Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Against Tattoos

 

I’m not the sort of person who goes in for cultural fads. Planking? Nah. Harlem Shake? (I remember that mess…) No, thank you. If you ever hear about kids “cheesing,” let’s just say you won’t find me hunting around for a cat. This resistance to cheap thrillism and quick paths to fame are merely a few of the many measures which mark me as being a conservative – certainly in the realm of “how I conduct my own affairs.”

But these passing fads are just that – fads – and a thing that has really caught in my craw in the past couple of years is the exploding prevalence of tattoos. You can mark me down as being strongly opposed, despite the fact that I have generally libertarian attitudes about this and other questions of personal conduct.

I’ve heard a lot of reasons behind why people get tattoos – in the old days you could be sure that a guy who showed up with a Tattoo on his arm was probably in the Navy or the Marines and had probably even served abroad or even (gasp) seen live-fire action. Not so, today.

Today, people run over to the tattoo parlor (locations which have proliferated correspondingly in the past decade) to commemorate just about anything they’ve done or seen indelibly on their flesh. I have to confess: I can’t think of an image or a concept which is so interesting that I would like to see it written on me permanently. Yet, people pay big money for other people to repeatedly pierce their epidermis with coloration.

What are the reasons behind this? I can think of several right off the top of my head:

As a display of solidarity with a certain socioeconomic class;
Celebrating some major life event – a birth, death or wedding;
Cheap ingratiation with other tattooed people;
Substitutes for actual accomplishments.

It’s these last two that most concern me. Growing up, one of the stories that stuck out in my mind was Dr. Seuss’s story about the Star-bellied Sneetches. Sylvester McMonkey McBean’s fantastic Star-on/Star-off Machine has a direct corollary in the real world: the Tattoo Parlor. Except, the Star-off part is orders of magnitude more expensive and painful to use than the Star-on part. The larger lesson I derived from this tale is that a superficial characteristic of this nature is no great achievement, and is the sort of thing that ought to be viewed with skepticism.

I mentioned before however that I have a libertarian attitude about these things. I certainly wouldn’t want the state to make any determination about peoples’ employability or any other aspect of their lives on the basis of this characteristic. But the flip side of that coin of “liberty” is “personal responsibility.” Private actors and employers can and should have discretion as they choose to question people’s judgment when it comes to how they choose to adorn themselves in this fashion. This is a natural consequence of a genuinely free market.

I of course am an engineer, and given to certain conservative and practical habits of mind as a matter of course. I don’t measure my achievements by voluntary modifications I’ve made to my person. My CV is etched into the Earth itself – my imagination and skill having been brought to life in the form of projects in the real world which have consequences that most people simply take for granted. You can see my accomplishments from satellite photographs. Perhaps this is just a luxury that I and a few people like me have. I really can’t tell.

Be that as it may, my concern is that the proliferation of tattoo parlors (just like any other boom) will inevitably burst, as cultural fads and trends always seem to. What will the legacy of this particular fad end up as? Largely, I think, as a wasteland of scarified flesh. On that day, you might be wishing you’d invested in that tattoo-removal company as people inevitably run themselves through McBean’s Star-off Machines at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars, and glad that you didn’t decide that a run through it yourself would make you star-worthy.

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  1. Arahant Member

    25+ Best Memes About Sergeant | Sergeant Memes

    • #1
    • November 1, 2018, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 36 likes
  2. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Arahant (View Comment):

    25+ Best Memes About Sergeant | Sergeant Memes

    I should have seen this before my first marriage!

    • #2
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:03 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):
    I should have seen this before my first marriage!

    Was she from Quebec?

    • #3
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:05 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):
    I should have seen this before my first marriage!

    Was she from Quebec?

    No, just Colorado.

    • #4
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Stad Thatcher

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):
    I should have seen this before my first marriage!

    Was she from Quebec?

    No, just Colorado.

    My wife is from Denver. Will search for tatts around 2 AM . . .

    • #5
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  6. PHCheese Member

    I wouldn’t have a tattoo on my body for the same reason I wouldn’t have a bumper sticker on my Ferrari ( if I had a Farrari).

    • #6
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:22 PM PDT
    • 21 likes
  7. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to say, “Hands off my noodle, young lady!”…

     

    • #7
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  8. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I wouldn’t have a tattoo on my body for the same reason I wouldn’t have a bumper sticker on my Ferrari ( if I had a Farrari).

    This implies that you are a high-maintenance, Italian Super-car.

    How do we know you’re not more of a Yugo? 🤔

    • #8
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  9. Arahant Member

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to say, “Hands off my noodle, young lady!”…

    You’d still need $2 to buy a Powerball ticket?

    • #9
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:26 PM PDT
    • 19 likes
  10. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to say, “Hands off my noodle, young lady!”…

    You’d still need $2 to buy a Powerball ticket?

    This is perilously close to a #metoo moment.

    • #10
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Arahant Member

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to say, “Hands off my noodle, young lady!”…

    Also:

    • #11
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:28 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to say, “Hands off my noodle, young lady!”…

     

    You’d have $0.00?

    • #12
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:28 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    I don’t think it’s a fad, unfortunately. I think that a fad would have ended long ago.

    My impression is that there has been an increasing proliferation of tattoos, even in the past couple of years.

    I think that there is something particularly troublesome about tattooing as a fad. Once done, I would think that it is very difficult, psychologically, to admit that it was a really bad idea. Changing your mind would make you feel like an absolute idiot, I would think.

    I’m afraid that it’s the sort of breakdown of a social norm that tends to spiral out of control, like illegitimacy.

    • #13
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:28 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  14. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to say, “Hands off my noodle, young lady!”…

     

    Is this like “placing the hand under the thigh”? You know, in the Biblical sense?

    • #14
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:29 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    I want to separately thank you for the Sneeches reference. I always wanted to be the best Sneetch on the beach.

    • #15
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Judge Mental Member

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    I don’t think it’s a fad, unfortunately. I think that a fad would have ended long ago.

    My impression is that there has been an increasing proliferation of tattoos, even in the past couple of years.

    I think that there is something particularly troublesome about tattooing as a fad. Once done, I would think that it is very difficult, psychologically, to admit that it was a really bad idea. Changing your mind would make you feel like an absolute idiot, I would think.

    I’m afraid that it’s the sort of breakdown of a social norm that tends to spiral out of control, like illegitimacy.

    Tattoos and piercing are considered to reflect an increase in tribalism.

    • #16
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:35 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  17. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Preach it, brother!

    • #17
    • November 1, 2018, at 1:36 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk): in the old days you could be sure that a guy who showed up with a Tattoo on his arm was probably in the Navy or the Marines and had probably even served abroad or even (gasp) seen live-fire action. Not so, today.

    A lot of the middle aged moms at my kids’ school are getting tattoos. I would think their children wouldn’t see tattoos as all that cool. Who wants to look like their mom?

    My nephew has a couple Harry Potter tattoos. Sad.

    • #18
    • November 1, 2018, at 2:11 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  19. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk): in the old days you could be sure that a guy who showed up with a Tattoo on his arm was probably in the Navy or the Marines and had probably even served abroad or even (gasp) seen live-fire action. Not so, today.

    A lot of the middle aged moms at my kids’ school are getting tattoos. I would think their children wouldn’t see tattoos as all that cool. Who wants to look like their mom?

    My nephew has a couple Harry Potter tattoos. Sad.

    Look, I like the sign of the Deathly hallows as much as the next guy… But not enough to brand myself with it.

    • #19
    • November 1, 2018, at 2:21 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. Qoumidan Coolidge

    I have tattooed band on my ring finger instead of my wedding band which I can’t wear.

    I suspect you are right about the transistory nature of the current, and my kids or my grandkids and their peers may go tattoo free just to not be like their parents.

    But I still like tattoos. If I eventually regret mine, I think the reasons may be far beyond the capacity of a star remover to cover.

    • #20
    • November 1, 2018, at 2:28 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  21. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to say, “Hands off my noodle, young lady!”…

    … you’d be able to monetize your Ramen consumption?

    • #21
    • November 1, 2018, at 3:40 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. PHCheese Member

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I wouldn’t have a tattoo on my body for the same reason I wouldn’t have a bumper sticker on my Ferrari ( if I had a Farrari).

    This implies that you are a high-maintenance, Italian Super-car.

    How do we know you’re not more of a Yugo? 🤔

    Vega is more like it but without bumper stickers..

    • #22
    • November 1, 2018, at 4:12 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  23. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    When asked, I used to tell Li’l Skinner that I didn’t need tattoos, because I have a couple of wicked scars. Boom-Boom has been in the Navy for nearly a year, and has managed to get both. His mother’s greatest fears realized.

    • #23
    • November 1, 2018, at 4:25 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    Neck tattoos are known as the ‘poverty patch’.

    The only things I really object to regarding tattoos is the permanency, and the fact that most women look better without them. 

    • #24
    • November 1, 2018, at 5:20 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  25. Annefy Member

    Three of my four kids (two are Marines) have tattoos. Sigh. 

    I really, really don’t like them. And they really, really don’t care.

    Daughter has a tattoo that says “I am my brothers’ keeper” (she has three) to which she has added a mockingbird for her daughter Scout and a rose for her daughter Emma Rose.

    Still don’t like them. At least they had the decency to hide them from me for months …

    • #25
    • November 1, 2018, at 6:08 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  26. Randal H Member

    I’m a person who gets frozen into inaction from the thought of having regrets over some action. The harder something is to undo, the more I resist it. That’s worked pretty well to keep me from ever considering a tattoo, even if I were inclined to want one – which I’m not.

    • #26
    • November 1, 2018, at 7:06 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  27. Steve C. Member

    I’ve learned to accept what I cannot ban through imperial edict.

    • #27
    • November 1, 2018, at 7:21 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  28. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I don’t believe in voluntary self-mutilation.

    We used to have a contract employee who had numerous large tattoos and piercings. It almost made me cringe to look at her. My niece has tattoos, and I mostly ignore them, but it still makes me somewhat uneasy.

    • #28
    • November 1, 2018, at 7:25 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  29. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    I don’t think it’s a fad, unfortunately. I think that a fad would have ended long ago.

    My impression is that there has been an increasing proliferation of tattoos, even in the past couple of years.

    I think that there is something particularly troublesome about tattooing as a fad. Once done, I would think that it is very difficult, psychologically, to admit that it was a really bad idea. Changing your mind would make you feel like an absolute idiot, I would think.

    I’m afraid that it’s the sort of breakdown of a social norm that tends to spiral out of control, like illegitimacy.

    That reminds me; you know what the cure for a regrettable tattoo is? 

    A coverup tattoo that is bigger and darker than the first one. 

    • #29
    • November 1, 2018, at 8:08 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk): in the old days you could be sure that a guy who showed up with a Tattoo on his arm was probably in the Navy or the Marines and had probably even served abroad or even (gasp) seen live-fire action. Not so, today.

    A lot of the middle aged moms at my kids’ school are getting tattoos. I would think their children wouldn’t see tattoos as all that cool. Who wants to look like their mom?

    My nephew has a couple Harry Potter tattoos. Sad.

    Look, I like the sign of the Deathly hallows as much as the next guy… But not enough to brand myself with it.

    Branding and scarification are also each a thing. 

    • #30
    • November 1, 2018, at 8:11 PM PDT
    • 2 likes

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