That Really is Disgusting
By BRIAN McLAUGHLING
Have you ever wondered what a sootigan is? Have you ever contemplated how much you really can accomplish with a strip of raw liver and a few rubber bands? Do you want to know how one would go about eating a monkey's brain?
A somewhat civilized person would probably answer these questions with a resounding "NO!" However, those intrigued by what was just written … well, they're sickos. But they're also in luck, because their bible has finally been written.
"That's Disgusting," written by Greta Garbage, bills itself as "an adult guide to what's gross, tasteless, rude, crude and lewd." Yet, this foreboding disclaimer does not even begin to describe how far beyond the bounds of decency the book goes.
When first reading the book for review, one would figure, "How bad can it be? It was published by a legitimate publishing company and received (indirectly) through the University." However, these doubts are quickly swept away by the first page of the book, which gives a comprehensive list of the most bizarre proctological experiences.
They are shocking, sickening and delightful to tell the truth. After being blown away by how over-the-top the book's content is, the reader finds himself laughing out loud over and over again with each turn of the page. It is also quickly realized how difficult reviewing it would be since even a description of what is written in "That's Disgusting" would probably be deemed unprintable any newspaper.
The book is really a series of short anecdotes and lists which cover the most disgusting aspects of human beings' behavior and characteristics. It is a world record of the gross, recounting the most nauseating things people have done throughout history, as well as the most sickening details of the human body and its workings.
The quick stories and lists are separated by category, so one can go right to whatever sparks one's sick fancy. Whether those interests lean more towards castration or defecation, there's something for everyone in this book.
Well, maybe not everyone. In fact, most people would probably find "That's Disgusting" to be disturbing, obscene and outright offensive — even this reviewer had to wrinkle his nose and give a displeased groan at a few of the more extreme passages. The author probably realized this when writing the book, as Greta Garbage is obviously a pseudonym intended to protect the true author from excessive amounts of hate mail and alienation from associates in the writing world.
Indeed, in this modern, civilized nation, Garbage's work caters to an extremely small audience. But despite its size, this audience will most definitely embrace the book with furious passion, due to the book's direct, in-your-face approach.
However, even as a work in tastelessness, "That's Disgusting" is far from perfect.
As mentioned before, the book is in the format of a world-record book, with short passages describing the events behind each disgusting wonder. While normal world-record books are usually written in a deadpan, straightforward and factual style, Garbage likes to spice up the anecdotes with tons of sarcasm and wisecracks.
This is the book's largest failing for a number of reasons. First of all, Garbage's use of sarcasm seems strained and reminds one of over-the-hill adults attempting to appear "hip" — attempts that everyone knows almost always fail.
Secondly, the wisecracks can be so painfully corny that they are sometimes more disgusting than the content of the book itself. And finally, at times, the author concentrates so hard on being funny that she becomes negligent to the facts supporting the matter that she is relating. After all, the facts are really the most fascinating part.
Overall, the use of informal humor in this book seems entirely out of place, since the real emphasis should be on the true events. If Garbage were to approach this same subject matter with a completely straight face and dry tone, the effect would be much funnier due to the contrast between the simple relation of facts and the absurdity of the subject matter that those facts are relating.
Although "That's Disgusting" is not very well-written, its content is truly fascinating, and this alone makes the book worth reading. It is more than certain that most people who try it will throw the book down in horror. But for those who can stomach it, they will find themselves mesmerized for hours, laughing at mankind in its most disgusting form. So bring along the barfbags and pick up a copy today.
Three and 1/2 shamrocks out of five
All Scene Stories for Monday, October 4, 1999