Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Oct. 20, 2008)

[Joplin Globe] It’s pretty often that we stumble across stories of backwards school boards that have decided students with tattoos and piercings are an affront to the education system and do not even deserve access to the same crippled-by-No-Child-Left-Behind embarrassment programs as all the others, and who cares right? What have stupid kids ever offered society other than scabies and juvenile diabetes? Well, the mavericks on the Joplin R-8 Board of Education in Missouri have turned their discerning eyeballs on the swill merchants who are pushing these ideas of “body” “art” on the little scamps: teachers!

Joplin R-8 Board of Education members Tuesday night gave administrators the OK to change wording in the district’s employment policy to not allow any part of a tattoo to show.

The policy previously instructed teachers to wear clothing that “minimizes” tattoos, but it did not prohibit part or all of the tattoo from showing.

The board also wants to make that policy apply to all district employees, not just teachers.

Superintendent C.J. Huff said he brought the issue to the board because someone had raised concerns about teachers with tattoos. The board members appeared to be in unanimous agreement about tattoos not being appropriate in a professional and, specifically, a classroom setting.

[...] Joplin resident Maurice Filson encouraged the board to adopt a policy that requires teachers to cover their tattoos. He said refusing to do so would be a statement that might speak louder than the body art itself.

“You already know the problems our children are facing, so for the sake of our kids, I hope this can be properly addressed,” Filson said.

Do those problems include low test scores and problems focusing in class? Because I have a feeling that even if the subject matter of these classes isn’t engaging the little ragamuffins, then maybe more interesting individuals at the helm could be of some help. But as I’ve said before, it’s hard to argue with an employer that seeks to enforce a dress code, so … keep up the work, Joplin Board of Education. You are doing a job.

[Greensburg Daily News] So what with it being election season and all, does anybody know when we cast our ballots for mother of the year? Because, even though it’s only October, I have a feeling it’s going to be tough to beat Indiana’s proudest daughter, Jessica Middleton of St. Paul, who had herself a pretty spectacular twenty-second birthday:

According to Greensburg Police Chief Brian Heaton, Jessica L. Middleton, 22, was arrested early Saturday morning on charges of neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony. Heaton said at 10:26 p.m. Friday, the department received a call of a 2-year-old in a car unattended in the city parking lot just off the downtown square. Due to a high call volume taxing the on-duty officers he had at the time, Officer Mike McNealy didn’t arrive immediately. When he did, he found a child being cared for by some friendly passers-by.

[...] Heaton said they may not have found Middleton without thew help of a 16-year-old male who said he was friends with the mother. He told officers Middleton, who turned 22 on Oct. 15, went to Somers’ Ink, a new tattoo parlor downtown, for a tattoo at around 9:30 p.m. Afterwards, Heaton said the teenager informed officers she went to the Tiki Bar for a birthday drink. He identified Middleton to officers, who allowed him access to the bar for the purpose of making their arrest.

Booze and tattoos? Sounds like a pretty sweet birthday to me! Other than the whole borderline-infanticide thing, which really sounds like it was being blown out of proportion. When asked for a comment, Middleton told reporters that she used to babysit herself in the car all the time, eating cigarette butts and strangling herself with the seatbelt, and she turned out pretty well, didn’t she? Middleton then fell down, soiled herself and a rabid coyote ran over and licked her fresh tattoo, thus capping the greatest birthday she or anyone else has ever had.

[YouTube] No snark here, friends: The video that follows is of a ballet performed by a pair of amputees, one male and one female, and it’s about as beautiful as anything you’ll find on these here Internets:

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Oct. 6, 2008)

[GJSentinel.com] My status as a sports fan notwithstanding, I don’t pretend to understand the culture of college sports whatsoever. Granted, I can enjoy the occasional college football game or happily lose money on a March Madness pool, but there’s a sort of voyeurism I find somewhat disturbing in obsessing over the performance of kids in their late teens and early twenties who may very well be sacrificing their bodies for a distant shot at a future athletic career that, statistically speaking, will probably never materialize. So when stories like this pop up, I’m begrudgingly impressed and completely skeptical:

Hours into another day of practice, Mesa State College senior offensive lineman Trevor Wikre faced a life-changing decision.

[...] For Wikre, the decision to amputate his severely dislocated finger Tuesday was easy.

It was easy because it gives him an opportunity to continue playing. Surgery to repair the finger meant he would likely never play another football game.

Wikre told the doctor, “ ‘This is my senior year. If I want to go on, I’ve got to play great the rest of the way. These are my last few games, we’ve got to make this work.’

“He’s like, ‘We can’t.’ I said, ‘We can. Cut it off.’ I love football. When you face the fact you’ve played your last game, it hurts. If you love the game and you’re told that, you do whatever you have to do to play again.

“This team means the world to me. I love everybody on the team like a brother. I told them all before the Western New Mexico game that I would have no problem taking a bullet for any of these guys. I love ’em that much. This is my bullet.”

The Sporting Blog captured video of a related newscast as well:

[Kansas City Star] Along the lines of last week’s New York Times article on all the fantastic newness of a modified workforce, here’s another favorite topic: tattooed Jews! Some think tattoos are fine and that Leviticus is open to interpretation; others, not so much:

“They might as well be walking around with a Nazi flag,” said Minneapolis resident Leo Weiss, 84. “It shows a lack of respect for Holocaust survivors, Jews and non-Jews alike. It’s an insult to us. It’s offensive to people who suffered under the Nazis and lost our loved ones.”

Yikes. Well, I’m not sure about that. My favorite take on this subject comes from Lizzie.

[John W. Morehead] Morehead, a “researcher, writer, and speaker in intercultural studies, new religious movements, theology and popular culture” deftly but thoroughly takes the wind out of Linda Harvey’s book, Not My Child: Contemporary Paganism and New Spirituality in this review. Morehead was disappointed by the “alarmist [and] poorly researched” book, and notes one chapter in particular with a focus on body modification:

In her discussion of the dangers of Paganism Harvey points toward her concerns over the “explosion in ‘body modification” as a shift, in her view, toward a more tribal form of culture. One of the forms of body modification that concerns Harvey is piercing, and yet I wonder whether the author herself, or perhaps her children, have their ears pierced and yet they don’t think twice about such practices or connect them to tribalism and Paganism. Harvey is correct in noting that there is a retribalization going on in the West, and that the growing interest in body modification is significant, but more sober assessments of the cultural social significance of such trends are needed that move beyond the alarmist tone adopted by Harvey.

Morehead also cites a 2001 documentary, Modern Tribalism: Uncovering America’s Primitive Soul, as an enjoyable and level-headed resource on the topic. I haven’t seen it (I don’t think, at least), but the trailer is below. Anyone caught it?