07 June, 2012

Fashion Writers Are Awful

Fashion Writers Are Awful

Tis the season, kids. The weather is warming, the clothes are getting more awful, the flip flops are frolicking in all of their horrendous glory. And the kids are showing off their lousy tattoos. I oughtn't judge so fiercely. After all, it is very much against what I talk about every week, and I believe what I write every week, but man; sometimes there's a shitty tattoo staring at you while you're trying to write and there's just no positive thinking that can deny the shittiness. It's sad and hypocritical of me, I know. But seriously. Cover that shit up, man.

At any rate, I read an article today about tattoos, and I tried really, really hard to be positive about it. And for the most part I was. But then there were photos and it was a shitty tattoo. That was the dealbreaker. Maybe I'm just being a dickhead today. Well, I'm probably just being a dickhead today. Also, I'm distracted by the two blind girls talking about Scripture sitting right next to me at the bookstore. I'll just get to the article.

The Huffington Post isn't my favorite web newspaper. It's pretty liberal and usually pretty irritating to me. They like to complain about things that the right does and then defend the left when they do the exact same things. That's the mantra of unbalanced news outlets, though, and both sides are guilty of doing it. That's not the point of this rant. Like most newspapers, the Huffington Post has a style section. I usually consider these sections useless. Actually, that's untrue. They are useful for bird owners who need to line bird cages to catch the rain of bird shit from their birds. Here's the word bird again. They are also good for cat litter boxes when in a pinch, or for making origami boats. I'm a big fan of origami boats. But these sections are usually where you're going to find commentary on our culture of body modification. We'll get into that misguided categorizing later. The big news stories involving modification are often in the real sections of the newspaper, but when you have some overly sedated house mom who is outraged beyond all reason that her kid would even consider getting his earlobe pierced, you'll find that rant in the style section with an awesome title like, 'People Who Pierce Should Be Waterboarded,' or something equally catchy. This article, however, was written by a person thing called Hallae Khosravi. I figured out that it's a woman person because there's a photo next to those absolutely ridiculous words. Hallae Khosravi is a style writer for the Crappington Crap paper, and she seems very into it. She uses words which she assumes her readers know, like Hermes bangles, about which she makes a joke that I think fashion people would understand or find funny. Her article is called "Does My Tattoo Match My Shoes?" and strangely, she is pro-tattoo.

She got her first shitty tattoo when she was fifteen (she's twenty-two now) of stars on her shoulder, to which she's since added blaming the urge to mod on her ex-boyfriend's writing a play about her, or some other such childish nonsense. Nothing says 'I got the better of this breakup' than writing plays. I'm a writer and even I think that's the dumbest shit ever. Then her pets died and she wanted to memorialize them in mod. A fine thing to do, and it's something that has been done by people I know. Her dead cat is called Coco (well, technically it's not called anything short of worm food now) and it was named after Coco Chanel. I suppose her fashion obsession started young. Long, boring story short, she gets a cat in a Chanel bag tattooed on her leg. So now this Hallae Khosravi person has a Chanel logo tattooed on her leg forever. She's cool with it, however, because she uses her real Chanel bag every day, a gift from her parents when she was going through the breakup with her playwright boyfriend (at nineteen years old). Her theory is that the bag goes with everything, and now she feels her mod does as well.

First, let me get into the idea that the style pages really oughtn't be the place to talk about modifications. Yes, body mod has a style attribute attached to it, but it is also a culture and a lifestyle to most of us. Would a study of African lip disc ritual or American Indian suspension or Polynesian body suit tattoo be a part of the style section of the newspaper? Likely not because it is a cultural thing and we are very (and this liberal crap paper ought to know this too) sensitive to cultures that aren't ours. Yet when the culture is a thing that is American (via a vast and beautiful array of others from across the world), who cares; it's just style and fashion. That's a bit nearsighted to the importance that mod holds for some of us.

With that said, I'd like to take this Hallae Khosravi person woman thing to task about getting a corporate logo tattooed on her leg. I won't, though. Her mods are hers, and she ought to celebrate their meaning and importance they hold for her. I have the logo of a comic book tattooed on my skin for reasons important to me. It would be unjust for me to criticize hers. It makes sense, I suppose, for her to have this uppety fashion dumbness on her. She's a fashion writer, so when her career dries up, it'll be a nice remembrance of that. We should always mod what we want to mod and hold them in high regard for our own personal associations.

The dumbness happens after all of that. It would have been a fine article if Hallae Khosravi (Carrie Bradshaw is so much easier to type) stopped at that cute little story, with the playwriting boyfriend and the expensive bag and the Hermes bangles. But she didn't. She continues with a certain persecution complex about strangers judging her as being a "shopping caricature" because of her tattoo. You know, her tattoo of a shopping bag with the Chanel logo on it. She leans on her mod being a "part of my identity" and summarizes with a statement that would make Aristotle drop his toga in its philosophical poignancy. She says, "if you wouldn't judge me on my shoes, don't comment on my tattoo." Preach on, girlfriend. With your Chanel bag and Chanel tattoo and your Hermes bangles and whatever other brand waving bullshit you're wearing.

First of all, stop it. No one is telling you that you are less of a person for your shopping because you have a Chanel tattoo. They are judging you because your tattoo looks like an epileptic third grader with no fingers drew it in sharpie with a pen tied to his tongue. That's why you're getting negative buzz from the mod. It's a shitty tattoo. Secondly, much like I've said in the past about what we modify on ourselves, if you wear a target, you're going to get shot. Obviously it doesn't take a Freudian apprentice to figure out that when a stranger sees a picture of a shopping bag with a corporate logo on it, that stranger is probably going to assume that the person holding the drawing probably likes to shop at that store. Hallae Khosravi can't possibly be aghast that that line of logic would follow. If she is, then she's a moron. It's like this. The swastika was originally a symbol used in Babylonian art. It was stolen and used by the Nazis. If I have an affinity toward the original Babylonian use of the symbol and get it tattooed on me, can I really fault a stranger for making the very short logical leap in assuming that I am a Nazi sympathizer? C'mon. Let's use some sense here. Thirdly, if assuming you like to shop is the most negative thing that a stranger is assuming about you having seen your mods, then you're doing pretty OK in terms of what many modded people deal with regularly (or 'on the reg' as the kids say). I've had strangers call me a Satanist, a sadist, a masochist, a disappointment to my family, a problem in society, a bad son, a bad boyfriend, a bad person, a freak, a mess, ugly, horrible, offensive, disgraceful, and Mr. Sillypants. So I think, Hallae Khosravi, you're OK with the 'Hm, she must like to shop' commentary.

I enjoy that our culture of modification, on the whole, is not an elitist one. It certainly can be, like anything else, but that's not what we preach here. I enjoy that people from a trillion different realities and societies and cultures combine into one and participate in the beauty of modification. But when people like Hallae Khosravi go on a tear about the culture with a hair flip and an oh my God and an ignorant and completely shallow twenty-two year old woo girl point of view, it makes me think that maybe I don't want that person spoken in the same context as someone like myself. Of course, that's knee jerk and unfair. I don't want to expel Hallae Khosravi from our culture. I just want her to not be a dumb fashion writer about it. She should be spending her valuable time wooing at a bar over a lemon drop shot and a Miller Lite while talking over her friends and making sure everyone can see her designer bag and bangle things and then bouncing up and down with a hand on her equally idiotic friend's arm when her favorite song of the last ten minutes comes on the juke box. That's what proper twenty-two year old girls do. Not invent persecution from strangers seeing a shitty tattoo. Stay beautiful, kids.



  1. The piece wasn't meant to offend those truly passionate and educated about tattoos, because I am clearly not. All the same though, I did enjoy finally receiving an honest critique. Thanks, man.

    1. Hallae,

      Thank you for your response. I hope that my commentary was taken with the air of comedy as it was intended. Seeing life through mod colored glasses changes the perspective of things sometimes, and I am very much glad to have you as a part of our beautiful culture. There are so many divisive sites for modification that don't so much celebrate the beauty as they create divides in the culture. I try here to bring attention to things happening in our society and shed some light on differing opinions (while levying my own, of course). Beauty in all things is the thesis, modded our otherwise, and celebrating that beauty, as you in your study and occupation very much do (from a different point of view), ought to be the priority. Thank you again for your comment, and I hope you continue to read A Different Kind Of Beautiful, as I am sure to check up on your work so I can learn what a Hermes bangle is.

      -A. Robert Basile

  2. Andrew,



    1. Thank you CC! You have helped me become less stupid.