... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

267: So Disgusting It's Delicious

So bad it’s good has become such a cliché; it is the mantra of the conspicuously hip and the collector of quirky affectation. It’s the pseudo-intellectualisation of admiring the shallow, disposable and hastily cobbled together.  I like this not because I see the merits in it, but because I think liking it will make me different; people will assume I am a sensitive sort who has discovered a previously unknown mark of quality.  I’m as guilty of this as you are.  One of my favourite films is The Raven starring Bela Lugosi as a torture obsessed genius Dr. Richard Vollin, who earnestly and intensely utters the lines:

“I am the sanest man who ever lived.  But I will not be tortured; I tear torture out of myself by torturing you,” When a man of genius is denied of his great love, he goes mad. His brain instead of being clear to do his work, is tortured, so he begins to think of torture.  Torture for those who have tortured him.  “A doctor is fascinated by death and pain.  How much pain can a man endure.”  The Raven is my talisman... Death is my talisman, the one indestructible force; the one certain thing in an uncertain universe. Death.

I love some so-bad-it’s-good shite, like the great Edward D. Wood Jr. and his poorly produced, badly acted, rushed films.  They are not great because they are terrible; terrible is just terrible.  But they do redeem themselves because they express so well the passion, energy, and determination of one man.  His love for movies, and his unswerving certainty that his own films were worthwhile, is exactly why they are worthwhile.  The same doesn’t apply to, say, Hollyoaks, which is just shit with no redeeming features:

So Wrong It’s Right is Charlie Brooker’s hilarious BBC Radio 4 comedy panel show.   ‘So wrong it’s right’ is not often said.  Fratboy doofuses guffawing (hyulk-hyulk) at YouTube vids of people heelariously hitting their sleeping friends, or watching 2 Girls, 1 Cup on their phones and showing it to everyone they meet, might describe something as so wrong it’s funny.  But I think so wrong it’s right is a rarity.  It’s obviously phrased to imitate the pattern of so bad it’s good, but I don’t see the logic transferring.

I don’t think anyone would describe something as being so disgusting it’s delicious.  I saw a baby vomit on the bus the other day.  It was pretty disgusting, but I didn’t see anyone diving in with a spoon and a hungry look on their face.  At work last week, the sight of a fat woman in tight leggings, bending over and exposing the perfect outline of a sanitary pad, was unlikely to stimulate salivary glands. But...

But there is a particular kind of cheese I’ve mentioned once or twice while blogging; Casu marzu, the Sardinian maggot cheese.  There is the fantastic TV show Bizarre Foods where a fat enthusiastic American chef travels the world in search of the most disgusting foods enjoyed by people.  I strongly suspect it is the disgusting nature of many of these foods that creates the desire in people to eat them.  I myself love many foods that lots of people would consider disgusting; black pudding, takowasa, raw oysters.  I’ve enjoyed raw egg on occasion (as a dip or topping on Japanese food, and as a morning pick-me-up mixed with tomato juice, Worchester and Tabasco sauce).

Even beer and whiskey are pretty disgusting if you look at them objectively.  The first time I tried Guinness I couldn’t drink it.  A child with its weak pathetic jelly and ice cream, dippy egg and soldiers taste buds wouldn’t like the Laphroaig I enjoyed recently; it’s intense almost medicine smell, and it’s rich peaty taste, would send your everyday, standard Beano-reader scurrying for a bucket.  Stupid kids, what do they know?  Very little, obviously, but I think it might prove whatever point I’m trying to make.  At some point the disgusting became delicious.

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