Sunday, May 20, 2007


A co-worker and I were discussing tattoos and body-piercings a couple of months ago at lunch. She said lots of people use that as a reason to show their individuality, but once everyone starts doing it who's an individual any more? Time and time again what is being non-conformative ends up being the norm so any one who uses that as an excuse to be different ends up needing another excuse anyway. I used to be on the distribution for an interesting listserv by Richard Thieme called Islands in the Clickstream that began a long ten years ago, just as the internet was starting to explode. He would often say that people would step out to the edge but then the edge would become the new center, so it would be less of a new idea. This is true with piercings and tattoos--it used to be on the edge and may have shown that you were an individual. Now that "everybody" is doing it it's not much of that anymore.

If people want to show their individuality they shouldn't hide it behind body art.

My second argument against body art (and now I include foul language) is this: it distracts me from seeing who you really are or hearing what you're really saying. I was watching something from the X-Games recently and one of the BMX bikers had this huge blemish under his lip--I thought "yuck, that doesn't look too good" but then I realized oh no, it's not a blemish but a piercing. "Hey, that looks cool!" I thought. OK, so that's sarcasm but that's my point--these things don't really do anything to enhance who a person is. In my opinion they just take things away, they mar something that once looked nice.

During this past Christmas, Tonya and I went to a poetry slam in Milton, DE and one of the contestants started using very foul language. What was once fun to listen to was now interrupted by something totally unessecary and it distracted me from the rest of the poem. So many people seem to think it makes a person an adult to be able to use vulgar language but in the end I feel it is more limiting than liberating.