ModBlog News of the Week: April 22nd, 2011

This week’s news is coming to you from a hotel in Dallas, TX.  This weekend is the annual Dallas Suscon, and I’m here for those of you who weren’t able to make it this year.  Over the weekend I’ll be posting up photos and stories from Suscon, as well as getting some interviews for later in the week.  But enough about that, lets get to the news.

Today’s lead story is about a tattoo that the owner should have thought twice about getting.

When Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide investigator Kevin Lloyd was routinely looking through snapshots of tattooed gang members, he saw something that caught his eye – a crime scene he was familiar with.  Anthony Garcia, a member of the Rivera-13 gang, had a tattoo that resembled the scene of the liquor store killing of 23-year-old John Juarez in Pico Rivera on Jan. 23, 2004, reports the Los Angeles Times.

There were numerous details the murder inked on the gang member. The paper reports that the tattoo included the Christmas lights that lined the roof of the liquor store where Juarez was shot and killed, the direction his body fell, the bowed street lamp across the way and the street sign. Above everything read the title, “RIVERA KILLS”, a reference to the gang. A helicopter was also placed above the scene raining down bullets,  a nod to Garcia’s alias “Chopper.”

I suppose it’s good to be proud of your accomplishments.  Although tattooing a crime scene on your chest probably isn’t the best idea if there’s a chance you’ll ever have your photo taken by the police.

There’s still more news to come, so keep on reading.

Last week I featured a story from New Zealand where a school has lightened up their dress code to allow minimal facial piercings.  Now that it’s been a week, the “voices of reason” have come out of the woodwork to pronounce that the sky is falling.

EVERYONE KNOWS that teenagers are insane. At some early point within their pubertal experience, the cute kid metamorphoses into an irrational chemical dump and we wave them goodbye forever.  If we’re lucky, the transformation presents a fully fledged adult. But, as with monarch chrysalises caught by a frost, you can get the misshapen beasties too. Their wings twisted, they can’t fly, can’t forage for themselves, and eventually you euthanise them in the freezer.

I must say, though, that today’s teens, perhaps as a direct result of the televisual, are streets ahead of their parents in this regard. Like commercial radio, they have split into a bewildering array of sub-sets. As a general rule, everyone has some sort of niche in 2011 – their parents had few.  So you can be a sports jock, one of the popular kids, a nerd, an arty, a Glee gay, a gangsta or a Jesus/Mohammed/Hare Krishna freak. We never had that array in our time – you either played team sport or you didn’t.

The principal has decided to allow self-mutilation as part of the school uniform. From this week, teenage girls who stick pins through their tongues, lips, ears, noses and eyebrows will be allowed to keep the fellmongery that makes up their face.  One presumes that tattoos are next – the tramp stamps beloved of this generation of teen girls who wish to be seen as uniformly rebelling against uniformity. Presumably, this desire also drives the wish to revert to the stone age, or at least the bronze.

Forgive me, but it has always seemed that those who do self-mutilate are either not that attractive, or on some internal and angsty ride to irrelevance. Possibly both. If it is an adornment designed to attract males then it may have some point. Just as a tattoo is a suggestion of sauce, so is the pierced tongue or the ring through the lip. Sluts have always been attractive to men.

Forgive the extended quoting, but there was no way I could leave out some of these ignorant quips.  First, if you’re trying to appear knowledgable of youth culture, don’t use a phrase from a sitcom that was created by the old man who is completely clueless.  I’m looking at you Pierce Hawthorne.  Second, proclaiming that teenage girls are sluts because they get a facial piercing tells me that you may be the one with the fixation on sexualizing children.  You better watch out though these “Glee-Gays” and other deviants are only a couple years away from becoming adults, which means they’ll be the ones determining what’s acceptable, and narrow-minded tools like yourself will be forced to sit on the sidelines wondering why they don’t like you.

For many in North America, Spring means tax season.  Of course with tax season comes stress and financial worries, but for some, tax season means tax refunds.  Not surprisingly if one were to head to a tattoo studio around this time they’ll find that a number of people are using their refunds to get a tattoo.

Now that the deadline for filing income taxes has passed, taxpayers can breath a sigh of relief, and tattoo artists can celebrate. As tax refunds come in, so do their customers.  “It’s pretty much like clockwork,” says Marshall Brown, a tattoo artist at Revolution Tattoo in Bucktown.  “You see an influx of people.” Brown estimates that business goes up by 5 percent to 10 percent in April.

According to a 2008 study by the Pew Research Center, a quarter of Americans are tattooed, up from 16 percent in 2003, according to Harris Poll. The Pew study said one-fifth of tattooed Americans have six or more works of body art.  Mills spent $300 on his tattoo, and if that seems like a lot of money, it shouldn’t. Of 102 people surveyed by this reporter in an unofficial online poll in February, two-thirds said they have spent more than $500 on their tattoos. Nine percent said they had spent more than $5,000.

I can’t say I’m really surprised.  I know I’m guilty of paying a visit to a studio just after getting a tax refund.

Up in Alaska, Native American artist Yaari Kingeekuk is hosting a number of lectures explaining the meanings behind her traditional tattoos.

Yaari Kingeekuk’s face, hands and arms make a direct connection with her Siberian Yupik ancestors, and not just through DNA. Kingeekuk is a walking canvas of traditional tattoos that follow designs reaching back for centuries or more.

This week the topic will be those tattoos. Until the early 20th century, most Alaska Native women bore tattoos. The intricate designs of St. Lawrence Island, where the practice continued longer than on the mainland, were considered to be particularly complex and artistic.  “Tattoo artists were only women,” Kingeekuk says, “because they took the precise time and they were very graceful with their hands. That’s why they didn’t allow men to do tattoos.”
Historically the designs were sewn into the skin using a needle with sooted thread. But for her tattoos, Kingeekuk went to a parlor. It was a necessary concession to life in the big city in modern times. But she balked at referring to the electric tattoo gun-wielding technician as an artist.  “To my mind, he wasn’t a professional professional,” she says. “The art was already planned.” Planned long before she was born. The tattoos present a kind of landscape involving culture, nature, time, family, community, personal accomplishments and world view.

Those chin stripes, for example. “They mean I’m a mature woman. I have children.” The single mom has six children of her own, in fact, plus one whom she’s adopted.  The seven fluke shapes on her arms count the number of whales that her father caught during his lifetime.

It’s a fascinating article, and definitely worth a good read.

Today’s final story is sort of a celebrity related story, but because I’m Canadian I can chalk it up to being more of a political/cultural story.  As you may or may not know, next week marks the first royal wedding in England in a number of years, so of course people are making a big deal of it.

Shop manager Steve White decided to commemorate Wills and Kate’s Royal Wedding by getting the couple’s silhouetted faces tattooed on his leg.  Steve, who isn’t even a fan of the royal family, decided to get the unusual tattoo after “a couple of beers’.  The 29-year-old said: “I don’t think I’m really marriage material myself, so I thought it would be a good way to celebrate someone else’s wedding.”

So that’s it for this weeks news.  Keep an eye out over the weekend for some Suscon posts.  As always if you find a story you think would be a great fit for the weekly news post, just send it in.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

13 thoughts on “ModBlog News of the Week: April 22nd, 2011

  1. I’m somewhat relieved to find that the article from NZ was written by Michael Laws. At least the douchebaggery in this country seems to be limited to a few cunty media whores instead of the general population.

    Absolutely love this quote :DD — “I don’t think I’m really marriage material myself, so I thought it would be a good way to celebrate someone else’s wedding.”

  2. It was written by Michael Laws? Well that explains everything. It therefore means I can choose to ignore it … just like everything else that clueless fool has an opinion on.

  3. really, nz…really? god, how embarrassing to have to call myself a kiwi when i read drivel like that. though as cortex and kayla said, it does make sense that it was written by michael laws. foolish man. i wish ignoring idiocy was an easy task.

  4. Regarding that wonderfully-thought-out article about those rebellious teenagers and their modifications…

    “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

    That’s from Plato. Complaining about how today’s youth are worse than we ever were is not new… not by thousands of years, even.

    I expect Og and Grog were miffed about how Grog Junior was out past dark, never helped with the cave paintings, and was generally so rebellious compared to them, when they were his age…

  5. “The cute kid metamorphoses into an irrational chemical dump and we wave them goodbye forever.”

    See, this line of thinking always amazed me in it’s stupidity. How are people supposed to grow into stable adults if you have such low expectations of them from the start? How is someone supposed to learn about respect if they’re never given it? It’s a self-fufilling prophecy – you treat your kids like monsters and they will act like them. Ever notice that the people who talk about “insane” teenagers tend to be the only ones with stereotypically troubled children? Not the best people to take advice from. Also;

    “Sluts have always been attractive to men.”

    I wonder if he used that line when he made a toast at his wedding reception.

  6. I’ve saved my tax return this year for exactly that reason! (well, and car repairs)

  7. oh jesus mary and joseph!! dammit rob…..I though BME would be one of the last bastions of solitude from the damn royal wedding >.<

    seriously…here in england its mental over it right now…so much cheap tacky shit with the couples face on…bleh!!

    anyway..I do love the tax refund story…shame we over here in england dont have the same kinda thing, but we dont have to submit tax forms or whatnot that americans do…so guess less stress for us…haha

  8. kendall, the British media have always used the nickname “Wills” for him, not “Will”.

  9. I was asking because I had seen both online, I don’t think CTV covering the wedding here in Canada calls him wills, but maybe I haven’t been paying attention, if the tattoo was done in a drunken haze spelling and judgement can be impaired–additionally: I KNOW they’re going through with it but wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until it’s official? I know I’d put more stock into their engagement than a reality show like the bachlor but still.

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