Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tattoos: "I Am Such A Rebel!"

In principle, I have nothing against tattoos. Tattooing is an ancient art that goes back long before recorded history and has crossed all cultures. Some of it is even pretty darn cool. I’m thinking, for example, about Japanese body art. But most isn’t cool. Here’s my problem with tattoos.

Leaving aside the issue that tattoos are the surest symbol of criminality (as an attorney, I can tell you that I’ve never once seen a criminal who didn’t have a tattoo), what really bugs me about tattoos is the unoriginality of it.

Most people claim to get tattoos for one of two reasons: either they have something so personally important they want to commemorate it forever on their bodies, or they do it to show their individuality. Uh huh. So which group does the tribal arm band fit into? How about the sports team logo? The band logo? The rose on the ankle? The what-ever-you-call it across the back?

Every time I see some idiot with one or more of these generic tattoos, I don’t see someone with a sense of adventure or originality or individuality, rather I see a pathetic sheep who couldn’t stop themselves from following the crowd. Is the herd instinct really that strong?

This all reminds me of going to a Cure concert and seeing 25,000 teens all dressed identically in uniform black moaning how “individual” they are and how "nobody gets them.” Paaaaathetic. We get you, you're just not that interesting.

If you want individuality, find some way to distinguish yourself. Write a book, write some music. Get good at math or science and go invent something. Become a star athlete. Develop a hobby that no one else has ever done. Achieve something. . . develop a real personality, not one given to you by sitcoms. But don’t go get a fricken tattoo, that's not individuality. And if you can't stop yourself from getting a tattoo, for the love of God, please get something original.


31 comments:

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I seem to see a lot of the barbed wire tattoo around the bicep. I'm not entirely sure what it actually means, but I'm sure it's more than just a simple decoration. Like you, I've never had a criminal defendant charged with a crime of violence who didn't have at least one tattoo. My favorites are the ones that indicate how many victims they've murdered.

Like you, I just see tattooing as a symptom of conformity disguised as originality in most cases. Too bad that so many of these people did it not realizing that getting rid of a tattoo is not as easy as changing that ubiquitous black outfit.

And like you, I do have to say that some tattoos are true works of original art. Most aren't.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, "a symptom of conformity disguised as originality" -- very well said!

At one point, it was the outlaw thing to do to get a tattoo. But today it seems to be the faked-rebel thing to do. And, you're right, it's not as easy to get rid of these as people think.

I think the razor blade ones are just the cooler version of the already too-cool-for-school tribal armband. That or someone in the NFL got one, so all the lemmings followed. Beats me?

Yeah, the victim tattoos are something else. I've actually seen one that got burned off with a cigarette when the jailhouse crew found out it wasn't valid. . . wonderful.

ScottDS said...

Both my dad and younger brother have tattoos. My dad has an eagle on his right arm and years later he had the American flag added behind it. My brother has a wolf (or wolf-like animal) on his chest.

For the longest time, I wanted to get one (I still kinda do) but I never managed to find the right image. On the other hand, this hot young actress has the right idea. :-D (Last photo)

As for your concert anecdote, I'm reminded of a cartoon from Reader's Digest years ago which featured the caption, "I can't believe our school wants us to wear uniforms. That would, like, totally mess up our individuality." And of course, they're all wearing flannel and jeans.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, OMG! A Star Trek tattoo! Now that is cool!

Regarding your dad, I know a lot of people who get patriotic symbols or military unit symbols, and I have no problem with any of that. As I mention, I think a lot of tattoos are kind of cool -- though I've never found anything that I would want to put on my body.

What bugs me are the people who get these ugly, generic tattoos -- I guess WalMart had a sale? And these are the same people who scream how individualistic they are. Give me a break.

I think I saw that Readers Digest, or at least someone printed it online somewhere.

BevfromNYC said...

I applaud the level of commitment one has to have for a tattoo. Personally, I can't commit to a hair color, so a tattoo is out of the question. And what looks sexy at 20 on your perky backside will only look...well let say droopy, faded, and a little pathetic at 65 no matter how much you work out.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, From what I'm hearing about the expanding "tattoo removal" services, apparently it's too much of a level of commitment for a large number of them.

Patti said...

so i should forget the foghorn leghorn i have my eye on?!

AndrewPrice said...

Patti. . . I would actually soooo respect that! :-)

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew, my cousin was a "hippie chick" in the '60's and got her requisite rebellious flower tattoo on her shoulder blade. 40 years later she had it removed at great expense and a great deal of pain (pre-laser removal).

Patti - You should try one of those removable Foghorn Leghorn tattoos first just to make sure you don't have to change your eye shadow or lipstick. The wrong makeup highlights can just ruin a good Foghorn Leghorn tattoo...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I've heard it used to be very painful (I assume the laser is less painful?) and I understand it's hard to get them 100% erased.

Regarding Foghorn Leghorn, I kind of saw that as a "go with anything" tattoo, but I could be wrong.

Patti said...

i say, i say, i say....maybe some special exclusive "commentarams" ink?! could be our secret handhake.

AndrewPrice said...

That's what we need Patti -- a Commentarama Tattoo! LOL!

Ed said...

Sorry, I can't stand tatoos on women. Call me sexist or whatever, but they're gross.

BevfromNYC said...

Ooh yeah like a Special FOrces tattoo! Cool!

JG said...

I'm with Bev. My tastes change too often to make a permanent mark on my body like that. (Earrings, at least, you can change out!)

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, You're a sexist! ;-) Seriously though, people have different tastes, it's a fact, and everyone should accept that. So... no biggie.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think we have to go through some sort of training to get one of those. And I'd rather not jump out of a plane just to get a "Comment From Above" tattoo!

AndrewPrice said...

JG, I've have the same issue, I can't think of anything that I would want permanently drawn on my body. I know I'd get bored of it at some point.

JB1000 said...

I read an article once about tattoo removal. There were white guys getting the Chinese symbols for "Gullible White Guy" removed from their bodies.

That was funny!

AndrewPrice said...

JB, That's hilarious! I don't even know what to say to that! Talk about stupid.

Ponderosa said...

Brian: Please, please, please listen! I've got one or two things to say.

The Crowd: Tell us! Tell us both of them!

Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't NEED to follow ME, You don't NEED [a tattoo]! You've got to think for your selves! You're ALL individuals!

The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!

Brian: You're all different!

The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!

Man in crowd: I'm not...

The Crowd: Shhh!

AndrewPrice said...

Ponderosa, Great reference, LOL!

I have to admit that I haven't seen "The Life of Brian" in years, but large parts of it still stick with me. And what a fantastic twist of logic this whole speech is! Every bit of it is just a twisting contradiction. :-)

I wish more people would be willing to just chart their own course. Be an individual. Make up your own mind. Don't rely on others to make up your mind for you!

LL said...

In Asia, years ago, I saw a human skin, tattoo'd and tanned, stretched over a drum head.

It was then that I vowed that if somebody wanted my hide as a drumhead, they'd get it unadorned.

StanH said...

Tattoos are definitely an indicator of a person who makes poor choices. I think the tattoo on the back is referred to as a “tramp stamp?” The exception of coarse would be military personnel.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, You have lived and interesting life. That is something I would rather not see!

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I was thinking about the big "knifey" thing that guys get across the back, up near the neck. But you're right about the "tramp stamp" vernacular.

And I think you're right that in most cases, it's definitely a symbol of making poor choices. If you look at prison tattoos, for example, these guys are getting them on the face or neck, which all but guarantees that they'll never get a job when they get out -- and certainly nothing with any sort of responsibility. It also prejudices future juries against them (and they will be back). Not smart.

rlaWTX said...

my ex had one he regretted (mighty mouse LOL) and 2 pretty cool ones. My brother designs his and they are unique. He went toe-to-toe when the tat artist "reused" one of his designs.
Anyway, I sat for HOURS in a tat shop on 6th Steet (Austin) while the ex had some additional work done on one of his - free-form/ free-hand. I had been toying with the idea, but hadn't quite decided. After watching the parade of "too-cute-for-words" coming in and getting their marks of individuality (ankles mostly, flowers mostly). I decided that until I saw something that I could not live without being on my body then I'd skip the pleasure. Besides it looks like it HURT!

A young lady I know recenly got her tramp stamp (very pretty butterfly) - I asked her what her father's response was: "You're killing me." I just laughed cuz I could sooo hear my dad having said that!

Ed said...

@Stan, I think the tramp stamp is the tattoo on the back hip.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, "too-cute-for-words" -- LOL!

And the idea of this parade of people getting the identical tattoos as a mark of individualism is exactly my problem with the whole thing.

Mighty Mouse huh? I haven't heard about Mighty Mouse in a very long time!

rlaWTX said...

another "tramp stamp" is across the lower back right at or above the low-rise waistline...

and yeah, he was wishing he hadn't either (hehehe)...

but he is where I learned the VERY sensible rule of NO names - NONE, not even initials. cuz you never know...

I'm glad you liked the description. Austin is a weird place. All these sorority-types in there with the lady with a cat face tattooed onto her face.

AndrewPrice said...

I've heard Austin has become a rather strange place. It sounds a bit like Boulder, only in Texas.

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