04 April, 2012

The Mystic Way

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.

The Mystic Way

I had to write a resume last night. Of all the literary ‘accomplishments’ I’ve attained (please by my Nook and Kindle books), I have zero ability to write a resume. Goddamnit they are difficult. I know everyone says that, and I am sure they are not as difficult as everyone believes they are, but shit. I look at that resume and I think, ‘I haven’t done shit. How am I going to make this sound as if I have done shit?’ But the interview I had was a quickly developing thing, so my shitty resume will have to do. Still, does being a bass player really matter to a real job? Hey, I can play “OMG” and “Party Rock!” Hire me! Ugh. I hate everything.
Dave, my illegitimate twin, was in town this week. I miss him terribly, and it was awesome to see him. For those who don’t know, my cousin Dave runs Mystic Metals Body Jewelry (www.mysticmetalsbodyjewelry.com) and has given me this great blog forum which has been going strong for four years or so. He’s probably the reason why most of you read my blogs, so let’s all yay for Dave. Yay! We were talking yesterday about Mystic, about the blog, about life in general and our perceptions of it. Modification was, obviously, an important element of that. We were talking about our, the Mystic philosophy.
When I started this blog, and when Dave started Mystic, we talked very specifically about what we thought about the modified community. About what the community had, what it was missing, and what it needed. Of course Mystic is a business which means Mystic wants to make money. There’s nothing wrong with that, despite what the government will lead you to believe about success and money. This is America; making money is part of the American dream. But there is another element. I have no problem with big business. Some people do, and I think those people are morons. But a common complaint about big business is the facelessness. There is a certain Goliath idea of giant corporations that turns people off, I think. Who owns McDonald’s? Who owns Verizon? Who owns Calvin Kline? Well, I guess Calvin Kline does, but you get the point. We wanted something different. We wanted people to walk up to us and talk about, not just our awesome plugs, but about anything. About baseball, about politics, about Hollywood’s never ending well of remakes. About anything because we are just people.
And not only are we people, we are people who are balls deep invested in the community of modification. We’re not posers. We know a little bit about what’s going on in the scene. We live it, we love it, and we support it. The blog was a shared idea of Dave and me. We thought about what we could give to the community (besides awesome plugs, of course). We came up with the blog.
In brainstorming this vomit of words that I force feed you guys every week (like a little mama bird, tweet tweet), I wanted something specific. (Here comes the point; brace yourself.) Like any other group, we look for a fight. Don’t lie, you do. We look for the misrepresentation of our culture in the reality program. We look for the home tattoo kit in Sears and WalMart. We look for the person writing about how modification is a fad, how it’s silly, how we can’t get jobs, how we are mutilating ourselves in the eyes of some god who was only invented twenty years ago in some guy’s basement. We look for these things because people of any culture love to be outraged and persecuted. It’s how we’re raised, I suppose. Who’s hating on me so I can hate on him. There are plenty of mod sites that promote this type of behavior and idea. I won’t name them because that would be playing exactly into what I’m talking about. Yes, I do point these things out in my blogs from time to time. I think it is important to shed light on people who are saying things, doing things, spreading things about our culture. But it is the tone with which we shed that light that is important. What colored light will you choose to share? Dark and angry light? Or more bright and hopeful light?
That’s our philosophy. Mine, at least, and hopefully yours too. There are sites and people who claim to speak for the community of modification at large who spread wild ideas like, ‘if you’re not modded you’re less of a person,’ and, ‘we need to sign petitions to get better jobs and rights.’ That’s not my thesis. I think this thesis is damaging to the culture. I am not a commentator for the community (I wouldn’t say ‘advocate’ because I really don’t do anything) to create a divide. That’s damaging. We live in a society that carries standards held high for colorblindness and equality, but then populate our cities with non-profit groups who speed past the equality line in hopes of gaining a supremacy. A thousand cultures of hypocrites. In my brief experience of living I’ve learned that being a hypocrite is near the top of the Ways To Be An Asshole list. That was a quality I have tried to avoid in this blog. Dividing philosophy is corrosive to the people holding the philosophy. It serves no one.
So what is my philosophy of modification? Strangely, it has very little to do with modification. Mine is a philosophy of beauty. Beauty, life, and imagination are the only three things that no one can take from you. OK, someone can take your life, I got that you knit picking bastards. I mean life as in the living of life. I talk about beauty, and in the Mystic way, we talk about sharing that beauty with one another. What is beauty, then? It’s a thing you have whether you can identify it or not. Beauty is a smile. It is holding the door for a stranger. It is surviving a trying time and garnering strength from it rather than bitterness. Beauty is thinking of an estranged friend for a job opportunity or a simple phone call or text. Beauty is chit chatting with a stranger. Beauty is caring for yourself, trying to love yourself, and in turn sharing that love with others. None of this has a damned thing to do with modification. What does, however, is finding comfort. Beauty and comfort are perpetuating things to one another. Some people perpetuate their comfort by seeing a movie, having woohoo time with a loved one, buying an expensive and hideous shoe (See also; all of Izzy’s shoes). Those in the modification community find comfort in tattoo art and piercing and suspension and pocketing and scarification and temporary piercings and bifurcation and a thousand other ways to augment the body. We navigate our beauty through the comfort these things provide. From my point of view, they are no different than fingernail polish, plastic surgery, or liposuction. Some are simple, some are complicated, all supply the same need. The need for comfort. Finding beauty is difficult sometimes, isn’t it. The key is that we find it, and in finding it, we know that it exists. You can’t find something that isn’t there, right? It is there in all of us, modified or otherwise.
That’s my thesis, my philosophy. That’s what Mystic believes, and that’s what I try to share with you cats and kittens. We don’t deserve special treatment, no one does. We deserve equal treatment, and the only way to receive that equal treatment is to treat all others, all others, as equals. We modify and that works for us and our sensibilities toward beauty. Some don’t and those folks are equally as beautiful. My philosophy is beauty. Black, white, cripple, able, gay, straight, modded, unmodded. Doesn’t matter, kids. I think those of us in the modded community can see that more easily than those outside of it. I think we judge less the aesthetic of strangers, we accept those aesthetics more readily and easily. We have a point of view gifted to us by knowing our own beauty. It’s pretty simple isn’t it. With that comes a responsibility, though. Not only do we have to treat each other with the respect each deserves, we must treat each stranger, modified or otherwise, with the respect he deserves. Everyone is beautiful. Everyone. Whether he knows it or not is up to him, and all I’m trying to do here is make sure that you kids know it. Let me know if I’m doing a good job. Chat with me or Dave. Send emails. Friend me on Xbox so I can feed my Sim baby while we chat. His name is Uppercut and he’s going to be a scientist. I’m very excited. Most importantly, stay beautiful, kids. 

Join me on

1 comment:

  1. You killed me with the cK mention. I'm going to pretend I didn't see it. It would ruin the rhythm we have.
    Weirdness in our coincidences as of late. I have struggled and managed to gag out a resume. I've applied for 5 jobs in the past week which is pretty neat in retrospect. AND I purchased shoes you'd probably find hideous but I love. I can't see my beauty right now. The Mister keeps telling me whether I believe I can or I can't, I'm right. I keep responding with...well...then I can't I guess. Sometimes it's just not there and I think there's a space and time for that as well.
    Good luck on the job scene. I hope it works out for you.