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, # 2, 8¼” x 11'', glossy, 40 pgs.

By aphid
Wednesday, October 04 2006

Our awareness of death seems to be something we like to keep in the glove compartment of our minds. As much as our society at large currently gorges itself on the empty-calorie “realities” of reality TV shows, death remains a reality that, for many of us, is too harsh, too overwhelming to look straight in the face. Unlike Twinkies, we are all going to perish someday and our bodies are going to slowly break down into stinking, blackened, bug-infested heaps of gasping meat. The sooner we can shed our squeamishness and accept that reality the better, as far as I’m concerned. Enter Ogrish magazine—a spin-off project of the website of the same name. The Deathporn ghouls behind this glossy picto-tabloid of mangled, mutilated meat, would like you to think that they are serving up these graphic images of death in a gallant effort to “show things as they really are, without the bias of the mainstream media.” And it’s all couched in a sort of “this is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you” tough-love attitude. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it, by gosh. My only problem with all of this is that there is a certain amount of gratuitousness here that suggests something other than pure journalistic tough love. As all good punk rockers know, extricating yourself from the shackles of a social taboo can be a very healthy and liberating thing. But to then stand there, fixated, with a crooked grin as you tug on your little grey wiener—that’s another thing entirely. There is nothing liberating about a fixation. As much as the grey-wienered gents at Ogrish (I’m guessing there are no women involved) may want to be thought of as taboo-busters and liberators par excellence, underneath it all, what they really want is to have the death taboo flourish. Because that keeps them in business. Like the paparazzi that need people’s fixation on celebrities to survive, these gore mongers don’t want to liberate you from your death preoccupations; on the contrary, they want to garishly seduce you into an even deeper level of fixation. If people were actually somehow “liberated” by perusing Ogrish, then a second issue would never have to exist because any lustful compulsion to pore over its amateurishly laid out pages again would be gone. And that is obviously the last things these necrophilia-hacks want. Normally, I try to avoid beating a point to death, but it seems totally appropriate here, so let me re-state: looking directly into the eyes of death and seeing through the dour layers of fear that you’ve shellacked over it throughout your life is absolutely one of the most important steps a person can take toward self liberation. Maybe especially for the vidiots who’ve numbed themselves to the realities of death by immersing themselves in things like Grand Theft Auto. Gawking at death scenes, to some extent, is normal—leering at them is not. But if you like nothing better than to curl up with a glossy magazine chock full of fetishized death images and poorly written articles on torture and murder, run out and grab yourself a copy of Ogrish and wallow in the slew of photos showing human meat splayed open like a rotten watermelon or charred black like a burnt campfire marshmallow or squashed and oozing like a bug on a windshield. For me, Ogrish is more about titillation than liberation and, as such, strikes me as Juggs for necrophiliacs and darksiders. Maybe I’ll send my copies to Karen Greenlee. This stuff will work like Spanish fly for her. –Aphid Peewit (www.ogrish.com)

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