Publisher's note: This contribution from Eric Brownlee offers a cogent opinion, from on a visible issue, with his opinion just below Mark Bauerlein's post.
I don't have one. Those of my Baby Boomer Generation were taught that they were ugly and a form of self-abuse. Only sailors or roughnecks had them. The women who did were supposed to be circus performers or other "low" forms of society in the female side.
How that has changed in the last 40 years! Now, everybody seems to have a tat.
We passed a truck going through Washington last night. The lady driving it had an intricate sleeve hanging by the driver's window. It was eye-catching. It had to be more than painful and expensive to get. Why would she do it?
My son is a Senior Chief in the USCG. He got his big bulldog on the shoulder blade during a cruise aboard the USCGC Diligence out of Wilmington. My older daughter could not let her brother get ahead of her either. She has a discrete tat on the back of her neck under her hair / another on her ankle / a bold one across the lower back. They aren't evil or rude. They are both responsible parents. Now my grandchildren are looking and playing with wash off tats.
Here is one post I got this morning relative to tattoos:
The body, too, is a focus of judgment, whether we like it or not. It excites or repels. It lends itself to unwanted racial and sexual stereotypes.
To overcome the problems, the academic argument goes; we must displace a longstanding conception. People have idealized the human body, treated it as a temple, purity, and that mystification must end. The body is NOT a natural thing or divine form. It has no natural or supernatural status. That's what my friend meant when he insisted on coloring hair, writing words on forearms, inserting studs in tongues, and otherwise modifying the physique. We must de-naturalize the body; redefine it as a human construct. A tattoo helps turn this object we seem to have been given into material we may shape and revise. Yes, each one of us is stuck with the one we've got (at this point in time), but we can re-create it, fashioning it into an expression of the identity we prefer.
That's the theory of body art. It spells a transition from the body as physique to the body as text. You can write yourself upon it. As a friend put it to me: A tattoo isn't the Word made flesh, but the flesh made word. It may strike old-fashioned types as pedestrian narcissism and adolescent conformity, and sometimes it surely is. But in a deeper and more troubling way, it is canny and subversive artifice, spiced with a moralistic claim to personal liberation. A tattoo is a personal statement but also an anthropological position that accords with the prevailing transvaluations of our time. It's a wholly successful one, too, judging from the entertainment and sports worlds, and youth culture. With the mainstreaming of tattoos, another factor in the natural order falls away, yet one more inversion of nature and culture, natural law and human desire. That's not an outcome the rationalizers regret. It's precisely the point.
Mark Bauerlein is senior editor of First Things.
by Eric Brownlee
Just like Open Carry, tattoos are popping up everywhere in conservative old Beaufort County. I turn to my Psychology Degree for some insights.
· People use their bodies as an expression of inner thoughts and desires
· The attention a holstered weapon or tattoo draws means you stand out from the crowd
· I now have workers full of piercings and that really gets your attention
· Since we work trees around power lines at times, the lightening rod effect could be dangerous
· We are aware of the danger with communicable diseases, but who cares about a needle applying ink or a piecing --- if it were not extra clean and sterile
· Getting a tattoo or piercing somehow "proves I am braver than the average person"
One of the famous techniques in counseling is the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). When the client is no longer divulging inner thoughts and self-disclosure, the good Counselor pulls out this tool. It is a series of bland pictures. You say, "These pictures mean different things to different people. There is no right or wrong answer. Just look at them as I show them to you and tell me what comes to your mind."
So, rather than become over critical or reactive, let's ask why each person is trying to say about himself/herself. Are they happy? Are they sad? What are they trying to say to me as I see them? Why are they so compelled to endure pain and suffering to have a belly button piercing? Why did they choose that particular picture or adornment for expression? What does this mean to you, my friend?
Why did you choose that particular gun to wear? Are you wanting to hurt and scare --- or really blow the threat away? What kind of bullet is in that gun? A hollow point or cutter head is far more deadly than a regular bullet.
Personally, I prefer no tats. With a gun, I like a .357 magnum. It is loud enough to certainly let people know you mean business --- even if you miss. If loaded with a .38 bullet, it hardly has a kick because of the gun's weight. You must be far more accurate because you have less ammo to expend against your quarry.
My self-analysis tells me I don't want to offend or draw unnecessary attention. I pride myself on gun safety and accuracy when shooting. I don't want to kill, unless it is a necessity for self-preservation. I am like the old wise black preacher who had endured some 10 years of abuse at the hand of his congregation and it's back-stabbing.
As he rose for his last sermon he began, "Brothers and Sisters --- I today give you my resignation. If you will kindly note the sprig of mistletoe attached to the tail of my coat as I exit the middle aisle ---- that will be my last message to you!"
I think he communicated in a most clear way!
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.