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Dumb Names A-Plenty
A couple things to start here, kids. First, I’m very frustrated and aggravated at things beyond my control. So I may be a little cranky today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Another thing is that this blog is a little late, and I know that. See also; point one. Thirdly, I’m not going to talk about this internet censorship thing that is happening because it’s a little pointless for me to wax on it when we all know how I’d feel about it. Fourthly, I know that the website I talked about in the last blog was a satire site, but I think my point still reads. Fifthly, I’m sick of getting my ass kicked in Gears Of War 3 by teenagers on the network despite the entertaining conversation with Becks and her friend, both of whom are not racists nor anarchists. That’s important to note, I think. OK, let’s move on to something that I’ve talked about before, but seem to come across every couple of months.
Cobb County Georgia is the setting. No, the county is not named for great Georgian and the greatest ballplayer to ever live, Ty Cobb. Though it should be. There, though, a twelve year old named Malik was hit and killed by a driver. That in itself isn’t terribly interesting to me, though it is terribly terrible; but as Becks would say, it happens. Malik has (or had, I guess since he really doesn’t have anything right now except worms in his hair) a brother named Gaquan, whose name sounds like an island destination for James Bond. ‘Head to Gaquan, James, and stop Jowls McGillicutty before he drops the bomb from his secret submarine.’ Anyway, Gaquan is ten years old and asked his mother Chuntera Napier to get a tattoo memorializing his brother Malik after his tragic death. Ignoring the fact that Napier was the Joker’s last name in Tim Burton’s “Batman” film, Chuntera obliged, took young Gaquan to an artist, and the kid rolled up to school with a new tattoo featuring his brother’s name and basketball jersey number. At school, some ratfink jive turkey (my words, not the article’s I read) called the cops and the mom got locked up. The mom, Chuntera (these names are getting absurd to type) posted bail and talked to the news. The unnamed artist is under investigation and the fuzz hasn’t made a comment.
There are a couple things here to talk about. First off, I long for the days that people had names that didn’t spellcheck when I wrote them down. Also, did Chuntera do the right thing in allowing young Gaquan to memorialize his dead brother in body mod? How much should she be punished for her behavior, and what of the artist?
First and foremost, the rat at school should be wedgied. Secondly, yes; Chuntera should be locked up and fined. The crime is misdemeanor cruelty and being a party to a crime. The crime is also shining shit light on the modification community, but we’ll hit that later. Chuntera broke the law and should be punished. In the article I read, she talks about how just the law is and that she ought to preside over her child’s wellbeing as she sees fit. Though the libertarian in me (which is most of me) agrees with that, there are some flaws in that logic. With that train of thought, we could treat our kids as pets, and even still there are probably more laws that accurately protect our pets. That’s a different rant, though. But you can’t treat your kids however you’d like because we have lunatics in this country that beat kids, rape them, lock them in small rooms, don’t feed them, and other similarly horrible things. So the law has to come in and say, ‘look, you can’t break your kid’s arm for getting a D on his report card’ because we as a society are too stupid to realize that doing so is asshole behavior. We as a society have also decided that modification on minors is in the same category, and I agree.
Kids oughtn’t be modified for a number of reasons. One is that they’re kids and they will change their favorites daily, if not hourly, until they are adults. Also, physiologically, a kid really shouldn’t be pierced or tattooed because the kid is still changing. Sure, go get your twelve year old slut in training her dangling navel ring. When she hits her last growth spurt, you can explain to her why the piercing has migrated down passed her belt line. But when a kid is no longer a kid, when he becomes the magic number of eighteen, he can do whatever he wants in the eyes of the law; and he can be punished like a big kid now. No more juvenile hall for them. They can buy cigarettes, porn, go to war, pay taxes. All that fun adult stuff. Modification fits neatly into those privileges, and it’s important to have those gifts at certain ages. It gives you something to look forward to. I mean, shit; after I passed twenty-five (the age you’re allowed to rent a car), what new privilege do I have to look forward to? Senior citizen’s discount? Boo.
Back to the story, Chuntera Napier provides this argument: “What do I say to a child who wants to remember his brother? It’s not like he was asking me, ‘Can I get Sponge Bob?” Napier said. “He asked me [for] something that’s in remembrance of his brother. How can I say no?” That argument is dumb and I’ll tell you why. The law doesn’t care about what the tattoo looks like. The law cares about the process of tattooing. If there were laws against dumb tattoos or laws against getting something that the wearer may not be happy with in ten years, there would be a lot less tattooed people. It doesn’t matter if young Gaquan wants Sponge Bob or In Memory Of. It’s about getting the mod, not the mod itself.
And to address the “How can I say no?” thing. It’s easy. You say no, not yet. I’m not a parent and I don’t plan to be one, so all of you parent readers, save your hate mail about how I don’t know what I’m talking about. My parents were strict in certain circumstances, and in those circumstances when my mom said no, the answer was no. Why? Because she’s my mother, that’s why, and that’s the only reasoning that any kid should need. When young Gaquan is eighteen, his brother will still be dead and the mod can happen in all context of legality. You don’t get a special dispensation because you have a dead brother or son. Sorry. The law doesn’t care. I don’t either.
The artist who allowed the mod to happen ought to be fined and locked up too. It blows my mind that any artist who actually works in a shop (assuming this guy did; it could have been a hotel mod) would participate in this kind of behavior. He’s more of an enemy to the culture than a hero because it draws more of this careless attitude from within the culture that those who shun our society can fervently use to damn it. This isn’t good behavior from within the culture, is what I’m saying. And if the guy who modded the kid wants to talk about how his heart bled for the story or blah, blah, whatever then he needs to man up a bit. Say no. I’m not risking my business, my reputation, or the reputation of the modification community on this little boy who wants a modification. Sorry your brother’s dead, but there are bigger things here than what you want.
Man, I’m cranky today, huh. I think a lot of it has to do with my not wanting to go to work tonight. Also, I need a better job. Also, I need to get a book published. Also, I need to eat something. Also, I’m going to go now. Don’t forget, kids, that what we do is beautify. We augment our existing beauty with art and draw attention to ourselves in a beautiful and positive way. When someone draws negative attention to our otherwise beautiful culture, we’re all damned for it regardless of their reasons or excuses or invented loopholes. We have to remember that we participate willingly, and that willing participation means we have to take extra care in the representation of that culture in order to provide a positive personification to those outside the culture who may not be of the most positive mind about it. Also, I think there’s a rock in my shoe. Stay beautiful, kids.