30 December, 2010

Hump That Trend. Hump 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.

Hump That Trend. Hump it!


“I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.” I like that song because of how insanely stupid it is. There aren’t a ton of Christmas songs I like. That’s one of them. I find myself singing it at inappropriate times. Like prostate exams. Or arguments with the wife. Who am I kidding; I don’t have a prostate! I mean, wife. I have a prostate, but it doesn’t see much action. I have a wife in Sims 3, though, and it makes me pretty damned sad that my Sim gets more play than I do. Let’s move on away from my depressing wifeless and prostate having life.

I like to search the internet for news related to tattoos and piercings. Then I write about them for you cats and kittens to read. Usually, I’ll come up with the same hits. Descriptions of felons for whom the police are looking, or some bullshit about a celebrity getting modded and how shocked that we as the court of public opinion ought to be about it. (Oh, Miley; what are you doing, sweetheart.) I found an article today that wasn’t terribly interesting. It was a someone writing in to a someone else to ask if he should cover his mods when he goes for a job interview. Pretty stupid. We all know the answer to that question, and if we have to ask it, then we’re probably not mentally qualified for the job. Because we’re a fucking idiot. Least of all, we wouldn’t take the time to write into an online newspaper to ask someone else’s unqualified opinion. Obviously this story isn’t interesting at all. What’s interesting is the little comment war that followed the article. Those are the best, aren’t they? When people, from the safety of their keyboards, spout some -ism nonsense just looking for another stranger to disagree so that the first cat can feel tough without actually looking into the eye of the disagreer. That is where this rant is going, by the way.

After a tattoo supporter commented how tattoos generally tell a story about the life of the wearer, another person, screen name Mike5383, responded with his two cents; which, due to inflation, isn’t even worth two cents.

Tattoos generally tell the story that the wearer is a trend-humping fashion lemming. Perhaps that's why most people still aren't impressed. I love the way they look after about 15 years of aging, too. :)

I’m really glad he added the emoticon in the end. If it weren’t for the smiley face, I’d have completely missed his sarcasm. Thanks for that, Mike5383. I learned a couple of things from this post. One is that Mike’s birthday is probably May third, 1983. (Even though, looking at his profile on this website, it says he’s 38.) Another is my assumption that Mike5383 is probably not modified. A third thing I learned is that Mike5383 has a gross misinterpretation and misunderstanding of our culture if he thinks that we are “trend-hump[ers].” Also, who uses the word ‘hump?’ I mean, seriously. Did you hump your boyfriend last night? No, you slept with him. No one says hump. Lastly, he likes the smiley face emoticon, but really, who doesn’t.

Let’s talk about Mike5383’s perception. Modification as a trend is such a myopic point of view toward our culture that it nearly bares ignoring. But I won’t. We don’t have to talk about Oetzi, the five thousand year old ice man found in the mountains. We won’t mention his tattoos and pierced skin, nor will we mention his tools for tattooing he carried. We won’t mention the samoans, whose tattoos tell a family story. We won’t mention how Victorian era women would pierce their genitals as a sign of wealth, nor will we mention the American Indian traditions of piercing and suspension. African neck and lobe stretching? We won’t mention that either. I’d like to ask Mike5383 what the half-life of a trend is. Do you think that the people of the year 3500 will be wearing snap bracelets, playing with Troll dolls, trading Garbage Pale Kids, and eating Pop Rocks? Unlikely. At least, I hope not. Pop Rocks are nasty.

His using the word ‘fashion’ is interesting too. When I think of fashion, I think of high fashion. I think of models with the ‘Schmeh’ face walking down a high gloss buffed runway while people who aren’t considered as attractive snap photos of whatever nonsense is the new, not for the average person fashion. How many of these woman and men are heavily modified? When was the last time Victoria’s Secret had a sleeved model with a Madison piercing and the bulge of a zero gauge captive poking through her panties? Fashion has never really participated in an amorous relationship with mod. And yes, I know there are exceptions (Call me, Kat Von D!). Modification as a fashion is an interesting concept. I am well aware that it can be, and for all intent and purpose, it is. It’s an aesthetic adornment. That’s fashion, isn’t it? But a part of me (the part that hates; wait, that’s every part) has to believe that the intent of the aesthetic adornment is a thing that makes all the difference. Like the road in the yellow wood. Is there a higher intent for wearing skinny leg jeans or leg warmers or those God awful rubber rain boots? The people that view modification as fashion have a skewed sense of what modification and fashion are.

Mike5383 talks about other people not being “impressed.” This seems like an asinine comment to make because the entire thesis of the article on which he commented talks about the first impression of a potential employer. You see, Mike5383, ‘impress’ is the verb form of the noun ‘impression.’ Same root, my friend. So yes, obviously people are impressed with the modifications of others if they are willing to refuse employment to someone because of their mods. It may not be a positive impression, but they are impressed in some way. Isn’t language fun?

He lastly makes mention of modifications as they age. This is one of those arguments from an unmodded person that is such a tacked on afterthought that it holds very little gravity to me. It’s like a President Bush hater not having a firm argument and then saying, “Well, he stuttered a lot.” Yeah, no shit. Your skin, believe it or not Mike5383, is going to age with the rest of you. Do we need to talk about modification techniques advancing like all technology? That’s like saying, “Why did you buy a car in 1965 if it’s not going to be fuel efficient in 2011?” Because you wanted a fucking car in 1965, that’s why. Yes, some modifications aren’t going to look great in fifteen years. That’s a fact. But does that same concept stop the woman who is caking on sixteen pounds of foundation makeup everyday? I’ll wager that in fifteen years her skin will look way worse than mine (way worse is a scientific measurement, by the way). This is the kind of argument that unmodded people make that, to me, make no sense. This ‘what are you going to look like when’ type of argument, along with the ‘why would you get that thing tattooed on you’ drip with an ignorance and a sense of ownership of the aesthetic of strangers. I don’t really give a shit that Mike5383 thinks that, at some point in my life, my tattoos will look differently than they do right now. He has no ownership of my aesthetic, and just because I practice and participate in a culture that has an outward display of beauty, doesn’t mean that every stranger who sees my mods is entitled to an ignorant opinion. I don’t modify for you, Mike5383; I modify for me, and I invite you to enjoy it.

Anyone who thinks he is going to be a power broker with three inch lobes and an H.R. Giger themed sleeve has his head up his ass. At least right now. Our culture has made huge strides in a short amount of time. There was a time when the tattooed man and woman were circus attractions. Now we are everything that unmodded people are. We are fathers and mothers, successful artists and craftsmen, laborers and employers. We are beautiful, not trendy. Nor are we lemmings. When the leaders have come full circle and arrive behind the followers, are they still leaders? We are leaders of comfort and beauty, and that is a wonderful thing. Everyone ought to be as comfortable in his own skin as we are in ours, regardless of a stranger’s opinion about modification. At the end of the day, the opinions of people like Mike5383 mean very little to me because his is a mind of -ism. And I don’t want to be a part of that. So why did I right 1500 words about it? Good question. Stay beautiful, kids.

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