12 September, 2012

Not If, But What If




presented by
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry




Not If, But What If
9.12.12



I saw someone I've not seen in quite a while yesterday. It was nice, but there was a shittiness to it. The shittiness is that I hug people. Even when I'm in my wheelchair, I make people bend down and give me a hug. Dude, broad, puppy, kitten. Doesn't matter. I'm going to hug you. The shittiness with the person I hadn't seen in a while was that we did the hug thing before I could realize that she was wearing way too much perfume. So for the rest of the day, I was smelling perfume and getting a headache. The delightful backfiring of the friendly hug. Perfume is the great equalizer. It's the atomic bomb of hugging, and my jacket is now the Hiroshima fallout.

Yesterday, Dan and I were supposed to rehearse songs for a project we're doing. We set up, tuned up, and as usual we put the news channel on in the background on mute just to have something breaking the focus a little. That's focus, not ficus. We didn't get anything finished because we sat and watched footage from the terrorist attack in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC on September eleventh, 2001. We talked about where we were, incidentally we were together at the time at a diner where I drank coffee and Dan ate a breaded pork chop with two sides and a salad. It's interesting to have lived through something like that and look on it in retrospect and postulate about how the world has changed. Perceptions of people, tolerance and learning of cultures and how extremism does not represent a culture as a whole. That was an important lesson that we're still working on, but I do believe is more in the timber of society than it was before the event. Tolerance of those who represent the mean and not the extreme. That's an interesting idea. I'm not going to talk about September eleventh, but I am going to talk about accepting modification culture in the mean and not the extreme.

There's a town near Chicago called Palatine. It's in Cook County, where Jake and Elwood Blues were headed to pay the taxes for the school. They recently submitted a referendum desiring to secede from Cook County because of rising taxes, including their nation leading 9.5% sales tax. I didn't know you can secede from a county. How... not very interesting. I don't care much about the town of Palatine. I do care that yet again the town has rejected a proposal for a tattoo shop.

Al Brodeur is the owner of the proposed shop, Chicagoland Electric Tattoo, and though I want to hate him right off because of his last name and the wonderful, youth ruining heartbreak it brings to my hockey loving mind, I will let it slide. Mr. Brodeur is not only a small business owner, entrepreneur, and mod artist, Al Brodeur also is a seller of mod equipment to buyers all over the world. A fine representative of the culture indeed. Part of his argument is that he plans to cater to high class, expensive modifications (in the $500-$1000 rage), and people with disposable income.

The counter argument? "...the negative image that a tattoo parlor projects on the surrounding areas,” to quote Councilman Greg Solberg, one of the voters who helped defeat the proposal in a three to two vote. That argument, based on no fact, is chiefly what defeated the proposal. Very few citizens appeared at the vote, but one made mention of a potential increase in violence and drug use and sale in an area that has difficulty with those issues. Again, backed by no data. Clearly I am not presenting this objectively. (I tend to do that when talking about my preferred green vegetables as well.) But the actual argumentative information tends to lean towards the side of Mr. Brodeur. The first is that the area is somewhat dead. Low traffic and low business. The assumption is that anything new which carters to such a wide demographic as modification would draw attention and money. The second is that there is a Harley Davidson dealership in the same block. Now, I'm not going to shit on cyclists. My beautiful sister rides bikes, and she embodies very few elements of the stereotype associated with 'bikers.' She is a badassed bitch, though, so don't fuck with her; she'll cut you. Like any culture, and bikers are a culture, there is a preconception of what they are and how they behave. Yeah, there are those cats and kittens. But the majority of them just love the lifestyle, the motorbikes, the clothes, the attitude and are wonderful and humane and caring folks. Still, making the argument that, based solely on stereotype, a bike dealer is not a detriment to the area but a tattoo shop is, is kind of absurd to me. As an aside, when I came to the bookstore today, some cocksucker with a neon green superbike was parked in the blue lines next to the cripple spot. I had trouble getting my chair out, and I wish I had a vial of SARS to put on the seat of the bike. I know you cats and kittens are cool, but when you park your bike, be cool or you'll get SARS on your seat.

Also in the immediate area of the proposed tattoo shop site in Palatine you'll find a bar/restaurant (themed to 'bikers'), a tax service, and a liquor store. You kids know I don't drink and you kids also know that I think that drinking causes more problems than people give it credit for. If anything in my opinion will bring down the timber of a neighborhood, it's going to be a store that sells a legal drug to addicts. That's the liquor store, if you didn't get that.

Going back to the councilman and his quote for a second, he continued by saying, "I just don’t think it reflects well on Palatine.” I'd like to be petty and childish for a moment, if I may. (Clears throat) Palatine is the home town of Ted Nugent. Explaining how that illustrates my point is a waste of words, I think. It is also the hometown of an individual named Mallory Snyder. We all remember Mallory Snyder, right? Let me refresh. Ms. Snyder was a cast member of Real World: Paris which aired in 2003. Now, far be it from me to judge, but anyone who has seen a reality show akin to Real World will know that most of the individuals who participate in programs as such are often repugnant, reprehensible, and horribly damning examples of the show's target demographic which promotes fame for the sake of fame rather than fame for the sake of skill. See also; the beast known as the wild southern Californian Kardashian. Reflecting well on Palatine, Mr. Councilman? You ought to check what's best for the town and what's damaging to the town based on data and not assumption, sir. Also, your job, councilman, is to provide for the best interests of your area. Part of that is maintaining a healthy and serviceable economy. We all know about the jobless rate in this country. We all know that nearly fifty percent of Americans don't pay taxes leaving the burden of 51+% of the taxes to be payed by 5% of the earners (fair share?). We all know that tax dollars are hard to accumulate in these times of gross unemployment which directly results in understaffed police forces, cranky teachers, damaged roads, and unresponsive fire departments. Why then would a municipality prevent the creation of a taxable resource of revenue? Mr. Brodeur will create jobs and commerce in the down turning area, and most importantly to the town, bring in taxable dollars with which the town can mend its increasing wounds. Why? Because there is a preconceived notion about the behavior of our modification culture. There is a notion that we are rabble rousers, drug abusers, lawless and jobless transients. Though I personally don't currently have a job (someone please buy me coffee?), I've never broken the law, taken a drug, or roused any rabble. They're playing a card that is reminiscent of a quote by a beloved and estranged friend of mine, Carl. "Not if, but what if." That seems to make very little sense, and to be fair Carl was shitfaced and talking to German exchange students when he said it, but the idea is this, in example: If the tattoo shop is approved, this may happen. Or: What if the tattoo shop is approved, and this happens. Vastly different connotation there. The first example drips with a predetermined assumptive outcome, and therefore answers itself as a no in fear of the probability. Example two asks the question of the possibility of an assumptive outcome, which leads more to the opportunity for an individual to argue the point and also reserves the option to change the assumptive outcome. I think the council of Palatine has rested on the former, which immediately defeats the proposal before the data for allowing it to be digested.

This situation is another example of the old stigma of tattooed citizens being less than model. That is unfortunate because, as we all know, tattoo modification is a booming, recession proof, and wildly artistic expression of a culture, at large or locally, which speaks to a colorblind and accepting society. Oughtn't that be something the town of Palatine would like to celebrate rather than defeat? Cultural diversity through art. That's a town I'd like to live in rather than the one that defeats and segregates a sector of a society's peoples based on ifs and not what ifs. Stay beautiful, kids.




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