess it's the place in the food web, eh?

Personally I think that, rather than seeing the dying cow they're going to eat, they should see the 16 pounds of grain it takes to produce one pound of beef.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:41 AM on January 15, 2006


Didn't know you were a mefite Professor Singer! ;)
posted by bardic at 12:31 PM on January 15, 2006


Obviously since I once shared a chain of thought with one person I'm exactly identical to that same person and have the same viewpoint, right?

Really I'm just trying to discuss things, get people to articulate their beliefs and see what they mean. People tend to think ethics is just a long set of axioms, but in reality many principles conflict with eachother. If you want to say human life is worth more than any animal life, go ahead and say it, but remember that sometimes one has to put such things as the environment before human life for the betterment of humanity. After all, food grows on trees!
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2006


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