15 February, 2013
Sonic, Electronic Ballbreakers
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry
Sonic, Electronic Ballbreakers
I'm a big horror guy. I'm a big science fiction guy too. I am also a big video game guy. Big meaning 'having great interest,' not big as in 'acceptable body mass index' because I'm way under that. "Alien" is my favorite movie, so this week when Aliens: Colonial Marines came out on the Xbox 360, I was all over it like disease on a prostitute. I even got the super nerd edition with the statue and the extra in game content and everything. It even came with a certificate of completion of the Colonial Marine program. Yeah, I'm framing that. What a disappointing game. I was crushed. I beat it in less than six hours, and it played like a last gen game. So if I'm cranky today, that's one of many reasons why. "Game over, man."
I'm a big Fox News guy. Yeah, yeah. Make your comments about Fox News. Get them all out now while MSNBC runs some bullshit story about how Marco Rubio ruined his career by taking a drink of water, or how after five years, Bush is still to blame for all of Obama's broken promises. We get all that out? OK, good. I was trolling the Fox News website and found an article about body modification. Needless to say, there are some far right views about modification (and let's not be myopic; Fox News is right leaning) that don't typically jive with my ideas. I'm not that far right. I'm actually more of a conservative constitutional libertarian. But I won't go into that. The article I read on the Fox website was in their entertainment section and was titled, "From 'LA Ink' to the NFL: Are reality TV and pro sports helping tattoos go mainstream?" The article approached the idea at its start, and then arrived to an uninteresting place. What perked me up was the title itself, and I'd like to talk about it.
Reality TV makes me wretch in ways I've not experienced since I was on morphine in the hospital back in old '97. There's a plethora of shows that seem to get reupped every year because we the people are an idiotic and mindless people straight out of "1984" or "A Clockwork Orange." Programming through entertainment and imagery. Maybe we like the shows because they remind us that our lives are indeed stable and sane. I was at the bar the other night with Marquis and we were watching some MTV show about rowdy twenty-somethings in West Virginia. All of the commercial breaks were advertising "Teen Mom 2" or some such bullshit. This was also after a marathon of a show that shows clips of internet videos of people getting hurt. What does the M stand for in MTV again? I forget. Anyway, that's one network's variety of reality television. Then you flip over to the Learning Channel for people cutting down trees or catching fish or some shit. The Learning Channel. Other networks join the fun with their brand of 'normal' people doing 'normal' things. When I was a kid, the only reality TV were game shows and sports. With the popularity of "Miami Ink" and "LA Ink" (I'm not sure which came first), modification programs have breached the cathode ray tube and ventured into the minds of individuals who may have not otherwise had the exposure or association to the art form. I even have a friend who is on one of those shows. But do these shows help or hurt our culture?
Let's talk about the athletes before we try to assess the effects on the culture. I'm a big sports guy. I love sports more than most other things. Especially baseball. Without baseball, I wouldn't know what season it was, and I wouldn't care. Each league has its appearance rules, and within those leagues, teams have their own rules. The Yankees of New York are famous for their long hair and beard rules. The NHL gets a little bit of a pass on the visual mods because they wear so much gear, the NBA seems to have a free policy on the court (off the court, they are required to wear suits), the MLB has more of an individualized team ruling on mods, and the NFL has subtle unwritten rules about tattoos. Since I am American I know little about the English Premiere Football League, but it seems as if a lot of those cats are modified. Then there's the X-Games, but that's not a sport so I won't talk about that. I welcome your hate mail.
The question that is postulated by the title of the article on the Fox News site that I read asks us to consider the effects of the sports and reality television exposure of modification on the mainstream. First we need to define our terms. We know what reality television and sports are, but what is mainstream? And in that, is there even a national mainstream? I am inclined to think that the mainstream is divided and localized. What mainstream is in Nowheresville, Montana is likely not to be that of Philadelphia. I am blest to call Philadelphia my city. No, I don't live in Philly, but it is my metropolis and where I spend a great amount of time. I have a connection to the city. It is a magical one. Fantastic food, fascinating history, beautiful women, and of course a great and open culture of modification. I have been to few cities with as much of a sense of modification as Philadelphia. With that said, the mainstream in Philly may have a different sensibility than in other towns. Stretched lobes here are common, as are sleeves and dermals and other heavy modifications. So in this town, are reality programs and modified athletes helping to move tattoos into the mainstream? I doubt it. Mods are already in the mainstream here. However Nowheresville, Montana may see a less populous modified community so the athletes and reality shows may be helping to bring tattoos into homes otherwise bereft of the culture. So if I were to pick fly shit out of pepper, which I clearly am doing, then the postulate is moot. Aren't you glad I wasted everyone's time with the last thousand words?
My second question is this. Why do those in the modification culture feel the desire to hang on desperately to a concept of living in a counter culture but then use that limited cultural understanding to decry against the unfortunate non-normalization of the very same culture? Can't have both. We want to maintain an individual ownership of our culture, which is lovely and beautiful, but we tend to bitch and moan about having to wear long sleeves at work to hide our art, or wear more subtle jewelry in our lobes. Do we even want to normalize our culture? And do we have a preconceived notion of what the mainstream is and therefore rebuke it for that sake of it rather than openly discussing he positives and negatives of being a part of the mainstream? I for one believe social change is a good, but slow process. How long ago was it that the mainstream relationship changed from a white man and woman or a black man and woman to men and woman of all shades together. And now that relationship is socially changing from man and woman of any shade to two individuals of any shade and any gender being together. A change in the mainstream therefore becoming the mainstream and in such being a good thing. So the mainstream is not always a bad concept. Does modification fit into those slow social formulas? And can we as a culture afford to be resistant to that change?
Not unlike the article I read, I am way off topic here. You'll forgive me for my crankiness and unfocused ranting. The past few months have been hard. I'll accept kittens as gifts if you want to cheer me up. And anything related to the Alien movies. Keeping in mind that I already have a plush facehugger. The point was that modification's social mainstream acceptance is being affected by the media exposure in reality television and sports. I don't think these are entirely bad things. The more people see modification being worn by those whom they don't expect to be a part of this beautiful culture, the more opportunity and acceptance those within the culture will receive from individuals outside the culture. Removing the shock value introduces polite conversation. It helps us to cease being freaks and become that guy with a tattoo. And isn't that beautiful. Stay beautiful, kids.
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