A Word On “New Trends” and Perspective

If you have been on the internet in the past three months odds are you have seen at least one story almost exactly like this photo below.

toddlerLate author edit: The link and photo above is from a satirical website. This entire post is more about news sources that will grab anything even remotely shocking and run with it. Yes this time it is satire but it doesn’t take much for something to become “Fact” on the internet these days. The following talk about perspective is about us “playing pretend” if this WAS becoming a widespread practice. 

Is this potentially shocking (fake or not)? Yes. Is this a new trend? No. One of the biggest annoyances I have about social media and this new wave of “TOP TEN MOST DISTURBING WHATEVER” lists is the fact that the “new trend” tag is used far too frequently. These are a few isolated cases of poorly made choices or completely made up stories being taken out of context for clicks to a website. This is the exact same issue we recently had with the eyelet being worn in a large labret photo. I do realize that body modification is not the only victim of these click hungry times, but it does almost feel like a blow to the gut as the internet is really starting to desensitize folks more than ever. I mean that last statement in a positive light because in my opinion when you get over the initial shock and awe of something you can begin to really understand more about what you’re viewing. ModBlog did exactly that for me a long time ago and will continue to.

Now on to what can we do about this whole thing…Satirical websites will be around forever and have their place, but the spread of bad information is an entirely different monster. We can be the messengers of good information and present ourselves and modifications in a positive light for the world to see. There will always be the hard nosed naysayers out there, but we need them too. I don’t mind if you oppose my train of thought or lifestlye but I mind if you trash it unintelligently. If you believe in this community and are absolutely sick of seeing ridiculous modification related things in your every day news feeds then spread good information. We can’t fault anyone for not being as educated as we are on a topic but we can fault ourselves for not attempting to educate.

I’d also like to throw a completely separate talk about perspective in this post. This is a thinking point that will be possibly controversial but interesting at the least. Taking the photo above for what it is worth, even if it is photoshop /satire what have you… how did it make you feel? The photo below is one of many that a fast internet search yielded. I don’t have the photographer credit but if anyone has it let me know so I can update this post immediately. My point being here that the modification of young children-young adults is deeply ingrained in many cultures. This particular photo was posted as a child of the Mursi tribe however I can’t fully verify that as truth. Either way my point should be made.

mursi

Did you bat an eye at this? What if this photo pulled out to reveal a young African American child in an urban setting who’s parents began stretching their ears while they were an infant? Would that change your opinion on what is acceptable? A quick comparative example is that many parents are vegan, and therefore feel it is right to raise vegan children. I’m not comparing apples to apples here I know but it is just an example of parents passing down values or beliefs.  Many ModBlog followers also subscribe to the modern primitive movement, and may choose to us raise a child according to our own ideals. Would early age modification or “family rites of passage” be considered an abomination or culturally significant?

This is the matter of perspective I’m talking about, where we are very quick to slam one group of people for doing the same things we may admire another group for. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here, my personal opinion is that a non consenting human being should not be modified under any circumstance- cultural tradition permitting or not. All of these things go back to the roots of body modification as a whole and in my opinion a topic that needs to be discussed. Large gauge piercings especially stretched earlobe piercings are becoming more acceptable than ever. Does this fact mean that as a modern society we are starting to pass this new (old) cultural wave on to our children? I would love to hear everybody’s thoughts on this.

Curt Autry Controversy

There has been a bit of controversy the last few days over a few statements from NBC reporter Curt Autry.

Below are the comments in question.
controversy

controversy2 .

Personally, I don’t think members of this community should be particularly surprised that an NBC reporter doesn’t quite fancy our lifestyle. I do, however, believe that as an “Emmy winning investigative reporter” you’re somewhat obligated to understand proper terminology at the very least. I personally contacted Curt Autry offering to sit down for an interview about the body modification community…I haven’t received a reply.
At any rate a lot of folks have had plenty to say about these statements, What do you think?

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (July 3, 2009)


[Kijiji] I’m warning you all right now, this is going to be an extra-stupid edition of our beloved news roundup. Like, seriously. There is nary a redeeming quality to be found among today’s record of idiocy, whether it’s the subjects of the stories or the fact that the stories themselves even exist in the first place. Let’s start with this Kijiji posting, beckoning one and all to contribute to this citizen’s tattoo portfolio by submitting to a full-facial tattoo. It is very important that this person pad his or her portfolio with a very impressive full-facial tattoo—so important, in fact, that it will be done nearly practically free! As long as you don’t want any tribal, of course. Tribal is for assholes.

[Help Me Sue] Oh Jesus Christ, if you are eating your celebratory (and mandatory, damn it) Independence Day fried chicken, you may want to put it down (or eat it extremely quickly) before clicking that link. First of all, there is actually a web site called “Help Me Sue,” which is just tremendous, and it evidently exists to help people wronged by The Man (or various men) find a lawyer appropriate for one’s respective situation. Well, someone is having some problems with a tattoo, from the looks of things (all [sic]‘d):

Myself and two other co-workers went to a new local tattoo parlor in Morgan Hill, California. We all got the same tattoo and we all got bad infections. Within the two days our ankles swelled three times the size and was oozing all the color and green stuff. We let it ride because we understood that the foot area was very painful in regards to healing. We went back to the tat shop to find the owner and his wife and showed him our feet. His first response was “Oh shit, he went way too deep, that artist is out of here. Don’t worry, he won’t be back!” At that point we told him that we were pissed and we were going to seek medical attention because our legs had became so sore that we had to miss work and the crust from our tattoo kept cracking and seaping. My friend was the first to go seek medical advice then myself. It was confirmed that it appeared we both had Staf infections and were given antibiotics for severl weeks. The artist finally cared enough to contact us and even admitted he may have went to deep and that he would only refund our money and fix it. He then told us that we would fix it at the shop where we got it beacuse he still worked there! We then decided to run in their business lic because they had one on the wall in the shop. It happens that they do not have a license but rather one is pending because the Enviromental Health Dept. still hadn’t inspected their facility.

And wouldn’t you know it, it’s actually a lot grosser than it sounds! There’s a nice little area of necrotic tissue pictured, which, as we all know, is the primary symptom of…a tattoo artist going too deep? What? Hey, I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure you don’t pick up a necrotizing Staph infection because your artist has a heavy hand. Anyway, folks, best of luck in your lawsuit. Care to make it class-action lawsuit? Eh? Eh? C’monnn.

[NJ Star-Ledger] So here’s a fun game to play: Go to Google News, type “Bagelhead” into the query field, look at the results, and then punch yourself in the dick/balls/ovaries/whatever hard enough that you will never, ever breed, thus saving your potential offspring from the horrid fate of having to share a planet with the reporters responsible for this new “BRAND NEW FAD” non-story. Apparently, some Japanese youths have started experimenting with inflating their foreheads with saline solution (as our old friends Jerome, Ryoichi and others have been photographed doing in the past), and of course, since something need only exist for it to become a fad, this is now a fad sweeping the sleepy fishing village of Japan. Oh, and apparently the people who are doing this are being called “Bagelheads,” because what would a dumb non-story be without the most outrageously stupid moniker imaginable attached to it? Hooray.

[Popcrunch] And finally, famous singer person Rihanna is going to jail, forever, for giving someone a tattoo. Apparently she thought it’d be a real hoot to pick up a tattoo machine while hanging out in New York and give some folks some little umbrella tattoos, except those photos were published (by the MEDIA), and now it’s been revealed that she was not properly licensed to be a tattoo artist, or something, so she will be put to death, the end.

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (June 22, 2009)

[Telegraph] Holy shit, you guys! It happened, it finally happened! Our long, national nightmare is finally over! After a solid week of mind-numbing idiocy and hilariously poorly thought out lies, one of the great dumb stories of our time has reached its logical conclusion. Are you ready for this, folks? Get a beverage, find a comfortable seat and let the warm sunshine wash over you as we collectively revel in what we can only imagine will be the last we hear of this foolishness, at least until Chuckles over there gets cast on Big Brother UK or something. Anyway, that whole canard about falling asleep in the chair at the tattoo shop? LIES, LIES, BALD-FACED LIES.

Kimberley Vlaminck had insisted she dozed off after asking the tattooist for just three small stars – then woke in horror to find her face was covered.

[...]

Amid a frenzy of media attention, she then pledged to sue the tattoo artist, Rouslan Toumaniantz, for the £9,000 she needed for laser surgery to have them removed.

She said after the tattooing last week: “It is terrible for me. I cannot go out on to the street. I look like a freak.”

But the 18-year-old has finally confessed she did not fall asleep, that she wanted all the stars and was “fully aware” of what Mr Toumaniantz was doing.

Ms Vlaminck told a Dutch TV crew: “I asked for 56 stars and initially adored them. But when my father saw them, he was furious. So I said I fell asleep and the tattooist made a mistake.”

And so ends the ignominious tale of a common boob. As mentioned above, though, if history has taught us anything, she will be back, probably on a reality program, or getting punched in the face by a big foam fist on some Japanese-style game show. We can only hope.

[Edmonton Sun] Last week, we mentioned the story of Zipp’s Tattoo and Museum, the Edmonton, Alberta, tattoo shop that has been shuttered for, among other reasons, miserably failing to meet basic standards of cleanliness, evidenced by the fact that this goon was tattooing animals in the same place as humans. This is typically frowned upon. Luckily, it seems like some good might come out of this! Mike Francis, owner of Little Buddha Tattoo & Piercings, is now trying to mobilize artists and shop owners in the area to be as public and forthcoming as possible with regard to their commitment to meeting safety standards.

[Francis] started a Facebook group for local studios to post spore test results of sterilization machines, inspection dates and other sanitation information for potential clients to check out while researching studios.

Francis, who laments the lack of licensing in the industry, said he’s intended to create the group for awhile, but the recent scare at Zipp’s Tattoo & Museum was “the final straw.”

[...]

The closure has been an embarrassment to reputable studios in the city, Francis said.

“What I’m hoping (the Facebook group) is going to do is people are going to investigate their tattoo studios around the city,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s me or (another studio), at least you’ll be able to go through it and see we do a regular spore test.”

While his studio hasn’t felt any economic impact from the incident yet, clients are clearly unsettled.

“My first appointment today was at 12 p.m. and the first thing out of his mouth was, ‘You’re using clean needles, right?’” he recalled.

In the description of the group, Sterile Tattoo & Piercing Studios In and Around Edmonton, he wrote, “As a studio owner, let’s try to change what others have destroyed.”

Well hey, this is a solid idea! Now, some may feel it’s an invasion of sorts and that this sort of disclosure may lead to a situation where individuals and shops are put into a position to preemptively prove their innocence rather than defend themselves against accusations of guilt, but it’s still hard to not see these sorts of actions as promising steps toward further acceptance in the public eye. Jason McDonald, the environmental public health officer who pulled the plug on Zipp’s, has the money quote at the end of the article: “There are roughly 50 studios in the Edmonton area and they’re generally in compliance and doing a good thing. I would get a tattoo in any of the studios open today. That’s the key message: this is a safe industry.”

[His Hair Clinic] And finally, some more good news. (Though this may be old news and simply news to me. News, news. News.) Apparently, tattoos are no longer just something you wake up with on your face after falling asleep in sundry locales, but they can also do some good if used properly! Like, say, the folks at His Hair Clinic are doing—now, grown men needn’t any longer face the gross indignity of receding hairlines! As you can see, the cosmetic scientists at work here simply give you a close noggin shave, then tattoo a realistic-looking hairline, giving you the hirsute appearance you crave. On the downside, due to these facial/head tattoos, these gentlemen will never be able to get jobs again. Sad.

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (June 19, 2009)


[Animal NY] Hoo boy, is this not just the most irritating story ever or what? OK, so, as we (and everybody) mentioned previously, 18-year-old Kimberley Vlaeminck allegedly went to Romanian tattoo artist Rouslan Toumaniantz and ended up with 56 stars tattooed all over her face. She claims she only asked for three and then fell asleep, which is just a preposterously stupid lie, while Toumaniantz says that she knew full well what was happening and only freaked out once her father or boyfriend or whoever lost their respective shit. Now she is suing the tattoo artist, because she wants the stars removed, of course. Is your brain leaking out of your ears yet? Mine is!

Anyway, my initial response to this mess of foolishness was that it was a hoax, because, come on: Nobody involved in this situation could be deranged/myopic enough for any of this to be real, right? Well, Toumaniantz is apparently a member over at BodyMod.org and posted this response, saying he did, in fact, tattoo this crazy person. Hooray.

Then, the girl said she felt asleep during the tattoo session. But :

1) Tattoo hurts,
2) Tattoo hurts more on face than on most other places,
3) Tattoo hurts even more on the nose than on the face,
4) Apart from the pain factor, the emotional impact of a first tattoo is huge, which makes it even less likely to sleep during such a session,
5) During this tattoo I had to ask Kimberley to change quite often her position, because the face isn’t flat and you need to always adjust the persons position and yours to be able to tattoo,
6) Kimberley did stand up many times during the session and did check up the work in a mirror,
7) We spoke during a part of the session,
8) The call log of her mobile phone and SMS activity could easily show that from the start of the session to its end she wasn’t sleeping,
9) And most importantly, a witness, being totally independent from both sides saw all the session from its start to the end, and confirms every word above. Kortrijk police made an inquiry, and both of us (me and the witness) were conducted shortly after Kimberley tattoo was finished to the police station, and both of us said exactly what did happen, and therefore gave exactly the same version of the events. Copies of minutes (in Flemish) we can provide.

So Kimberly was absolutely aware of what was happening during all the tattoo session and got what she asked, no more no less.

So that’s the end of it, right? Poor judgment on his part for tattooing an unstable teenager’s face, maybe, but she’s still a dirty rotten liar…right? Well, except for the fact that there is now some dumb Internet toy called The Kimberlizer, which allows people to decorate photos of themselves with the same star pattern as our young heroine, and…you see where this is going, don’t you? From Animal NY:

Among the few media outlets to interview the starlet is Belgian radio station MNM, who’s advertising agency, Famous, is behind the Kimberlizer. A French newspaper says the website, which allows visitors to digitally place 56 stars on their face via webcam, was opened in April, well before the story happened. Additionally, theorists point out that MNM’s logo is a star, just like the ones covering Kimberley Vlaeminck.

In conclusion, no matter what the truth ends up being, there will almost surely not be a more aggravating tattoo-related story all year. BME extends hearty congratulations to everybody involved. Let’s all take turns punching each other in the brains, forever.

[CBS 42] At last, our long national nightmare is over! Megan Fox, the most famous tattooed person since, I don’t know, the Memento guy, has decided to heed her mother’s advice and stop mucking up her body with the devil’s ink. Let us pray.

Fox recently announced plans to cover her entire right arm with ink – but she’s now backed out of the scheme insisting she won’t be heading to the tattoo parlor again any time soon.

She says, “They’re definitely addictive. I don’t have any that I truly regret yet, but I’m sure I will at some point.”

“I’m trying to refrain from going forward for that reason. I don’t want to be 40, looking at my arm in the mirror and going, ‘Oh my God – what did I do?’”

In exchange for this promise, Fox’s mom will now let her wear make-up to school and have sleepovers every Saturday night.

[Vancouver Sun] And finally, let’s finish this wretchedly awful news week with reports that yet another Canadian tattoo and piercing shop is giving all of its customers HIV and every type of hepatitis, except this time it’s not just a matter of lazy paperwork: The clown at the centre of this story is “Zipp,” the proprietor of Edmonton, Alberta’s Zipp’s Tattoo and Museum, who, well…

On a spur-of-the-moment whim and fuelled with a bit of liquid courage, Corinda got a tattoo of a Playboy bunny on her left hip two months ago.

Now, the 26-year-old is stepping forward to be tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C after the health authority closed Zipp’s Tattoo and Museum shop at Whyte Avenue and 100th Street because of unsanitary practices and sterilization concerns over reusable piercing and tattooing equipment.

The owner told health inspectors he had been recently tattooing animals in his studio, but denied tattooing people.

The health authority is now asking people to come forward for testing.

Hey, come on! The guy is just trying to run your average illegal animal-tattooing dungeon. What’s the big deal? Prudes.

Charges are being considered by the health authority since Zipp’s –in business at another Whyte Avenue location since 1978–was also closed in 2007 because of unsanitary conditions and infection control. At that time, the health inspector said the risk of contracting blood-borne pathogens was considered low because the proprietor used single-use, disposable needles.

[...]

Health inspectors closed the tattoo parlour June 5 after noting the owner didn’t wash his hands before performing procedures and didn’t wear gloves.

Dirty and unsterile instruments were being used on clients, and the ultrasonic cleaning device was not being operated in a sanitary way. Ink went unlabelled and instruments, including needles, were improperly stored and handled.

In all fairness, the child laborers Zipp had “hired” to oversee the cleanliness of the shop totally dropped the ball. “Wah, my fingers hurt, wah, I’m hungry,” they would cry, long into the night, while Zipp tattooed pig after pig, laughing his terrible laugh, the end.

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (June 16, 2009)

[Toronto Star] Well, it was probably only a matter of time before the Moonshin Tattoo business found its way back into the news. To recap: Earlier this year, it was revealed that local health departments in Ontario, Canada, were neglecting their duties with regard to regularly inspecting tattoo shops and, as a result, some shops were found to have been neglecting their own record-keeping (and other) practices, throwing into question their sterility and safety. Mississauga’s Moonshin Tattoo in particular caught fire because of this, and both the shop and Peel Region found themselves the subjects of a $20 million class-action lawsuit by customers who may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis B and C. In light of this, the Toronto Star launched their own investigation, and the results are pretty hit-and-miss:

Every public health unit in the [Greater Toronto Area] has failed to enforce provincial standards that require tattoo and piercing studios to be inspected at least once a year, a Star investigation has found.

[...]

Peel, with the worst record of tattoo parlour inspections for both years in the Star study, checked on only seven of its 20 establishments in 2007 and only five in 2008.

[...]

Halton Region also fared poorly in the study, with only 47 per cent of its 15 establishments inspected both years. Toronto inspected only 65 per cent of its 23 parlours in ’07 but had a perfect year, in ’08, when there were 41 parlours.

The most diligent were Durham, which managed to inspect all tattoo parlours under its jurisdiction in one year and 95 per cent the next, and York, which inspected 84 per cent one year and 97 per cent the next.

A variety of reasons were offered for missed inspections, but most common was a lack of funding after the province made regional health authorities responsible for such inspections a decade ago.

Allison Stuart, Ontario’s assistant deputy minister of public health, doesn’t buy that excuse.

“We’re talking about guidelines that have been in place since 1997, so this is not something that’s been sprung upon the health units,” she said.

While it’s heartening to see a few regions taking their responsibilities seriously, there are some egregious stats mentioned there. The logical extension of this investigation, it seems, would be to determine if these inspectors are dropping the ball in all areas of their work—as the article mentions, at least as far as Peel is concerned, their inspectors are also responsible for “more than 5,000 food premises, 500 recreational water facilities and 150 child-care centres”—or if their neglect has been limited to premises offering body modification procedures? (It’s also addressed that inspectors failed to visit “ear-piercing establishments” with regularity.) It’s paranoid to assume there’s some insidious blueprint being followed here, but if these failures are largely occurring at the expense of body artists, that seems worthy of some attention, no?

(Of course, if Ontario artists want to keep on top of things without prompting from the government, they can always get their Health Educators certification when David Vidra comes to Toronto next week, here and here.)

[Daily Mail] Several thousand astute readers have sent in this article today, so, yeah, we figured it was worth some attention, as unbelievable as it is. Anyway, as the story goes, Kimberley Vlaminck, an 18-year-old living in lawless Courtrai, Belgium, went in to get three harmless stars tattooed on her face by Rouslan Toumaniantz at The Tattoo Box, but, uh, fell asleep? Or was drugged? And somehow woke up with 56 goddamned stars covering half her face? What?

She claims she fell asleep while he was doing his work… and awoke to ‘this nightmare’.

‘It is terrible for me,’ said Kimberley. ‘I cannot go out on to the street, I am so embarrassed. I just look horrible.’

‘I think he didn’t understand what I wanted. He spoke only fractured English and French.

‘But I explicitly said in my native tongue, French, and also in a little bit of English when he looked confused, that I wanted three little stars only near my left eye.’

Rouslan Toumaniantz, who runs the tattoo parlour called The Tattoo Box in Courtrai, denies her claim, saying she knew ‘exactly what she wanted’.

He added: ‘She was awake and looked into the mirror several times as the procedure was taking place. The trouble all started when she went home and her father and boyfriend threw a fit.

First things first: I have a hard time believing any of this is true. I don’t know what the game is, but I want to go on record as saying I won’t be surprised when and if this is exposed as a hoax. However, if any of it is true, I’ll gladly adjust my verdict to say that I think young Kimberley is full of it. Not to be too much of an armchair physician/psychologist/mind-reader/whatever, but falling asleep while someone drills 56 stars into your face? Come on now. I think we can all agree this is preposterous. The argument could potentially be made that the artists should have maybe not tattooed the hell out of an 18-year-old’s face, but her reaction seems downright pathological. If any of this is true. Which I don’t think it is.

[Craigslist] And finally, here is a HOT NEW TREND that will surely be hitting a city near you, soon! As the RECESSION continues and people can NO LONGER AFFORD TATTOOS, how will they manage to keep inking themselves into UNEMPLOYABILITY? The answer, of course, is PRESCRIPTION DRUGS:

Glorious.

Eyelid Tattoo — UPDATE!


So hey! This week’s super-sexy controversy centered on this “permanent eye shadow” tattoo, which got lots of people in a huff, for various reasons. Well, here’s an update, which I gives a bit better of an idea about the end result of the work. At the very least, this should probably dissuade the “that looks like a bruise” contingent. Another smiley shot, after the jump.

Continue reading

How Young is Too Young For Tattoos?


We at BME publish a lot of content that people don’t always agree with—we’re fine with that. Body modification, constantly increasing acceptance notwithstanding, can still be a bit of a touchy subject. Now, BME sometimes finds itself in a predicament, being that we want to promote body modification and see it flourish (and therefore showcase the best the community has to offer), but we are also an archive, and that role sees us documenting content that can cast body modification in an unfavorable light in the public sphere. Such is the duality of a Web site that seeks, simultaneously, to be the voice of a community as well a news outlet covering it.

So, when we got this picture, it gave us the cold sweats. What was more important? Should we keep a lid on it because of the negative light in which it could surely cast tattooing, or should we publish it because that’s what we’ve made a commitment to do? In the end, we decided to run it, albeit with any distinguishing features obscured, as you can see above. Hopefully, if nothing else, it’ll spark some intelligent discussion and we won’t be proven foolish for posting it.

Says the artist:

Okay okay we know people will probably FREAK about this but you have to accept you don’t know all the details!.. The boy grows up around tattoos, he loves them, always loved them, always wants his own – hey I know what that’s like! I did a small one his leg and he took it pretty good, strong kid, so what the hell? Made sure he got a good long sleep and had a big breakfast, and had a big bottle of warm milk to relax him before laying down for the tattoo (and some during too). He’s a champ!!! It’s something to grow up with and remember, and if dont “approve” then that’s your problem I guess.

… discuss.

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (March 24, 2009)

[KXII] Let’s file this one under the “There’s Got to be a Better Way” department: A woman in Ardmore, Oklahoma, recently got a tattoo (right) in tribute to her son, Maddox, and, whoops, looks like somebody made a typo! She and her husband are pretty broken up about it.

“It bothers me everyday. I have a couple I should get taken off as well. I’m tired of looking at it like that too,” Mike Burmeister says.

[...]

Burmeister says the mistake has been difficult on him and his wife.

“She broke down and cried over the whole thing. I was pretty perturbed. I even shed a tear over the whole thing.”

… sounds rough. Except! The artist who did the tattoo tells a different story!

Robert Ortiz, the owner of Ink Spot Tattoos and the artist who tattooed Burmeister’s wife. Ortiz says he did nothing wrong, and that burmeister’s wife walked out of his shop completely satisfied.

“I asked her, ‘Everything fine? Everything look exactly how you want?’ She says, ‘This is exactly what I want, I’m very happy with it,’” Ortiz says.

“She gave me a tip and left.”

Burmeister and his wife claim they just want the tattoo fixed, which seems like a reasonable request and something that could have been accomplished by, hmm, going back to the tattoo shop? At no point in the article is it mentioned that anyone actually tried to remedy the situation before going to the press about it, which is a curious method of settling such matters. This is because there are no telephones in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and when somebody has a problem, they march up to the local television station with tears in their eyes and a story to tell, the end.

[Connecticut Post] Haha, but lucky for Robert Ortiz, he doesn’t live in war-torn Stratford, Connecticut! In this similar-but-worse story, 18-year-old Noel Gonzalez got the name “Teresa” tattooed on his arm by local artist John Velikonja, but, of course, it was misspelled, because tattoo artists exist only to cause pain and misery to others. Well, our young hero didn’t take kindly to this slight, and responded in the only appropriate manner: by threatening to kill Velikonja. Hooray!

Gonzalez [...] demanded that he fix it.

When Velikonja refused, police said, Gonzalez pulled out a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun, racked it and allegedly told the tattoo artist, “You’re gonna finish my [tattoo] now.”

OK, first of all, why in the holy hell would Velikonja not fix the goddamn tattoo? Who taught this guy customer service? You’re already there—fix the tattoo! If I go to Subway and order a sandwich and the guy accidentally throws some olives on there after I told him not to, he doesn’t tell me to go screw myself—he takes the olives off and probably gives me a free cookie. You hear that, Velikonja? Cookies.

Anyway, Gonzalez is still a nut-case for pulling out a gun, and his next actions probably didn’t do him any favors, either:

Velikonja then allegedly played a phone message for police that Gonzalez left him after the confrontation in which there is the sound of a gun being racked and then laughter.

On the bright side, Gonzalez will have plenty of opportunities to get this tattoo fixed in the future, in prison. Haha, just kidding, he’s out on bail.


Moonshin Tattoo Client Tests Positive for Hepatitis B


Well, this isn’t good. Last week, we mentioned the predicament in which Moonshin Tattoo and Peel Region find themselves—namely that, after it was discovered Moonshin had neglected its book-keeping for its sterilization practices for four years and that the local government had made no efforts to inspect the premises, both are now the subjects of a $20 million lawsuit by people who had been customers at the shop during the aforementioned period.

CityNews is now reporting, as seen above, that a man who received a tattoo from Moonshin in that time-frame has been diagnosed with hepatitis B.

“A close friend of mine went there before and said they were professional,” revealed the father and husband.

“You should feel comfortable and [be able to] get artwork done without fearing anything happening to you.”

A grain of salt is necessary here: The man has asked to remain anonymous, and his claim alone doesn’t prove anything. But, he also mentions he’d had blood-work done prior to getting the tattoo that recorded him as having a clean bill of health. If this is in fact true, and there’s nothing in his personal life to suggest he was exposed to the disease anywhere but Moonshin, this is a case that could have far-reaching and potentially devastating effects on future legislation.

Once again, there is no excuse at this point for irresponsible record keeping (or worse, sloppy practices not even worthy of record keeping). If you’re in the body modification industry and want to be taken seriously and treated like a professional by the public at large, then the onus is on you. It’s no secret what’s at stake; the fact that your carelessness can wreak havoc on an entire industry should be common knowledge. This isn’t to say there aren’t client-side responsibilities as well, like getting frequent blood tests if you’re getting body modification work done regularly, but nonetheless.

Whether or not the man interviewed above is telling the truth (and hopefully we’ll find out for certain soon, one way or the other), the fact that this is gaining traction at all isn’t doing the industry as a whole any favors. If Moonshin hadn’t dropped the ball, this probably wouldn’t be a story in the first place.

Tattoo Parlour, Peel Sued Over Possible HIV, Hepatitis Exposure [CityNews]