13 December, 2012

DIY, Mustaches, And Twinkies

presented by
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry

DIY, Mustaches, And Twinkies

Yes, I'm listening to Lionel Richie right now; and yes, I am awesome. This guy has written some of the greatest songs ever written, and if you disagree, I'll fight you. "All Night Long." "Hello." "Dancing On The Ceiling." C'mon. This guy is a genius. And his mustache was probably the third best non-Civil War mustache ever, behind only Chuck Norris and Tom Selleck. And he also has this magical ability to still be awesome while his daughter goes around being very not awesome. Can you imagine how hard it was for Lionel to hang out with Nicole and Paris Hilton after Paris' record came out and not uproariously laugh at how awful it was while he served dinner on his ten times platinum "Can't Slow Down" record? I'd pay to see that.

Let's talk about something that conflicts me a bit. No, not my sexual identity Dan; remember, you're the one who gets facial massages. No, this is something I've talked about before, but it tends to get some polar attention, so we'll give it another go. Is it irritating when I talk about something that I know what it is and you don't?

Nothing irritates me more than the results of searching the word tattoo on Google. Ok, a lot of things irritate me more, but outrage sells papers. Step one: Go to www.google.com. Step two: Type tattoo into Google search engine. Step three: Click News. Step four: Ignore news about Noomi Repace. Step five: Marvel at the top hits. All of the hits are less real news including the word tattoo so much as it is gossip news about celebrity soon-to-be nobodies getting shitty mods, public calls for the capture of a rapist with a neck tattoo, and ads for tattoo equipment. The pop tarts with the tattoos that are supposed to impress us don't bother me. The hits for the rapists and murderers don't bother me. Well, they bother me, but in a different way. Save the hate mail. The ads for the tattoo equipment bother me. But A. Robert, don't artists need to buy tools to create? Of course they do, voice in my head, but the artists are not to whom the ads are targeted.

Who, then? The average person. That's right, kids, for a small fee plus shipping and handling (whatever handling is), you too can own a tattoo machine and ink and be on your way to permanently scarring your friends and loved ones. There are several websites which sell tattoo equipment to anyone with a PayPal account. Which, I think, is most of us. The larger part of me (no jokes here please; my mom reads this) vehemently disagrees with this practice. I think the more logical thinkers in our community would agree. Allowing individuals without the skill of using the equipment for its intended purpose, to beautify, creates a diluted society of mod butchers spreading an ill representative personification of our beautiful, healthy, and welcoming culture. For someone looking for an excuse to hate tattoo modification, it's like using the extreme right to personify the more populous center-right Republican Party. It's like using those violent union lunatics and cats like Jeremiah Wright to personify the more populous center-left Democratic Party. Both are grossly misrepresentative of the majority but suit the purposes of those who dislike the culture or party as a whole to use the flange of the bell curve to illustrate the outrage. The point is, if mod butchers are continuing to mutilate people with shitty tattoos and therein calling themselves tattoo artists, it dilutes the sense of skill, hard work, and artistry of those who do the job correctly and with concern and care. This gives those who dislike modification the ammunition to fire at responsible mod collectors and artists who, facing that argument, have very thin armor.

TattooDIY.com is a site that sells gear for tattoo modification. I'm not trying to demonize TattooDIY as a business. It has existed since 2008, runs itself very well, and has earned a measure of respect. They ship quickly, have a wide range of products, and have a good reputation for customer service. I think all of that is fantastic. I'm a capitalist, remember? I support business. What I do decry is the availability of tattoo tools and supplies to individuals who are unqualified to use them properly. That's why we have trade magazines and communities. There are elevendy-trillion trade magazines for every skill and craft and art. Catalogs filled with super high end shit only available to super professionals. I remember when I was super little (I know, I'm only 5'4"), my mom used to do nails out of the house. She went to school and got her certification that said she knows what she's doing, and when she needed supplies and those super stinky chemicals that make the fake nails, we'd go to a special store that only serviced people in the industry. She'd have to show her card that said she was a nail-spert (see that's expert with nail at the front) before she could leave with the nail making goo. What TattooDIY has done is remove that burden of proof from the buyer, allowing anyone with the money to buy a tattoo machine and ink and merrily mod anyone who is willing. I see this as an injustice to healthy and careful modification. After all, what prevents me from buying shit and reusing needles in a grimy motel room for a couple of bucks? Nothing, and that's how tattoo modification, the community and the artists therein, become besmirched. As always in our culture, and any culture, the idea should be to present ourselves in a positive and welcoming way.

On the other hand, and yes there's another hand, I support business. I support success and failure. Support failure? Yes. If a company goes out of business because of public pressure or shitty sales, I support the bankruptcy process and the natural folding of it. See also; Hostess. See also; GM. (Oh wait, the government intervened there. Where's the Twinkie bailout, Mr. President?) In the example of Twinkies, no one was buying them so Hostess made no money. A business that makes no money fails. It's pretty simple. It's natural. The dinosaur that didn't evolve feathers died. How does this relate to websites that sell mod supplies. Well, if that website, TattooDIY or another, loses money or ceases to make sales, then it goes under. Or, if it continues to do well and sell product, it continues. What doesn't matter is the site's reflection on the culture it represents. It's irrelevant because they are making money, and I support that. More money means more jobs means more taxes means more revenue. Simple. Now, if people stopped buying shit from them, then supply and demand would dictate that it would disappear. You kids know I'm not into boycotts for the sake of boycotts. I think if you don't like something, don't buy it and the natural selection of economics will take over. See also; McDonald's Big and Tasty sandwich.

I don't anticipate the sale of tattoo machines to unqualified individuals to diminish, and in the grand scheme it doesn't matter a ton. (Way to waste everyone's time, A. Robert...) I also think that sites like TattooDIY do a fine service in their wholesale departments to shops across the world. But it still upsets me when there's a sense that anyone can do any skill or talent or art available. I think it speaks unfairly to those who have honed and crafted their abilities to their proficiency plateau. Even the name of the joint sullies my attitude. TattooDIY. Do it yourself. From my perspective, and it is a skewed one to be sure, tattoo modification is something one would likely not want to do himself. Would LiposuctionDIY.com sound any more reasonable? Or LaserEyeSurgeryDIY.com? Or PhrenologyDIY.com? Well, maybe the last one. I'd like to get into that. Stay beautiful, kids.

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