What can pierced people do
for the mutants of the future?
Tori Swanson, 12, wanted a nostril piercing. Her parents both supported her in this wish, and, wanting to ensure that it was a safe and positive experience,
Her father took her to a professional studio where he signed the release forms and she was pierced. However, when she returned to Jim C. Bailey Middle School in Pensacola, Florida, the principal, Dr. Judy F. Pippen, suspended her and told her she would stay suspended as long as the jewelry was in her face. The school argued that Tori’s nostril piercing was so destructive to the other students’ ability to learn that they had no choice but to expel her.
It took a bit of bouncing around — no one wanted to take responsibility for the act or even explain it at first — but eventually I managed to talk to Norm Ross at the superintendent’s office who confirmed the story’s veracity (I’ve put various contact addresses in the above/right sidebar if you’d like to comment after you’ve read this).
I may have been comparing apples and oranges, but I wasn’t “reaching”. Suggesting that one student becoming so mentally unfocused that they are unable to learn around a student with a nose piercing is the pierced student’s fault is ludicrous. Of course, when the victim is a minority, even a self-imposed minority, they are often changed from victim to culprit when the mainstream is the one telling the story. Norm Ross then switched the subject, asking me, “You know, if you really want the real story, you should talk to Tori. She doesn’t even want this piercing.”
It was very odd, actually, but I tried to imagine how my own thinking would be if I was utterly unable to wrap my head around the idea of piercing as a good thing… If you thought of it that way, I suppose banning it would become a non-issue, and attempts to protect it would seem quite bizarre. Ross was quite clear that he considered this the fault of the parents and the student.
This continued briefly in a circular fashion. I assume Ross simply didn’t know, rather than it being a conspiracy. I figured it was best to move on.
This conversation was going nowhere. It took a surprising amount of hounding — there was a lot of “this is a closed process” type stalling — but eventually it was revealed that meetings are currently being held by Dr. Allen Scott, the director of secondary education, and those will be continuing over the next week or two. As to this year’s policy and the fate of Tori? It’s not up for debate according to Ross. The rules, he claims, will stay as is, and Tori is not welcome at that school as long as she’s wearing jewelry in her nose.
Let’s be clear about some things. Tori’s nostril piercing has not harmed her. Her parents support it, and she wants it (or at least wanted it). It’s not hurting anyone else, and any fool knows that a nostril piercing is a distraction so minor that a student that can’t behave around it is a problem student with or without proximity to body jewelry. Let’s also be clear about the damage it does to a child to be told that who you are is so vile that you don’t deserve an education (and then having to live without an education if they stand up for themselves) — not many people are strong enough to survive something like that. This is about people being told what to think and who to be, not about protecting the student or the education process.
Jim Paul, Norm Ross, Judy F. Pippen, and the rest of the school board bigots around Pensacola, Florida are making one simple statement when you remove all the bullshit mumbly justifications:
“If you have a piercing, we will try and destroy you.”
People say I’m nuts, that I overreact to stuff like this. That it’s not a big deal — after all, “life isn’t fair”. But how am I over reacting? Tolerating injustice as normal seems a worse crime than overreacting. The simple truth is that young people are being told that they have no right to take part in society on any level if they choose even the most minor forms of self-expression. This is dangerous.
Let me tell you a spin-off story as to why. It’s fun and it gives me an excuse to include mutants in an otherwise repetitive article.
Evolution, in simple terms, works on “punctuated equilibrium”. What that means is that everything stays the same for a long time, and then — BOOM! — all of a sudden you’ve got a whole bunch of new species in a short time period. When we talk about this evolution, it’s also important to note that it starts with a single lifeform. Evolution doesn’t happen en masse. It happens with a single animal first. If the mutation is successfully passed on, that animal will increase its population (from one animal to three or four animals) as it has children. Because this snowballs every generation, a single successful mutation can spread from one animal to the entire planet’s population over several hundred years.
If and when humans evolve into something more than human, it will happen in the same way — with a single person. One day, one person will be born the One*.
The one who is not homo sapiens sapiens, but homo sapiens superioris. Problem is, we’ve so removed the concept of only the strong and interesting surviving that when this biological Messiah is born, they’ll probably be kicked out of school and die in a gutter because we’ve set such a strong “punish difference” foundation for ourselves.
All biological improvement on this planet has come from those who are freaks. Normal lifeforms contribute little to progress (in fact, when you look at the big picture “normal” and “will become extinct” are synonyms). Only the modified can bring humanity to the future by engendering a culture that equates change with goodness. Morphological freedom is the most important right for us to defend in the 21st century. Be More.
And there you have it. By supporting Tori Swanson’s right to have a little piece of metal in her nose, in a very small but important way you are helping ensure that humans will become super-humans, rather than staying the pigs we are, wallowing in the slop pile of the mundane. It doesn’t mean that a person with tattoos will be superhuman — that’s silly of course — what it means is that by being less physically constrained in your definition of “what a good human is” you help build a much-needed foundation. It sounds nuts, but the taller a skyscraper you want to build, the bigger a foundation you need to put in place.
I think humans can build a very tall skyscraper if they’re allowed to.
PS. Yes, I realize I’ve just described the modified as a cult of people waiting for a living god to be born. Sorry about that. Have a sense of humor about it please.
Next column: The application of tattoos in modern magic (sorry I’ve been slow on that one, I’ll try and get it posted by the end of the week).