The Internet's public enema No. 1

By Janelle Brown


Salon Staff
March 8, 2001 1:30AM (UTC)

Read the story.

Janelle Brown, I think, overstates the difficulty that sites like Rotten.com have obtaining hosting from an ISP. She makes it sound like there are but a few large corporations providing this service. But what she really means here is not "ISP" but "domain host" or "Web host." And a simple search on any search engine for "adult web hosting" will bring up dozens, if not hundreds, of "adult web hosts" -- often American companies leasing foreign servers -- who will be happy to host almost any kind of porn. Do you really think that the "No. 1 Smut Server XXX" would turn down something so comparatively innocuous as "BonsaiKitten"?

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-- Vivi Rousseau

I can understand the relevance of this article, to a degree. However, delving into the guts of Rotten.com simply provides publicity for a rather despicable site. This article does the same thing that networks do when they decide to cover the exploitation of sex in advertising or on TV: They exploit sex for the sake of ratings. It's titillation for titillation's sake.

-- Bieiris

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Once a day I like to sit down on the toilet and discard a lot of you-know-what. It's downright healthy.

I don't say that just because my body produces you-know-what, I need to censor it or stop it or hide the fact that you-know-what happens. I discard in private, out of the sight of others -- we all discard you-know-what, I believe.

Those who wish to censor sites such as Rotten.com fail to understand that it provides an outlet for some of society's undesirable materials. Better to you-know-what than to die of constipation.

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-- Bill Bailey

Rotten.com may be symbolic of the Net's potential for re-creating the definition of free speech and online publishing. Perhaps "Soylent" is using this issue to keep his site alive. Rotten is one of the more organized ghoul dot-coms out there, and its use of text does make his site stand out from the crowd. But is Rotten.com the worst? No, until the Gore Gallery site went totally into the paying realm, you could be guaranteed days of archived ghastliness. To be sure, a look-see at the Web site for the Internet's Grossest Sites will reveal a horror show of pulp-splattered vulgarity unrivaled by anything you could begin to imagine.

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Ultimately, unless there's proof that people are looking at this against their will -- which would be worthy of some trauma-based lawsuit -- I'd rather know where all the gore freaks of the world are. As the Internet has helped nail child-porn freaks, this is a good way of tracking people whose interest in death might be more than passive.

Let them hang their skinned flesh on the clothesline for all to see.

-- Viki Reed

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The front page of Salon.com for Monday included the following phrases: "35 dead in Muslim pilgrimage stampede," "Albanian guerrilla fighting kills two in Macedonia," "Will that be paper or plastic porn?" "Drunk and ugly fashion hits the runway," "penis-enlargement surgery," "sexy e-mails," "Vagina Monologues," "It's the clitoris, stupid," "A frying pan, an ardent lover and a kitchen in Mordvinia: Love hurts!" and "the semiotics of brain eating."

Let's say I had a kid-friendly filter on my Net connection. I couldn't access Salon's site, much less Rotten.com. Such filters don't make distinctions between advocacy, exploitation or journalism.

-- Gregory Dickens

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How long will adults continue to tolerate a bowdlerized media landscape in the name of "protecting the children," a conservative battle cry too often used to censor information about the unpleasant physical facts of our mortal lives? Is Euro-American bourgeois culture so sanitized that anything that demonstrates that reality can be hideous or that people actually suffer is considered toxic? When we cry "Protect the children," is it really ourselves that we are talking about?

-- Bragan Thomas


Salon Staff

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