18 March, 2010

A Loserpeg From Winnipeg

A Loserpeg From Winnipeg


I never claimed to be quiet about my opinions. I’m an asshole. I got that. That’s what makes the boom of blogs so fun. Anyone with an uneducated opinion about anything can voice it in a pretend sense of socially pertinent commentary. It’s kind of funny. Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of those anyones. I would like to believe, though, that I know where to place a comma. I think. Or is it I, think. Or maybe I th,ink. Or maybe I think,. Did we all get that joke? Good. I know my readers are the smart kind. I don’t even know what I’m talking about. We probably ought to get the the point, huh. Good idea.

The Winnipeg Free Press is a newspaper. I think. I read an article in it on the internet, so it might just be an internet thing. Or maybe they print it too. I don’t care. The point is, I read an article in it, and I’m going to share. Winnipeg has some descent celebrity connections. Neil Young, Roddy Piper, Chris Jericho, and the guy that James Bond is based on are all from Winnipeg. That’s pretty neat. What’s that? Get to the article? Good idea.

I read a question and answer thing in the Winnipeg Free Press that is addressed to a Miss Lonely Hearts. I assume that it’s like a dear Abby thing, or some such bullshit. It’s in the lifestyles section of the paper, and there didn’t seem to be any continuity among the questions asked. How this relates to mod is in the first question, submitted by a user called 20/20 Vision. The question was this:

“There's nothing more precious than attractive and intelligent women. But there are two problems I see in Winnipeg: 1) The women are trendy. All these tattoos and piercings in fashion now are so ugly. Beautiful skin is ruined by scab-like tats and piercings and it sickens me to look at them. Everyone here is a rock star!”

The second question isn’t important. Let’s talk about this person’s observations of Winnipeg women. First off, I’ve never been to Winnipeg, so I can’t corroborate nor accurately debunk this person’s assessment. The first part of the observation I completely agree with. The preciousness of attractive and intelligent women is difficult to parallel. We all know how I feel about women. Women are quite possibly the perfection of creation on the planet. There is nothing on this dying rock that comes close to the endearing attributes of women. They are soft, curvy, gentle, beautiful. They are everything a man is not, and that’s what makes them perfect. That point is the only part of this person’s comment with which I agree. It’s all downhill from here.

Before the commenter introduces the modification aesthetic, he says “The women are trendy.” That’s fine. Women can be trendy, right? A part of being a woman in modern society often rests on the idea that they enjoy fashion, they enjoy what is contemporary. I don’t see a problem with that very much. You like this year’s Express jeans? Go ahead and drop a hundred clams on them. I’m sure you’ll look great. The problem with the statement is what follows, presumably designed to prove the aforementioned ‘trendy’ assessment. “All these tattoos and Piercings in fashion now are so ugly.” Let me stop you right there, cap’n.

The idea that modification is part of a fashion is an uneducated and myopic way of looking at mod. What is the half life of a trend? When does a trend or a fashion mature from being a fleeting streak across the sky to an engrained star in the constellation of culture? If there’s a specific number, I’m all ears. Until I get that number, let’s just let this commenter know that this ‘fashion trend’ has been perpetuated for thousands of years. That’s right, chief. Lobe stretching, septum jewelry, and especially tattooing has been happening a shit ton longer than you might suspect. Do I have to mention Oetzi again? And if you don’t know who Oetzi is, Mr. Commenter, then I’ll accept that as an open admittance of ignorance to my culture’s history. We aren’t vehicles for a fashion. We’re beautiful.

Which brings me to the last half of that segment; the ugly word. The only thing that is ugly is the word ugly. Ugly is a word that I think is much more damning that any of the other “first letter first then the word ‘word’” type of inflammatory verbiage people use. You know those words. Words like nigger and retard and dego and mick and kraut and jap and all of those words that we as a society have decided are hurtful words to people. No one champions a cause to eliminate the word ugly; a word under whose blanket many more types of people can reside. Ugly is a terribly hurtful word, and you kids know that no words are off limits to me. I don’t believe in bad words in that words are only as powerful as the power you give them. Which, in part, is why the word ugly is powerless. No one cares. Say ugly in public. Then say nigger. See to which more people react. We’ve given the nigger word power, so it is hurtful. That’s why words like honkey and cracker don’t work. We white people don’t give a shit. However, in my reality, ugly has a great power and the flippant use of it is a frustrating reminder that people in this society see first the flaws and see second the beauty. Modification doesn’t make a person ugly. It takes someone who is looking for something ugly to see the ugliness in anyone; modified or not.

The commenter then says, “Beautiful skin is ruined by scab-like tats and piercings and it sickens me to look at them.” At least he sneaked the beautiful word in there. But “scab-like tats?” Where are these people getting tattooed that their art looks like scabs? Does this commenter know what a tattoo looks like, or has he happened to see just a series of terrible tattoos. Shit, if the people of Winnipeg are getting tattoos that look like scabs, they probably ought to be heading somewhere else for their mods. I think that the commenter is trying to (ineffectively) use hyperbole to make his point. We all know that I love hyperbole, but wouldn’t it be more effective to use a hyperbole that has some semblance of reason tethered to what it is describing? Maybe they don’t teach literary tools and elements in Winnipeg.

And then, with complete disregard for the oft poorly used comma, the commenter says that seeing these “scab-like tats” (which I’m still not buying that all the tattoos he’s seen look like scabs) “sickens” him to look at. It’s a good thing that people modify for themselves and not for this guy, huh. Sicken is an intense word. Sicken. Wow. You know what sickens me? Watching a dog eat its own vomit. That’s sickening. Watching someone squeeze the little column of pus out of the top of a zit sickens me. Curdled milk sickens me. Thinking about the ingredients of mayonnaise sickens me. Seeing a person with a modification in no way sickens me. Seeing any person in no way sickens me. Does this commenter realize the connotation of the denotation of his verb choice? Damn, more English class stuff, sorry. If seeing someone with modifications is enough to sicken this guy, then I’m surprised that he can leave his house everyday. Shit, if that’s all it takes, what does he feel when he sees a homeless person, or roadkill, or someone giving birth. Maybe this guy needs therapy and this comment was his cry for help. You know, like horizontal scars on the wrist.

I took a light approach to this, I know. Hopefully the sarcasm permeates. But the idea that a woman can initially reside in the realm of beauty, and then damage that beauty by modification is insulting. The commenter’s use of the ugly word is terribly overstated at best, and intentionally demeaning and hurtful at worst. How many of us, of the body modded community, walk around sickening people just by being comfortable in our skins? Are we disgusting people who see us; people that have not the interest nor the nutsack to talk to us, but rather bitch anonymously to a newspaper advice column? Jeeze. If I knew I was sickening people, I’d have put on a nicer shirt. I might have strong and sometimes unpopular opinions about things, but at least I put my name on them. I guess it’s easier to insult people when you hide behind poorly punctuated assessments of other people’s lives. Stay beautiful, kids.

Talk to A. Robert Basile on AIM at Basilephone
Yahoo Messenger at andrewbasile@rocketmail.com


  1. sadly i have to hide my mods from my own dad. everytime he sees a new one, i get the whole "tattoos are ugly on women lecture". but eventually he will see them, and i feel that reading your material has prepared me for the day. thank you andrew! and i can never get enough of your descriptions on women. reminds me of who i am.

  2. you say women are perfect... but you forgot that they're crazy.

  3. As a woman, I have to completely agree with saldivarc13 AND Dave.
    Thank you for this post, it's reassuring.