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Don’t Be A Doonan
The Avengers comes out this weekend, and though I very rarely go to the theatre to see films, I’ll likely partake in this one. I’m a comic nerd, or at least I was when I was younger. It’s hard to keep up now, but as the week draws to a close and my beautiful girlfriend and my Marvel movie preparation marathon ends, I will have much difficulty in containing my excitement. And if you’re curious as to who my favorite Avenger is, I won’t be a super geek, better-than-you prick about it and say Vision or Dr. Strange (however briefly he was). No, I am a fan of the Hulk. Big, dumb, changing, green Hulk. He was and will always be the greatest Avenger. Sorry, Captain Rogers. Facts is facts.
My beautiful internet friend Betsy sent a link my way, asking me to take a look and see if it is something about which I’d be interested in writing. I checked it out, and it’s a go. Thank you to Betsy, and if you kids ever see something that you may want to hear me yell about, tweet it to me (@arobertbasile) or the Mystic Twitter (@mystic_metals) or drop it on the Facebook. New ideas are always appreciated.
So thanks to Betsy, I’m going to hate on a writer of an article called “Why Do We Really Get Tattoos?” At first, I was hoping the article was going to be some interesting, philosophical study on the mindset of modded individuals. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? I’d write it, but I’m too stupid and too lazy to do the homework. Unless you kids want to pay me to do it. No? OK. Onto this idiotic article. The article I read was on slate.com, which is some sort of website about rocks, I assume. It was written by a thing called Simon Doonan under a heading called “Notes From The Fashion Apocalypse.” This Simon Doonan thing is a dude. A dude who doesn’t understand our beautiful culture of modification. Let’s talk about her point of view.
Simon Doonan opens his article with a beautifully painted picture of waking up in the Floridian sun, heading down to the beach, and then witnessing something “shocking and bone-chilling.” A pause for a second. You kids may remember similar articles I’ve written about what you can expect to follow, and it seems as if it always happens in Florida. I wonder why that is, or why people who hate mod like to go to Florida to then write about hating mod. Just an observation. Anyway, he sees everyone there is modified. Or at least by his perception everyone is modded. Simon quotes an FDA stat about the quantity of people who tattoo modified in the country, which is his first sentence featuring the word “tat,” which for some reason irritates the shit out of me. He expresses his reaction this way: “This past weekend, they all hit the Florida beaches and pointed jeering tattooed fingers at yours truly. To these folks I am a combo of loser and nemesis, a rebellious nonparticipant in their sick and twisted cult.” I wasn’t there with Simon Doonan on the beach that day in Florida. After all, I ride a wheelchair now and sand is quite difficult to navigate. But his assessment that he is being pointed out by modified folks and made to feel lame because of his untouched skin is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. That didn’t happen, so just stop. Maybe there was another reason people were pointing at you. Like, maybe some of your scrot was peeking out from your designer man thong. Just a guess; again, I wasn’t there. And less than five sentences in, he calls us all a part of a “sick and twisted cult.” Gloves off, Mr. Simon Doonan? I’ll oblige, but first, more of what he wrote.
Calling himself “the last heroic holdout” of the unmodified, he uses the tired and overly beaten and exhausted example to illustrate his point. David *yawn* Beckham and NC *zzzz* AA basket *drooly dreamtime* ball. Yes, Simon Doonan; athletes have tattoos, and yes; basketball uniforms freely show arms and sides and necks and collarbones and other places people like to get tattoos. Using athletes as an example of rampant tattoo modification is absolutely inconsequentially absurd. Take the NBA. At most, the total amount of players in the league is 450. The population of the nation is 311.5 million people. That’s .0001%. Hardly an accurate sample set, I’d think. But that’s picking fly shit out of pepper.
He then uses the even more tired, even more exhausted point of older people and modification, calling future mods blobs after old age. We all know that if we take care of our modifications, get them touched up, and go to reputable artists our mods will last a very long time in all of their artistic and beautiful glory. He even says, “And it’s no longer just a class thingy: I even saw tats at the legendarily WASP-y Bath and Tennis Club in Palm Beach.” WASP-y? Wow. Yeah, WASPs can have mods too. Last I checked, the modified community is the one last refuge for colorblindness of class, faith, or race. I even know some Jews with mods! Honest to God! Jews! And blacks and even those gays that are popping up all over the place! Do we see my sarcastic point here? OK, good.
Before Simon Doonan lists his well developed reasons not to modify, he drops this wonderful nugget: “In the past there was one reason, and one reason only, to ink up: A tattoo confirmed your status as a scary outsider rebel carny outlaw sociopath.” There are a couple of things (only a couple?) wrong with this statement besides its inherent ignorance and cultural insensitivity. First, he says, “in the past,” which leads me to believe that he doesn’t believe that in the present that perception remains, yet he clearly does think that. Secondly, he states that telling people you are a freakshow or whatever he’s trying to say is the “one reason.” One is a lonely number. One is absolute. One is wrong. I would like to introduce Simon Doonan to a very many proud grandfathers who served in the great wars of this country (in the past) who have immortalized their pride in the beautiful art of modification. I’d like him to look at those great and brave men and say, ‘you are no better than a carny sociopath.’ Not all tattooed individuals of the past are freak show bearded ladies and fire-eaters. Some are Purple Heart owners and freedom fighters. And pointing to the reasons of individuals to modify of the past seems pointless when trying to, as the title of this cute little article suggests, ascertain the impetus of contemporary modification. Maybe he failed his senior thesis paper, if he wrote one.
After scrawling the generalized statement, “Having a tattoo now has no meaning,” Simon Doonan lists reasons to not tattoo. Before those cute little nuggets of ignorant hate, I’d like to point to him the great many folks with tattoos that speak to the greatness of themselves, their pain and struggles, or the memorial of lost loved ones. Does every mod have a greater, Dali Lama meaning? No. (See also; my right calf: Transmetropolitan logo) But do some? Yes. (See also; my right arm: illustration of my crippling disability) Onto his cute little list.
We’ll quickly hit these because if I don’t, this blog will be 3000 words long. First, it takes too long to get modded; the time in which more productive things can happen. Like sitting on the beach and judging modded people, I guess? Two: It’s expensive, and the inevitable removal of the tattoo will cost even more. That point I discredit from someone who writes for something called “Notes From The Fashion Apocalypse.” Tattoos are a bigger waste of money than a fashion trend that will last fifteen minutes? Tattoo has been around for 5000 years, chief. Three: Hep C. Wah, wah. Using dirty mod butchers to paint the entire industry. That’s why you spend the money (see your shitty point two) at a reputable artist to avoid unclean mods. Do they happen? Surely, but you can get Hep from an unclean tanning bed too. Four (and thankfully his last point): It hurts. It seems as if only the people who have never been modified focus on the pain of modification. Pain for aesthetic is in no way only under the ownership of the modified. Why do broads bring flip-flops to weddings? Painful shoes that look good. Why do dames come home from getting waxed with swollen and crimson eyebrows? Pain from tearing hair out of their heads. Why do cats sit in ice baths after an insane workout? Pain from lifting three times their weights. The pain of mod (purely in the aesthetic sense) bares no relevance.
Toward his conclusion, if you can call it that, Simon Doonan compares tattoo mod to cutting, which is terribly insulting to the thousands of people who suffer from the unfortunate affliction of cutting as well as to the modification community who view their mods as art and not mutilation. It’s as insulting as a statement like, “It’s hotter than Auschwitz in here.” Please don’t use a genuine woe and sorrow to prove a point that in no way relates (see also; my drummer). He also mentions his wearing Ed Hardy shirts as his way to, I don’t know, have some kind of relationship to mod. Sort of, or something. It actually kind of turns into an ad for Ed Hardy at the end.
Mod haters are going to hate modification, and that’s OK. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, but to blanketly make statements about a culture within which one does not participate is irresponsible. I would never make a generalization about the gay community, for example, because the sensibilities of that community are foreign to me, just as the sensibilities of the modification community are foreign to the unmodded. I am, however, free to make observational assessments of any culture, but if I do not participate in that culture I am walking a fine line on which the other side resides insult. Simon Doonan is insulting in his assessments, and I would welcome him to spend some time with modified people who are outside of his preconceived ideas of what we do and how we behave. We in the community, and I mean you boys and girls, ought to open our arms to his ignorance and say, ‘Hey, you’re beautiful. Your opinions aren’t, but you are and so am I. Let’s talk about it.’ That assumes he is interested in that dialog to begin with, which I’ll wager he is not. Stay beautiful, kids.
Tell him what you think, kids.
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