Posted by: Kate | February 12, 2008

To the Tattooed Gentleman in Walgreens:

Clearly, you have a message you wish to portray to the world.  And what better way to do so than to skip the pointless rhetoric and the bothersome thoughts, and go right to the visual advertisements?  Tattoos as a billboard for one’s life credo, how simple and effective.

I respect your right to apply ink to yourself, though I’ll admit to a bit of cringing at the thought of sitting still whist another person applies permanent marks to one’s fingers, face and neck.  Sensitive areas, those.  I also respect your right to mark yourself in conspicuous areas, even though my own personal preference runs toward tattoos that are less in-your-face.  Literally.

I also respect your right to hold opinions and philosophies with which I disagree.  You can cover yourself with swastikas, WAR and NWO symbols, and I’ll accept your decision to affiliate with organizations which I find personally offensive.  Freedom of speech is one of my very favorite things about this particular country, as is freedom of avoidance.

In return, I’ll request that you respect my choice not to hyperlink to your organizations of choice on my blog, because I’d prefer not to expose my readers to antagonism and hostility that they’re not actively seeking.  Google is a wonderful thing, for those so inclined. 

I’ll also ask that you respect my choice to step away and select another checkout line, rather than continue to make idle small-talk with you.  Perhaps you were tattooed against your will, and dressed by vandals, and inside you’re a seething mass of pacifism and acceptance.  It’s one thing to judge a book by its cover, and quite another to realize that you chose to include your book’s content on the outside.

Thanks.

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Responses

  1. Theodore Dalrymple has some interesting online comments on tattoos in relation to a book review.
    http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/18/jun00/tattoo.htm

    He makes some valid points.

  2. I’ve never understood the need to inject ink into skin. Nor care to, each to their own. It’s a form of legal vandalism to me, a defamation of a natural gift.

  3. Wow, that Dalrymple piece sure is scathing.

    I don’t mind tattoos. I don’t have one and don’t think I’ll ever get one, but a good tattoo can be beautiful or arresting or thought provoking. How that makes them savage or vacuous, as Dalrymple attests, is, I think, more a question of his perceptions and prejudices rather than any carved in stone views. Many people hold the same or similar opinions but he seems to be insisting that his view is how every good and decent citizen should feel on the subject.

    Wow. That was very nearly a blog post. Sorry about that.


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