ModBlog News of the Week: April 8th, 2011

It’s time again for the news of the week.  I’ve got good news to share before I get into the stories, there are NO celebrity stories this week!  Seriously.  I know that this may be devastating to some of you, but I hope that you can pull through the disappointment and enjoy the rest of the news.  A big thanks to those who sent in stories this week, Egan, Botexty, Nexizydrate, and xrayspex.  If you find a story in the news that is related to body modification in any way, just click here to send me the link.

Well, to get things started is a news story that popped up in the past day.  I’m sure you may have already seen it already, but for those who haven’t it’s kind of a big deal.  Basically ABC news ran a shock and awe piece on ear pointing.  While they took the time to interview Steve Haworth, they spent more time mocking him and those who get the procedure done then reporting anything substantial.

The photos are pointedly striking – young adults who have intentionally cut their ears to appear like those of elves or Star Trek’s Mr. Spock.  The surgery is painful and irreversible. It’s one body modification change, unlike a tattoo or a piercing, that you can’t take back.  The unique and delicate procedure can leave you looking like one of Santa’s elves. Numerous photos online show aficionados who appear to be thrilled with the results.

But doctors “GMA” talked to warn that sculpting cartilage is dangerous.  “The real risks are one – major deformity of the ear, which is very easy to have happen and two, infection of the ear,” said Dr. Arthur W. Perry, author of “Straight Talk About Cosmetic Surgery.” “And if infection occurs, it can destroy the ear within days.”  “It’s very difficult and often it’s not possible to fully reconstruct a nice-looking ear,” he said.

I love how they constantly claim that it’s “kids” and “teenagers” as the only ones doing it, oh and how Steve “calls himself a body modification artist”, as if it’s not a real thing.  This story is only going to accomplish two things, expand the popularity of the procedure, as well as possibly bringing negative attention to Steve and other artists.

There’s more to come, so grab a cup of tea and pull up a chair.

We’ve got another story from ABC news this week, this one about a man who got so drunk he didn’t realize he tattooed his 3 year old son’s shoulder with “DB”, for Daddy’s Boy.

Eugene “Stonner” Ashley, 26, pleaded guilty Monday to giving his 3-year-old son a tattoo on his shoulder in 2009 that said “DB” — short for “Daddy’s Boy.” Ashley pleaded guilty before the case could be heard by a jury.    George Hawkins, the boy’s uncle, has custody of the now 5-year-old child.  “He’s doing good. He’s got his problems with losing his family,” Hawkins said.  Eugene Ashley is not allowed to see the child and the boy’s mother, Amy Ashley, struggles with drug addiction and also lost custody, Hawkins said.

Eugene Ashley told police that he was drunk and didn’t remember tattooing the letters, WSBTV reported.  The little boy still remembers getting the tattoo, Hawkins said.  When asked if the tattoo hurt, the boy says “a little bit,” according to Hawkins

Of course the question arises, what else has dad been doing while blackout drunk?

Getting the news every week constantly reminds me how many negative stereotypes the news attributes to the body modification world.  But every once in a while a story comes along from a well known news source that doesn’t apply any negative bias to the story.  Take this article about suspension from where they interview Vancouver’s Russ Foxx.

Body suspension originates from ancient Native American and Hindu cultures. Suspension experts who maintain write that the practice has been going on for thousands of years as rites of passages, healing rituals and as a means of leaving the body and entering the spiritual realm.  Those who have never tried it often don’t understand the appeal, and though each individual suspends for various reasons, Foxx gets a lot of people suspending for the sheer adrenaline rush.

The body undergoes several stages of pain between preparation and suspension, said Dr. Sekhar Upadhyayula, a pain medicine specialist.   There’s a certain amount of residual pain taking place after the hooks have been inserted into the skin, Upadhyayula said, along with a quick burst of adrenaline. But as soon as there’s traction applied, the nerve endings in the skin’s stretch receptors respond, adding another burst of pain.   “Then what we expect to happen chemically…is a secondary release of endorphins,” Upadhyayula said. “(This lasts) a lot longer than the pain and that’s the sensation that they’re looking for. That’s when they get the euphoric effect.”

Granted they did file it under “Odd News”, but it’s better than having the reporter claim that the people suspending are crazy.

Now while this doesn’t exactly fall under the normal umbrella of what the news post covers, it did take place in a tattoo studio, and it was just too incredible not to share.

According to Orlando police, Gay entered Ace’s Tattoo Shop and the tattoo artist told him to look through some books while he finished with a customer, CBS affiliate WKMG reports.  While the artist was giving the customer a tattoo, Gay came around a corner holding a long sword in one hand and a guitar in the other and struck the artist in his shoulder with the sword and hit him in the back of his head with the guitar, according to an arrest affidavit.  Gay said he was going to kill the two men and went after the customer, who was getting a tattoo on his chest, the affidavit said. The customer then jumped off a table and defended himself, the affidavit said.  As the fight continued, the customer picked up a glass table top and hit Gay over the head, cutting him badly, the arrest affidavit stated.

If they didn’t have a mugshot, I would swear that they ripped this story from an action movie, or possibly a wrestling storyline.

Moving forward, Hispanically Speaking News sat down with María José Cristerna to talk about her wide assortment of modifications, including tattoos, implants, piercings, and fangs.

Her body, tells her story. Every tattoo, piercing and modification tells a part of her story, of the things she did and changed to provide for her four children.  Using her body as a canvas, and her voice to reach other mistreated women and empower them to not take abuse from anyone, Maria José is certainly an example of persistence, overcoming adversity and courage.

Despite her frightening appearance and her turbulent life story, María José sees herself as a normal person.  “I am a normal stay at home mom, a woman also dedicated to tattooing, body art, I do suspension shows, but at the same time I try to help and empower other women who have been abused, because I come from domestic abuse”  she says.

Again, a positive story with no negative slant.  Who knows, maybe the world is finally calming down a little.  Well, at least towards the modified community.

Last week we saw a story about how Ecko is offering a discount of 20% off everything they sell for life if you have an Ecko tattoo.  Well because the story came out on April 1st, a lot of people were suspicious.  It turns out that it wasn’t a prank at all, and Ecko is standing by their announcement, even releasing photos of people who have gotten their tattoos already.

Because of the timing, some people (including us) wondered whether Ecko’s widely publicized deal where customers can receive a 20% discount for life by having the company logo tattooed on their bodies was an April Fool’s prank. Marc Ecko Enterprises reached out to media outlets to assure us that no, it is not, and sent along some photos to prove their point.

I suppose if you really love Ecko, this is great news for you.

Ecko isn’t the only company getting into the tattoo business.  A UK man loves his Tetley Tea so much, he got those lovable tea guys tattooed on his back.

Andrew Blamires, from, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, already has one of the Tetley tea folk tattooed on his arm.  But now work has begun on a tattoo featuring all seven of the famous cartoon characters.  He said: “I had been thinking for years about getting a tattoo on my back and I thought I might as well have my favourite characters on there.”  With a nickname of “Tetley”, Mr Blamires, who reckons he drinks at least 10 mugs of his favourite brew a day, said his latest tattoo was a logical step.  The father-of-three said: “I do drink a lot of tea and I already have two tattoos of ‘The Gaffer’ on my arm.”

Anand Gandesha, marketing manager for Tetley tea, said: “We have some major tea fans working here but certainly no-one who is willing to tattoo themselves in honour of the tea folk.  “Andrew is simply one of Britain’s undisputed tea fans who has gone the extra mile to show his admiration of the tea folk is definitely skin deep.”

So that’s all there is for this week.  Have yourselves a great weekend, and if you happen to be in the Baltimore area this weekend, stop by the Baltimore Tattoo Arts Convention.

33 thoughts on “ModBlog News of the Week: April 8th, 2011

  1. Hey maybe we should be more accepting of peoples personal choices and let them be happy? –No don’t be silly. Let’s go on national television and poke fun at the freaks. Good job ABC. *rolls eyes*

  2. I’m disappointed but not surprised at the GMA vid. It was put a very negative and even mocking spin on the ear-pointing process.

    It’s nice to know that instead of trying to teach tolerance, knowledge, and acceptance of other people’s wishes regarding their OWN BODIES, the ladies of ABC are making fun.

  3. Saw this on Brian Deckers facebook. Of course Brian turned the offer for the interview down and tried to dissuade them from doing the piece at all, and of course Steve haworth took it and ran with it to be on tv. Sigh……..

  4. I was really disturbed by the lack of professionalism from both news ladies. The whole clip was snide and derogatory, and then to end the story with the photos of the ladies with their fake Avatar ears (which clearly does not show what pointed ears look like at all!) was the final slap in the face. Disgusting.

  5. her horns… sweet jeebus her horns…. theyre so big. god damn!

    its mainstream media, what more could you guy expect? the truth?! pfft!

  6. Hypocrisy at it’s finest:
    - A woman asking “can’t people just be happy with what they have?” with botulism injected into her face and a tacky coating of makeup slathered on top. Clearly she is the poster child for natural beauty and a healthy self-esteem.

    - The surgeon talking about infection after letting a camera into a sterile (operating?) room. Just think of all the places a news camera regularly goes and the types of germs it picks up. Nice one, dumbass.

    On a positive note, the woman with the mohawk has very well done ears that suit her beautifully.

  7. ah, I can’t watch the vid on my phone, but saw an update on Steves fb page before they went in for the filming- wondered how it would turn out!!

  8. The girl they interviewed definitely didn’t have them pointed by anyone who knows what they’re doing, they don’t look very noticeably pointed at all.

    That being said, I always forget that Steve Haworth only has one lobe stretched. Throws me off every time.

  9. There’s a fantastic video you can find on youtube of Cathie Jung on Tyra Banks that is equally upsetting. We see it in the media all the time, no one likes a happy or positive story. This being said, why are people still agreeing to feed into this steaming pile of BS?

  10. How fucking snide of those women. Yeah, “can’t people be happy with what they have,” you say from under the hair you dye and straighten and poof with various chemicals.

  11. such bullshit, white blonde woman acting like they’re better than everyone else, high school all over again.

  12. On multiple occasions, body modification practitioners are able to reconstruct a lobe far superiour to that of a doctor. So it strikes me as odd that they would be open to calling ear sculpting dangerous.

  13. hahaha it shows you how ignorant people can be towards those who step out of the accepted social norm i did laugh at what the doctor said though of course the ear is going to misshapen from a normal shape it just got pointed duh and infection is a risk yes but its the same with any procedure even transplants can contract infections and its unlikly to get one if you look after your ears. but the media did portray everyone who got there ears pointed as geeks though that was a little strange but it would rock if the demand for this procedure became bigger

  14. well….im going to break the tone here…as most people are obviously pissed at how the media portrays us….with this..



    sorry…just my english’ness coming through there…but fuck yea for a funny but damn good tattoo :D

  15. The media will spin it anyway they can to sell it and the ones they see with the most money is a majority with the least acceptance of change from a ‘norm’ that is outdated.

  16. @spaghetti eater, i havent looked her up, but im sure its because she isnt naked or close to nude online for people to post so that others can fap to it

  17. I can’t believe this shit! I wanna strangle these two bitches! If people wanna have cool pointed ears, so be it! Obviously the people that are having the procedure done understand that it is permanent and a big deal!

    With all the bullshit surgeries people get today you’d think they’d understand that most people nowadays like to modify their bodies! It’s just because it’s not the norm that they have to be such assholes about it of course! If it was some ugly old hag getting her face pulled in all different ways to look younger that’d be cool right?!

    It’s just disgusting! I hate people that discriminate against the modified so much it hurts- it’s so childish and pathetic!

  18. 1. Ear pointing does not presently extend an ear as shown in said goofy anchors’ mocking mockups. Their playing dumb to identify with the lowest common denominator sucks, but that’s how they report odd news and teaser pieces.

    2. It is sweet that Steve spoke to GMA because he pioneered this procedure in the late 90s. However, this is a national news program on a major network that deliberately used “kids” in the headline. They are not minors at all. The choice of words implies that some artists have performed this mod on those below the age of consent. Remember Todd Bertrang’s sting involving nonexistent minors? This is the kind of piece that gives justification for police knocking on the doors asking for records or posing as minors seeing if an artist would bite. It’s not so much the lawmakers I would worry about, but the LEOs because the consent laws tend to be absolutely clear in regards to age.

    Whether those records formally exist is another matter, considering:

    1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.

    2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.

    Or, put another way:

    “Neither of us were here. The shop was not open. Nothing happened.”

    3. I find the total bias towards elves and vulcans absolutely uncalled for given catgirls also have pointed ears. Overall, how many could reasonably have undergone in the past fifteen years and how many will undergo ear pointing in the next five years? Not that many. I’ve only ever met in person two women with pointed ears despite my travels over a large part of the country and hanging out in places that attract the strange, the odd and the unusual.

    4. Now that the cat is out of the bag, seriously what’s the worst that could happen? Outright banning of an already grey procedure that only a few hundred people in the entire world have chosen to undergo in the underground? That’s not going to stop heavy mods from going on. It’s just going to force things more underground. Want ear pointing in five years? Well, you’re going to have know someone who knows someone who does it and be vetted each link in the chain before talking with Mr. Big.

    The worst perhaps is some piercer in Podunk, KY, “figuring out” how it’s done and botching the process on their guinea pig or someone who’s not ready for it has a beef. Again, responsible heavy mod artists vet their clients to make sure they’re ready to handle any reasonable contingency, including the rules of Fight Club. The guinea pig gone wrong is more or less unavoidable. Only obscurity prevents the attempt in the first place and there’s little security in obscurity.

    5. That wide smile from Steve’s model deserves some kudos for speaking volumes. She’s awesome in front of a camera.

  19. 6. If plastic surgeons can pretty much restore pretty gruesome war wounds, then reversing a well performed heavy mod should not be that difficult. We’re not shooting bullets or using machetes.

    7. Are we even for sure that pointed ears are forever? The most common state of the art over time should slowly flatten out. One case does not prove anything, but I’ve seen it happen at least twice in photos on the web.

  20. Personally I have one normal ear and one Dwarnian ear and I have seriously considered getting the normal ear pointed just to have some type symmetry. And the surgeon being worried about infections is laughable, I’ve been in more than one surgeons office that couldn’t hold a candle to a professional modification artists studio (or procedure room) when it comes to cleanliness. And I’ve also prevented infections during wound care based on a piercers knowledge when the surgeon told me it was fine to not even wear gloves when taking care of a 3 inch deep wound. Surgeons don’t know everything!

    The only part of the entire segment that stood out as even remotely factual is the fact that ear reconstruction of the upper cartilage can be extremely tricky and usually results in no changes after all is said and done. I’ve been tempted to talk to a modification artist about my odd ear just to see what they said- if they could even come up with a way to fix it, or if they’ve reconstructed a pointed ear with success. Don’t really think it’s something much people have thought about cause it hasn’t particularly been an issue but I’m curious as to what could be done.

  21. A finnish tabloid re-ran the story on María José Cristerna with a really negative slant, so things aren’t that good everywhere. Especially the comments section is an awful load of bullshit.

  22. oh god… Todd… im shocked people still remember that with the way this site has gone. thats what made me want to jump shit from this country and burn it the fuck down

  23. Pharmacist… I have been a member (though not a consistently active member of BME) since some time around 2003-2004. I cannot forget what happened to Todd.

  24. the amount of boob jobs and tummy tucks that go wrong and long term effect of them doesnt seem to worry people because that person is trying to be ‘beautiful’. The mohawk girl is stunning and her ears look perfect. Wouldnt say the same about the girl being interviewed.. wheres the point?
    I can boast a wee bit :P im lucky enough to have naturally pointed ears. and im proud of it :D

  25. Ok, so I can understand some spanish and listened to her interview but she spoke to fast and I didn’t get what she said when she mentioned her first piercing; only that it was something you expect to see now much less back then. Did anyone catch that?

  26. hey everybody,

    when i was 16 i had ‘removed’ my earlobes, so now i have elf like ears which match my elf like face, now im 22 ,

    in the beginning i felt like it was a normal thing but as years went by i had the feeling i was being socially alienated, and people started looking with strange looks in their eyes towards my ears. I feel really lonely at times because i feel that people dont take me serious anymore and because the fear of being rejected ( again) i have a hard time connecting with people.

    this while im a complete normal person, CAN SOMEBODY tell me that what i did is OK??

  27. Well, how about you don’t wanna do it – don’t fuckin do it and shut the fuck up… I hate when some main stream chicks comments things, which they not involve. But they think that they are fuckin’ experts… Sad.

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