Modblog news of the week: May 31st 2010

Well, June is just around the corner but there’s just enough time for one last news post before the end of May.  I want to start by giving a big thank you to this week’s news submitters:  ArtieKGB, Botexty, piratevicious, and nexizydrate.  The more stories people submit in, the better a job I can do to bring these stories to our Modblog readers.

With last week being a banner week for negative stories in the news, I thought it would be good to take a week and focus on some of the less violent stories that made the news.

To start, we have a marine stationed in Afghanistan who decided to get a tattoo of “the hottest cougar in the Republican party“.


“On the way back, I decided I wanted to get a tattoo that reminded me of Alaska, because we really had a good time,” said Lepping, currently attached to India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. “I decided, ‘What could be better than getting a tattoo of the hottest cougar in the Republican Party?’”

Tigers, taxes, tattoos and Texas are all still ahead, so keep reading!

I want to you think back to the last time you were in a tattoo studio.  Think of the decor, how did the studio look?  Were there pictures of flash on the wall?  Maybe paintings by the artists.  Possibly trophies on a shelf from conventions long past.  What about the four full grown tigers in cages?  No?  Well if you had visited a studio in Gary, Indiana recently you may have had the chance.

“Federal agents seized four tigers from a tattoo artist who kept the animals in pens at his business, saying the big cats were being mistreated.  Last month, though, inspectors said one tiger’s perimeter fence was in disrepair and three tigers were in poor health.  ‘One is excessively thin with hip bones showing,’ inspectors wrote. ‘The three tigers housed indoors all have hair loss and areas of irritation.’”

Now I don’t know if the tigers were being used as some form of business display, or whether the guy keeping them just wanted them close by, but what I do know is that he probably won’t be doing any PETA tattoos in the near future.

If those tigers were being used as some form of promotion, I wonder what the artist will do now that his source of advertising has been taken away.  If he is anything like Tasha Nilsen, the owner of Independent Tattoo in Ocean City, Maryland, a little thing like that won’t be a problem.

“The employees at the shop were discouraged when Ocean City refused to run their ad – featuring the company’s name and phone number, a pink flower and stylized swirls – because officials said they did not feel a tattoo shop was the right kind of company to promote in a family resort.  The Selbyville tattoo business has turned the ad they wished to run on the bus into large magnets that employees and supporters have stuck to their cars.”

So while the city buses might not have the ad, more and more people are getting the magnets and driving around.  In the end, I think not getting the bus ad may have helped them more.

This week was big week in Modblog news for Texas.  First, the government of Texas is looking to impose a sales tax on tattoo work done in-state.  While the story focuses on other aspects of the proposed changes, Texas Modblog readers may want to make their bookings for appointments soon if they want to get in before the new taxes take effect.  While the tax rules are being looked at, over in Arlington a mother of three was denied entry to Six Flags because her tattoos violated the park’s dress code.

“Samantha Osborn, a Texas girl through-and-through, has two six-shooters surrounded by yellow roses tattooed on her chest.  ‘We tried to enter, one employee grabbed me and said my chest tattoo was offensive and that I may not be allowed into the park,’ Osborn said.  ‘I was flabbergasted.’  ‘She said it was as offensive as a swastika and that she would sell me a $5 shirt to cover myself up and that they didn’t let people with swastikas into Six Flags, and that my tattoo condoned violence’.

They eventually were able to get into the park through a different entrance and Six Flags did e-mail them an apology, but with summer here we can probably expect to hear more stories like this as self-righteous theme park attendants try to impose their thoughts on modified people.

An interesting followup to this story is that several days later a professional body piercer went to the park, and with the assistance of the staff, set the Guinness record for the most hugs given out in one day.  I wonder if his modifications would have been considered as offensive as a swastika if he had tried to enter the park on a different day?

Now I normally end the week’s recap with a couple of fluff pieces about celebrities.  This week I thought I’d change things up and look at some stories that made it to the mainstream news this week about modified people and the positive things their modifications have brought about in their lives.

First we have Julia Gnuse, who many people know as the Guinness record holder for “Most Tattooed Woman”.  What many people don’t know about her is that she originally started getting tattooed because of a rare skin condition.

“The Californian woman started tattooing her legs after developing porphyria, a condition which causes her skin to blister when exposed to the sun.  The tattoos do not prevent her skin from blistering but they do prevent the scarring caused by the blisters from becoming visible.”

So when she was presented with the option to take medication that may leave her blind, or start getting ink, she opted for the colourful option. (Yes, like Jen, I too am Canadian).

This article from India poses some interesting questions with regards to both the younger generation getting tattooed with religious symbols, as well as the traditional ritual tattoos done by some of the remote cultures in the country.

An Oakland Tribune columnist got in hot water earlier in the month when he described tattoos as making a person look like a freak.  Well it turns out the photo attached to his editorial was of a husband tattooing the image of his daughter onto his wife’s back.  Sure enough, the couple wasn’t pleased with becoming his poster children for “tattooed freaks”.

When Tanya saw the column and photo, she broke down in tears, then e-mailed me, pointing out that ‘what’s on my skin does not make me a freak.’ ‘I try to do the right thing every day, to promote positives,’ said Tanya, 34. ‘I’m a mom, a wife, and a nurse at Nightingale Nursing, which sends me out to people’s homes, mostly elders, to take care of them.’

While they made not have changed the mind of the columnist, they did make enough of an impact for him to write out a second piece showing that just because someone is tattooed, it doesn’t make the a freak.

So that’s it for this week.  On a personal note, I’ll be leaving this week for a summer road trip across the US and Canada.  So while the news may not be up on the same day each week, it will get posted.  I’ll be visiting lots of BME folks, so I’m sure I’ll come across some great local stories to share while I’m on the road.

And remember, June is National LBGT Pride Month in the US, so I expect the next four weeks to be fabulous!

15 thoughts on “Modblog news of the week: May 31st 2010

  1. Yay another canadian!!

    I always figured all of you guys to be American lol… Guess I was wrong!

  2. Getting tattooed to cover skin conditions should be covered by health insurance. Tattoos are much safer, cheaper, and effective than most medical treatments.

  3. why should it be covered by health insurance? it’s not a treatment, it’s a cosmetic procedure to cover scarring.

  4. independent tattoo is an awesome shop, great group of people. im glad to hear they figured out a way to advertise. ill get one of those awesome magnets next time i head down OC

  5. Tattoos are wonderful, but when will we see an update of the non-tattoo sections of BME? Surely someone has contributed something for those sections.

    I’m not sure why anyone would have that particular personality from Alaska tattooed on themselves. They’re going to look silly a few years from now if she fades from the limelight.

  6. Losethem: I’d love to include more non-tattoo news stories. I do a search for them every day, but tattoos seem to dominate the news. If you come across any story, please submit it to the link at the top of the news.

  7. I did notice some things are getting updated in the members section on the main site. Admittedly, I do need to do a better job of separating ModBlog from the main body of the site. *blush* I do find the Tattoo and other stories interesting, just seems to be a lot of them. Perhaps I could contribute something for you from the other side?

  8. fwiw, this isn’t the first time Roy Boy has had tigers removed from his shop.

  9. Although I have no respect for Palin and think she’s a walking joke, I will admit that she’s not bad looking. However, that tattoo looks like an insulting caricature – it wouldn’t be recognizable as her (to me at least) without the photo of her next to it!

  10. When I read about the Six Flags incident on another blog, I was absolutely stunned that someone would compare this woman’s tattoos to being as offensive as a swazi. [Which we all know is worn as a symbol of peace as much as a symbol of hate.]

    There are likely hundreds of people out there with at least one tattoo someone else can find offensive. Are they all expected to ‘cover up’? Telling society what they can and cannot do never works, so I am interested to see if this becomes a trend.

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