Zodiac Porn Web Series

Zodiac Porn Web SeriesThe website ratter.com is publishing a series of Zodiac-Killer articles entitled Zodiac Porn. According to the primary author of the series, Michael Rosen, Zodiac Porn is "where we examine the dark, sexy underbelly of the Zodiac and the obsessive amateur sleuths trying to solve the case."

Thus far, the articles have included:

The second entry on the list is actually on the topic of yours truly and this website. Overall, the articles are well written and they cover reasonable Zodiac-related subjects - unlike a lot of Zodiac coverage on the web these days. Honestly, I'm not thrilled with the series name because I'm concerned it may convey the wrong message to some people who would otherwise be interested in the material. Nonetheless, I'm happy to see the website ratter.com giving the case some substantive attention.

It's unclear how long the series will continue. But, with articles being published roughly once a week and no indication of the series slowing down anytime soon, I encourage you to head over to ratter.com periodically and check it out.

Michael Cole

7 comments

  1. Richard Grinell 30 April, 2015 at 01:49 Reply

    Yes it is not a bad starting point if you are new to the case, providing some interesting and fresh perspectives, but like you I find the title rather distasteful. This quote “There’s the group of retired cops, the forums, the 2007 movie that made obsession with the case seem dark and cool, even sexy”, and terms like “sexy underbelly” are quite frankly not the sort of thing you want to read if your daughter or son has been brutally murdered by this coward. Glamorizing this killer to draw in readers is not a message I want to read and there is certainly nothing cool or sexy about an inadequate psychopathic coward. Furthermore the use of the word ‘porn’ in the title is totally insensitive and something I personally find insulting to the victims families, no matter the status of the website concerned.

    • Zodiac Revisited 30 April, 2015 at 08:11

      Your characterization is a bit more extreme than mine, but I can’t disagree with it.

      Interestingly, when I first talked to Michael Rosen for the piece, the series had not been on my radar and hence I didn’t know what it was called. I only found out later when I started searching for the series. In the end, it wouldn’t have mattered much. I’m trying to take the good with the bad and I still would have done the interview. Nonetheless, it was a bit of a surprise.

      The one point about which I will disagree with you slightly is the idea that the killer was a coward. From my perspective, labeling him a coward – as many people who are knowledgeable about the case do – reflects more of the way we want the man to be rather than the way he likely actually was. Certainly, one could argue the killer must have overcome significant fear in order to do what he did, and hence, in some sense, he was brave or courageous. The problem, of course, is that human nature isn’t very tolerant of labeling people who commit heinous crimes with adjectives we usually reserve for legitimate heroes and the like. But more importantly, the killer was almost certainly a sociopath and, as such, likely did not experience courage and cowardice the same way you and I do. Therefore, ultimately, I feel that those labels are just inapplicable. It’s like trying to make sense of something that’s inherently irrational.

      Of course, that’s just my view…

  2. Huru Guru 30 April, 2015 at 14:02 Reply

    I’ve monitored that “Zodiac Porn” site since it first published. I find it hard to take it seriously (or to continue visiting, especially from a public library) when it prominently features weekly images of human feces around S.F. city.

    This isn’t directed solely at you, Mike, but clearly the contributors (four or five so far) have a general research bias in favor of anyone possessing some understanding of the case who agrees to talk with them. Example: “It’s NOT Arthur Leigh Allen” — Sorry, they haven’t convinced me; and this spreads more cacophonic (caca-phonic? lol) noise about the Web. Not helpful.

    I thought Rosen’s “Life On The Street Where Paul Stine Was Murdered” was current, intriguing, and a good read; he definitely demonstrates the gumption and tenacity required of a successful investigative journalist. However, many of the articles display (not-so) subtle sarcastic jabs at the “armchair” researchers. Considering some of the obvious factual case errors I see them making week-to-week, they’re in no position to judge from their Barcaloungers. However, I don’t have the time to correct them; neither would I choose to do so under the image of a human turd. Kids these days…

    • Zodiac Revisited 1 May, 2015 at 01:20

      I guess we just have different views on the subject. I haven’t really paid attention to other content on ratter.com, so I won’t comment on that. But it’s clear that the series is making a legitimate effort to cover relevant (albeit, perhaps not always consequential) aspects of the case. Furthermore, some of these topics are clearly being driven by paying attention to the various Zodiac forums. This type of coverage is pretty rare. Typically, we may get an article here or there, and those articles might involve a few quotes from relevant people, but they almost never involve the person writing the article considering what’s being discussed on the popular forums.

      Having survived what feels like more than my fair share of aggressive disagreements with people interested in the case, I try to subscribe to a “big tent” philosophy nowadays where I consider the shared interest in the case much more important than some 1000 points of disagreement which invariably exist between people. While the series has its flaws, I’m happy to have it.

  3. Richard Grinell 30 April, 2015 at 14:34 Reply

    I agree Michael you should have done the article and I totally respect your opinion as always, but there’s a strange dichotomy at work when we talk about serial killers or murderers in general. It is often said with psychopaths or sociopaths that they often lack empathy, fail to comprehend right from wrong, or as you said “likely do not experience courage and cowardice the same way you and I do” and I tend to agree, but one thing they always seem to understand, is that you do not fight somebody twice your size, take a knife into a gunfight, or choose a victim who is an extreme threat to you. Almost without fail these serial killers understand that the cards must be dealt heavily stacked in their favor. So when it suits them, they can certainly apply common sense and make rational choices about victim selection, but when they get to the courtroom all of a sudden their rationality seems to evaporate and they are madmen once again. We often view serial killers as people who don’t think like me and you, but it seems very strange that they can call on this rationality when it suits them, but choose to be viewed as irrational, as though something is beyond their control, when it doesn’t. It most certainly would be irrational to enter into murder starting from a standpoint of disadvantage, so it could be argued that they are rational some of the time, because it is something they would never contemplate. And cowardice is the lack of courage to face danger.

    • Zodiac Revisited 1 May, 2015 at 01:58

      Interesting thoughts, Richard. I guess a lot of it depends on the particulars of the criminal. I suspect the Zodiac understood right from wrong and consequently would have been deemed legally sane, had he been caught. There also seems to be a relevant distinction between intelligence and emotional health. The intelligence may well be highly functional even though the emotional health is severely damaged. This scenario might explain some of the phenomenon you describe.

      One thing I think is noteworthy with serial killers is how pathetic they look once they’re caught and they show up in court wearing the typical orange jumpsuit and shackles. I’m guessing a lot of people look at these killers, e.g. Rader, Ridgeway, etc., and think to themselves: “This is the guy everyone was terrified of? Really?” It has the effect of destroying the power of their serial-killer persona. Of course, with the Zodiac never being caught, we’ve never experienced that sequence of events with him. So, the power of his persona remains intact. Not especially relevant to our discussion, I suppose. But, some of your comments reminded me of this thought.

    • Richard Grinell 1 May, 2015 at 06:29

      Absolutely Michael, the persona of a killer just drains away once we realize they are not that scary monster hiding in the cupboard at night. If all serial killers were 6’2″, shaven heads, with dark evil hollow eyes and covered in tattoos, I doubt their reign of terror would last long, they tend to get noticed. It’s the people you don’t notice, like you said Dennis Rader and Gary Ridgeway that blend into the crowd. I always hear people interviewed and they say something like “Oh no it can’t be him, he’s a wonderful family man, who tends the garden and goes to church every Sunday” and I think “that’s your first mistake, it really can be him”. And finally when that ordinary looking man shuffles into court, as you say its bewilderment. However one thing people do say, almost as a way of qualifying in their own head that this man must be evil, is “when I stared into his eyes they were black, empty, dark and soulless, it was like staring into hell itself”. Funny really, they were ordinary when they were mowing the lawn last Tuesday.
      Anyway sorry for blabbing Michael.
      Richard.

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