Tuesday, February 8th, 2011
35

Why Did Web Gross-Out Culture Die?

2 Girls 1 Cup took the web by storm—back in summer of 2007. Goatse—the infamous picture that first gaped at us in 1999!—has been popular and not popular in waves over the years since, but the last few years? Not so much. Whatever happened to Tubgirl and Eel Girl? (If you have never seen these things, worry not!) There was also, a few years back, some website that was supposed to be the future of the Internet, devoted to tabloid play of death and destruction video. Now I can't even remember what it's called and can't even Google it up.

The infamous grossout site Ogrish resolves now to the far tamer Live Leak, where today's top story seems to be "Holy Shit! Snow comes off semi trailer traveling down highway." Not exactly lady-on-lady coprophilia! Live Leak, to its credit, seems to get tens of million of pageviews a month? (But that looks to be down from a peak of more than double that, two years ago.) The gross-obsessed Rotten.com, as well, is sorta still grossly pottering along. But the Stile Project (oh man, now that is a website I have not thought about in literally eleven years, since it won a Webby Award in the "Weird" category in 2000) has long since become a truly inelegant little site largely composed of straightforwardly gross man-oriented hetero porn.

What happened? The Internet was great at being a foul cesspool of shock, but it looks like that's over now.

B3ta is chugging along nicely, but it's stock-in-trade was never straight-up foulness, more like actual fun. 4chan is 4chan, who can tell what's going on over there, but they're not beaming foulness out in the general direction of the Internet.

It stands to reason that the expansion of tools and ever-greater access to the Internet and ever-greater storage should, at the very least, just create more Internet, in all its forms. And certainly amateur porn is doing just fine, though the lines between amateur and professional porn are constantly being blurred. ("Amateur" porn is a fine business!)

But with the ability to access every possible person in the world who's into, say, hardcore Nazi-inflected furry torture, and with everyone so willing to amuse and be amused, why aren't we seeing more gross-out bubble to the surface? The obvious answer seems sort of sad: there's no business in it.

The enjoyable and more mainstream websites that propagate meme-related stuff on the web, like Urlesque (currently most-popular: Cab Driver Does Spot-on Michael Jackson Impression) and Buzzfeed (most popular: Top 10 Crazy Texts From Parents), are actually grown-up entities and can't and won't handle actual shock material, as seems quite correct. (One is owned by AOL; the other is the team behind the Huffington Post.) And so there's really no one left to identify the next famous Brazilian lesbian scat porn trailer and force it upon its non-intended audience.

I certainly didn't actually need or even want to see another death video or extreme butt-related gross-out video. But it seems shocking that you're not forcing it upon me by surprise. The professionalized web has its delights but it definitely lacks the element of surprise.

35 Comments / Post A Comment

ignerd (#9,456)

here is what happened: our moms' got facebook accounts.

"Your mom's got a Facebook account" is fighting words on most playgrounds.

IBentMyWookie (#133)

(hate myself for this)
Uh, what's Eel Girl?

@IBentMyWookie: A lesser work; merely a variation on a well-worn theme.

IBentMyWookie (#133)

This can mean one of two things: she's either fucking something eel-like or shitting out something eel-like.

Close, but you grievously underestimate the Internet.

In other words, you used the suffix "-like".

Matt (#26)

Summer of Megadeth… After Dark

Brad Nelson (#2,115)

I Bent My Wookie… in the dark.

6h057 (#1,914)

"Whispering eye."

Matt (#26)

Discussing Story of the Eye
Discussing Story of the Eye

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Solar Anus on the internet

6h057 (#1,914)

Dagestan massacre

ShanghaiLil (#260)

Honestly? I think it's because TWO GIRLS, ONE CUP took the prize. Then swallowed it, threw it up, and ate it again.

6h057 (#1,914)

3 Guys 1 Hammer

6h057 (#1,914)

Roman shower

Ken Layne (#262)

The original web was creative in nature — even the puerile vulgarity took a little work to post online and pass around to unsuspecting scolds. The current, much bigger Facebook-style web is reactive, not creative.

deepomega (#1,720)

Not sure I entirely agree! Someone is making those youtube videos of homeless people/cab drivers/untouchables with golden voices. But there's definitely a newer soft, pillowy layer swaddling the internet, consisting entirely of reblogging and link aggregation.

Bittersweet (#765)

Which might not be a bad thing. I'd pay to unsee some links I unsuspectingly clicked on back in the early 00s.

jolie (#16)

Choire, you are KILLING IT today with the alt text!!!

deepomega (#1,720)

So basically the internet has moved out of its zine phase?

cherrispryte (#444)

Oh jeebus. Stile Project. I just had flashbacks to high school.

joeks (#5,805)

The internet is so awash with filth that sites like that are unnecessary — just type whatever horrific thing you want to see into Google, and barf your brains out.

sweetyardley (#8,590)

The surprise was special though. If I type "decapitated boar" into Google, I know what I'm gonna get. Not so with something like "2 Girls 1 Cup" or "Lemon Party." Those could be anything.

Cobalt (#7,571)

The old school shock cesspool has been replaced by a proper, well-mannered, civilized shock. "Girl tosses puppies in river" is okay, but "Face split diving accident" is not okay. I think this is partially due to how many people have access to the net, and the nature of media we want to share. A somewhat less visceral video of puppies being tossed into the river is somehow more acceptable to pass around than bloody face splitting, and consequently far easier to find.

Another long tail myth…BUSTED.

Adrian Chen (#6,364)

Cat-dumping/drowning women are the new gross-out Internet things.

Flashman (#418)

Cute Overload killed Ogrish

Rod T (#33)

I think there is more to the economics of this:
– People with jobs had to work harder after their colleagues were laid off.
– People without jobs got bored with the shocking stuff as the value decreases over frequency.
– Those producing it, as you said, weren't making money, necessary for basically everything now.

sweetyardley (#8,590)

Have any of you guys seen "freak dat bitch out tone"? If you're looking for something kinda gross and shocking but mostly funny, have I got the thing for you!

Mork el Pork (#8,293)

BME Pain Olympics?

kermit007 (#9,792)

lol…what rock is this guy living under? Has no one seriously seen "Mr. Hands?"

maggiethecat (#1,667)

what about "Death by Horse Cock"?

tunamelt (#2,669)

Because when cats show us their bunghole, it's adorable.

boku (#9,802)

Rick Astley? Not even a little?

Lucy Lowe (#10,115)

There are only so many times you can be shocked by those sort of videos. The times are definetly changing, but with that said 2girls1cup i think will always be popular. You can watch it at http://www.2girls1cup.info

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