ModBlog News of the Week: October 14th, 2011

Alright, we’re at the end of another week of ModBlog posts, which means its time for the news roundup.  To start I’ve got a bit of BME news for you.  The BME Shop is having a sale on EVERYTHING!  Just use the code 30offbme when you check out and it will be automatically applied.  The sale won’t last forever, so take advantage of it while you can!

Now for the lead story today I’m going to be turning to Misty from Hooklife as she’s already summed up a lot of this issue already.  Basically the Springfield, Missouri chapter of AGRO have suddenly found themselves in the middle of a media circus after holding a small suspension event in a member’s back yard.

AGRO Springfield had selected what they saw as a private location to hold their monthly meetings; the back yard of co-director Kristen Atkinson. Their team chose to hang tarps along the fence to help block the view of neighbors as they suspended, but those in bordering yards were still able to see into the area if they tried. One neighbor, whose wife and daughter were able to see the suspensions taking place, chose to contact local councilman Nick Ibarra, state representative Melissa Leach, and other state agencies with his complaint about what he viewed as an inappropriate act for his family to be exposed to.

From that original interview and news clip, the situation seems to have escalated very quickly; in the last two days almost every news outlet in Springfield has contacted the directors of AGRO Springfield for information, photos, and interviews. It doesn’t seem to have stopped with local news either, ABC News took them time to contact them as well about what is taking place. Luckily for all of us, the directors of AGRO Springfield, with guidance from Rick Pierceall, are attempting to remain level headed and calm throughout this ordeal. They are currently trying to learn more about what the city council members might plan to include in the draft of possible regulations to be written, as well as looking more into what they can do to have a positive impact on this situation. I would like to note that their team did nothing wrong to cause this situation. They had a regularly scheduled meet, in a member’s back yard, where people nearby witnessed body suspension; this very easily could have been any of our teams in that situation.

Here’s the news story that Misty referred to:

Shane Shields can’t tell you exactly why, but he gets a rush out of being pierced through the skin with thick hooks and hanging by ropes in the air – a fringe art known as body suspension. The 29-year-old body modification artist runs a licensed tattoo facility as a day job, but on weekends, he joins other body suspension enthusiasts in a Springfield, Mo., backyard.  But one neighbor insists that Shields and his fellow body artists are traumatizing his children and has pledged to ban the practice so young onlookers don’t have to hear the screams and see bodies drenched in blood.  Aaron King, whose North Main Avenue backyard overlooks the meetings, says that his children should not have to be unwittingly exposed to the practice.  He isn’t opposed to others doing it — he just thinks his two children should not have to witness it, especially his 9-year-old daughter.  “She saw blood dripping from a shoulder blade area and what she said looked like holes,” King told ABC affiliate KSPR. “I don’t know why their right to do this should extend to public open space and force me to keep my children inside.”

“Why people do it differs,” said Shields, who co-founded the Springfield club. “For some it’s the spiritual sense and a kind of enlightenment and others just think it’s fun.”  But King thinks otherwise and has contacted his city counselors and several state agencies with his complaint.  City council member, Nick Ibarra said he agrees with King and told the Springfield News-Leader that he has asked the city’s legal department to draft an ordinance that addresses body suspension.  One child development expert said she stands firmly behind King.  “It’s the equivalent of taking a kid to an R-rated movie because of the violence,” said Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician and author of several books on child behavior. “But you don’t have a choice when it’s happening in your backyard.”  Young children might experience nightmares or anxiety after witnessing body suspension, according to Brown. “Kids have a little bit of trouble understanding this type of thing — it’s violent and painful and someone is going through something uncomfortable,” she said. “The visual leaves a lasting image in their memory and I don’t blame the parent for being disturbed.”

Now the scary thing about this situation is that it could happen anywhere.  All it takes is one overzealous parent and a politician to force suspension underground.  Keep an eye here on ModBlog as well as Hooklife for any further developments.

Alright, there’s more news to come after the break, including a couple of stories out of Houston, so Texas ModBlog readers, keep an eye out for them.

So next up is an editorial piece that I found in the SFWeekly.  It was published by a staff writer who credits the author as an anonymous tattoo artist in the San Francisco area.  The title is “Ten things your tattoo artist wants to set you straight on”.

Pregnant women will remain un-inked.
I know there are lot of hormones racing around around the body of your typical pregnant woman, but there are serious health concerns inherent in placing a tattoo on that glowing, expectant-mother skin. It’s bad for the baby. Yes, these women would sign a waiver, but we don’t have a waiver for that because we are caring human beings, not horrible, horrible animals.

We don’t sell tattoo equipment to amateurs.
You like tattoos, and you want to try out some Chinese numerals and smiley faces? Well, this isn’t Los Angeles, and we don’t sell to those not professionally trained. I’m not a jerk; I’m just a caring human being looking out for the future of you and your addle-minded friend’s epidermis.

No name-on-name action.
The first time you got “Richie” tattooed on your lower back was a bad idea. Getting “Pete”
tattooed over “Richie” is an absolutely terrible idea. That’s just two names on top of each other. What are you going to do when “Pete” bows out of the picture, and “Stan” steps in to take his place? I don’t even want to think about it.

No matter how many times you ask, your kid isn’t getting tattooed.
Your child is still prepubescent and wants a full back-tattoo of Mickey Mouse fighting Miley Cyrus. Too bad. It is punishable by prison sentence in the state of California to tattoo a minor, and as much as I’d like to lose my license, so your kid can have the Grateful Dead bear on his forearm, it ain’t going to happen. Even if you’re his dad. Even if I speak to your wife on your phone. I. Will. Not. Do. It.

You’ll have to read the article to see the remaining 6.

Although the list is only 10 points, there is an 11th one that should go without saying, but it seems some people need to be reminded.  If you don’t like the work the tattoo artist did on your girlfriend, don’t stab him!

A man stabbed a tattoo artist several times in the area of Columbus Avenue and Cedar Street Wednesday afternoon, then fled on a city bus, police said.

The victim said he did not know the man personally, but had done tattoo work for the man’s girlfriend. The man decided to stab the victim because the tattoo was no good, police said. The victim sought treatment for his injuries at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Houstonites listen up, especially tattoo artists in and around Houston.  There’s been a rash of robberies taking place and the criminals are targeting tattoo shops specifically.

It’s not the cash resigters or even the electronics that are being targeted. It’s the pricey tattoo equipment. We’ve learned of several high-dollar bugarlies at Houston-area tattoo shops.  With a half a dozen artists now working for him, Rene Garcia, is living the American dream.  “I love the art,” Garcia said. “Open up your own business and try to survive.”  In January, he expanded Big City Tattoos to this space on the Gulf Freeway, and this past weekend, his dream was the source of disappointment.  “Having somebody take what you worked hard for, it bugs you, you know? It bugs you a lot,” Garcia said.  The burglar broke in early Sunday morning. Once inside, surveillance cameras caught his every move. When he can’t find the light switch, he grabs what’s close and carries it out. This time, he grabbed a tool box full of $3,000 worth of tattoo machines and supplies.

The break-in sounds very familiar to Cynthia Courtney. The shop she owned on the East Freeway with her mother and sister was hit in July. The loss was so great that their beloved business now has a for rent sign outside.  “If I had to add it up, $18,000 maybe, total,” Courtney said.  They were forced to close.  “We had no other choice, we had nothing left,” she said.  At least one other shop on Westheimer was burglarized this past weekend. A surveillance camera captured a car that looks a lot like the one seen during the Big City Tattoos burglary.  In all three burglaries, specialized tattoo equipment was stolen, leading Garcia to a conclusion.  “It has to be a tattoo artist,” he said.  With the video, he hopes he’s stopped.  “The tattoo game is really small in Houston and everybody know everyone in the tattoo game,” Garcia said. “People are going to recognize his face.”

Another story out of Houston this week involves a new program for juvenile offenders.  In the past we’ve seen programs offering free tattoo removal for gang members, mostly in California, however this program is targeting young offenders specifically.

As Preston walked away with bandages on his arms and leg, a contagious smile was visible. The bandages covered the 11 tattoos he started the process of removing Thursday afternoon, making him the first student from the Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department to take advantage of free tattoo and scar removal services offered by Body Restore in The Woodlands.  Preston’s last name is not being used in this story because he is part of the Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department.  “I’m sort of glad I got on probation so I got the opportunity to do this,” the 16-year-old said. “Otherwise, I’d be stuck with these my whole life.”  At age 13, Preston got his first tattoo “because my brother got one and I thought it was cool.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for these young folks,” said County Court-at-Law 5 Judge Keith Stewart, who oversees Montgomery County’s Juvenile Court. “I’ve seen in the last couple of years many kids come through who have made a decision that impacts them the rest of their lives. Unfortunately they made these decisions at ages 13, 14 or 15, with gang-related tattoos on their bodies. Without a program like this, most would not have the opportunity to get rid of them. Some kids have wanted to have them removed and couldn’t afford it. The fact that Tracie is willing to do this is a huge favor to our society.”  “It’s a way of me giving back,” Mann said. “These are young kids. They make decisions based on a picture they have at that time and that picture changes over time. We’re trying to help them make better lives for themselves.”  Mann, who’s been on her own since age 14, also offers free burn and scar removal to soldiers returning from war, abused children and human trafficking victims.  “I had a real hard life growing up,” she said. “I don’t want any other child to feel that. … People look at you differently depending on the type of tattoo you have.”

To finish off this week’s news we’ve got a couple of stories of people being offended by tattoos.  In the first story it actually led to an arrest of the tattooed individual.

According to reports, Colombian winger Juan Pablo Pino was arrested by the Saudi moral police when fellow shoppers in a Riyadh mall complained about the exposed tattoos on his arms, which include the face of Jesus and other religious symbols. Pino joined Saudi club Al Nassr on loan from Galatasaray at the end of August and apparently was not aware that showing his tattoos by wearing a sleeveless shirt in public would cause him any problems.

Gulf News reports that a Saudi Football Federation official “sent a circular to all clubs asking them to advise their professionals and players to respect Saudi traditions and not show their religious symbols in a way disregarding Saudi customs and traditions” after a cross tattoo on the arm of a Romanian player for Al Hilal caused controversy last year.  It’s unclear whether Al Nassr informed Pino of this in his short time with the club, but he’ll probably be investing in some long-sleeve shirts now.

The article goes on to state that Pino was released from police custody after a team delegate discussed the matter with the police.

The other story about offending tattoos is from the U.S. where parents are upset over the newest Barbie doll.

Parents in the US are furious over fashion doll Barbie’s latest reinvention, which sees her covered in tattoos.  The new “Totally Stylin’ Tattoos Barbie” comes with a set of body art stickers to be placed anywhere on her body.  The set also comes with a tattoo gun so kids can stamp designs on themselves.  Manufacturer Mattel says the tattoos for children are temporary and wash off.  But some parents believe the toy is not appropriate for young children and would not buy the doll.

Jenn Alcayaga, a parent from Sacramento, California, is against the message the new Barbie could send to young girls.   “It’s attracting kids too young to want to expose parts of their body to show off tattoos,” she said.

Mattel isn’t planning on removing the doll, despite the complaints.  Now I may be showing my age, but I could have sworn I saw a commercial for a tattooed barbie back when I was a kid, with the same hearts and flowers tattoos.  Anyway, it just goes to show that no matter what you do, someone, somewhere, will be offended.

That’s it for this week’s news post.  Keep sending in those articles, they’re a huge part of what gets included in the weekly updates.

25 thoughts on “ModBlog News of the Week: October 14th, 2011

  1. What I’d really like to know is when someone’s backyard became “public open space.”

  2. This is not the first tattooed Barbie. We have like two of them from the 90′s in the shop I work at. They are wearing crochet bikinis. Will someone please talk about Earring Magic Ken? He was released in ’93 wears a lilac vinyl vest and is absolutely fabulous.

  3. Zobro, I totally agree. Last time I checked my backyard was my space, not everybody else’s.

  4. Why is it that people feel entitled to be offended by everything these days?

    Great point about the BBQ…maybe someone should tell Morrissey :)

  5. Well yeah, it would be traumatic for kids I suppse. If I’d seen that when I was younger it would have scared the shit outta me. There needs to be a bit of give and take though. I’m sure if you let the neighbours know prior to a certain date what was going to happen, then everyone could be accommodated. Or at least do a better job of blocking it from view if fair warning isn’t given.

  6. I’m amused by the reason people are complaining about the Barbie. “It’s attracting kids too young to want to expose parts of their body to show off tattoos.” How about you just don’t go letting your kid put a temp tattoo on a part of their body you think would be inappropriate for them to show off at school if you’re so concerned? Most little kids put temps on their hands or arms anyways so they can show them off.

  7. Perhaps you should have consulted the BME staff member who collects dolls before posting this one. The “parents are furious over…” thing is probably a rumour as has been pointed out, there are other Barbies with tattoos.

    I just got the Tokidoki Barbie not long ago. She’s not the first of course but she is a really cool Barbie (imho).

    Back piece

    Arm tattoo

    Mallory's tattoos

    Also my Harley Davidson Ken has a tattoo.

  8. I agree with David that although it is your own personal property, if you are in view of everyone else its different. Last time I check you can get in trouble for banging by your open window despite it being your property. I think if they had just informed their neighbors, it could have been prevented. Also OMG I want that Tokidoki barbie! She is hott! <3

  9. Why is it that people do not understand this simple fact-

    You have the right to be offended, I have the right to offend. You do not have the right to take away my right to offend to avoid being offended by my offensiveness.

    Okay, maybe not worded so well, but the point stands. Why should an activity between consenting adults on a private property be outlawed? Disgusting.

  10. I read the rest of the “10 things your tattoo artist wants to set you straight on” article, and it’s really quite offensive and unpleasant. Not all 18 year old girls are stupid bimbos, and i’m pretty sure glow in the dark tattoo ink, while not necessarily safe, isn’t radioactive….

  11. In some places, you can get charged with indecent exposure even if the act was committed on your own private property – the deciding factor is usually if a non-prying person would freely be able to see you. I can see this being used as a precedent.

    Is this *right* ? I’m not really sure and I have mixed feelings about it.

    I can understand the concern of the parents. I remember the first time I saw suspension – I was old enough to understand it, but I still felt light-headed and dizzy and had to sit down. I can understand that it could be very scary for a kid who wasn’t even expecting to see something like that – they wouldn’t understand, like I did, that these people were doing this of their own free choice and weren’t “hurt”.

    I really respect that the dad isn’t trying to ban suspension, he just doesn’t want it happening where his kids can see it. Now, should the police have been involved ? Was it really necessary ? Did the group warn the neighbours about what was going on in advance ? It seems like they could come to a mutually beneficial arrangement – maybe the group chips in $20 or so for the family to go “out” for the evening – so that *everyone* can have an enjoyable time and no one has to do or see anything that makes them uncomfortable.

    Sure, in many cases it’s legal to offend someone, but I like to think that we can be good people without the law pushing us to do so. I’m just silly that way.

    I don’t think the law intervening was really necessary. Just better communication between people. :)

    @Jen, that Barbie is awesome !

  12. Glow in the dark pigments (and so tattoo inks) are not radioactive since 50 years. They were in ancient times. One obvious thing: Old glow in the dark clock-labellings are glowing forever. New ones are glowing for a few hours. Then they’re dark. So new glow in the dark pigments are working with a mechanism, quite close to thefluorescence of blacklight stuff, but while fluorescence is fast, phosphorescence is slow, thus glowing long after the pigment-activating light has stopped. Safe or unsafe depends on the pigment and the way it is sealed. Chemically, a lot of the stron colors, the UV-ink and the glow-in-the-dark-ink share the same problem: Quite toxic pigments, released in big quantity (dose toxicity) for example when removing the tattoo.

    By the way.: Kids are probably less shocked about a suspension (anyhow they would be told by their parents something about “those stupid people doin painful things”, then conservative geonw ups are. It is noa a problem of or for kids, it is one for grown ups. It would be nice to make clear to those stress makers, which can not watch away, that their habits like smoking and so on are way more affecting others.

  13. Oh, I didn’t read that part at the first time… No, I’d never work voluntarily in that fucked country called Saudi Arabia. Sorry, but there are countries like North Korea, Myamar, China, Saudi Arabia and other dictatorships were civil rights simply do not exist. I’d not settle to one of those for all money in world. If you go there, think about the fact, that you might find yourself in custody, without even knowing why. And “bloody foreigners” are always used to state drastic examples by those. That soccer player is notto blame for his tattoos, but he is to blame for settling into a fucked country. (To those, and a few more, I would even not go as tourist, unfortunately you anyhow strengthen these dictators by buing things manufactured there)

  14. To those who commented on the Barbie – I agree. :) Being a Tokidoki fan and a doll collector there was really no question when I saw her announced. She was just released in October. More expensive than a regular Barbie because she’s a special edition but you can probably pick her up from the Barbie Collector website if any of you are interested.

    Speaking of tattooed dolls, this doll artist makes porcelain dolls and some have tattoos. She does amazing work. The photos are NSFW and contain doll nudity. ;)

    http://www.enchanteddoll.com/galleries/tattoos/tattoo.html

  15. The way I see it what is more important, your right to offend people or your right to suspend? Because these folks were fairly level-headed about it but some might not be. Despite what a beautiful thing we see it as, its still a bloody and kind of scary thing to those who don’t know much about it. Even when I do live play piercings there are those who have to step outside because they “can’t see that stuff” and its not even that they think its crazy because they can enjoy the finished product but not everyone is okay with the sight of blood. There is no need to draw negative attention to ourselves, so just be courteous, let your neighbors know.

  16. Think of it this way: How many of you have been ever been irritated by neighbors blasting their stereos at odd hours? Ever been disgusted by someone leaving junk all over their lawn? It’s the same concept and even these comparatively mild examples are illegal. Doing things on your own property doesn’t automatically give you a free pass if what you’re doing is negatively affecting others. A child seeing such a graphic display could very well hurt them psychologically.

    It’s not a matter of discrimination against modified people by being forced underground, it’s about being a responsible member of your community and having consideration for other people. I don’t find that “scary” at all.

  17. I read the rest of that “10 things your tattoo artist wants to set you straight on” and that artist is really an ignorant douche. It sounds like he had a sorority sister girlfriend who stomped on his nuts and left him bitter. Basically according to him, 18 year old girls just shouldnt get tattoos period because heaven forbid a “suitor” should come for their hand and see something as “trailer trash” as a tattoo *gasp*

  18. girl- Thank you! That was exactly what I was hoping someone would say. I remember as a kid (as I’m sure many of you do) seeing particularly graphic or bloody images, that upon reflection are not serious at all, but for a child who doesn’t understand (even if you explain tolerance and understanding and acceptance of body modification, the children may not fully grasp the concept until they’re older and still just see it as people being hurt on meat hooks), it’s scary. Making a law about it seems a little extreme, as long as the suspension artists and neighbors aren’t assholes and work together to create a safe environment for both parties. Just because one has the right to offend doesn’t mean they have to be a dick.

  19. Hey, I had that Earring Magic Ken doll, and I honestly doubt he helped form my love of piercings. Also, the tattoo Barbie came out two years ago, why is it being talked about now?

  20. @12 – I can’t recall where I read the article, but there were tests that proved UV [or glow in the dark] ink did contain traces of radioactivity and known carcinogens.

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