Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Gross-Out Contest

If you, like me, are of a certain age [say, 50], you probably remember an apocryphal story that did the rounds in the late-1970's. Two rock stars noted for their wild stage antics [the version I heard starred Ozzy Osbourne and Frank Zappa; I suspect there are versions with other performers] decided to settle once and for all who was the more outrageous. They went through several rounds evenly matched, following excess with excess. Finally, an evil smile came to Osbourne's face. He turned his back to those in attendance, dropped his pants, and proceeded to empty his bowels. "Beat that !", he said in wicked triumph. But Zappa was not to be denied. He calmly walked to the pile of waste matter and began to eat it. Ozzy conceded the title on the spot.
I bring this up because of the latest barbarity to grace our beloved Blogosphere, the already legendary "2Girls - 1 Cup" video. (For those not aware, I'll try to explain it as delicately as I can. If you're sensitive, or easily disturbed, or, for the love of God, underage, please skip the next few paragraphs. I never thought I'd have to say that about a posting here...)
The video begins with two very attractive women kissing, fondling and, in general, enjoying each other's company. Suddenly [and God help me, I wish I knew how; virtually every video service on the 'Net has banned it. What little of it I've really seen is from the so-called "reaction" videos, when normal people are exposed to...] one of the girls proceeds to defecate into a glass cup. The two proceed to eat the contents of the cup, smearing it over each other's faces. They continue their passionate love-making. They even exchange vomit. [In the interest of accuracy, these are the only sequences from "2G-1C" that I've seen. Or want to...]
Although I like to think of myself as, well, safe on the furniture, I did have a past. I've seen many of the popular images from our violent culture [and isn't it sad that violent images are popular in this culture?]. I grew up with most of the sensitivities of the typical American male [or lack thereof]. I even took part in a gross-out contest or two. And yet, this little show hits me [ and virtually anyone who's seen it] like a train wreck in progress; I want to turn away, to forget what I've seen, but I cannot.
A few questions come up:
1. / Are any of the special moments faked? Uncertain. Prop food [and I do mean "food"] could have been substituted, camera angles could allow for illusions, but, if that was done, it was done well.
2. / Why does this video have the power to disturb? A few possibilities: it challenges traditional values on several levels [eating waste, a lesbian relationship, beautiful young women smeared with feces. Is it that they are beautiful?
3. / Why the "reaction" and "tribute" videos? Damn good question. Anybody wanting a shot at that one is welcome to enlighten me.
-Mike Riley


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