08 May, 2013

Hitting .160 Is Super Shitty





presented by
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry





Hitting .160 Is Super Shitty
5.8.13


Mother's Day is coming up. I just thought I'd remind you. Since I'm a bad son, my mother will probably just get a hug. That's mostly because my job sucks and I can't make money. I blame the economy. And also my lack of any marketable skill. For those of you who can make money, you should get your mom something nice. She's put up with your bullshit for a long time and she hasn't eaten you yet, so she deserves something. If you were in the wild, like a polar bear or a sea turtle or something, you and some of your siblings would probably be dead right now, so that's worth noting. Also, most beetles care for their young until they grow their own exoskeletons. That's a good mom. Be a good baby beetle. Go buy your mom something, will you?

After that pleasant intro, I was going to write whimsically about a company that is giving its employees a fifteen percent permanent pay raise for getting the company logo tattooed. It was going to be fun, but instead, I clicked a link for another story about tattoo removal. I'm going to talk about that instead because I'm better at being angry than whimsical. Maybe that's my marketable skill. Can I make money being angry? The Klan and the Westboro Baptist Church do it, right?

Tattoo removal. Let's talk about it. It is a booming industry for obvious reasons. It takes the permanent out of permanent body modification. It costs a poop pile of money, and it can be stupidly painful. I know some people who have experienced the removal process for various reasons, and they all report similar experiences. It takes many sessions, and it tends to feel like your skin is boiling. Not very pleasant. But it is an option available to those who wish to remove a mod that no longer has the same meaning or impact that it once had. Tattoo removal doesn't get my hynee sore at all. It's a wonderful option, and from certain point of view, a pretty heavy modification in itself. What breaks my balls about it is how it is often spoken of and presented. Like the cat who wrote the article that distracted me from the whimsey I mentioned earlier. Remember that? That was great. We laughed, and laughed...

Brad Tuttle wrote a piece for Time in the Business & Money section of the site. The title of his jam is "The Rise of Tattoo Remorse: Heavy Cost to Erase What’s Often an Impulse Decision." The title itself drips with insensitivity, as most of these types of rants do, but let's look at some of the content before I childishly make fun of Mr. Brad Tuttle. The second word in the article is 'fad.' Now, as we all know, I'm not a huge fan of the fad word being associated with tattoo modification. We all know about the Oetzi thing and how he's five thousand years old and how he was tattoo modified. We all know about the culture and its ancient roots and importance. We all know that stuff, so it's not worth mentioning. Even though I just, you know... mentioned it. But Mr. Brad Tuttle introduces his article with an apparent surprise that tattoo modification is a 'fad' that has seen some longevity. Which, logically, wouldn't make it a fad, would it. See also; Furbee, Pet Rock, snap bracelets, jelly sandals. He says, "If and when you have that sweet $80 tattoo you got on a whim in college removed because it now looks silly, the procedure will wind up being far more painful..." This is probably a true statement in a couple of ways. If I whimsically (there's that word again) got a tattoo that cost less than a hundred bucks, it would probably look like ass and would need one of a touch up, cover up, or removal. To prove his thesis, Mr. Brad Tuttle points to a 2008 statistic that alleges 16% of tattooed people suffer from what he calls "tattoo remorse," and that the number of individuals with this imaginary ailment is increasing in concert with the booming tattoo and body modification industry. To further illustrate his point, Mr. Brad Tuttle quotes Mark Wahlberg's desire to frighten his children away from tattoo modification, and the story of some dude who no longer wants 'Kate' tattooed on his ass because they are no longer in love, or some such bullshit. There's also a mention of a broad with a kanji symbol on her ankle that means something completely different than she intended it to mean, and how her coworkers mock her. Or something.

Since the article is in the Business & Money section, one would anticipate that the rant would detail the removal industry and its impact on the financial and economic world. Mr. Brad Tuttle reserves the last little paragraph to address that only after he attempts to paint the culture with the wide brush of the aforementioned people who are looking to remove mods. And that 16% is his only statistic.

As I said, I support mod removal if that is the choice one would like to employ. Careers change, relationships, religions, perceptions and points of view. Many of these things can affect the views toward modification. And that's great. Maturing as an individual and a thinking mind is important to continue to contribute to and perceive the reality in which we exist. What I don't support, however, is the underlying arrogance of unmodded folks speaking on topics that only affect the modded community. There is a certain through line of inevitability in this piece by Mr. Brad Tuttle and others like it. There is a sense that eventually all modified people will arrive at the decision that their modifications are now outside of their favor or comfort. There is a soothsaying 'father knows best' kind of 'oh you say that now' sort of rising inflection that drips with a certain timber of 'I know better than you do.' On the whole, it is untrue.

You don't know better, people who have never been modified yet lobby against modification. If 16% is your cornerstone statistic, then it doesn't seem to me that there's much of a case. If you had a 16% chance of winning a casino game, you'd not play it. If your clean up hitter is hitting .160, you'd bench him. If your disease has a 16% chance of killing you, you can take your time on your funeral plans. Also, focusing on a desperate minority behavior of a culture and using that to generalize an entire culture is the basis of stereotype which is nearly forbidden is our society of needlessly politically correct eggshell walkers. But the stereotype of tattooed people eventually arriving at the conclusion that their tattoos are now unfavorable exists unchecked, though it is as offensive as any other generalization toward any other culture.

I think the permanency of our culture's behavior frightens and confuses those outside of the culture. That statement in itself is a generalization, but the through lines of the rants of some of these unmodified people seems to nearly always speak to that as truth. We in the modification culture have an outward behavior. We do things people can see be it lobe stretching, pocketing, or tattooing. In an awkward way, we are gifting permission of criticism to those who see these behaviors, and in such, it allots the illusion of legitimacy to their opinions. What unmodded folks, and those who criticize our behaviors, forget to realize is that though we participate in an outward art form, the impetus of our desire and decisions to modify are very much inward. Modification can be very personal and sometimes spiritual. I don't believe that most of these folks are commenting with an intent to be insensitive or malicious. Some do (maybe 16%?). But certain generalizations are damaging to everyone. For those who criticize, especially those unmodified, perhaps this little exercise. When you think that there will be an inevitable regret in a stranger of his tattoos, think of that person and his mods. Know his mods and where they originated. Be sensitive to that stranger's ideas and beliefs. Because telling a stranger that he will inevitably remove the tattoo that he got in memorial to his dead mother may be one of the more insensitive things to cross your lips, intentional or otherwise. Stay beautiful, kids.





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