Tumblr is the wild, wild, west of the Internet it seems.  The stuff that is posted, the dynamics of the interactions between posters and followers, and the anonymity make it a great place for some of life’s more taboo subjects.  I both read and use Tumblr.  I use it for the marketing it provides, but I read it for the underbelly of the human condition.  One day, early on, I stumbled across one (of many it seems) Tumblr blog that was devoted to gore and death.  It was not my first time seeing such, but this person was infatuated with it.  So I asked him, “why the fascination with the blood, guts, and macabre content?”  His response was as follows:

There is something beautiful about seeing a human completely broken, seeing them reduced to the most atomic parts.  It’s not only a puzzle to solve, but a wonderful picture to behold.

I thought about what he said for quite a while.  Should not we cherish the imagery of death when we celebrate the imagery of life?

I have always been fascinated with such brokenness.  I remember the first time that I saw gore.  A college roommate of mine had more than a cursory interest in it and decided to show me what a point-blank shotgun blast to the face looked like.  It was grotesque, yet beautiful.  Part of the skull and neck remained, but it looked like a saw had removed most of it.  Yes, the person was dead.  The person left behind a shell worthy of an art museum, however.

I remember the urge to go and find more images like that, the Internet being full of them.   However, I also thought that only “sick” people would have such an interest and I was not sick.  Honestly, the stumbling upon that Tumblr was the first time in a decade that I had seen such.  Once again, the reaction was of awe.

For me the reaction is present reasons that I can articulate.  I do find a beauty in another living thing being reduced to its constituent parts.  It could be the splintered tree, the deer on the side of the road, or the victim of a violent crime.  Death comes for us all, why wouldn’t the more grandiose deaths be more celebrated?  The natural death that takes most is boring.  So many are drained of their blood, put in fancy clothes, and laid out for others to see.  It is blasé.  I also know that the broken bodies warm my antisocial heart.  I choose not to act physically destructive, but I’d be lying if I did not have an appreciation for the artists that do not have that restraint.  Most of us are not murderers or batterers, but that should not preclude an appreciation for those that are.

Ultimately, such gore and destruction is a form of abstract art.  Core components are revealed that would not be otherwise.  I celebrate it, even though I do not consciously seek it out, because it is a thing of beauty.  The image may be grotesque, but it is simply another type of beauty.  If construction is to be celebrated, so must destruction.

Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Use of this image should not imply endorsement by the image author, Jef Poskanzer.

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