Jeffrey Jackson


Tattoo You

  • May 1, 2013
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According to a recent study, 94% of Americans now have at least four tattoos larger than an average dinner plate. My main problem with the tattoo is permanence. On TV, I saw a death row inmate who had a large swastika emblazoned on his stomach. Large. Like, continued-on-his-back large. But then he found Jesus, turned his life around (although not too far around, still being in that cell and all) and came to regret the whole Nazi-genocide-as-fashion-statement thing. He tried obscuring it with additional tattoos, but you could still recognize the swastika from a hundred feet (which is kind of the main design feature of the swastika).

To me, there’s something a little sad about tattoos. It’s like saying, “My life will never change. I will always be exactly who I am now and will never want anything different.” Is the rise of the tattoo some kind of bellwether of hopelessness in America? “I’m unemployed, my house is underwater, I’m addicted to Cheetohs, and—guess what?—I’m parking it right here, baby!” Or maybe it’s just one thing we can control in a world in which we feel increasingly out of control.

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is forced to wear a red letter “A” for “Adulteress” in colonial America. It was a punishment. And she only had to sew it onto her clothes. Today, Hester would have that “A” inked proudly across the small of her back, buy some lo-rise jeans that showed it off nicely, and headline her own reality series.

I guess things were different when only the real badasses—bikers and GIs—had tattoos. Now, every CPA and elementary school teacher has permanent sleeves. Kinda dulls the effect.

But I seem to be in an ever-shrinking minority. Is there an inherent beauty in the tattoo that I’m somehow missing? Then again, if someone were to take that same art that’s designed for your body, put it in a frame and hand it to you as a gift, would you hang it on your wall?

Tattoos... what do you think?

  • Ick! (100%, 3 Votes)
  • Cool as hell (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Meh (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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