14 October, 2010

Do It, Love It, Be It

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com. Mail sent directly to Mystic Metals will not be read.

Do It, Love It, Be It


Have you ever sat in a public place with headphones on and didn’t realize that you’re rocking back and forth or mouthing the words to the songs? Ugh. A ‘have you ever’ sentence is a terrible way to start a blog. Who am I, Jerry Seinfeld? I am not. I’m not funny. Nor am I successful. At any rate, that’s what I’m doing now at the bookstore. Rocking back and forth and occasionally closing my eyes during a particularly triumphant part of a solo. God bless Frank Zappa.

Sometimes when I sit down to write for you guys, I get all set up. I secure a table next to the outlets, I get my coffee (plus four shots), I fire up my Safari browser, and I search the internet for something interesting to write about. I don’t always hit the mark, and to take the title of the Primus best of record, they can’t all be zingers. Some are downright bad, I’ll admit. But I always start my writing expedition the same way. I search for something interesting in the news, something that is in some way modification related on which to share my thoughts. Today, I’m not going to talk about a specific story I found. I’m going to talk about the search itself and what I draw from it. But before I get into that, pajama jeans are one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. That is all on the pajama jean topic.

Modification is still, for some reason, on the periphery of what most people consider normalcy. In fairness, it is much more accepted now than it has been in past generations. We are beginning to shed the biker/sailor/jailbird/sideshow skin slowly, and emerging as a different kind of beautiful. It bears mention, and it also bares praise. I spelled the two ‘bears’ differently because I don’t know which is appropriate. I think it’s ‘bares.’ Anyway, we are still engaging in fringe behavior from a majority point of view. Perhaps that is part of the allure to some of us. Perhaps we’d rather be less accepted so that we have something to bitch about. Everyone likes to bitch about some inconsequential shit that we make to be the end of days. But in searching for news and notes about the modification community, I am overwhelmed with the amount of hits that regale a certain aghast for the culture, specifically, certain types of people who are now modified that don’t fit the accepted mold of what we in the culture are.

What am I talking about? Well, sifting beyond the “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” hits (a book I’ve yet to read), there lies the shrapnel of people’s commentary toward mod in the workplace, photos of really shitty mods, tattoos that identify wanted criminals, and celebrity ‘cheepnis,’ to use a Zappanese word. Very rarely do you find something that celebrates the beauty in which we participate (except this blog, of course), and more often than not, you’ll be bombarded with bullshit news stories about people who won’t take their mods out for some agreed upon authority figure and therefore feel disenfranchised. Even the hits from other sites (did someone say BME? I sure didn’t.) create an ‘us versus them’ on the other side of the sociological coin which benefits us none.

First the commentary on the workplace tattoos and piercings. I’ve talked about this to death, but it seems to be that discussion topic zombie that just won’t leave without eating a brain or two. And unfortunately the brains that are being eaten are our own in the community. For every one of us that refuses to take out his two inch plugs for an interview at a mall job, a dozen of us get damned for our association to the community. Not all of us are nearsighted in thinking that our heavy modifications ought to be accepted by society at large, and specifically our potential employers. And no, I’m not talking about some people at work being allowed to show their mods and others not. That’s fairness in the workplace and a completely different topic.

The internet is filled with websites designed for laughing at society. I am guilty of perusing some of these. Sites like www.peopleofwalmart.com, and www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com are what I’m talking about. Not so much the latter, I suppose because it is less surreptitious and malicious than the Wal-Mart site. The People Of Wal-Mart site exercises a kind of guerrilla camera phone clandestine operation that makes Sam Fisher look like an amateur. (If you got the Sam Fisher joke, you’re as much of a geek as I am.) But there are sites like these dedicated to tattoos that are done poorly or may be good tattoos of dumb things. (See also, www.badtattoos.com) We’re mocked enough in certain sociological theatres, aren’t we? Do we need to support this kind of mockery of a segment of our culture to which we are only peripherally associated?

Then the celebrity thing. Jesus. The obsession we have with celebrity is only eclipsed by our interest in all things Lady Gaga. I’m sure Amy Winehouse is happy Gaga came along. But seriously, it’s absurd. We live in a society where we believe that we have some sort of ownership of an individual with an unimportant job. Don’t get me wrong here, kids, I love music and movies and such, but I do realize that the world doesn’t need any of it to maintain its slow and necessary demise. It comes more into play as people expose their wanton ownership of celebrities as they mature within the iris of a paparazzi camera. We watch some prince or princess cut from an industry dye from the tender age of very young grow into a something that is undoubtedly not within our approval. We have the twins from the old TGIF show claiming to have eating disorders, and we all have an opinion. We have the Don’t Mess With The Lohan doing all kinds of whatever, and we all have opinions. And then we have the collective, sociological aghast inhale when we learn that someone like Brittany Spears is modified. When these people, people like this pop princess, experience things that sever a sense of individuality from themselves and the public, there is a knee-jerk to what we as the public would have anticipated. Just because she was on the Mickey Mouse Club when she was making money so her parents could retire early, doesn’t mean that as an adult she can’t engage in experiences unique and special to her. Modification is one of these experiences. Obviously. Otherwise this wouldn’t make any sense at all.

Correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure you will), but my perception from within the community is one of collective individuality. We seem to let other people do whatever the fuck they want to do. And even though the word ‘fuck’ was completely unnecessary in that sentence, we seem to be much more accepting of what others want to do than most other sects of society. At least I hope so. Whatever you want to mod, do it. Love it. Be it. Whatever your political affiliation, do it. Love it. Be it. Whatever your likes and dislikes, do it. Love it. Be it. Whatever your sexual orientation is, do it. Love it. Be it. What’s very important, though, is that whatever the other person is doing, loving, being; we ought to let them, and let them with celebration. Don’t wrong me, here. I’m not saying that we should be happy that there are idiot groups of dickheads who protest soldiers’ funerals, or hold signs that protest homosexuality. What I am saying is that we ought to celebrate that these people have a point of view, and that they are afforded a point of view. What that point of view is and whether I agree with it or not is a different discussion. But I celebrate that there are seven billon different minds and points of views, and I support their doing, loving, and being.

When I search the internet for topics on which to write, I see these hits I’ve mentioned, and it makes me believe that some of those seven billion points of view are less accepting of what the other person is doing. The mocking websites, the surprised commentary on celebrity, the bullshit sociological divide of modified and not. Respect is something that is in less supply than oil, it seems. That and the ability to stay out of the boundaries of the other person’s private. Not privateS. Private. I’m being creative here, kids. A simple society of letting others chase beauty in their own ways, that’s what we do, so we probably ought to let the other person do the same. Stay beautiful, kids.

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

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