The Great Skin Debate

Aaah, tattoos… or as I prefer to call them, body graffiti.

I have two major points to make about this topic.

The first is that I think that the acceptance of tattoos is yet another sign of the coarsening of our society and its growing decadence. If we look at who’s sported tattoos on their bodies in the distant past, it’s been primitive tribes attempting to make their warriors look more fearsome (e.g. Maoris, Amazon tribes), or else the womenfolk of the tribes trying to make themselves look unappealing to men once they were married / paired off permanently, or else all members of a tribe wearing the same markings as a symbol of identity, to distance them from members of other tribes. Regardless of why, however, the common aspect of all was that these were the actions of primitive peoples. So now it appears that because tattoos have become somehow “cool” or tokens of individuality, we as a society have to accept them. After all, nobody gets hurt, right? (I’m leaving out the tragedy of infection and so on, because that’s relatively rare nowadays.)

My other point is personal, so buckle yourself in, because this is going to be a bumpy ride. To start with a humorous take, here’s a little guide to tattoo placement:

I’ve never really understood tattoos as decoration. Maybe it’s because I was brought up to believe that only low-class types got tattoos: they, sailors and strange Asian people. However, it seems that nowadays just about everyone has them, except for every woman I’ve ever dated — it’s an immediate disqualifier for me: no matter how small, how discreet or how “tasteful”, ink on a woman’s skin = Kim moving in the general direction of away. I can understand why men get tattoos, because we’re idiots and do stupid shit all the time — not excusing, just understanding — but I see no reason why a woman should ever deface her body, for any reason whatsoever. (Yeah, I’m pedestalizing, to use that horrible modern term. Sue me.) Even stuff like this, while undoubtedly artistic and aesthetically pleasant to look at, occasions from me at best a disgusted curl of the lip when I see it in (or on) the flesh. On silk, it’s beautiful; on a woman’s skin, repulsive.

Then, of course, you get outcomes such as this one, which turns an already-trashy-looking girl into a vision of pure horror:

You just know she’s got a “tramp stamp” at the base of her spine. (My take on tramp stamps: regardless of the design or verbiage, what they’re all saying is: Insert Here.) Don’t even get me started on tattoos around the vulva… ugh.

I’ve also never understood why a beautiful woman would get a tattoo. (Ugly ones, sure: why not? You’re already ugly.) A good example would be Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden. Unquestionably, a lovely woman:

Inexplicably, she has two (!) tattoos. “Yeah, but they’re not visible, Kim!” Well, except (and one hopes, only) to her husband. Seems kinda pointless to me, especially for a woman who seems to have everything in her life under control. (But I’ll get to that later.) Then you get this neurotic bint, who says that older women getting a tattoo means that “they still have something to say”. Yes, and that something is: “Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean getting wiser.”

Of course, my ire is not just aimed at women. David Beckham, supremely-talented footballer and canny businessman, has turned his once-handsome body into some kind of freak show:

Jesus wept. (Literally: see bottom-left corner.) I know: footballers are generally low-class scum (also musicians, another massively-tattooed segment of the population), but even for scum, Beckham’s taken it A Picture Too Far (or several pictures too far). (For my Lady Readers, here’s Beckham, pre-body-decorations:)

Note, by the way, that he’s wearing a shirt to cover up some of his arm tattoos. That was the manufacturer’s marketing department, not wanting to alienate the average consumer.

When it comes to men, I sort of get the “bonding” rationale — “Semper Fi”, “U.S.S. Arizona”, “Rangers Lead The Way”, and even “Harley-Davidson” and so on. I also get the “commemorative” ones: “Bagram AFB 2015”, “Bastogne 1944” etc. I don’t agree with the rationale, but I get it. But as for examples like Beckham’s? Sorry, I got nothing. I just ascribe it to “Men Do Stupid Shit” and move along. (And please spare me the “bad boy” bullshit. Real bad boys don’t advertise; and women who get taken in by that deserve everything they get, e.g. hepatitis C.)

Here’s how I approach the whole issue. If I were going to get a tattoo, I say to myself, what would it be? What would I want to immortalize on my skin?

Right off, I can eliminate messages, sayings, or any verbiage whatsoever. I can think of no saying or statement that would qualify as worthy of being on my body, forever. “Mother”? Give me a break. If I’d ever got one of those idiotic things, my mom would have killed me. Yeah, you love your mother. Me too. Everybody else too. BFD. And as for those “affirmation” expressions: “Love Is All”, “Strength Through Willpower”, “Keep Believing” (in what? God? yourself? the Chicago Cubs? a Doobie Brothers reunion?”), and my All-Time Bullshit Message: “No Mercy”… really? You’re that much of a bad-ass that you have to advertise it? It’s “message” body art by Hallmark, except Hallmark would never create crap messages such as these. I also love the ones which feature Chinese or Japanese pictograms, and laugh like hell when the hapless recipient discovers that the tattooist has actually written “Idiot Gaijin” or “Won Ton Soup” instead of “Mighty Warrior”, as requested.

And then there’s the stupefying array of crucifixes. Yeah, I bet Jesus is SO proud of you. Why don’t you just wear a simple crucifix on a chain around your neck — it says the same thing, is less painful / expensive, and as a bonus, you don’t look trashy. If it comes to Christians like this, give me an Orthodox Jew any day. (Tattoos are forbidden under Talmudic Law as something like “defiling God’s creation”. No truer words were ever written.)

The problem is, when we think of images to be tattooed onto our skin, we fondly think they’re likely to look beautiful and artistic, like this:

…when the odds are better that they’ll instead come out like this:

You know, that last pic actually makes me feel nauseated. Imagine that woman serving you food at a restaurant… and yes, I have asked to be moved to another table featuring a non-sleeved waitress (Kirby Lane in Austin, TX).

And I note that tattoo reversal is becoming HUGE business in Japan, because companies are finding that employees with unmarked skin tend to be better at their jobs — less absenteeism, better attitude, more reliable — and are therefore refusing to hire people with visible tattoos. Just sayin’.

I remember doing one of those foul “speed-dating” things once, back when I was a single guy. My very first question to a prospective date was: “So… tell me the story behind your tattoos.” (There’s always a story / excuse.) Any response which wasn’t “I don’t have any tattoos!” meant she had no chance with me. More than half the women I spoke to were tattooed, sadly, so I didn’t bother with the speed-dating thing again. And for the record: I have never slept with a woman who has a tattoo. Won’t ever, either.

Here’s my final take. With only a few exceptions, I think decorative tattoos — especially comprehensive ones like full-body or sleeves — are indicative of some mild form of pyschosis. There is a peculiar strain of either narcissism or self-loathing involved, and (paradoxically) maybe both. Whatever it is, I’m not really interested in trying to understand it.

Yup. You call it “clever-ironic-witty”, I call it confirmation.

———————————————————————————

 Afterthought: I’ve probably pissed off a sizeable number of people with this post. I don’t care. If you are thus defaced, know that there’s a considerable proportion of the population who feels exactly the same way as I do — and as I always say, if you’re going to deliberately set yourself apart from polite society, don’t be surprised when you’re treated like a pariah. Or maybe that’s the point: “I’m a rebel!” Yeah, you and all the other people with tattoos. Repeat after me: “We’re all individuals!

Yeesh.

Representing

Whenever some gangster / gangsta tool is confronted by the police, it seems de rigueur for said idiot to “represent” (i.e. show no fear, but indeed the utmost disrespect towards the “po-po”). This usually ends with said idiot getting shot, or at least having a paradiddle drumbeat played on his fool head by a cop’s nightstick. [Pause to let the cheering die down.]

Well, in planning my upcoming invasion of errr sabbatical in Britishland, my several Texas friends have berated me most foully for not representing… Texas. Apparently this means showing up at Heathrow in full Texas regalia (minus the nickel Colt Single Action Army revolver, of course, which is the one thing I would like to take with me, but of course cannot do lest some Brit rozzer ends up playing a paraddiddle with his nightstick on my fool head).

For those not familiar with Texas folkways, allow me to offer a simple explanation. Texas regalia is (at least) a 10-gallon 9x beaver Stetson, a silver belt buckle which could serve alternative duty as a riot shield or serving dish, a tasseled jacket in the manner of John Voight in Midnight Cowboy, a string tie, something called “boot-cut” jeans, and intricately-stitched cowboy boots with leather in at least two (and three is better) different colors, with silver toe guards and fanciful stitching.

I don’t even own a pair of jeans.

So today I went out shopping for what I consider the least visually offensive of the above list of deplorable regalia items. Of course, sending me out to buy this stuff is like sending Lewis Black out to buy an assault rifle, but what the hell: anything to avoid being a bad ambassador for the Great State of Texas, right?  After a full day’s shopping, I came home with a pair of these:

Yes, it’s the [deep breath] “Ariat Western Heritage Round Toe” style, as pictured, in one color (black) and with what is regarded in Texas as “conservative” stitching. I’m pretty sure I’m only going to be wearing them at night, in a place with subdued or no lighting.

This, by the way, is why Sunday’s post is so woefully tardy. Finding a decent pair of cowboy boots in “Stubby Extra Wide” is one hell of a chore, especially when it seems that the only styles available in that rather esoteric size look like the cat puked on them (no offense to cats):

Good grief. All I wanna know is: when did cowboy boots start being designed by Elton John?

I did find a very nice-looking style, but put the sample back on the shelf like it was an angry rattlesnake when I saw the price. Apparently it was made of leftover skin from Joan Rivers’ last facelift.

So I ended up with a pair of the Ariats, which seems to be a decent brand from all accounts. (I really couldn’t afford Justin or Tony Lama, which judging from the prices must be individually hand-made by the gnarled fingers of some old guy who’s worked at Justin since 1879 or something.)

Anyway, as I said earlier, all this is to excuse the extreme tardiness of today’s post.

Tomorrow we’ll be looking at shotguns, something I actually know a little bit about.

 

 

Surrendering To Criminals

So here’s something to get you in a cheerful mood before the long weekend:

Police warn it is no longer safe to walk and talk on your mobile as scooter gangs pocket £2,000 an hour from drive-by phone snatches

As officers battle an epidemic of moped muggings, police are now warning the public not to stand on a curb or street corner with their phone in their hand or risk having it torn from their grasp by thugs who can sell on a single handset for £100.
Up to 50,000 offences a year are being committed by thieves on scooters and mopeds in the capital, while some teenage thieves are being arrested up to 80 times but not sent to jail.

Well, that last sentence is yer problem right there, innit? You stupid idiots. Especially when you have a situation such as seen in the pic below:

Somebody explain to me how this doesn’t constitute armed robbery, and why this little thug and his buddy do not qualify for at least ten years in jail? (Somebody from Britain, I mean. My US Readers are baying like a pack of hounds at this travesty.)

But it gets better.

Over the last 12 months a total of 15,100 mopeds and motorbikes were stolen in London compared to 10,704 the previous year.
Gangs of mainly teenage boys can steal scooters by simply breaking their steering locks.
Detectives are targeting at least 500 known offenders behind the spree.
Yesterday Superintendent Payne compared the desirability of mopeds to thieves as the ubiquitous Ford Cortina in the 1980s, saying: ‘This is the Ford Cortina of the 21st century, they are easy to steal and when we spoke to the manufacturer they said they can fix the problem but it’s going to be three or four years away. They are in the Ford Cortina bracket, you do not need any skill to ride them, you don’t even have to change gear.
‘The theft is all done on a stolen bike. Thieves can steal these bikes in less than 60 seconds, it’s really quick. [They] take hold of the handlebars and break the steering wheel lock by pulling it, it’s like a lump of metal. Most bikes are then stolen by just walking it round the corner and they either sell it on or use it to commit crime.’
The warning come after a spate of muggings in central London, with riders using weapons such as machetes and hammers to intimidate and injure their victims as they try and snatch their mobile phones.

I would probably end up in jail after intervening in one of these little romps.

How, you ask? Imagine having just nicked some fool’s phone out of his hand, and you’re driving off on your stolen moped feeling proud of yourself, when some old geezer (that would be me) steps into the street in front of you and smashes his thick wooden cane* across your face, causing you and your thieving buddy to crash and spill into the road like a broken bag of vegetables. Then said geezer runs over to you while you’re lying there stunned, and starts to put the boot into your ribs, and when he’s done with you, tries to rip your little hammer-wielding friend’s head off his body by pulling his helmet violently around in a full circle. And then things start to get seriously violent.

It’s probably a Good Thing that I’m spending only a little time in London, because otherwise I’d be spending a lot of time in London, if you get my drift. Because while these little shits are obviously part of a “catch and release” program, I have no doubt that I would qualify for a very stiff sentence.

Can’t be endangering the lives of violent criminals, after all. That’s against the law.


*Yes, I walk with a cane when I’m Over There, because my gouty toes start to ache after I’ve walked more than half a mile on city sidewalks, and I need the support.

Putting In The Asterisks

Via Sarah at Insty comes this thoughtful piece:

Yes, an intolerant minority can control and destroy democracy. Actually, as we saw, it will eventually destroy our world.
So, we need to be more than intolerant with some intolerant minorities. It is not permissible to use “American values” or “Western principles” in treating intolerant Salafism (which denies other peoples’ right to have their own religion). The West is currently in the process of committing suicide.

I’ve often pondered this issue. If we assume that the Constitution isn’t a suicide pact — by no means a certain assumption, by the way — then yes, of course we can attach asterisks to certain socio-political movements (e.g. Nazism, Communism etc.) which rely on the tolerance of the typical Western-style democracy (and in the case of the U.S., the tolerance entrenched in its Constitution), and use that tolerance to further their own brand of intolerance. As an example, note that a considerable percentage of U.S. Muslims support the idea of Shari’ah law as first an adjunct to, and then a replacement for the existing U.S. legislative system. And in the name of “tolerance”, or “cultural appreciation” (or whatever term liberals use to disguise “eventual submission”), we should allow such ideas to become not only acceptable, but accepted?

No.

Here’s a little thought for the Intolerants to ponder. Even our Constitution is not written in stone; it can be amended — admittedly with considerable difficulty —  but there is nothing to stop a majority of members of Congress, and a majority of states, from creating an amendment to the First Amendment which says, simply, “except for [Islam / Nazism / fill in your brand of intolerance].” Here’s an example of such an action, a funny one but still one that is absolutely possible:

Our “group” here in the United States is one which supports tolerance. But if you think for one moment that we are incapable of expelling an intolerant sub-group, think again.

One of us is going to have to change their outlook and philosophy, and we’ve probably changed ours enough — or too much (which is what I think). Beware of mistaking gentleness for weakness, of tolerance for submission. Start acting like citizens of the United States, accept the principles of our Constitution, or risk losing your place at the barbecue. It can happen. Pray that it doesn’t.

…And Here We Go Again, Again

From the Comments on my post about the alt-Right comes this:

Splendid Isolation indeed. Young white men today certainly won’t be enjoying any splendid isolation as they grow older. They’ll be lucky if they can find any isolation at all, splendid or not. And they won’t be staring vacantly off into space, their backs turned on a world they would rather ignore, choosing not to look at what they don’t want to see. No, reality will get in their face and force itself into their space, like it or not. Nor will they be getting any ice cream, shit-topped or not. They’ll be getting a full shit sandwich, courtesy of a system their fathers and grandfathers have either supported, acquiesced in, or “opposed” with little more than impotent whining. And if you want to know who they really hate, it’s not blacks or even Jews, but smug, clueless boomers who claim to be fighting for truth and justice, for Western Civilization and against liberalism, but who reserve their utmost condemnation for the only movement that speaks for them and their interests. And I say that as a boomer myself. If you want to argue against the Alt-Right, you should deal with the actual positions they hold and arguments they make, rather than with the strawman caricature you’ve constructed only to demolish. Countercurrents and the writings of Greg Johnson are a good place to start.

I get it: I don’t know what I’m talking about, because I just haven’t studied the issue enough, or haven’t read this or that which explains it perfectly.

Here’s the beauty of age: you recognize silliness when you see it, because you’ve seen it so many times before at first hand. Add a small dose of historical perspective (such as I possess), and it’s clear that you don’t need to eat a whole egg to know that it’s rotten. People who try to justify silliness like the alt-Right are like the vicar in Punch magazine, talking about eating a rotten boiled egg: “I assure you, parts of it are excellent!”

The good part of splendid isolation is that I get to pick who my allies are, and like I said: I know who you are, I know your philosophy, I know where you’re heading, and I want no part of you.

And one last thing: if you think I’m reserving my utmost condemnation for the alt-Right, then you’re not too familiar with my writings. You probably missed the one, for example, where I suggested that I’d like to tie Senator Ted Kennedy to a chair and beat  him to death with a lead pipe. Or maybe it was Chuck Schumer… there are so many options when it comes to liberals. Compared to pricks like them, the alt-Right gets barely a mention.

You see, Mr. Expatriot, I’ve been hating liberals since before most of the alt-Right were born, and I don’t need to get lectured by some suddenly-aware Baby Boomer about the evils of liberalism and socialism and where they’re taking us. There is an answer to this problem, and the alt-Right ain’t it.

Of Passing Interest Only

As one who quit watching network TV shows in about 1990 and has barely watched anything since, I’m not really qualified to pass comment on many of the shows that have been renewed / canceled for the upcoming season. Nevertheless, while The Mrs. was going through her invalid stage she did watch some shows, and as I was generally in the room with her, some stray bits of video have stuck in my brain and allowed me to make at least a few superficial judgments on the ones of which I do remember seeing the occasional snippet. In no specific order, here they are.

Grey’s Anatomy lost my interest in about the third episode of its first season, when it became clear that it was a combination of Black- and female wet dreams (unsurprisingly, as the show’s writer is — ta-da! — a Black woman). I know that most entertainment requires a suspension of disbelief, but seriously? A hospital in Seattle with a Black chief surgeon (as opposed to Jewish or, even more likely, Chinese)? Ha ha ha ha… considering that in just about every hospital in the United States, the highest Black executive is generally someone like the Benefits Administrator, HR Director or some similar bureaucratic fonctionnaire, the Anatomy Hospital is such an unrealistic construct that it might as well be on Mars. Ditto the various couplings and characters: McSteamy and McDreamy? One can only imagine the furor had the main female characters been nicknamed McTitty and McVaggie by the male cast. What a load of shit. And a final comment: in the episode where a disgruntled man takes a gun and starts systematically shooting doctors, was I the only one who made a mental promise never to go unarmed into a hospital again? (On a personal note: Ellen Pompeo is a dead ringer for one of my long-ago girlfriends — coincidentally, a nurse — which made watching the show an interesting experience for me, to say the least.)

Bones: I think Emily Deschanel is one of the most beautiful women ever to be on TV (despite being a liberal vegan nutcase in real life), and her character was wonderful: the outspoken and nearly autistic brilliant forensic scientist whose unbending logic made her paradoxically all the more human. Also, the same logic made her a gun owner — I have no idea how that little quirk made it through the network’s GFW (gun-fearing wussy, for my New Readers) editorial committees. The real mistake came when the male and female stars got married — the same mistake made in Castle and Moonlighting — which took away all the sexual tension of the show.

Grimm remains the only modern TV show I’ve ever stayed home to watch. As any fule kno, I detest the fantasy genre whether books, movies or whatever, but the premise of Grimm, plus its brilliant cinematography completely captured me. I did lose interest when the show created a grand story arc involving Austrian princes and such — the weekly episodes of catching various (and wonderfully-named) monsters was more than enough for me — so I lost interest after about the third season, something which I find myself doing for just about every TV show, incidentally, when the show’s premise is generally fulfilled and the writers have to jump the shark to keep it interesting.

I’m glad that Blue Bloods has been renewed, even though I don’t watch it anymore (another casualty of Kim’s Season Three syndrome). The conservative, religious and pro-law enforcement slant of the show makes a refreshing change from the usual liberal crap.

The renewal of Law & Order: SVU keeps the exquisite Mariska Hargitay on TV (she’s Emily Deschanel’s only real competition, beauty-wise), which is just fine by me even though I haven’t watched the show in years. The only other Law & Order show I watched — and that, compulsively — was the series which featured the brilliant Vincent D’Onofrio as the tortured, driven detective who eventually falls apart because of the continuous horrors of his job. Absolute genius, both the writing and D’Onofrio’s performance.

Finally, just to prove how irredeemably out-of-touch I am with modern culture as it pertains to TV: I’ve never watched a single episode of The Simpsons all the way through, ditto South Park (the latter because I can’t understand a single word the characters say).

I have watched every episode of the espionage satire Archer, however, because I love all the characters, and especially Sterling Archer himself. Archer‘s very first episode nearly caused me to pee my pants, I was laughing so hard, and the shows since have seldom faltered in that regard. No other TV cartoon show has ever featured characters and scenes such as the samples below:

,..and let it henceforth be known that I have a massive crush on Sterling’s mother, Mallory Archer:

One last thought: please don’t recommend any of your favorite TV shows to me: watching TV is so peripheral and inconsequential an activity in my life that I probably won’t take you up on it. If I’m going to watch any TV at all, it’ll be Formula 1 Grand Prix, English football (Chelsea wins the league!), international cricket and the occasional major golf tournament. Oh, and the Men’s Championship match at Wimbledon. Other than those, you’re more likely catch me at the range instead.