29 July, 2010

Pressuring Your Peers, Or Some Such Nonsense

Pressuring Your Peers, Or Some Such Nonsense


I’ve been lazy with my blog writing. Just a heads up. What have I been writing? Thank you for asking. I just finished the first draft of my first full length novel. I’m moderately excited at the notion. It’s a good book, and if it ever gets released, I encourage you to buy it. It only took me a couple of weeks to write it, so I guess it can’t be that great. I’m not selling this too well, am I? At any rate, that’s what I’ve been doing in the interim. I also released a book of short stories that you ought to buy and read because I’m actually pretty proud of those. Dig it here (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1332153).

We’re going to talk less about me and more about mod now. Ready? Here we go. Back in May, a story broke that didn’t get much attention. Probably because it’s broken. And broken things are, you know, broken. Anywho or way or something, some shit went down in New Hampshire, and we’re going to talk about it. Follow me! Slowly; I’m handicapped.

New Hampshire is like the old Hampshire, except completely new! It still smells like a brand new shower curtain. It’s also the ninth state, and people from New Hampshire are often called Granite Staters. That’s terrible. I guess it’s better than being from New Jersey, like myself. People from Jerz are often called...Assholes. Carlton Fisk and Ken Burns are both Granite Staters, and the late Ronnie James Dio as well. Does all this matter? No, not really. Get to the story? Yes ma’am. No, I can’t have a pet ferret? You never let me have any fun.

Four kids, Granite Staters, bullied the shit out of a special needs kid and forced him to get a tattoo on his ass. Three of the kids were from the same high school, Concord High (Go Crimson Tide!), and the fourth was a drop out. That means he quit. He quit high school. The boys told the special needs kid that they’d stop picking on him if he’d let them tattoo his rear end. The cops got involved when the kids were passing photos of the ass tattoo around school. Idiots. The principal of the school, Gene Connolly, said it was the worst form of bullying he’s ever seen. A mother of one of the bullies said that she believed the boys weren’t acting with malice. If convicted of the charges which include assault, the bullies could get thirteen years in the clink.

Thirteen years is a long time for bullying a kid. There was a ‘boys will be boys’ time when you’d put a kid’s head in the toilet, or throw an M-80 in a locker, or pull a girl’s hair into the ink well on your desk. I wasn’t really alive for any of that; I’m only thirty. But there was bullying when I was younger too. I got beat up some, thrown in lockers, had my book bag thrown into the locker room showers. Shit like that. Relatively harmless stuff. nothing that would make me go Columbine later on in life. We’d get detentions, or in house suspension in room P-30, the room for degenerates. So to call this act of forced modification bullying is grossly understated.

These scumbags committed a crime. A real deal, no doubt about it crime, and they ought to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I don’t think that anyone can disagree with that. But somehow, a mother of one of the bullies can. She called the behavior “stupid,” and said that “there wasn’t any animosity or hatred.” This woman has her head shoved so far up her ass that she’s wearing shit perfume on her neck. Hatred? Maybe not hatred; I’ll give her that. But to simply diminish the act as bullying is myopic to the differentiation between bullying and violent crime. Does the mother have to go to bat for her kid? I suppose, but she can also recognize that what these kids did is prison worthy. She could say that what her kid did was criminal, punishable, and wrong. Instead she chooses to go down with the ship, defending the idiot.

On the same token, the principal’s reaction was extreme as well. He claims that this was the worst act of bullying he’s ever seen. Again, the differentiation of what bullying is is what’s important here. I remember when I was in high school, way back in the nineties (and yes, I wore a flannel shirt around my waist), a girl went ape shit crazy and put two gym locks in a sock and smacked another kid with it. That’s not bullying, I know that. But that is an in school event that is unparalleled, in my opinion. Nothing in school will compare to that sort of thing, so I have to question the principal’s school, and its peacefulness. The principal used the word “horrific.” Is that entirely fair? I’m not sure if forcefully tattooing a kid is horror.

A couple more things here. First, does this story carry more gravity because the kid that was tattooed is a special needs kid? If the kid were an enrichment student, or in the average classes like myself, would it be as horrifying to the principal? Peer pressure is an interesting thing. I used to think it was an invented psychological nonsense that some asshole with a doctorate and a leather couch invented to sell his paper to a scholarly journal. Peer pressure was never a something that governed my behavior. I can see, though, how it can govern others. Do this and you’ll be cool. Or, one can only come of age if he’s done X, Y, and Z. Drugs and sex and violent behavior. Seems to be the trinity of peer pressure. The need to be cool or in or hip or whatever the douchy kids say now.

Then there’s the element of what this says about our culture. Took me long enough to get there. I’ve talked about how bullshit it is for people to more easily get tattoo supplies than to get the goo used to make fake fingernails. We live in a society that limits the amount of fucking Sudafed we can buy at the Rite Aid, but some high school kid can get his hands on supplies that ought only be used by professionals in the field of modification. This is one of those black marks on our culture, kids. It’s one of those ‘modification as a symbol of deviant behavior’ bullshit excuses that senselessly protective parents will use as exhibit A in their campaign to ban this or limit the freedoms of that. These cocksuckers don’t represent us. You and I know that, but the people that carry more weight in what we’re allowed to do with our own carbon meat bags don’t know that.

Tattoo as a form of torture. Sounds so...Mengele, doesn’t it? This seems to happen more frequently than it ought. What we do is an example of a beauty that we can have a hand in realizing. It isn’t a something that ought to be an example of pain, sorrow, or discontent with our own selves. We beautify. We don’t scar. This special needs kid was scarred by these assholes with a tattoo machine, and because of it, it is another element that I need to defend to those outside of my culture. How do I convince someone who is staunchly against tattoo modification that what these four kids did to the special needs kid isn’t normal behavior within our culture? Am I exacerbating this? Am I picking fly shit out of pepper, or am I spot on with my assessment that this bullshit is out of control? It has to stop, not because I care about bullying, or that a special needs kid was forcibly tattooed against his will. I could really care less about the bullying or the kid. What I do care about is the reverberation that this echos throughout our culture. The perception that stories like this cast to those who are looking for just one more reason to hate modified people. We don’t have a PR person to go to bat for us on Fox And Friends in the morning, clearing the good name of the people who beautify and not mutilate. Maybe we should hire one. Stay beautiful, kids.


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

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