Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.
- Euripides (circa 407 BC)
In the course of running BME, I deal with a lot of idiots. A lot. You’ve seen some of their comments to me in the “funmail” postings I’ve written both here and on IAM (see the quick-links on the right). However, most of those people are “full time idiots” who I doubt anyone takes particularly seriously — they say stupid stuff to BME because they say stupid stuff to everyone. So, the columns are fun to write and read, but are not exposing a particularly pressing social problem.
However, there is another class of idiots that we have to deal with — “professional idiots” — people who have expert or authority status (doctors, journalists, politicians, and so), and use this status to make idiotic statements about body modification which are then taken as truth by the uninformed masses. I’d like to take a look at two of these people today, and hopefully revisit this subject in the future.
Time to start holding some people accountable for their statements!
Dr. David Horobin is an idiot.
Dr. Horobin, an orthodontist in Kent, UK, has recently started refusing service to those with oral or facial piercings, which he calls “ugly and mutilating devices” on his website — which was recently awarded “website of the month” by The Dentist, a UK dental journal. Clinic policy is to have his staff make the following sort of announcement to any customers who show up with a piercing:
“Dr. Horobin does not see patients who have piercings or show signs of recently having had them (ie. even if the jewelry has been removed). This being the case, we regret that you will not be seen today. If you wish to be seen in the future, you will need to return when, and only when, your piercings have been removed and fully healed. You will not receive an orthodontic consultation while this problem persists.”
If existing clients get piercings (what Horobin calls a “foolish and misguided habit”) they are told to remove them if they want to stay clients. Horobin says that “some previously pierced patients have reformed”, but does admit that some “probably unsuitable individuals” are no longer coming to him for dental services.
“Regrettably, oral and facial piercings, ugly and mutilating devices, has become an occasional problem. [Piercing is a] foolish and misguided habit.”
- Dr. David Horobin
First let me say that as a private business owner, Horobin certainly has the right to decline service to anyone for any reason (the fact that this is may directly conflict with his oath as a doctor is a separate issue). It’s his business and he can run it like a bigot if he wants to. If he wants to have his staff inform every black or Jew that they can’t have service either, or ban every person with acne, or that drove a blue car, or any number of other things he doesn’t like, fine. However we must realize that this is simply illustrating one important thing: Dr. Horobin is such a hateful idiot that he can’t think straight.
That’s right — his hatred of other people making different decisions than him is so extreme that it overwhelms both his sense of logic and his sense of medical ethics. Horobin lists three reasons on his website for taking this drastic action — and keep in mind that most anti-piercing dentists simply counsel their patients about the risks, rather than deny them healthcare:
“cross infection control”
Unless Horobin is saying that he’s so dirty that he’s going to going to damage and infect your piercings, I’m not sure what the point is. “Cross” infection is about microbes being transferred from one person to another, usually using intermediary surfaces. So this isn’t about the piercing putting at risk the dental procedure, or vice-versa — this is literally a statement of either Horobin’s shocking lack of knowledge regarding contamination control, or it’s a comment on the cleanliness level in his clinic.
“danger of catching them with instruments”
What, is Horobin advertising his incompetence? Does he not have basic manual dexterity? If an eyebrow piercing makes it impossible for him to work, I’d hate to think what braces or other dental gear would do. I don’t think my dentist has ever even needed me to take off my glasses! I simply can not see how this would be a legitimate risk to a proficient dentist — keep in mind we’re talking about a blanket ban, not a case-by-case.
“danger of severe infections”
Of the millions of tongue piercings that have ever been done, there have been less than five documented cases of severe infections that I can think of. Can dentistry claim a comparably low complication rate? Additionally, someone is about a million times more likely to be killed in a car crash on the way to the dentist than they are because of a dental complication aggravated by the piercing. Although when you take the first two points into consideration, perhaps the odds are much higher at Horobin’s clinic?
I submit that unless Dr. Horobin can back up these statements with some factual data that he is using his medical degree to mislead and commit fraud because he’s so filled with hate and ignorance. They say you can learn a lot about a person by the way they treat others… From seeing the bile that spews from Horobin (“hatred with a smile”), I don’t think I’d want to have him or his associates work on me whether I was pierced or not!
You can find Dr. Horobin’s guide to clients with piercings archived here. You can access his main website at bexleyortho.co.uk.
David Kupelian is an idiot.
David Kupelian is the managing editor of Whistleblower magazine and Pat Buchanan’s WorldNetDaily. Normally I wouldn’t bother to even comment on such obvious xenophobic nut-cases, but in the conclusion of the recent feature article “The Marketing of Evil”, BME is quoted — and ridiculed — at length so I thought it deserved a comment or two.
“Some people find these [amputation and tongue splitting] a real ‘turn-on.’ There are no bounds — no lower limits. Whatever you can imagine, even for a second in the darkest recesses of your mind, know that someone somewhere is actually doing it, praising it, and drawing others into it via the Internet.
“Strangest of all is the fact that any behavior, any belief — no matter how obviously insane — is rationalized so it sounds reasonable, even spiritual. In literally any other context, hanging by your skin from hooks would be considered a gruesome torture. Or how about tongue splitting — literally making yourself look like a human lizard — how could that be a positive, spiritual experience?
“Here’s one more experience I’ll bet you didn’t realize was so uplifting — getting AIDS.”
- David Kupelian
Kupelian’s core premise is interesting — that corporations are putting marketing above our spiritual needs, and that our spiritual lives suffer as a species because of it. There’s undeniable truth in that, but where Kupelian spins off course is when, like Horobin, he tries to use this premise to justify his personal hatreds and fears — body modification so clearly does not fit his core hypothesis that even he can’t do much more than shout “gross!” and move on.
Kupelian’s strategy is to hide his hatred in the reader — he makes statements (in-jokes almost) that “assume” that the reader agrees that there’s something wrong with body modification or ritual — that it’s normal and healthy to be a bigot in this arena. He begins with a short homophobic comment, writing,
What about body piercing? It has progressed from traditional earrings for females, to earrings for males, eager to display their “feminine side” which the ’60 cultural revolution sold them.
He still believes that this is all the fault of the “queers” I suppose. He goes on to talk about how this has escalated to extremes, listing terms that he’s obviously just copied verbatim from the BME/extreme index pages (since they’re not really used anywhere else online — when I typed the terms into Google they only returned Kupelian’s article and BME). Like most people that smile while they insult you, he likes snide quotation-marks a lot,
…some people find these activities a real “turn-on.”…
and follows it up by using imagery to let you know that if you don’t believe his spiel about piercing being gay, maybe you’ll at least accept that it’s Satanic.
There are no bounds — no lower limits. Whatever you can imagine, even for a second in the darkest recesses of your mind, know that someone somewhere is actually doing it, praising it, and drawing others into it via the Internet.
Even though body piercing has historically (and in modern times) been embraced by all demographics, Kupelian calls it “obviously insane” and, to counter claims that suspension is a potentially spiritual act, he points out that even Satanism (and thus suspension) can sound “almost enlightened if you were sufficiently confused and full of rage, if you had been set up by cruelty or hypocrisy (or both) to rebel against everything ‘good’.” Yeah, we got it buddy — those involved in suspension are lunatics under Lucifer’s control.
Kupelian then calls suspension a “gruesome torture” and quotes the suspension FAQ’s section on why, summarizing,
Gosh — “control over their body,” “discover a deeper sense of themselves,” “conquering ones fears,” “trying to reach a new level spiritual consciousness.” What could be wrong with that?
Yeah, what is wrong with that? Sounds good to me.
Kupelian, showing that he’s either a coward or an idiot, simply moves on, assuming that in the absence of an answer his readers will assume the same hateful posture as him. So he hits them with tongue splitting, again quoting BME’s why section:
“The tongue,” explains the BME website, “is one of the most immense nervous structures in your body. We have incredibly fine control over it and we receive massive feedback from it. When you dramatically alter its structure and free yourself of the physical boundaries your biology imposes, in some people it triggers a larger freeing on a spiritual level.”
Um… Sounds good to me?
Again, instead of offering some sort of reasoning as to why he believes my statements are incorrect, he simply moves off the subject altogether, writing,
Here’s one more experience I’ll bet you didn’t realize was so uplifting — getting AIDS.
After this truly moronic outburst he segways into “bug chasers”, presumably suggesting that getting an eyebrow ring eventually leads to suicide, just like smoking marijuana turns you into a crack-head. The only people he eventually holds up as “better angels” are the Boy Scouts — an organization known for its homophobia — one that many have accused of upholding the slogan better off dead than queer. But I digress! (And before anyone makes a “but child molesting priests are the minority”-type argument, let me just point out that they’re still hundreds of times more common than serious injuries from body piercing).
The problem with fools like Kupelian is that they don’t offer up any intelligent debate on the subject. They attempt to use body modification as a shock tactic to punctate and mask their hatred, but more importantly they write as if their prejudices are the status quo. They use them to unquestioningly surround their other text with an environment of bigotry, without illumination, encouraging readers to ignorantly uphold the wrongs of the past.
If you haven’t already read the article, you can click here to do so now.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that and found it a little fun… Although I hope if your name is David Horobin or David Kupelian, you realize at least a bit what a hateful little moron you are, and I hope you realize that we all can see it and aren’t going to let you keep parading it without being outed. I’m not going to stop you from being a dunce — that’s your right — but I will make sure you have a nice big dunce cap to wear for everyone to see. You may not like what we do, but that doesn’t give you the right to abuse your position by trying to mislead the public about our beliefs and culture.
Stay tuned; there will be more of these.
PS. Readers that want to write analogous articles are encouraged to do so; submit them via the BME experience engine as editorials please.