02 March, 2011

We Stand On God Or Guard?

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.

We Stand On God Or Guard?


I am listening to a demo I recorded with someone years ago. I used to be a pretty good bass player. Or at least I faked it well. It’s always fun to go through and look at old shit that you’ve done. You can see where you’ve gotten, or how far you’ve slipped. I miss playing these songs, now that I hear them again. In other news, people (like this dude at a table next to me) who take their shoes off in public ought to be stoned. Stoned twice if you’re a dude. Can you be stoned twice? I’d be willing to try for a shoeless man in public. And just as I write this, he’s clipping his fingernails. Jesus, I need to live in a cabin in the woods.

I have only been to Canada three times. Once to Montreal, and twice to Toronto. I don’t claim to know much about Canada outside of its awesomeness, cleanliness, politeness, and fun...ness. I’m not terribly educated on the culture of Canada, how people view one another, what is socially acceptable. Those are the threads in the social fabric that are most interesting to me in any culture or society. I do know that their school system is slightly different than ours here in the States. What isn’t different, or at least what ought not be different, is underaged modification and its place in school.

A broad from some place near Toronto (because I read it in the Toronto Sun), got kicked out of her math class because of a lip piercing. The story itself isn’t terribly interesting, but some of the details are slightly interesting. Detail one: she’s fourteen. Detail two: she goes to Catholic school. At first, I didn’t think this story had much to talk about because those two details really set the stage for a common sense refrain of, “Well no shit.” But then I got a little pissed off at some of the things said in the article. So here I go talking about them.

The mother obviously went to bat for her little girl (mainly because the mod cost her $75, I think) and she had some interesting, albeit asinine things to say. The mother, whom we will call Paula Gunning because that’s her name, makes the knee-jerk battle cry claim that she didn’t know about the no mod policy. She also compares the legality of short skirts in the school to the illegality of piercings. She then waxes about bullying and fitting in. Let’s discuss.

First off, underaged mod is bad for the culture. I don’t support it, I think it is terribly misrepresentative of our beautiful culture, and it’s against the rules. I like rules. If the rule says you have to be eighteen in order to be modified, then guess what; you’d better be eighteen. End of story. Whenever I read an article about this kind of thing, I have to do two things. One, write about it in order to help bring attention to behaviors that affect our culture. And two, undress the absurdity of the inevitable arguments and shed light on the stupidity of those who obviously don’t understand our culture. The mother, Paula Gunning, pleads ignorance to the law. She claims that she was unaware of the no mod rules. Whose fault is that? Not the school’s, to be sure. If I start driving on the left side of the road and a cop pulls me over, how far would I get with the, ‘Dude, I just didn’t know’ excuse. If it doesn’t work in public law, why would it work in the setting of a private organization? The argument of, ‘well it just shouldn’t be that way,’ matters very little. Maybe your ideology doesn’t jive with the rules of the private school that you pay to attend, but that’s not their problem. Follow the rules. Leaning on the ‘unjust’ rules is an argument that makes no sense to me. Besides, your kid was going to a private, Catholic school. I have to assume that you’re Catholic and have some sense of what people who participate in the faith think about things like mod. Unless you’re a Catholic poser. C&E Catholic, Christmas and Easter.

Paula Gunning then argues that if short skirts are allowed, then also mods should be. I don’t think that this is a fair argument because clothing has a specifically designed purpose. Clothing is a thing that is meant to hide our shame. It is a something that (thank you Eve) we have agreed upon is necessary. We need to cover our penises and vaginas because at our cores we are still animals and procreation is a thing that is probably taking up a good portion of our brains. At least, that’s my theory. To compare a lip piercing to the length of a skirt is absurd because it creates an argument. It creates the idea that hiding your vagina for the socially acceptable sense of shame and decency has the same gravity as a labret stud. It doesn’t. You have to cover your vagina. It’s the law. You can’t walk around naked. The length of the skirt is a different argument altogether. It’s a perception of what is appropriate for a person at whichever stage of life she may be. Whether you agree with the length of the skirt doesn’t legitimize the desire to have your lip modded. That makes no sense to me. ‘She has a short skirt so I should have a labret’ is a misguided logic that makes very little sense to me. What does one have to do with the other?

Bullying. That’s an interesting argument. I’m not a parent and I never plan to be one. Bullying must be a challenging mount to climb. Your kid is getting beat up in school. What do you do. Your kid is being picked on. What do you do. That must be a very helpless feeling for a parent. With that said, maybe your kid needs to suck it up and realize that in real life, not everyone is your friend and some people are dicks. I would never tell a kid to go pick fights, but I’d also never tell a kid to run away from one. You never hit first, but you always hit last. That’s how I see it. I got into my share of fights when I was little. That’s what you did. Cat picks on you, you stand up for yourself. You have pride in who you are. You defend your sense of right and wrong and reap the penalty for doing so. That’s how real life works, isn’t it? If kids are bullying over body mods at the age of fourteen, perhaps the viable solution is less ‘get my kid pierced’ and more ‘talk to the school about how things are being done.’ Kids are going to be bullying each other until the end of time. To think that your kid’s crusade is the one that is going to finally bring attention to how mean kids can be, then you’re an idiot. Over what, underaged modification? Something that isn’t a necessary element of life? You’re kidding me. If your kid is getting beat up everyday because she’s queer or black or handicapped or something else she can’t help to change, then you have a point. But to start a horseback, sword raised crusade over a labret stud at the age of fourteen is inflammatory to what we in the culture do, and it places undue importance on what your kid wants rather than what she can have. Aren’t they two different things?

I’m glad this broad got kicked out of class over this. You cats and kittens know how much I love this culture and this society, but modification isn’t something that we can’t live without or not be. Modification is a choice, and one that comes with great responsibility. People who take a vacation on the beach of my culture and then complain about their sunburn because they were unprepared piss me off. These people don’t represent us. Or at least, they oughtn’t. We are not all crybaby bitches who think that labret studs are cool and want to have one to fit in. That’s not the median of the culture, yet these are the stories to which people who don’t support modification will point in order to show our behavior as a negative one. There’s a reason that there is an age of mod. There is a reason that schools and tattoo shops have different rules that govern them. Besides, you’re fucking paying to go to that school. If you didn’t read the rules on day one, you’re an idiot. Don’t blame the mods, man. And don’t blame the school for enforcing rules about which you were informed at the onset. Wahh...my kid can’t have a labret stud in her school at fourteen years old. Christ. Why not worry about something of consequence and stop shedding negative light on my culture. Oh, Canada. We stand on guard for thee. Stay beautiful, kids.

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