23 March, 2011

Abusing The Word Abuse And Also Facebook

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.

Abusing The Word Abuse And Also Facebook


I recently watched the documentary film, “Lemmy: 49% Motherfucker, 51% Son Of A Bitch.” If you didn’t think that Lemmy was a god before this film, you’ll definitely think it afterword. Even if you don’t dig Lemmy, you should check it out. It’s worth a good watch, and documentary film makers need love too. (Right, Ally?) And for those of you that just asked, “Who’s Lemmy?” I am very, very disappointed in you. Do yourself a favor and check it out. That is if you can take a break from all those Pixar films that I know you’re obsessed with. It’s OK; I am too.

Speaking of children’s movies, I hate children. To be fair, I don’t hate all children, but I definitely hate them before I like them. When I meet a kid, he is automatically on the hate list until he changes my mind that he is cool. Which doesn’t happen very often. I mean, really; what does a kid have to tell me that I don’t already know? Or worse, a teenager. I don’t really care about how much your life sucks because Chad didn’t ask you to prom and you have a calculus test on Tuesday and your field hockey coach made you run extra miles because you showed up to practice out of shape. I could really care less about young people. That’s a pretty curmudgeonly thing to say, isn’t it? I’m only thirty-one. Imagine what I’m going to say if I make it to fifty-one. It’s going to be awesome. But the thing about kids is that they don’t have any rights until they are eighteen. Or at least, not the same rights that you and I have. After eighteen, it’s porn and cigarettes, and guns, and war, and voting, and modification. I read a story today that relates. Here we go with that.

A teen girl in Florida (a state) posted photos of a tattoo artist modifying her hip on Facebook. Her hip wasn’t on Facebook, her photos were. Man, what a shitty sentence. Anyway, she was getting tattooed, snapped a couple of photos, posted them on the Facebook, blah, blah, whatever. We all do that shit. I have photos in my phone of my mother’s first tattoo being done (by Meghan Patrick at 12 Oz. Studios in Gloucester, NJ). It’s part of the fun. A relative who is a friend of the teen girl on Facebook (and lives in another state) saw the photos, drew some concern, and phoned (wait for it…) the police. The cops sauntered over to the teen girl’s house where a cat named Jose Lopez was tattooing her. The mother, Jennifer Filippelli, was there when the fuzz rolled up on her property. Jennifer asserted that she had given Mr. Lopez consent to modify her daughter, which Jose corroborated. The police, needing a notarized, written consent that the artist nor the mother could provide, took Mr. Lopez and Jennifer down to the clink and arrested and charged them with child abuse. They were then released while the court decides whether to pursue further legal action.

I hate underaged modification. Let’s just get that out. It doesn’t help the culture, it draws negative attention to what we do, and usually they get dumb tattoos. That last one was childish, but it’s probably true. However, I do hate-less (that’s kind of like liking without having to say like) rules and laws and regulations. I like rigid rules, black and white justice, and Sarah Lee’s cherry pies. This is where my conflict happens in this story. But let’s talk about a couple of different elements that are here.

The first and most obvious is the idea of underaged modification. I’m really not down with it regardless of the permission. I don’t like seeing fifteen year olds stretching their lobes improperly with McDonald’s straws (and I know they’re from McDonald’s because they have the yellow stripe on them. You can’t fool me.). I don’t like the insinuation that what we do is in any way childish or rebellious. What we do is to beautify, and I am not entirely sure that a person who doesn’t even have the prerequisite for Algebra 2 yet can clearly understand that. Maybe I’m not giving enough credit here. Probably not, but I don’t care. This is my blog and it’s free. I don’t like the attention that young people modifying draws from unmodded people. Part of the reason why I have to defend that I’m not ‘too old for this’ is because of the underaged people muddying up the modified populous. I won’t mention the health concerns. I won’t mention how people’s bodies change at very different rates. I won’t mention how there are kids in high school bathrooms right now shoving paper clips through their lips. Do I have to explain why all of that is bad?

Another idea in this story is how small the world is. If I tweet about taking a shit in Jersey, people in France can read that and judge me for it instantly. Le pew, they’d say. Maybe not, but there ought to be some more judicious use of technology. The teen girl with the hip mod is an idiot. She had to have had an inkling in her woo girl synapses that she’s underaged and modifying and that’s probably not a good thing to share with every electronically connected cat and kitten in the world. It’s like those idiots that make sex tapes. Sure; they won’t end up on the Bang Brothers website. No problem. And as a side note, my mother isn’t on Facebook, but if she were, I might be a little more judicious with some things that I post regarding how I’m a prostitute and inject my weight in PCP on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and sometimes Mondays.

The most important thing that comes to mind here as I read this little fable about Jennifer Filippelli and her modified daughter is the charge of child abuse. I don’t know much about child abuse. I know people who have had first hand experience with it. I know people who have witnessed it from a distance. I know people who work with it in their careers. I understand what the law says in this scenario. Written permission. Got it. The teen girl’s opinion means nothing. If the teen girl asserts that she and her mother had a four hour discussion over mini marshmallow speckled hot chocolate about the pros and cons of modification before they arrived at their conclusion, it doesn’t matter. But abuse? What an oddly defined word. I support protecting children, but I think that the kid two blocks away from all this who is getting beaten with a phone cord for no reason by a drunk parent would probably take issue with a teen who watched her consenting mother get taken away for abuse. The right-libertarian in me (yes, Amanda, it’s getting closer everyday) says that this is absurd. It says that the relative who dimed out this mother from a photo on Facebook is more of the problem than the tattoo artist, the mother, or even the teen. It says that the police should be catching murderers and rapists and thieves instead of telling a mother how to parent her child. The problem is that there are those parents who do need the state to tell them how to parent because those people have a warped sense of crime and punishment. We have decided a certain set of criteria that extricates a minor from a place of danger. And we need that for some of these worthless, drug abusing, no job having, more mug shots than baby photos scumbags who think that they can dump in a broad (or get dumped in by a dude; women are not excluded here) and suddenly have a world of protection and moneys from the government. It’s disgraceful.

The question is (getting back to the point), is it fair that this mother and artist got arrested for child abuse. Child abuse. We’re not talking about getting your car booted, a DUI, or even maybe some kind of fraud. Child abuse. A crime that puts you on a list. A crime that changes your life forever in how you are perceived by those around you. You are a child abuser. That’s got some gravity, don’t it, kiddies. Did Jennifer abuse her daughter? Does it even matter because of the way the law reads? It really is an oddly polarizing scenario for me. Very strange indeed. Florida, the Phallic State. I made that thing up. That thing about Florida being a phallic state. It does look like a penis, though. At any rate, weigh in, kids. I’m interested in your point of view, and no one really comments anymore and that makes me sad. Or hungry. No, sad was right the first time. Stay beautiful, kids.

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  1. Andy, I read this. AND, I left a comment.

  2. I read it and I hate children too(usually not my own)! My kids will probably end up modified while underage (professionally of course) but I hope they wait until they're eighteen to get tattooed. That shit is permanent! I got tattooed the day after my 18th birthday and it was a dumb tattoo! Luckily it was fixable when I was ready for a real tattoo. Not everyone gets lucky.

  3. Great blog!
    Ive got a serious question though. WTF was wrong with the person inking the underage girl?
    Im assuming its someone who has done a tattoo or two before that day, someone who understands the basic idea of how to go about said tattoos in a clean and sterile manner, (or dear god I hope so) and who at least KNOWS what the state laws are on minors with concenting parents.
    Where in that is their self preservation? I mean come on! Outside of those four walls where he inked her he has no proof that there was even an adult present, let alone one who was ok with it. I hope he had a licence, and promptly had it removed. The charge of child abuse is over the top is you ask me, but fault should fall on the person who should be well aware of legal obligations first. People like that tattoo artist put just as much of a bad face on us modified individuals as the minors they cater to.
    Love your blog by the way, always a good read or laugh. Thank you!