Disease and the Cure
to find out once and for all just how sick you really are? Have
I got the website for you.
Everyone wants to think they’re among the few people who
don’t slow down and stare along with the god-damned
rubberneckers when someone’s blood and guts have been
smeared all over the highway. But be honest with yourself: except
for some very rare individuals, human beings just can’t
help being fascinated with blood, guts, mayhem, etc. I can’t
explain it, and I ain’t proud of it, but I do know it’s
true. We’re just a nosey, gossipy species, fascinated
by the gore and tragedy of the world, and not as removed from
our simian cousins as we’d like to pretend. When something
nasty happens, most of us really want to sneak a peek.
That being said, everyone has their limits for this kind of
material—and you will definitely find yours if you take
the time to look around on www.rotten.com. Here for your viewing
pleasure are more disgusting-yet-fascinating images than you
could ever have hoped to find in one place. But take care, gentle
reader, for you will be utterly disgusted with yourself once
you discover how much time you can spend looking at this stuff.
You sick bastard.
to see what someone’s hand looks like when it’s
trapped in a meat grinder? Be my guest. How about the inside
of a car in which someone’s blown their head off with
a shotgun? Heck, Rotten’s got several to choose from.
How about a photo of a man with elephantiasis of the nuts circa
1870? Or a gentleman with a jar of jelly and a potato stuck
up his ass? (I am not making this up.) Yes, all this and more
is waiting for you, if you’re willing to stoop
to looking at it. Welcome to the world’s biggest freak
show combined with a mortician’s private photo collection,
presented with the unashamed zeal of a 12-year-old boy crossed
with a dog who’s found something nice and dead to roll
Of course many of these images bring up the question of authenticity,
and I’m sure there’s a large proportion of fakes,
Photoshopped and otherwise, though I don’t have the expertise
to distinguish for myself. I imagine it must be somewhat easy
to simulate stunningly gruesome images with a tube of fake blood
and a pile of
ground beef. It begs the question:why would anyone want to fake
these things? But you can’t ask that without asking yourself
why you want to look at them, now can you? What exactly is wrong
with you, anyway?
A trip through Rotten’s many pages can take a while given
the convoluted design of the site. The home screen is a 16-page
list of links to horrible things; be prepared to be bounced
back up to the top of the list every time you retreat in horror
from one of the images—a minor irritation. Some of these
links simply lead you to more long, long lists of atrocities.
Along the way you’ll come across some old friends that
have been making their way around the world via email for years.
Remember "celebrity mugshots"? Ah yes, Pee Wee Herman,
Marv Albert, and Bill Gates, among others, pictured here in
all their post–public–humiliation glory. And recall
that short film of the monkey who sticks his finger up his own
bum, sniffs it, and falls off his branch? You’ll want
to watch that one again just for old times sake.
in with the everyday horrors are a few images purported to have
been taken in the hot spots of the world (the Left Bank, Bosnia,
Algeria) or ripped from the headlines (Georgia’s Tri-State
Crematoria)—as if you didn’t already feel bad enough
about yourself for looking at all this. At least with the other
stuff you can hope that it’s fake; in these cases,
even if the individual examples in front of you happen to be counterfeits,
you know these things really happened. And now you’re killing
time at work by looking at pictures of the aftermath. You really
are a sick puppy, aren’t you?
also a surprising amount of simple-minded, strangely innocent
content on Rotten, given the vulgar morbidity of the majority
of it. Sadly, this too will make you feel bad about yourself:
after all, how many times should a seemingly normal adult laugh
upon being presented with a funny picture of animals having sex?
Apparently, at least in this reviewer’s personal case, every
single time. These sections in particular will leave you
with no illusions as to just how childish you still are at heart.
There’s even a slide show of
anatomically correct snowmen; while I know this is meant to be
smarmy, it can’t help but come off as innocent in this twisted
land of "magnificent, five-foot long fecal impactions"
and "traditional dick-in-mouth atrocities."
only one thing on this site that I have to say actually offended
me (as opposed to disgusting me, or nauseating me, or giving
me a tension headache, or making me question my own humanity).
It’s the several shots of naked old ladies, complete with
boobs down to the knees and more wrinkles than a sharpei puppy.
But maybe this is just my own Achilles heel talking. I don’t
play chicken with railroad trains, and I’m certain that
I’m too smart to ever wind up with a jar of jelly up my
ass—but if all goes as planned, I will be an
old lady someday. When that time comes, I can only hope the
world will have evolved enough to know that it’s wrong
to put pictures of naked old broads on the Internet. For shame,
has a few links that I haven’t explored yet, mainly because
1) you have to pay for them, and 2) while looking at shots of
cannibalism and autopsies-in-progress (not to mention writing
this article) jibes just fine with my work persona, I don’t
think I can justify surfing porn at my employer’s expense.
Secretly, though, I have to admit that I’m a little afraid
of the type of pornography these people might be pushing. Visitors
to this site are forced to acknowledge that they’re sick
enough to look at all this stuff—but the purveyors of Rotten
actually collect it and pay for the bandwidth to share it with
the world! This is their contribution to human creativity—dead
babies, people with
in their heads, and farm animals trying to have sex with rusted–out
machinery, to name just a few of their specialties. Do I really
want to explore their take on (human) sexuality? I’m proud
to say that my answer is a firm no (at least until I can remember
to look it up from home).
I think everyone has their own breaking point with Rotten. You
can look at this stuff for hours—hiding behind your hands
and peeking through your fingers, feeling bad about it and not
stopping—but sooner or later there’s something that
breaks you. For me it was the video of animal experimentation
on pigs; our own army burned them alive with blowtorches to
study the effects of burn wounds on American soldiers. It’s
horrifying and heart breaking—exactly what you’d
expect. After watching it, my hands were shaking a little and
my brain felt . . . wrong. I didn’t like other people,
I didn’t like being a person, and I didn’t like
It’s a strange but true fact that it was Rotten itself
that provided me with the cure for this self-inflicted illness.
Close to the end of their long outside links page (something
that in itself has gifted me with such gems as www.bonsaikitten.com
and www.redmeat.com, the online home of the "Red Meat"
comic strip) I found something called www.ratemykitten.com.
As I stand before you today I’m not ashamed to say this:
Hi, my name is Blythe, and I’m a ratemykitten.com-aholic.
I’m sure my boss, given the choice, would rather I look
at porn, since it would probably take up less of my time.
You’ve all seen these kinds of things out there on the
Internet: there are the sites where you say whether people are
hot or not, whether people are goth or not. There are sites
for rating lawns and sites for rating people’s bowel movements
(something I can’t bring myself to look at for more than
the time it takes to hit the back button, despite spending hours
on Rotten). Ratemykitten is exactly what it sounds like: a site
for rating cute, fuzzy, adorable little kittens.
you are not a big fan of mind-shatteringly cute things, you’ll
only need to visit this site for a moment, just to get the taint
of Rotten off you. It won’t take very long—in fact,
you’ll be amazed by how quickly you feel like a normal
person again. Kittens have that effect on us. In fact, for frequent
Web surfers, it’s a useful site to keep in mind—after
all, Rotten isn’t the only online experience that can
make your skin crawl and your conscience beg for forgiveness.
those of your who do like kittens (and I know there
are more of you out there than are willing to admit it), I once
again have to tell you to beware. This site won’t leave
you feeling as if you’ve lost some part of your humanity,
but it does have the frightening potential to take up more of
your time than those sick photos on Rotten ever did. This won’t
happen to everyone. Some of you out there just aren’t
all that vulnerable to cuteness, and to you I say more power
to ya. But if you’re like me, and you just can’t
resist cute little kittens, you might want to think twice before
it were only cute pictures, it would be bad enough. But the site
offers a handful of little toys that make it even more irresistible.
After rating each kitten (on a scale of 1–10) you get to
see what their average rating has been, comparing your own taste
in kittens to the world’s. You can add your own comments
about the photos; many of the images have running commentaries
from other kitten-rating addicts. New kittens are added more than
once a day, so you’ll never run out of cute new pictures
to look at. You can upload images of your own cats and than track
their progress as they’re rated and commented upon by the
of the "Bottom 20" kittens...
vote "10" for my baby at www.ratemykitten.com/?kitten=16119).
You can view the top 20 and bottom 20 kittens, and track them
as their ratings are updated throughout the day. Or, if you
want kitten overload, you can look at the gallery, with all
possible photos included (there are literally thousands).
For those of you who, unlike this disturbed reviewer, cannot
deal with hours of unadulterated cute sweetness, you might have
to return to Rotten every once in awhile to cleanse your palate,
so to speak. Heck, these may be the only two sites you’ll
ever need! Oh, unless you’re using the Internet for legitimate
work or looking for actual information—in which case,
what the hell are you doing reading this review anyway?
Note to readers: The images from www.rotten.com used in
this review were chosen specifically because they are among
the less graphic ones available—hence, they may seem a
little tame in comparison to the reviewer’s descriptions.
If you can’t stomach these, I advise you not to visit
the actual site. Seriously.
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by Blythe Hurley.
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