ModBlog News of the Week: December 16th, 2011

Alright, so the year is almost at an end and I was thinking to myself, I didn’t really do a year-end news post last year.  So this year I’m going to rectify that.  However, in order to do so, I’m going to need your help.  Take a look through the newsfeed archive for the past year, and then send me an e-mail with what you think are the top stories of the year.  It could be one, it could be more, that’s up to you.  Then, for the last news post of the year, I’ll do a re-cap of the stories that you thought were the most important ones.  Was it TLC’s failed attempt at a “Tattoo School” show?  Mike Tyson’s tattoo artist nearly preventing Hangover 2 from being released?  Rick Genest (Zombie Boy) becoming the muse to Lady Gaga’s stylist?  You tell me.  Of course, don’t forget to keep sending me those links to other stories that you think should be included in the weekly news.

Alright, let’s get things started with a bang this week.  The big story is out of Indonesia where police raided a punk concert in an effort to crack down on tattooed and pierced teenagers.

Police in Indonesia’s most conservative province raided a punk-rock concert and detained 65 fans, buzzing off their spiky mohawks and stripping away body piercings because of the perceived threat to Islamic values.  Dog-collar necklaces and chains also were taken from the youths before they were thrown in pools of water for “spiritual” cleansing, local police chief Iskandar Hasan said.  After replacing their “disgusting” clothes, he handed each a toothbrush and barked “use it.”  The crackdown marked the latest effort by authorities to promote strict moral values in Aceh, the only province in this secular but predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million to have imposed Islamic laws.

Though pierced and tattooed teens have complained for months about harassment, Saturday’s roundup at a concert attended by more than 100 people was by far the biggest and most dramatic bust yet.  Baton-wielding police scattered fans, many of whom had travelled from other parts of the sprawling archipelagic nation to attend the show.  Hasan said 59 young men and five women were loaded into vans and brought to a police detention centre 60 kilometres from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.  They would spend 10 days getting rehabilitation, training in military-style discipline and religious classes, including Koran recitation, he said. Afterward, they’ll be sent home.

Hasan insisted he’d done nothing wrong.  “We’re not torturing anyone,” the police chief said. “We’re not violating human rights. We’re just trying to put them back on the right moral path.”  However, Nur Kholis, a national human commissioner, deplored the detentions, saying police have to explain what kinds of criminal laws have been broken.  “Otherwise, they violated people’s right of gathering and expression,” Kholis said, promising to investigate.

It should be noted that the province where this occurred is unique in Indonesia for being strict adherents to Sharia law.  The rest of the country, while predominantly Muslim, practice a moderate form of their faith.  I’m personally a little concerned as to what they may do to those kids who are tattooed.  It’s easy to shave someone’s head and rip out piercings, it’s something else entirely to remove a tattoo.  The linked article above has a few more photos of what happened.  Now I try not to be political when it comes to the news, however this is a prime example of why the church and state need to be completely separate. And it doesn’t matter what religion it is either.  The moment one group’s religious beliefs are imposed upon another, and backed by the government, is the the same moment that things like this become acceptable. The reason I’m mentioning this is because in North America there is a strong anti-Sharia law movement taking place, which is backed by people who want their own religion put in place as the state-sponsored religion, without realizing that they’re protesting against the very thing they want.  Leave the government to the crooks and liars, and let people determine their own religious (or non-religious) beliefs.

Ok, that’s enough moralizing from me.  There’s more news to come, so keep on reading.

So while we’re still on the subject of people imposing their beliefs on others, a woman in Vietnam has gone to the police after her employer tattooed centipedes on her face and chest.

A worker at a Vietnamese cafe said the owner forced her to get centipede tattoos on her face and bosom for a suspected affair with the owner’s husband.  Police in Vung Tau City were investigating Nguyen Thuy Ngoc’s claim that Nguyen Thi Anh, who owns the Mo Neo cafe, shaved Ngoc’s head and forced her to get a centipede tattooed on her face and two others on her chest because of a suspected affair between Ngoc and Ahn’s husband, Pham The Phong, Tuoi Tre News reported.

Ngoc, 20, said Anh, 33, had asked her why she had an affair with her husband and beat her Nov. 26 and Nov. 27 at the cafe.  Ngoc said she came to Vung Tau in April 2008 to work for Anh at her cellphone shop but Anh later opened a cafe and forced her to work there.  Ngoc returned to her home in Nghe An province’s Nghi Loc district Nov. 28 and told her mother, Tran Thi Hoa, of her treatment. The mother reported it to police in Nghe An and Vung Tau.  Vung Tau police questioned Anh and Phong and the couple told police they had hired Ngoc at the cafe but she quit over conflicts between her and Anh.

Here’s what I don’t get.  It says she was beat at work on the 26th and 27th.  You’d think she wouldn’t want to go into work the next day after that happened.  This is the reason Jen and I live in different cities, I know that if we lived closer together she’d try to beat me up as often as she could.

Now it’s one thing to have your boss tattoo you, it’s another to have your boss tell you what kind of tattoos you can and can’t get.  Now if your boss is the Major League Baseball Association, that’s exactly what they just did.

The Associated Press reports the new labor deal will result in a four-day All-Star break by 2013, with the game being played on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday, and it will allow teams in the same division to meet in the playoffs before the league championship series.

Among other new stipulations:

  • Teams must provide individual rooms during spring training for all players on the 40-man roster, instead of having some of them room together.
  • Players who want to change uniform number while on the same team will be required to give eight-months’ notification.
  • Players will not be allowed to display tattoos with corporate logos.

According to the new CBA, a copy of which was obtained by AP, “no player may have any visible markings or logos tattooed on his body” as part of the uniform regulations.  “Just trying to head something off at the pass,” said Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president for labor relations.

I guess this means we won’t be seeing any Golden Palace tattoos on anyone’s forehead next summer.

It’s time now for this week’s common sense awards.  First up is a young woman who was rushed to hospital after swallowing some magnets.  The catch, the magnets are being marketed as “fake piercings“.

One of Cameron Miller’s friends recently gave her magnetic jewelry. The super magnets are often marketed to teens because they’re meant to look like piercings.  “Everybody has them at school. Everybody brings them every day and they wear them until the teacher says take them out,” Miller said.  But the 13-year-old accidently swallowed the seemingly harmless tiny pieces of metal.  “I had one on my lip and I took a drink. I forgot I had them in. I swallowed them,” she said.

Miller, a softball player, went on to play in a game later that day and didn’t give the magnets much more thought until she started to feel sick a couple days later.  Perry Miller said blood work showed her daughter developed a blood infection. Then an x-ray revealed four magnets in a row stuck together inside the teen’s intestines.  She was rushed to Cook Children’s Medical Center for surgery after two of the magnets tore a hole in her colon.

Now I remember an article a while back about kids using bucky balls to achieve the same look, and the same thing happened.  Of course instead of realizing this was pretty horrible, someone had the bright idea to start selling them as jewelry.

Our other winner this week is a man who was able to write his own headline after tattooing “No Regrets” on a 14-year-old girl.

A COURT heard yesterday a man regretted tattooing “No regrets” on a 14-year-old girl’s shoulder.  Allan Fenton had no licence to give tattoos but ran a word-of-mouth business from his home in Dundee.  The 24-year-old’s Bebo page features dozens of tattoos he has done.  Fenton, who charged the girl £25, was caught when police and council licensing bosses swooped on his home.  They found surgical tape and gloves, rolls of cling film, five tattooing machines, a tattooing table and arm rests in his bedroom.

Alan Lyle, defending, said: “The tattoo was only two inches long, but he regrets this.”

So congratulations to both the tattoo artist and the company making these magnets for piercings.  Thanks to their lack of common sense, I had two stories to include this week.

So there’s been a lot of doom and gloom this week, and I’ve got one more, but after that things take a brighter turn.

The Canadian government is searching for ways to keep up with the body modification community.  While inspectors are trying to get to every shop, they have no idea on how to handle surgical modifications, which is resulting in a lot of conflicting information.  The result is the government is contemplating following in Winnipeg’s steps and outlawing anything that isn’t piercing or tattoos.

Public health authorities across Canada are struggling to address the growing popularity of body modifications such as splitting one’s tongue like a snake’s and surgically altering ears to make them elf-like and pointy, fearing the spread of infection in an unregulated industry.  Last Wednesday, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s board of health received a report warning that one can suffer a “serious or possibly life-threatening consequence” while undergoing one of these surgical-like procedures in a “non-clinical” environment where there’s a higher threat of contracting HIV or hepatitis B and C. Scarification, which is effectively carving or branding an image into your skin, and suspension, which involves being hung from the ceiling on hooks lodged into your back, are among the more common forms of extreme body modification happening in tattoo and piercing shops across the country who often yield to squeamish health inspectors who judge before they do their work, body modifiers say.

Since the new budget came down, they’ve been able to inspect 175 of the 230 personal service settings, which include anything from body modification to acupuncture, she said — a 136% increase in inspections, which were far rarer with a smaller staff.  But even so, it’s tough to find those performing body modifications because these artists freelance or do their branding and tongue splitting after hours or at home, Ms. Kearns said. Personal service settings don’t require a license and so many inspectors depend on new establishments to tell them about any body modification they’d be doing. But that’s not required by law.  “We’d inspected a premise we’re aware of that’s low risk and then suddenly they bring in an artist who is doing more procedures and elevating the risk,” she said. “It’s very difficult, from our perspective.”

Winnipeg is one of the only places in Canada to outright ban body modification beyond tattoos and piercings. As of June 2008, the city outlawed scarification and implants after people from the industry voiced concerns about body modifiers that were alleged to have spread disease through their practices, said Pat Masterton, public health inspection coordinator for Winnipeg.  “I think the people who wanted to be reputable operators and run proper businesses carrying on sanitary processes wanted to make sure the whole industry was not going to be labelled because someone out there was doing something that was going to be causing infection,” she said.

This is an important story to read for all Canadians, not just those who get implants, scars, etc.  As you can see in the opening paragraph, they include suspension as one of the activities they’re investigating.  Without significant input from the community Canada may be facing legislation that could outlaw extreme modifications, as well as suspension.

Moving on, a study in Australia has revealed some interesting information when it comes to the tattooed population.

According to a study by La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) a greater proportion of women aged 20 to 29 are the most tattooed Australians, with almost one in three sporting a tattoo, whereas in the older age groups tattoos were more common among men.  Tattooing appears to have moved into mainstream society, with roughly one in seven Australian adults reporting having been tattooed. Despite the recent gentrification of tattooing, tattoos still appear to be associated with risk-taking behaviour in adults.

‘Having been tattooed also correlated with certain risk-taking behaviours, most notably smoking, cannabis use, and greater numbers of lifetime sexual partners. Associations between tattooing and risk-taking behaviour have also been reported in studies among adults and adolescents,’ says Professor Marian Pitts, Director of ARCSHS.  ‘Although the direction of the relationship between tattooing and risk-taking behaviour in adults is not currently known, it may be that in some groups tattooing still represents and is associated with resistance and rebellion towards more conservative parts of society.’

More recently however, in a 2007 review authors found the most common reasons mentioned in the literature related to embellishments of the body, art, fashion, and individuality.  Tattooing was popular among men who had not finished secondary school, tradesmen, and women who did not live with their partners, whereas men and women who had completed postsecondary education were less likely to have a tattoo. Similar findings relating to education attainment were also reported in the U.S. national study.  ‘Furthermore, tattooing does not appear to be confined to certain subpopulations, with men and women in every demographic reporting having tattoos,’ says Professor Pitts.

So basically it’s telling us what we already knew.  Tattoos aren’t just for sailors, bikers, and prostitutes any more.  Unless of course 1 in 3 Australian women between 20-29 are actually prostitutes.

In a nice and heart warming story, a Quebec couple has gotten matching tattoos.  That on its own wouldn’t be so special, however the tattoo is of an insulin pump, identical to the one their son has implanted in him.

Some parents get tattoos of their child’s name, but Philippe Aumond and Camille Boivin went one better.  In a show of solidarity, they each have an image of an insulin pump tattooed on their abdomens, declaring that they are “forever linked” to their son Jacob.  “It is a great thing for him, and we were thrilled just to see his smile when he saw those pumps. It made our day, that’s for sure,” said Boivin, 36, from the family’s home in La Sarre, Que.

A while back, Jacob, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 3 ½, was excited by the idea of getting an insulin pump that would replace four to five injections a day, and he figured it would be like having his own little robot working for him.  When it was delivered, he was “just like a kid on Christmas Eve with his gift,” and even slept with it before it was plugged into him, said Boivin.  Jacob is now five and in kindergarten, and he wears it 24-7.  “He adapted pretty quick, but one time he told me that he felt different and he was wondering if he was alone in the world, you know, wearing a pump,” Boivin said.

She explained to him that every child is different — some wear glasses, others are in wheelchairs, some have blue eyes, others have brown eyes.  “So he got that, but still, you know, he is a kid. He was four at the time, so he wants to be like everybody else,” Boivin explained.  “Before we had the pump, I think the way he felt is that having shots was just a little part of his day and nobody had to know. But then now, he was wearing a pump, and people could see it and people were asking questions and I think that’s what bothered him a little bit. So he felt really alone.”  She and Aumond decided to get tattoos of the pump, “because no parents want to have their child feel left out or alone.”

See.  Heart-warming.  Now, is it dusty in here, because I have something in my eye.

Alright, today’s last story is either going to be cool or horrific.  It all depends on how you react to the following photo.

As a symbol of wealth and harmony, the goldfish is a popular tattoo. But in a craze sweeping China, goldfish are themselves being inked with patterns and characters intended to being their owners good fortune. The tattoos are said to be the result of an injection which takes half a year to form. Other methods use lasers. Tattooed fish first appeared on the market in 2005 and have become very popular in the past year or two. The technique is not without its critics, however, who claim it is not only cruel, but against the laws of nature.

Like I said.  To some people, having a goldfish with a specially designed symbol on them would be pretty cool.  To others, it’s animal cruelty.  It all depends on how you feel about tattooing fish.

Well, that’s it for this week’s news.  We’ll see you back here next week for a special holiday edition, and then it’ll only be one week to go before the BME NYE Party!  Hopefully I’ll see a lot of you there.  You can find out more about the event right here.  As well as the event page on IAM.

Oh, and don’t forget to e-mail me the stories you think were the best this year.

26 thoughts on “ModBlog News of the Week: December 16th, 2011

  1. Indonesia- Religion needs to go the way of the dodo. Yes, I went there. So far nothing good has come of it.

    Magnets- Stupid idea. I had one of those magnet-piercings in high school that I wore as a labret & I can’t tell you how many times I almost swallowed it. Just let teens get piercings already, FFS.

    Goldfish tattooing- Whatever an animal abuser does to animals should be done to them tenfold, no exceptions

  2. As far as im concerned any and all religion can fuck right off. I will fight against any person that tries to enforce their aggressively ignorant stance on me or anyone else in my presence.

    Religion in all forms has been a cancer on advancement for way too long.

  3. Being that Chris Hitchens has just died, I think anyone who wants a reasoned argument against religion should read his book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything”. Read and ponder it.

    Religion is a varied and interesting phenomenon. But when people live their lives according to its tenets, it inevitably becomes a twisted and vile thing. I choose not to have anything to do with it in my life, except to ridicule it.

  4. For a community that holds up ideals of acceptance and fighting stereotypes, I’ve gotta say, I’m disappointed in these comments. Yes, religion can be used a weapon of oppression, and is frequently abused by the power-hungry – but it can also be a force for good. Just because a person believes in something that may not make sense to you, it doesn’t mean they’re stupid or wrong.

  5. those are not gold fish, but parrot cichlids. a man made hybrid very popular within aquarium keeping, the tattoos are often applied with a lazer or injected with a hyperdermic needle. studdies have shown that the process is highly stressful and increased mortality are common. If the fish survives long enough the design starts to wear off over a period of months. Nature has plenty of beautiful fish on offer, why bother tortureing others?

  6. re: Dangerbitch, post-modernism holds that each person’s subjective reality is relatively valid. We live in a post-post-modern world and I think that needs to be revised. It’s not that religion doesn’t make sense to me; I can understand a warped world-view from the viewpoint of its holder just as I can view cultures other than my own in a relativist fashion. I rather enjoy the quotes of an atheist nature that sum up how we should look upon religion:

    “A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition.” – José Bergamín

    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen F. Roberts

    ”I prefer rationalism to atheism. The question of God and other objects-of-faith are outside reason and play no part in rationalism, thus you don’t have to waste your time in either attacking or defending.” – Isaac Asimov

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” – Steven Weinberg

    I could go on indefinitely, but I’ll end on one of the funnier quotes:

    “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” – Denis Diderot

    Hear hear!

  7. Jon, Christians and Catholics are not the same. For the record, my Christian mother – who is fine with gay people, other religions, isn’t racist and lives outside the kitchen – would find that billboard hilarious.

  8. > DangerBitch

    Did you just compare religion, which by definition is incredibly oppressive and directly against pretty much anything we do or stand for here, to open acceptance?

    If you want to think about it that way, then here: I will fight by your side for your right to have horns in your head or a bible in your hands. However, the second you begin using either of those as justification to deprive someone else of anything, you lose my support.

    You can believe in flying spaghetti monsters if you really want to, but don’t go proclaiming spaghetti to be the new national food that everyone is only allowed to eat because your god told you so.

  9. Believing in something other than what I do doesn’t make anyone involved stupid. But someone is most definitely wrong. Maybe it’s both of us. Probably. Point being, we can’t just baby the religious types by saying that nobody’s wrong or stupid. Fact is, someone is wrong and that makes them closer to stupid than smart. This is why absolute faith is a problem. Absolute conviction with no room for doubt tends to manifest ignorance and the unwillingness to compromise for the benefit of others.

    People should believe whatever naturally comes to them, within the limits of logic. Because in the end, we’re all probably wrong anyway. Just do what you do without hurting other people or curtailing their personal freedoms.

  10. re: 11, Dangerbitch… Catholics ARE Christians. I don’t know what your Americans believe, but the Catholic Church was the first institutional Christian church. Saying Catholics aren’t Christians is rather ludicrous.

  11. Jon P; It seems obvious that the meaning was to establish that Catholic dogma does not represent the sum of Christian thinking.

  12. @Jon P: You’ve got to remember, most of the Christians in the US are to some degree protestant. With Baptists, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, etc all branching off from the puritans. So when people say things like “Catholics and Christians aren’t the same thing”, they’re referring to Christians as those that stem from the branches that were created following the reformation. In fact if you go back in US history there’s a strong pattern of anti-Catholicism. Heck, when JFK ran for president it was a big deal that he was Catholic as there hadn’t been a Catholic president before him.

    The point being is that while Catholicism is one of the 3 branches of Christianity, it’s still different enough for people to think of them as separate from other Christians. Plus I’m pretty sure that if you went to Belfast and said Christians and Catholics are the same, someone would have words with you. And by words I mean they’d beat you senseless.

  13. As far as I’m concerned, if jesus is a centric figure in your beliefs, you’re a christian. All the different sects of christianity and every other religion(each of whom are confident in both their own righteousness & the heresy of every other sect) are just further proof that religion as a whole is a bunch of made-up nonsense. What’s wrong with reality? Yeesh.

  14. I discussed this with two Christians at work today, one a Protestant and the other a Catholic. Neither could believe that someone made the contention that Catholics and Christians differ. In fact, the Protestant (a Presbyterian) said, “It was an American that said that, right? Probably a Born-again?” To which I didn’t have an answer of course. It doesn’t matter that most of your US churches are variants of the Protestant off-shoots descended from the original settlers such as Wesleyans, etc. (‘A History of Christianity’ by Diarmaid MacCulloch has a brilliant chapter on this very issue) The ignorance displayed in separating Catholicism from the rest of Christianity is wrong, regardless of your special pleading otherwise.

    In Belfast and the rest of Ireland, the original ethnic tensions have evolved into religio-ethnic tensions. So its Protestants Vs. Catholics now where, if I remember correctly, it originally had more to do with British/Angle and Irish stock warring. I’m not well versed in Irish history before the 1916 Uprising and the subsequent Troubles, so don’t hold me to that. My uncle is from Northern Ireland and we discussed this, as well as discussions I had with my Political Anthropology lecturer who did his thesis on the IRA and did his fieldwork with them. I haven’t done nearly enough actual research to stand by what I’ve said immediately above.

    My uncle said I look Irish enough that if I went to some parts of Northern Ireland, they’d still ask, “Protestant or Catholic?”. My answer of “Atheist” would apparently hold no weight. They’d reply, “Protestant Atheist or Catholic Atheist?” and I’d still be in shit. :)

  15. Are people really arguing that Tattooing a fish is torture? We are talking about the scaly little creatures that we win at fairs and keep in a little glass bowl of water on our counter tops right?

  16. My gripe is just with a picture here placed in the article about the Canadian government and the modification community. I’ve been saying it for years. My problem is with Stalking Cat. That’s right, right? I totally get that he’s Native American and he wants to look like his spirit animal. Awesome, good for him, more power to him. Here’s the thing. If he’s native American, why is he a tiger? Tigers are not native to America, soooooo how does this make sense? This has driven me bananas since I heard of this guy.

  17. @meeeeeeeeow: I picked that one of the 3 they had in the story, just to give people an idea of how people think of heavy modifications. As if you’re either just pierced and tattooed, or you look like Stalking Cat, and nothing in between.

  18. Jon P, you need to talk to more than just your two coworkers. Plenty of non-Roman Catholics believe that RCs aren’t Christians, plenty of RCs believe that they’re the ONLY Christians. Or look into the whole “Mormons aren’t Christians” thing, which resurfaces every time Mitt Romney runs for President.

  19. @Rob, I know, my gripe has nothing to do with you, or him, not even really a gripe, just something that has bothered me. I’m very much “to each their own” so I really don’t care either way, seriously not trying to make drama where unnecessary, just curious as to whether anyone had an idea about this *:)

  20. If you are arguing facts, Catholics are Christians, but Christians are not neccessarily Catholics. Each religion believes that it is correct, this arguement will go on forever for this reason. We should all be open minded enough to consider each persons opinion, research the FACTS and come to our own conclusions. If we are going to argue it should be supporting with facts.

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