15 June, 2012

I Suppose I Missed My Own Point

presented by
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry

I Suppose I Missed My Own Point

My best friend lost his father to esophageal cancer recently. I think I had mentioned it when it happened. Though I don't know exactly the impact of losing a parent to such a corrosive and humanity sapping wretch as cancer, I do know that time softens blows. Time healing can be a misappropriation of the power of time, but as time moves, we accept. To help us accept, my friend and I are putting together a special gig to help raise money for esophageal cancer research. We've selected the music, we've selected the venue, we've selected the cats for this special supergroup. I'll share details as it nears more closely. I know how to play bass and sing, and I know how to learn songs quickly, but what I don't know is how to run a fundraiser. Dan and I have some ideas, but if any of you have experience in doing such things, I'd love your input. Email me or send me a Facebook message (search A Robert Basile) and we'll talk about how to make this very special. Thanks, kids.

I suppose I should make some sort of joke now in order to change the tone. Umm... OK, I don't know any jokes but I recently gave the back of the knee a technical name. Flingus minor. So, there's that.

I want to go back to last week's blog. It was called "Fashion Writers Are Awful" and it was about an article written for the Huffington Post by a woman named Hallae Khosravi. I went at her a bit, and criticized her position on strangers' reactions to her Chanel tattoo. I still back that criticism, of course, but what I have reconsidered is the tone with which I painted the humor of the rant. This isn't a retraction, so much as it is a reengineering of the idea.

I should first say that I was impressed and very much pleased to see that Hallae Khosravi dropped a comment on the blog. I read it as sincere, and I think it was. Or I'm really gullible. Which could be true too. I just sent a dollar to a sheik who is going to send me a million! He sent me an email! Anyway, I think it takes a lot of balls to post a comment on some douchebag's (me) rant on some irrelevant corner of the overtaxed and under intelligent Internet. I respect that. I respect someone with a differing opinion who says, yeah; you're idea is different and I didn't look at it that way.

With that, I wanted to reflect on what I said about Hallae Khosravi's modification. She posted photos with her original article, and looking at them, I wasn't impressed. Maybe I was a little harsher than that. And, OK, maybe I'm spoiled by being in the company of artists who produce work in the upper stratosphere of modification art. Marky Wobbles, Meghan Patrick, Alex Feliciano, Lara Slater, Tim Pangburn, Brendan Pobloki, Master Roshambollah to name a few. I'm definitely spoiled. I suppose that I have an assumption that those who acquire tattoo mods expect only a certain degree of workmanship and quality as I do. I think we all should. No one ought to settle for a shitty tattoo, and in that statement alone, there is an inherent difficulty in definition. What is a shitty tattoo? Does it even matter if the tattoo is museum worthy or not, or does only what matters lie in the significance of the tattoo's meaning or the memories of the experience it holds?

I'm inclined to say the latter, contrary to how I presented my opinions in last week's blog. Don't wrong me here, I defend what I said; Hallae Khosravi's tattoo is delightfully mundane and poorly constructed. Of course some responsibility ought to lie in the photographing of it. I mean, how many iPhone photos make me look like a fat whale, am I right girlfriends? You know it, hunny! We all want fantastic work that wins trophies at conventions. It's a point of pride for our wearing it and our artist having created it. But there is something to be said about the layers of the mod that are unseen by viewers. The layers that mean different things. I suppose it is like that shitbox Fiat you drive. A real one, not the new ones. Its muffler drags, its missing three hubs, the brakes only sometimes work, the heat is stuck on all the time for some reason, the driver's window doesn't roll down so you have to open the door at toll booths, there's some kind of spider's nest or whatever they live in that's stuck under the passenger's seat sliding mechanism so now not only do you have a spider family living in the car but the seat can't move anymore. That's your 1979 Fiat. You bought it. You love it. It's yours. You're not turning any heads with it, and you're probably not passing inspection with it either. But it's yours. You named it Gertrude and you love it. It's your baby. I suppose that having a shitty tattoo can be like that. You went to get modded with your sister. It was your first. You were nervous. You got it because you graduated college and you always wanted one. It's special regardless of how it looks.

OK, so this doesn't sound as friendly as I expected it to. I'm still calling Hallae Khosravi's tattoo shitty and that's the problem. It's a problem because for four years, every week (OK, some are really late, like this one) I talk about beauty in all things. An inherent and inalienable thing that we all have by virtue of our being alive and breathing. We are festooned in beauty, and it bounds from each of us in a wonderful radiation that infects each person around us. We are a judgmental people by nature. It's probably some sort of remnant of being knuckle-walkers in the forest. I've been learning a lot about monkeys recently thanks to my wonderful and beautiful girlfriend. But we use our senses to acquire information about strange things. Plants that could kill us, predators that could eat us, similar things that can mate with us. That's what we're trained to do. That's what God and Darwin imbued in us. When we see people who don't meet our sense of what we think is acceptable, we assess them. We look on them and call them names in our minds. We call them fat or unattractive. We call them less than what we are or like. We have allowed our language to mature into a dickhead of slanderous words like fag or dego or asshole or shithead. We're allowed to think these things regardless of how accurate they may be or socially unacceptable. We're allowed to look at a stranger's tattoo and say that it's shitty.

But what that commentary specifically references ought to be kept in clear perspective. I had a teacher in high school named Mrs. Tarquinto. I can't believe I just remembered her name, but she was my Latin teacher, and she had a rule in her classroom about being negative and saying negative things. Detentions were dolled for saying, 'I hate a thing' or 'I dislike a thing.' Instead, you were required to say, 'I prefer other things.' In that way, you were expressing your dislike of a thing by praising another thing. It was a ridiculous rule that took the intention too far, in my opinion, but the heart of it was a good thing. When I see things I don't like, a shitty tattoo for example, I think, 'I prefer other tattoos.' How I ought to have presented my opinion of Hallae Khosravi's shitty tattoo was to say, 'I prefer other tattoos.'

I'm not a positive guy on the whole except in terms of maintaining one's own beauty and comfort. Whatever it is that manifests itself in an individual as beauty or comfort ought to be celebrated. Save, of course, making a woman suit in your creepy basement by kidnapping and murdering fat girls. All things within reason, of course. But everyone's beauty is a beast unique to that individual. If a shitty tattoo makes one feel beautiful, then I celebrate it. Dying hair a color, wearing a beard, donning a designer label on a purse that's big enough to be considered luggage, stretching lobes, sleeving skin with tattoos, sloshing around in those awful rain boots, Crocs. Yes, even Crocs. I can't believe I just said that. But the point is there.

We in the community celebrate beauty in a unique way. We permanently add to what we've been given. That's our way, and it's a beautiful way. Others choose other ways, and they are as beautiful as any other person or any other theory. We ought to celebrate all of it. Seven hundred pound assholes who yell at a barrista in front of you in line at the coffee shop is just as beautiful as the quintessentially beautiful girl with the giant sunglasses and tight jeans with the strategically placed rips and tears. Just as we can continue to remanufacture our beauty with different accouterments, we can demanufacture it with our behaviors and treatment of others. If the goal is to be beautiful and be accepted for our unique view of beauty, then we ought to accept to be accepted. God (or Darwin) didn't create a crap conglomeration of cells that chose to become a body. He (or Darwin) created beauty. How we perceive it is our choice of mind. I guess it's Jung or Freud's fault, then. Stay beautiful, kid.

To Hallae Khosravi: I hope that this blog clarifies my position on shitty tattoos. I still don't like your tattoo, though, kid. (Wink and a nod and other such behaviors here.)

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