http://nyx10.cs.du.edu:8001/~jnash/alt.tasteless.html

Can you explain alt.tasteless to those who haven't seen it? What's its purpose?
It's a newsgroup devoted to tasteless phenomena in all its forms, a place for people with a twisted and sick sense of humour. You'll find stories about unusual and interesting deaths, nasty visits to the hospital or drunk tanks. In short, stories your parents, teachers, priests, etc. wouldn't have liked. Please note that this is not alt.tacky or alt.bad.taste. This means that merely saying "Bee Gees, ha ha ha" is not enough.

What's your involvement?
My connection to the group is as a contributor, FAQ-maintainer, archive-keeper, historian. And being the inaugural Mr. alt.tasteless.

How did you get involved with it?
I was sitting at the university, hungry as hell, and was suddenly overcome with the urge to write a fun story. Mr. Brown from Florida wrote to me saying that he liked it. I did too, so I continued. 1991 was a good year tasteless-wise. A lot of new ground was broken.

Is tastelessness a positive thing? If so, why?
It's a positive thing the same way William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch, Frank Zappa's Brown Shoes Don't Make It and Brett Easton Ellis' American Psycho are positive things. To some people they're definitely not. Burroughs is dangerously weird, Zappa sings "Be a jerk and go to work," American Psycho contains another bunch of feelings and thoughts that are not acceptable. Being tasteless is a feeling. A strong feeling. You know what you like and you're not ashamed.

Do you have a day job? If so, what is it?
I'm the co-editor of Denmark's largest computer magazine.

What's a typical conversation thread like in alt.tasteless?
Someone relays a story of a piercing or dental experience. Others chip in. It could also be about vomiting. These threads serve a purpose, and are sometimes funny. But it's the well-crafted stories that make alt.tasteless unique.

What makes a Web site tasteless enough
to be part of your collection? It has to be daring. It has to have personality. You see so incredibly many home pages without personality. Obscenity laws make that hard. http://www.people.memphis.edu/~udrhooper/ pops/pops.html has a good opening page.

What do you think is the most common thing people misunderstand about your group?
That it is a chat group. Alt.tasteless is not alt.peeves or alt.flame.

What's the oddest thing that had to be addressed in the alt.tasteless FAQ?
Given the frame, it's hard to think of an odd thing that stands out as remarkably odd. The cutest thing is the Tasteless Secret Santa where people send each other gifts like purses made of kangaroo naughty bits or Shitlovers videos.

What's the strangest thing (or couple of things) that you've seen online?
Mr. New Stallion Owner's diaries in alt.sex.bestiality from the early 90s. It is a well-written diary of an unusual life.

Is your group moderated?
No, and you can't kick people off an unmoderated alt-group. But you can burn them so hard that they run away. Noise makers will be tracked down and dealt with. We call it retro- moderation.

Are flames common in your group? What brings them on?
Yes. Normal netters with big egos and nothing interesting to say. Can't stand them.

Describe your computer area.
At work, a networked PC, huge stacks of press releases, color prints, articles and such. Then there's my hobby room at home. It's on the second floor overlooking the garden delights (oh well, we've got a fairly good apple tree). Strangely enough this room looks exactly like the office at work.

What are some of your favorite postings or favorite tasteless sites?
The 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95 archives of alt.tasteless. (They can be retrieved at http://nyx10.cs.du.edu:8001/~jnash/

What are you wearing?
Dressing gown and slippers. I must be getting old.

What's your favorite thing to munch on when you surf?
Ammonium chloride candies. I've never seen them in the U.S., and they seem to be quite foreign to Americans. You can ask bediger@csn.net what they taste like.

What are you favorite places to hang out on the net?
- The Web-inferno and Unabomber Manifesto at http://www.stardot.com/~hhui/
- The Scientology page at http://www.cybercom.net/ ~rnewman/scientology/home.html
- Dan's Gallery of the Grotesque. It has five times more visitors than the Danish National Gallery. http://www.zynet.com/~grotesk/

What would people be surprised to find out about you?
If they meet me at work in a suit, they'd be surprised to find that I've written 500 kb of tasteless stories.

Finally, what do people do online that make you mad?
They bore me. They're not tasteless.


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