Last month's post on tattoos received more views and more responses than any other post ever on Net Cotton Content.
It's a topic that is like a tattoo.
Positions are taken seriously, for the long term. It's a matter of judgement: everyone reserves their own, and doesn't like being judged by others. It's at the heart of self-expression and our democracy is (partly) based on our freedom of expression.
The responses — which came by every form of social media, including the phone and in person — were caring. People care about this topic. It must be important.
On all sides of the issue, some folks were contemplative, some regretful, some disgusted (by tattoos or me).
Some folks didn't like my being judgmental.
I appreciate not liking — and well know the feeling of — being judged negatively. But judgement is how we navigate. And the spice of life (until it turns despotic) is our disagreements.
Still, my advocacy against tattoos was truly offensive to some readers. Perhaps because the tattoo is truly the color of skin, my comments seemed (to a few readers) conceptually discriminatory.
I'm not going to rebut any of the critical comments. I've had my say and will stick to the original post, even though I have been taught much by readers in the interim.
There are a lot of fine tattoo blogs out there, I'm sure. This isn't one of them.
However, to be fair, here is a thoughtful, opposing point of view for your enjoyment. This appears on Facebook by Johnalan Norris, in a point-for-point rebuttal to my post. (Thanks, Fred and Johnalan.)
Here's his entire, unedited response:
- Time: Most Americans make time to watch crap like 3 1/2 Men, so we have plenty of time to get a tattoo.
- Better use of money? Who are you to judge what's a good use of my money? To get a tattoo you have to go somewhere local. Tattoos can never be outsourced. You're keeping a business open in your town. That might be worth the $200 (which this guy is just guessing at, I've seen nice tattoos that were done for under $50, but I have also seen ones that must have been well over $1000)
- He's basically saying that he's going to judge me by some old standard that hates tattoos. Tattoos have been viewed positively by different cultures for quite a while. In fact, the reason they're looked down on is because sailors came back to Europe with them. Dirty, filthy, poor, uneducated sailors. The aristocracy was just shocked and appalled. Then they were told about the native savages whose bodies were covered in tattoos. That's right, I'm saying tattoo hate is tied with racism and classism.
- People choose their own tattoos. Many people design their own, or work with the artist to design it.
- I'll actually agree with this one. Tattoos are permanent. You need to be sure you really like Bugs Bunny before you get his face put on you forever.
- I had no control over my nose, my face, etc. Maybe I want something that I had a say in to be part of how I look.
- People get tattoos for many different reasons, not just to make a message. This guy seems to think that everything everybody else does is directed at him, personally. Not everything I do is for or about you. Maybe you're just some guy.
- He's just repeating point 6
- a) Who thinks that chewing off a finger is a good idea? b) Who doesn't know that would make it bleed? c) A tattoo doesn't do any real physical damage to your body, so the comparison just doesn't work.
- Missing the point of a tattoo. Sometimes a shirt isn't enough. I have a tshirt from the lunch counter I worked at in college. To I regulate my strongest beliefs to the level of that place?
- Point 5 again
- He's telling me what I should or shouldn't do? Is he my father? I thought he was outlining the points on why you shouldn't get a tattoo. Reason number 12 of why not: because, that's why.
- Yes, many people regret it. I regret a lot of things. But not really. If you like who you are at all, you must accept that it was your life experiences that made you that way, good and bad.
- Here's point 5 again, again.
- Blood diseases are EXTREMELY rare, especially if you go to any reputable tattoo parlor. Many states regulate the sanitation of tattoo needles and equipment. The Red Cross needs to update their standards. They also don't want blood from gay people, so take that into consideration.
- Even people with tattoos will say this one. Sit on the idea for a while. Really consider it. In a lot of better parlors, you'll sit with the artist and discuss what you want weeks before you actually get your ink done.
If you want more, you can see other comments posted on the Facebook appearance of the post.