In 1994, what amounts to a social networking website for people who practice body modification landed on the Internet. This website predates Facebook by a decade and even predates Google by 5 years. The site, which is still operational today, was in the late 1990s, by some reporting, the 24th most visited website in the world. For years after, this website became notorious as being one of the most unsettling destinations on the web. Contributors to the site routinely posted photos of their own body modifications. Stepping far beyond lip rings and gauged earlobes, contributors to the site shared scarification photos, images of themselves being suspended via hooks through their skin, and some even uploaded photos and videos of voluntary and medically unnecessary amputations of their own limbs and appendages.
The man responsible for the creation of this site was Shannon Larratt. Shannon was himself one of the first people in the West to have his tongue split and among the first 3 people to ever receive an eyeball tattoo. Shannon’s BME website would gain further notoriety after he crafted a fake but very convincing shock video titled BME Pain Olympics: Final Round. This video originally concluded with a disclaimer noting that the footage was not genuine. However, shortly after being passed around the Internet, this disclaimer was removed leaving many viewers to believe that they were actually watching self-performed castrations and penectomies. This video would go on to be one of the most well-known viral shock videos of the early years of the new millennium.
Shannon was an extremely intelligent individual who devoted the majority of his unfortunately shortened life to the advocacy of self-expression. After a contentious divorce, he lost control of the BME website which had seemingly been the focal point of his existence. Many people within the body mod community held Shannon in incredibly high regard and did not respond well to his removal from BME. This lead to a lot of divisiveness among site contributors with many of them siding with Shannon and others choosing to support his ex-wife. The drama generated from this event was something for which the site and its community, by many accounts, never fully recovered.
In this episode of Where is the Line? we speak with Russ Foxx who has an extensive history of modifying his own body and with helping others express themselves through this medium. Russ also shares with us experiences from his acting career including the tale of how his former roommate once severed as his “stunt cock” in the film American Mary.
Also in this episode, we’ll frequently use the word “penis” as we discuss the organ’s removal, mutilation, and transformation into flame thrower.
Shannon Larratt’s personal blog from which much of the content of this episode was pulled is still online and can be found here. Additionally, Shannon’s books are available as free downloads and can be accessed using the links below.
- Modcon: The Secret World of Extreme Body Modification
- Opening Up: Body Modification Interviews 1995-2008
- Meet Tommy: An Exploration of Private Body Modification and Play
If you would like to know more about our guest Russ Foxx, you can visit his website, follow him on Instagram or Twitter, or check out his Facebook page. The man has RFID implants in his hands… He knows how to Internet.
We would like to thank Jacklyn Carley for allowing us to use clips from her fantastic but too short documentary Open Eyes, and we hope that she one day revisits this project to release it in long-form.
BOB CAYLOR OF, THE NEWS. (1999,). Many amateurs do castrations, writer claims. News-Sentinel, the (Fort Wayne, IN)
BOBBIE CURD, b. (2006, ). Body modification: Art or a gesture for society? Advocate-Messenger, the (Danville, KY)
Brittingham, J. T., Smerick, C. M., & Bloechl, J. (2016). This is my body : Philosophical reflections on embodiment in a wesleyan spirit. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications. Retrieved from http://libdata.lib.ua.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1228035&site=eds-live&scope=site
CAPON, A. (1989). Prince edward students win math contests. Kingston Whig-Standard, the (Ontario, Canada)
Chodosh, S. (2017). This is how eyeball tattoos are supposed to work. Retrieved from https://www.popsci.com/this-is-how-eyeball-tattoos-are-supposed-to-work
Fassel, P.Russ foxx (2017). Retrieved from http://www.cinedump.com/interviews/2017/3/16/russ-foxx-2017
How about a poke in the eye?@DE new deck lead;pierced tongues and noses are so passe, you need an eyeball tattoo – or maybe not. (2016, ). Nation, the (Thailand)
Larratt, S. (2002). Modcon: The secret world of extreme body modification. Canada: BME Books.
Larratt, S. (2008). Opening up: Body modification interviews 1995-2008
Larratt, S. (2012). Meet tommy: An exploration of private body modification and play
Larratt, S. (2013). Howie LunaCobra (.net) and shannon larratt eyeball tattoo interview. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq8ImO_RRpg
Lawton, G. (2004, Extreme surgery: How far would you go to become the perfect beauty–or a freakish one-off? graham lawton explores the options.184, 54+. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A124424154/ITOF?u=tusc49521&sid=ITOF&xid=4e2d5857
Lewis, H. (2013). Will a tattoo ever hang in the louvre? New Statesman, 142(5155), 32. Retrieved from http://libdata.lib.ua.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=87217149&site=eds-live&scope=site
Maryse Zeidler · CBC News · Posted: Sep, & 23, 2018 8:00 AM PT | Last Updated: September. (2018). Meet the B.C. man who implants technology to increase his physical capabilities | CBC news. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/meet-the-b-c-man-who-uses-body-modifying-technology-to-enhance-physical-capabilities-1.4825085
Paraphilias. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/paraphilias
Porter, S. (2013). Shannon Larratt—An obituary. The Point, (63), 9-10.
Reference, G. H.Tubular aggregate myopathy. Retrieved from https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/tubular-aggregate-myopathy
Roberts, H. (). “From grindhouse to body modification”: An interview with the twisted twins, jen and sylvia soska. Retrieved from https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/tag/body-modification/
Russ foxx – body modification artist. (). Retrieved from http://russfoxx.com/
Shannon Larratt is zentastic › http://www.zentastic.com
Starr, N. (2017, -08-17T08:00:56+00:00). An interview with BDYHAX presenter Russ Foxx. Retrieved from https://bodyhackingcon.com/blog/interview-bdyhax-presenter-russ-foxx.html