[My online Webster doesn't have an entry for ``squick''. It should be something like
squick (n)
: the involuntary shudder that overcomes a person when being grossed out
squick (vi)
: to experience a squick
squick (vt)
: to provoke someone else to squick
Interestingly, ``gross out'' is an accepted, if recent (1968 vintage) verb.]

I usually enjoy squicks. They are of the same quality of ``enjoyment'' one has when watching the final showdown in the original Alien movie for the umpteenth time -- you know what to expect, you know there will be a happy end, but it still squicks you.

Some squicks indicate the presence of cultural taboos, others explore the depths of one's subconsciousness. What seems utterly bizarre, weird, or gross to us today, may seem quite ordinary to other people, at other times and places (what have KZ wardens thought of their daily work? Aztec priests?). What frightens me to death might be merely annoying to you (e.g., while I suffer from a medium-sized arachnophobia, I think that rats are charming little rodents). It would be nice if we knew that some squicks are thoroughly culture-independent -- but is this really true?

For all squicks listed here the rule holds: You might sleep better if you don't look into them.

Picked off the 'Net

Our first ensample is a quite successfull troll to rec.arts.bodyart (a dozen people wrote follow-ups in the vein of ``how awful -- does _anyone_ really...? No, never heard of... is it actually possible?'' etc.)!

Of course, some people can be squicked by something as commonplace as a PA. In the newsgroup rec.arts.bodyart, questions regarding many different forms of body modifications are asked and answers given. IMHO, piercing and tattoos are fine, but branding? ugh!

Not really squicky, since it it is an obvious joke: brent's post on a PA automaton.

The trepanation text archived by pardo is a strange thing, since it appears to be genuine! There are many variations of this text floating around the 'net. It first looked like a joke to me, but who knows ;-) (03.04.95) Here is a recent thread that mentions some names, citations, and a life-videotaped trepanation. I have heard there exists a whole trepanation list somewhere in net.land, but I have no idea where to look for it. Maybe I'll ask a web crawler.

(11.03.95) This tale of Rob Furr's first childhood exposure to those strange people living in our midst that read less than 4 books a year nicely reflects my own position on the subject. Can you imagine living that way?

Out There: Texts

(03.10.95) A thorough introduction into Butchering the Human Carcass for Human Consumption, i.e. the technical details of cannibalism.

(13.09.95) An archive of Hate Rants, most of them politically or religiously motivated. Read the README/WARNING file first!

(05.03.95) Ode To Rotting Teeth -- mentioning teeth makes me squick quite effiently. (10.07.95: vanished)

Urgh! Pumping. and A Sticky Crime. And A Vapid Death. And Some People Will Try Anything. Actually, many items on the Wall O' Shame has a high squick index. Notable for the juristic term "barking mad": Conspiracy.

(13.06.95) First time ever I heard of voluntary machismo-induced auto-decapitation.

(05.08.95) The Jake Baker stories. I am not quite sure how to classify this material. There I am, reading this stuff, forewarned as to the horrors that await me, when I have to laugh out loudly for a hilarious typo. And the absurdity of some of the details! Still, I couldn't bring myself to read more than one of the stories.

I had to chuckle when I stumbled across this excerpt from (the German translation of) "American Psycho", designed to squick people (at least that's the way I interpret the "you are victim no. xxx" postscriptum). It took me only four lines to recognize it; the scene seems to be pretty vivid in my memories. People who haven't been inoculated by reading the book might indeed undergo a unique experience. (Now wherefrom to get the "Babyfucker" text?)

Out There: Pictures

(01.03.95) Double Ugh! Dan's Gallery of the Grotesque is not for the faint of heart, or the queazy of stomach. This pictures are bad enough, but in his comments, Dan manages to elevate tastelessness to an art.

Political Squicks

(14.02.95) Not at all funny: observe Dan Gannon and his ilk on alt.revisionism. I was reminded of his existence by an article of his that appeared in the CU Digest, which I regularly read. Reading a few dozen articles in alt.revisionism should be enough for anyone to start lobbying for better history education at (not only USAmerican) schools.

Many of the abovementioned squicks work on the ``gut level''. An different kind of shock is based on the intellectial level. Find out more by contemplating the issues of censure: read the Banned Books On-Line page.

Another ``funny'' squick: My life as an international arms courier describes the problems of a US citizen trying to obey the law. Its an excerpt from from RISK digest 16.73. (Did you notice the line that starts with ">From" ?;-)

Remeber Canter and Siegel? For all the details, read the (heavily commented) interview with Martha Siegel re-published in Eye.


The computer scientist in me squicks when I read the TECO manual. Contemplating it is as dangerous to your mental health as any of the abovegiven items. (TECO is of course the perfect editor to write INTERCAL programs in.)

(28.12.95) On Dec 23, I removed my nipple ring - it started to grow out, and the thought of it accidentially being ripped out squicked me too much. The piercing lasted nearly two years. I don't think I'll renew it, it is too much of a bother.

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