Modblog News: Super-sized Summer Edition

Modblog news is back after a short summer hiatus.  This week’s news is jam packed with stories, so expect it to be a bit bigger than a normal news week.

To start this extra-large edition we’ve got a story about a Modblog regular, IAM: Jessestar.  As many Modblog readers will know, Jesse is no stranger to having his name appear here.  This week, unfortunately, the news is not mod related at all.  First, take a look at the story that was printed in the local paper the day the story broke.

A Tulsa man has bonded out of jail after he was arrested early Wednesday morning on a complaint of assault with a dangerous weapon.

Reading the article you’ll find just the facts of the case.  There is no mention, other than the picture, that would indicate Jesse is modified in any way shape or form.  This is what we like to call “good journalism”.  To those of you who have heard the news already, you probably saw the article on The Smoking Gun, or possibly one of the tabloid articles.


Police arrested oddball Jesse Thornhill who has a pair of HORNS implanted in his forehead.  The 28-year-old looks like a demon with his tattooed eyebrows and lengthened ear lobes.  He also has a line of silver studs running down the middle of the skull.  According to the arrest sheet which was later posted online, Thornhill, a heavy metal fan, had “horns, neck tattoos, implant ear rings on head”.

With the exception of Jesse’s hometown, every other news article online is focusing entirely on his modification.  To them it would seem that someone as heavily modified as Jesse, would naturally be a criminal.  The media circus around the case is further reinforcing the very false stereotype that modified individuals are the riffraff of society, and should be locked up.  I do want to add that I have no comment on Jesse’s case as it really has nothing to do with him being modified, and I hope the comments section will keep this in mind when discussing this story.  As for the media focusing on his modifications as “evil”, those are the people who you should be upset with.  (A quick thanks to all the people who submitted this story over the past couple of days, it’s submissions like yours that help make the Modblog news exist).

Now then, put your feet up, grab a cold drink and settle in.  This week’s news is just getting started.

In keeping with the theme of “the regular media is clueless when it comes to modifications”, we have a story from CBS news about a wide variety of modifications.

“For some it represents beauty, spiritual exploration – a modern primitive rite of passage. Others view it as disfigurement plain and simple, and some doctors suspect that it’s a possible symptom of a mental disorder.”

You read that right.  If you go out and get modded, then you may have a mental disorder.  While the initial story seems to side with the modified community, when you get into the gallery, the comments quickly shift to opinions chastising those who suspend, get scarred, branded, pierced, etc.  Stories like these lead to actions by local governments to put controls on the industry (beyond safe practice rules).  For example, in Chatham NJ, tattoo studios are now subject to the same laws as strip clubs.  Instead of focusing on if the shops are clean, they’re more concerned with where the studios are located and the hours they’re open.

“Adult entertainment as well as tattoo and body piercing businesses are also subject to several specific conditions that they must satisfy. Among these conditions is the age limit. These establishments may cater only to persons 18 years of age and up, can operate only between the hours of 9 am to 9:30 pm and are not allowed to serve alcoholic beverages.”

Thankfully not all news outlets are as biased.  In Phoenix, AZ a number of tattoo studios have opened up over the past few years and while there is the normal concerns by citizens about zoning regulations, the paper is more concerned with making people aware that the studios want legislation ensuring safe practices.  Over in Pittsburgh, the Post-Gazette dedicated a story entirely to people sharing their experiences about their tattoos.  Who knows, maybe by next summer more people will come to realize that we’re all modded for our own reasons, not because we all have a mental disorder.

Now, seeing as how we’ve been talking a bit about permanent mods, I thought it would be a good idea to see what’s happening in the world on non-permanent mods.  With the popularity of tattoos increasing people are wanting to get tattooed earlier and earlier in life.  So what’s a parent to do?  Why not get your kids a henna tattoo?  Well it turns out, that they may not be as temporary as one would think.

“Legislation that would prevent the sale of temporary “henna” tattoos that contain a chemical found to cause scarring and other disfiguring skin injuries was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.  Many black or blue henna tattoos contain phelylendiamine (PPD), a chemical that can cause severe dermatitis, eye irritation and tearing, asthma, gastritis, renal failure, vertigo, tremors, convulsions and comas in humans, according to  Assemblyman Paul Moriarty — one of the bill’s sponsors.”

Well, at least we can’t die from those lick and stick tattoos.  Right?

Of course the ban on some henna products could just be the result of some paranoid tin-foil wearing hat legislator, but I doubt it.  When it comes to the real conspiracy nuts, congresswoman Sue Myrick has an interesting theory when it comes to prison tattoos.

“The congresswoman’s evidence for this intricate plot is that some prisoners in California have tattoos that say “Hezbollah,” and other tatts written in Farsi, which, of course, is the language spoken in Iran.”

Is it just me, or does that seem like a lot of work just to end up in prison.  I mean, they’re traveling to Venezuela, learning Spanish, crossing the border into the US, then getting arrested so they can get a prison tattoo in Farsi.  You’d think that they could find a tattoo shop along the way that could do the job for them.

Of course, that’s assuming the congresswoman is right.  And if she is, well that is just one really dumb plan.  Actually, this summer is shaping up for a lot of really dumb plans.  Meet Geoffrey Ewart.  This young man got into a bar brawl several months ago.  When the police came to his door he claimed to be somewhere else celebrating his 21st birthday.  When asked for proof, Ewart provided officers with some pictures of him blowing out the candles on his cake in a dated photograph.  That’s when things got interesting.

Geoffrey Ewart“But detectives dug into his alibi and learned the pub in question had undergone a refurbishment – after the date of the street fight in Middlesbrough.   Ewart was also pictured sporting a tattoo on his arm – again added since the brawl.”

So a word of advice to everyone.  If you commit a crime and try to fake an alibi, make sure you don’t get a tattoo after you commit the crime then claim you’ve had it longer than you really have.

Speaking of dumb ideas, here’s one that unfortunately happens a lot more often than it should.  Police in Clover, SC have shut down a home based tattoo shop for tattooing children and operating without any sterilization equipment.

Finally in today’s list of dumb ideas, a police officer has been fired from his job for a mod-related stunt at a Christmas party.  I couldn’t find any pictures of the stunt in question, otherwise I would have turned this into a “Guess What?” article.

“A policeman who was sacked for opening a bottle of beer with his penis piercing – his ‘party trick’, apparently – is appealing to get his job back because he didn’t mean to offend anyone.  At his tribunal in Sydney, he claimed his colleagues had been ‘egging him on’ to expose himself and he went to the toilet to attach the bottle opener to his member.”

On the positive side, he has been offered a job with Puppetry of the Penis if he is unable to get his job back.

A few weeks ago I featured a number of stories that highlighted people’s dedication to things they love through their mods.  This week, we’ve got three more stories of people getting tattooed for the loves of their lives.  I realize this story is a few weeks old now, but it hasn’t been featured yet, and it is definitely something that should be.  When Kim Mordue’s son passed away after taking GHB at a club, the 50 year old mother was at a loss as to what to do.  After talking with her tattoo artist husband, she decided to mix his ashes into some tattoo ink and get a number of memorial tattoos done.

“Mrs Mordue said: ‘I’ve put Lloyd back where he started – he’s in my body again.  ‘As soon as I knew it was possible I wanted to have the ashes tattoos as a tribute to Lloyd.’  The designs across Mrs Mordue’s back show a cabala tree, an angel releasing a butterfly and a poem dedicated to her son.  Mrs Mordue said: ‘I spent a long time researching the tattoos – they and Lloyd will be with me for the rest of my life.”

As significant a tattoo this is to her, something creeps me out about the way she says “he’s in my body again”.  Maybe I’ve just watched Dead Alive too many times.

Now Katie O’Keefe doesn’t have anyone’s ashes tattooed into her skin, but she does have a commitment to the city she loves, Cleveland.  In this interview Katie talks about her thoughts on Cleveland, as well as the art she has on her dedicated to the city.  Josh Fleming on the other hand doesn’t sport any tattoos dedicated to a city, but he has gotten one dedicated to his favorite music festival.

“Fleming, 22, had the image of a Craven Country Jamboree wristband — like those issued to all attendees as access passes for the festival — tattooed on his right wrist in February.  The grey-coloured tattoo doesn’t represent the wristbands from any specific year, noted Fleming, who, including this year, has attended the festival six times, ever since the format switched back to country music.”

I wonder if anyone has a Woodstock ’94 bracelet tattooed on themselves.

While we’re on the subject of commitment, it seems that video game developer Electronic Arts has convinced someone to commit themselves to changing their entire exterior in honor of the launch of a new game.

On Monday 5th July, will go live as will community voting on the first stage of the activity: the identity of the Human Avatar. Throughout the weeks to follow, members of the public will be responsible for shaping the subject’s appearance, starting with the hairstyle and subsequently where they are pierced, where they are tattooed and finally what clothes they wear. No faking. The Human Avatar will be a real person undergoing a very real transformation.

The tattoo session video has just been posted, so the only voting left is for his clothing style.  I’m just glad the voters so far have enough sense not to make the poor guy dress like a juggalo.

With the human avatar project underway, it’s interesting to think that our civilization has come to a point where video game avatars are considered bad-ass if they have some form of modification.  While ours is a digital age, the idea of the warriors of a culture being tattooed/pierced is hardly a new concept.  Yes I realize it’s a flimsy analogy, but in western civilization the average person will never be engaged in some form of warfare, nor will they need to hunt for their food with only simple weapons.  Video games now provide people an outlet to do things they never would be able to do, and part of that is changing their appearance.  Of course elsewhere in the world, tattooing and piercing are still required rites of passage for many tribes around the world.  The process is slowly starting to fade away though, as this article from China shows, the native tribes of Taiwan have all but lost their tattooed rituals.

The Atayal tribe, who used to hunt and farm in the mountains of central and east Taiwan, had a custom of facial tattoos as rites of passage, identification, female beauty and pride for hundreds of years. Mostly the tattoos were on the forehead and cheeks. But, in the eyes of Taiwan’s dominant Han ethnic people, tattoos have long been symbols of barbarity.  ‘Atayal facial tattoos are not only designs, but a set of rituals and etiquettes. Today, our tribal structure has collapsed and facial tattoos have lost their original meanings and functions. I would not like to see the tattoos become superficial decorations.’”

Did someone say superficial?  I guess that means it’s time to wrap things up with the celebrity round-up.  Supposedly some reality TV show guy with a lot of kids got a tattoo with his girlfriend’s name spelled wrong, but because I was afraid of seeing a picture of his ex-wife I couldn’t be bothered to actually go to the links.  The ones I did go to sure didn’t disappoint.  Shockingly Angeline Jolie got another tattoo and somehow the world needed to come to a screeching halt to find out what it meant.  Lebron James seemed to make people angry with a tattoo recently.  Somehow people in the city that he moved away from for more money are upset that he has a tattoo that says “Loyalty“, and want it changed.

The final Harry Potter films have finished shooting and are coming to theaters in a few months.  If you remember, the actors from the Lord of the Rings trilogy all went out and got a commemorative tattoo for the time they spent together filming the Fellowship of the Rings.  I guess the sentiment rubbed off on one of the Harry Potter actors.

Tom Felton has revealed he tried to get the Harry Potter cast to have the boy wizard’s lightning bolt tattooed on their bottoms.  The 22-year-old – who plays Harry’s arch-enemy Draco Malfoy – has filmed the last scenes of the final movie, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, and wanted his fellow actors to have a lasting memento of their time on set.

And finally, in my favorite kind of story, you can now thank celebrities for giving everyone the idea to get Latin passages tattooed on their skin.  Heck, it’s not only tattoos either.  Kids with names that have Latin roots, and kids taking Latin in schools can all thank David Beckham and Angelina Jolie for starting this trend.

Well, that’s it for this week.  Unless I disappear into the wilderness again the news should be back to it’s regular weekly schedule.  I hope everyone is having a great summer!

28 thoughts on “Modblog News: Super-sized Summer Edition

  1. What’s the difference between cosmetic surgery and body modification? These “doctors” need a wake-up call. Great post, nonetheless.

  2. i don’t bother myself anymore about that sort of SH*T !!
    it’s a continous story about modified people being criminals cause we’re modified … let them think we are smarter and we know better , we know to shut up when we’re talking with 1 eyed brainless not modified , midleage pubers. ..

  3. So many mixed emotions about each article.
    Thanks for the great read that really got me thinking. (:

  4. I don’t think his mods should have anything to do with it, but Jesse *did* (allegedly) try to run over his landlord with a car. Which warrants a lot of those uneducated on body modifications (especially to his extent) to believe that his misguided priorities may be tied into his (obviously heavily) modified appearance…

  5. Homeboy looks innocent in that mugshot, at least innocent of trying to run over his landlord in a minivan. I mean really? Try to run over your landlord? He/she knows where you live, what your ss # is and can fuck your credit. Homeboy does not look that stupid or emotional.

  6. I wish there were more people with rational views of the world who commented here. But really what can someone expect?

    When you’re modified you have to try that much harder to prove you aren’t a degenerate shithead.
    Sadly, many in this community fall far far short from being positive community members.

    Not saying Jesse is a degenerate, I don’t know him personally. Saying that, I also manage to lead a fulfilling life as a modified person without getting arrested just fine. I don’t see why that’s so hard for so many others, that is, if they actually weren’t degenerates.

  7. PPD Black IS NOT HENNA. This gets posted here occasionally and every single time I can’t believe modblog hasn’t done their research here.

    Henna is a plant and it is safe to put on skin. PPD is HAIR DYE and is NOT safe to put on skin. People marketing PPD as henna are doing so because it is much cheaper, will dye skin darker, and works much faster. It is NOT henna in any way, shape, or form.

  8. Black henna is not henna. Maybe modblog should feature some REAL henna. Even if its not permanent, it is beautiful way to adorn your body.

  9. @Chlorine: It’s funny… because the link you posted also calls it Black Henna. Idiot. It’s not that people don’t do their research, it’s just what people call it. Also, whether or NOT it’s henna isn’t the issue. Feel free to do your research though.

  10. And do your research on what Black Henna is and why it’s called black henna before you comment about something like that champ. You really make yourself look dumb.

  11. Most of society today seems to judge everyone on looks, those who do not understand or want to learn about someone just because they see them as repulsive..simply are too afraid to truly live!

  12. @Chlorine: Regardless of the material being used, the article discusses a ban on that specific type of ink. The fact is, people are marketing it as a henna product, which has lead to the legislation banning the product. The article itself clearly states that it is targeting a specific chemical based product. If you want to be upset at someone, get mad at the people selling “henna tattoos” at a fair, but are using the chemical based ink.

  13. I’m appalled at the comments that were made about Jesse on the news site. Making fun of someone because of the modifications they have is cruel and mean-spirited. I hope he gets a fair trial, but if the nasty comments people made about him are an indication, he’s got a tough road ahead of him.

  14. The Jesse story is a perfect example of essentialism, he idea that he is his modifications and that his looks affect his behaviour in a certain pre-determined way is as stated before obviously stupid. but this is not the first time this has happened and it will continue to happen as long as there are differences in lifestyles.

    what other humans need to understand is that assholes (not to say that Jesse is an asshole, i do not know him so i will not comment on his actions) come in all shaoes and sizes and their actions are not based on how they look, but on other variables such as context.

    the true assholes are the ones not understanding that we are all human and should not be judged by our appearances.

  15. “As far as the incident involving his landlord, Thornhill says he did not try to run her over. In fact, he says they’ve actually been friends for 23 years. Thornhill says it was all a big misunderstanding that will be sorted out in court on August 2nd.”

    If anyone cared for an update, I thought this was terrible and read up on it. Got this from a page that had some of his input.

  16. If Jesse goes to trial, is found guilty of trying to run down his landlord, and is sentenced to jail/prison time, he might just lose those piercings, transdermals, and even the horn implants.

  17. @noisy: Why would he lose those mods? Reckon he’ll remove them himself or do you mean he’ll be forced to remove them for ‘prison safety’ or whatever silly reason?

  18. Is it just me, or does the septum piercing on the human avatar look a bit…off? I’m not sure what it is, maybe just the way it’s filmed, but something doesn’t seem quite right there.

  19. Hey, I’m fairly new to body mods…. I was wondering what the mods are on the sides of Jesse’s head. To me, they don’t look like scarification or branding. They just seem to be sunken in spots, almost like the marks left behind by laying your face on a patterned material or object for a long period of time. However, they seem much more defined and deeper.

  20. It’d be ‘prison safety’ rules if it happens. Maybe the rationale would be they could be removed (by him or other inmates) to be used for lockpicks or worse. Or saying they’d be removed for his own safety in case an inmate smashes his head into a wall “because they think he looks like a freak.” Though I doubt the official rationale would use the word “freak.”

  21. Pingback: BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News » ModBlog » He’s a free man

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