City Journal Autumn 2014

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Autumn 2014
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Theodore Dalrymple
Tattoo Le Monde « Back to Story

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Haha antipsychiatry, I dont't know what you mean exactly with that last line but it sounds rather strange.
The last thing anyone needs is pity from a psychiatrist.

That leads to Hartheim.

Maybe you could get together with him and he could show YOU some pity?
'...that she wants to “express something of myself” by having a “tribal” pattern tattooed round her navel, one senses a desperate (and failed) attempt to have a real personality in an impersonal world.'

I think Dalrymple nails it even better when he shows some pity.
Dennis Webb January 20, 2014 at 9:13 AM
'I think TD and others are probably over-analyzing this trend.'

Overanalyse? TD? Never!
Witness2theEnd January 17, 2014 at 9:23 AM
I can remember a time (less than 20 years ago; I am 36 now) when when poor white trash, petty criminals, old Navy men, and Sons of Anarchy types types were the only ones sporting tattoos.

And what's wrong with old navy men?

I believe firemen often wear tattoos. `Would you refuse to let him in if your house were burning down (on the off chance he might be a 'criminal type'.)

And in the US police are fighting for the right to keep their tattoos:

http://www.apbweb.com/featured-articles/650-cops-and-tattoos-go-to-arbitration.html
I think TD and others are probably over-analyzing this trend. Like so much else in modern society, getting tattooed is done in imitation of celebrities, especially sports celebs. The particular content of a person's tattoos may tell you something about the person, but the desire for a tattoo is in my view mostly just imitation of what has become celebrity fashion.

But I do have to agree with one person who advised to wait a few years more and then invest your money in whatever company comes up with the best method of removing these monstrosities.
MarkS- Jupiter, FL January 20, 2014 at 6:51 AM
I have six teens, three boys, three girls. It's the girls I most fear will get tats because there is nothing so conformist as a "rebellious" teen. So I've tried to instill short slogans through repetition that might dissuade them should the temptation come upon them.

1. "Have you ever had a piece of clothing you liked so much you'd wear it every day for the rest of your life?"
2. "I've never seen anything so cool I want it on my body for the rest of my life.
3. In 25 years that nice little dove on her breast is gonna look like a pterodactyl or that rose on her hip like an oak tree.
4. "You know what that girl (lots of tats) needs to be pretty? One more black and blue smudge."
5. Tattoos are graffiti of the body and soul.
5. "The only thing you have to do to be unique is to stand still when the herd moves."

The last has served me well throughout my own life. I'm a very fit, active 53 year old man in the top 5% of fitness. And one of the only guys in the gym with neither mid-life tats, earrings or other piercings. It sets me apart and gets me noticed.

So far, so good and none have marred their bodies to date.
For the conflicted younger generations of today, tattoos are a way of simultaneously shouting out "F*** You" and "Please notice me, I'm special" to the world. The desire to be unique, and be praised for being so blends with the desire to tell all those who do not find you so intriguing to go to hell. A bountiful modern world has created a state of almost perpetual adolescence, of which, this is but one glaring symptom...
For Dalrymple's most devastating analysis of today's herd tattoo phenomenon, search the net for this essay originally published in the New Criterion:

Exposing Shallowness
Yeah, we used to have a rule of thumb in the ER.
Number of Tats + Number of Missing Teeth = % Risk Hepatitis
I just find it so pathetic that so many seek to be "unique" by acting like herd animals.

I also great promise in tattoo removal as a revenue source in coming years.
I'm usually a big Dalrymple fan, but he has a particular dislike of tattoos and it clouds his judgment. In this case, he's confusing a value-neutral symptom for the underlying problem.
Those people who have their arms or legs, maybe both, completely tattooed, when I see them in the summer, I keep thinking, "Aren't you intolerably hot?" It just looks like they are wearing heavily patterned 1980s silk shirts or some kind of bizarre leggings. Even through they are bare-skinned, I can't shake the illusion that they are fully covered.

It wasn't until I was in French Polynesia and saw tattoos on some native islanders that I realized that, of COURSE, tribal people would develop something like body decoration, since they wore few clothes, if any at all. So since humans like to decorate themselves (clothes, jewelry), if all you have is bare skin, then you want to decorate that. So to me it makes sense, for an ancient Polynesian. But not for somebody who has the entire technological universe at their disposal for expressing themselves in their outer things (the clothes they wear, the car they drive, the kind of house they have, etc.).

But the United Nations has shown that the main problem so many in the world are suffering from is that their life has no meaning. So they turn inward (but still physically) toward their own body and use it as a graffiti wall to protest and to say, at least, "I was here" and try to find meaning in the design they have tattooed on themselves.
I can remember a time (less than 20 years ago; I am 36 now) when when poor white trash, petty criminals, old Navy men, and Sons of Anarchy types types were the only ones sporting tattoos.

Multiculturalism, Ethno-masochism, and a rapidly waning corporate belief in Jesus, is to blame.

It won't be long now. I firmly believe that the West (Europe and America)will fall within my lifetime. RIP.
As my kid approaches the "self-expression" age I've already shared with him the observation from a couple of friends who work in Emergency Rooms in hospitals and therefore see a lot of bodies; all those tattoos come to look like big ugly black and blue bruises as one ages.

Re the South Pacific tats, specifically the Maori variety: ironic their use as those who acquire them often seem to do so in some form of "look, I'm not a stodgy, imperialistic, non-white population exploiting westener!" frame of mind - evidence is strong the Maori completely exterminated the population of relatively peaceful people who lived there before them on New Zealand and thereabouts. That's confusing!
One of my favorite television programs, these days, is "It's always Sunny in Philadelphia." The show revolves around 4 friends whose ignorance and shallowness is utterly boundless. A few seasons back, two of the pals are shooting hoops when one says to the other, "Mac, what is with that ridiculous tattoo on your arm?" Incredulously and arrogantly, Mac responds, "uhh it's tribal." The friend retorts, "yeah, what tribe are you in again?" Mac responds by simply staring blankly back at his friend.

I suspect my feelings about tattoos are not as strong as Mr. Dalrymple's, but I find it impossible to not see this trend for what it is: a scourge that will leave most participants with a great deal of regret as they age.
Tattoos are nothing more than graphic evidence that empty heads make the most noise.
This is complete drivel. Rome didn't "fall" because of tattoos or even "decadence ". The stupid arrogance displayed here is useful though to the increasingly intrusive always-expanding State: it would have been more useful if he'd thrown in a few lies about the negative effect of tattooing "on the children". But you can't have everything in your shills.

Disclaimer: I have no tattoos and don't want any. Unlike most people these days, however, I mind my own business.
This is complete drivel. Rome didn't "fall" because of tattoos or even "decadence ". The stupid arrogance displayed here is useful though to the increasingly intrusive always-expanding State: it would have been more useful if he'd thrown in a few lies about the negative effect of tattooing "on the children". But you can't have everything in your shills.

Disclaimer: I have no tattoos and don't want any. Unlike most people these days, however, I mind my own business.
Always love your acuity, Theodore. Also the irony that helps ease the despair I hold for contemporary western "culture".
Bitching about the French and Brits to placate the Yanks. What are you getting from this?
Mike --- I've got my heart set on a Myron Magnet tattoo, but I can't decide where to put it.
Punk gone mainstream? Nostalgie de la boue - French, after all.
my daughter wanted to tattoo herself in high school and was told that she could do so once she was 18 and if she promised me that every year she would take a blood test for to check for hepatitis. It may have changed but at that time there was the danger of disease being transmitted not just by the needle but by the ink if the ink was used by more that one person. She is a mild hypochondriac and is still ink-free at nearly 30.
In honor of my favorite magazine, I sport a "City Journal" tramp-stamp, which I will happily show to anyone who asks. Sadly, few do.
S. Taylor, we both know Portland is wierd... vurra wierrrdd.... I have become so jaded knocking about that silly city I barely notice any of it anymore... which is pretty hilarious, as many spend four figures, even five, to make themselves "unique". Willy people... our Creator has already done that... every one of us is completely unique. But these desparate individuals look to a meaningless outward "uniqueness" to settle their cultural angst. At least somewhat. Tats, and various pieces of scrapmetal poking into, through, and hanging off various places, are desparate attempts to beg for attention and significance. I almost always look right past those and to the heart of the person. I am rarely not rewarded as I approach the inner uniqueness of each individual.
You might want to avoid any trips to the semi-tropical part of Australia where I now live. The weather is warm year round so bodies are not hidden from view. What has replaced clothing is ink, mainly with a South Pacific motif. Old, young, male and female, it does not matter, this form of primitive graffiti is all over the body. It is all ugly, repellent and uncivilized.
(Yes I am indeed very old.)
Tribal tattoos are out , that was a nineties fad except maybe in France where they're behind . The thing that is very trendy are those ear plugs , like a tribe from Africa , those "ironic" pretencious hipsters put giant holes in their ears . Not pretty , not pretty at all , especially when they serve you your lunch at a cafe in Portland .