Point/Counterpoint pt 2

Tony Cox

Tattoos can’t cover up ugly

It’s not that I’m against tattoos or body piercing as a rule. After all, it’s your body. (Well, technically, that’s not true. It’s a body given to you in fiduciary trust by God. But since nobody believes in God anymore, let’s just say it’s your body.)

Even so, I just don’t get it.

Honestly, where’s the joy in paying a couple hundred dollars for some fat, sweaty biker to stick a buzzing needle in your arm? And who in their right minds would let another person poke a hole in their bodies, then say thanks and fork over some cash, as if they just washed your car?

What are you trying to prove? That you’re some kind of rebel? Please. These days, it’s more rebellious not to have any sort of “body modification” (the politically correct term). Is it to show how tough you are? Because I know plenty of 98-pound dorks with more tattoos than you can shake a stick at. Is it for sex appeal? If so, then forget it — you’re either hot or you’re not. Sticking a piece of metal in your navel or getting some barbed wire tattooed around your bicep is akin to putting lipstick on a bullfrog. You can dress it up all you want, but at the end of the day, the sonuvabitch is still ugly.

In most cases, the human body is a naturally attractive thing, and artificially modifying it does more aesthetic harm than good. There’s a reason all those Renaissance statues are naked.

Still, there are certain circumstances where body modification makes at least a little bit of sense. While I’m not a big fan of the idea that you have to “earn” a tattoo, I can see the rationale behind getting some ink done to commemorate something that helps define who you are — military service, for example. But still, actions speak louder than words, and words speak louder than tattoos, so it occurs to me that there are more productive means of acting upon your fidelity.

Ethnic pride is normally acceptable, provided that your heritage has played an important part in your personal development. Being 1/64 Irish on your mother’s side does not entitle you to have a gigantic shamrock tattooed on your stomach. Religion makes it a little bit sticky, because most religions prohibit (or at least discourage) tattooing. But as long as it’s tasteful and you make an effort to live up to your own religious standards, then go for it.

I have to admit that the idea of getting a tattoo in memory of a deceased friend or family member is a little puzzling. People say it serves as a constant reminder, but if he was close enough for you to want to carve his name into your body, I don’t see how a tattoo is a necessary aide to your memory. And I can certainly think of better ways to honor a fallen comrade — such as doing work for a cause that was near and dear to his heart or helping to care for any loved ones he might have left behind. But if one feels the need to commemorate the passing of a companion one by getting a tattoo, I suppose I can’t hold that against him or her too much.

Hey, I’m not your mother. If you feel like forking over a bunch of money to satisfy a senseless youthful whim — which is so often the source of many cases of body modification — then have at it, Hoss. But it would probably behoove you to stop and think about your motivation for doing so.

Tony Cox is a junior philosophy major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].