Rick Genest Doppelganers in DREDD?

Arresting Judge: Judge Francisco
Plea: 2 = CONTEST    Finding: 412 = INSANITY
Sentence: 71 months(s) isocube, no parole
Probation: 3YRS    Appealed: Y = YES, Rejected


I believe that’s the lead singer of Sküllböï

I was initially pleasantly surprised to see that in the new Dredd movie, Zombie (Rick Genest) seems to play the part of a Peyote Kings gang member, although it’s a brief part because he is almost immediately murdered by the rival Ma-ma gang. Every rigger, gaffer, muffin wrangler, and fluffer is listed in the credits, but for some reason they decided Rico wasn’t worth including among them. Then I realized an odd thing (and maybe someone more familiar with the Dredd franchise has an explanation) — there is more than one person in the movie wearing his skullface tattoos. At first I thought it was a reflection in a mirror, but no, it’s a doppelganger (different hair, and one has stretched ears and the other thin hoops) — and then I realized that the mugshot above likely isn’t Rick either, judging by the throat tattoo. And then I started to become convinced that none of the characters are actually Rick!!!

rick-genest-dredd-screencap-1-t rick-genest-dredd-screencap-2-t rick-genest-dredd-screencap-3-t

Like I said, Rick doesn’t appear to be listed in the Dredd credits. I can’t find any mention of him appearing in Dredd anywhere online, and while I’m willing to accept that my google-fu can be weak at times, I find it highly dubious that Rick would make a major appearance in a movie as big as Dredd and not mention it on his blog or facebook page. But ripping off his character rights seems like a shocking oversight for a major film to make… Isn’t it? I think it’s important to note that this isn’t “coincidental”… It’s not as if it’s just someone tattooed like a skeleton. Many specific details of his tattoos have been copied — for example, the spiderweb on his right ear — in a way that makes it obvious they’re exploiting the theft of his character and likeness, and ensures almost everyone will believe it is him.

Here are some side-by-side comparisons… what do you think? Am I imagining this?



But then I reminded myself that it’s pretty common to see people “draw inspiration” from Zombie’s tattoos and mimic him in various mediums. It’s no big deal if someone makes a YouTube video of themselves in makeup looking like him, but it becomes a problem when a movie rips off the character that Rick has created without getting his consent first — and this is just what happened in the first episode of the first season of the show American Horror Story. One of the characters in the show appears with Rick’s tattoos done so precisely that it’s obvious that it’s been directly copied and he’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the image. Here’s a pair of screencaps of the episode:


They might have gotten away with this if Rico was still a Montreal gutterpunk, but now that he’s ascended into one of the glitterati he had his lawyer slap them silly and Fox settled out of court for what I assume is more money than Rick had made in his entire life up to the point he was first unleashed on the world with that glib “you call yourself a misfits fan” ModBlog post back in 2006. Perhaps that is what’s happening right now — an ongoing legal matter would certainly explain the complete lack of mention of this online. Ah, the wages of fame.

Well, if anyone knows the truth as to what’s up with ol’Skullboy’s presence in Dredd, please let me know. Either way, Rico really is one of my favorite rags to riches stories — what a wonderful unexpected adventure his tattoos are bringing him.

Let the heart-shaped drama END

The idea of bending jewelry into the shape of a heart for earrings is not a new one, existing in lobes probably back hundreds of years. In the daith, where it really took off in this subculture, piercers have been doing them since the 1990s if not earlier, but it can be difficult actually proving this since the documentation of piercing prior to about ten years ago was limited at best, and more importantly, it’s easy enough for any old person to say “well, I did this back in 1992″… the key is proving it, which generally means publication in a tattoo magazine, or on BME or some other independent site that marks pictures with a date stamp. It’s unfortunate there’s so little documentation from that period, because I suspect that there were more of these being done in the mid 1990s than in the mid 2000s, because in the former, it was not uncommon for piercers to make their own jewelry, but every year that passed that became less common.

So… let’s figure out what BME has to say on the subject. Now, I want to be clear that this is far from definitive. There may be older images, because there are literally tens of thousands of pictures to sift through and not all of them have proper captions so it’s not as simple as searching for “heart”. The only gallery where I took the time to manually look at every photo between 2006 and the beginning of BME was the daith gallery.

On December 9th, 2005, Phil Barbosa posted a picture of a daith heart to BME’s galleries. At that point we were usually running about a week behind at most, so the dates may actually be a little earlier — and of course there’s no way for me to prove when it was actually pierced — but we can only go by the publication date since it’s the only one we can outright prove. This was done by Nicc Stienmetz, a piercer at Seattle’s Slave To The Needle. It was popular with his clients, and he started submitting more, the next one coming at the end of January, 2006. Then another one a few days later from John Lopez, also at Slave To The Needle, which was posted to ModBlog. You can see the first two pictured below, or click here to see the one that hit ModBlog.

At the time, ModBlog was the most widely read piercing media in the world, and it was instantly loved by the general public. Person after person posted with some variation on “sign me up!”, and almost immediately piercers all over the world started doing them and posting them to BME. Giving credit where it’s due, I should mention that Penelope from Haven Body Arts (Lucky’s at the time), the company involved in filing a trademark application for this jewelry’s name, and thus central to the drama, did her first one on Dailee Joyce in 2006, which I processed and added to BME on April 29, 2006. So she’s not the quite first, and not as early as it claims on their website, nor did she even do it before the design was widely known internationally by both thousands of piercers and hundreds of thousands of piercing enthusiasts, but she was definitely an early adopter and has been an ardent supporter and promoter of the design ever since. Below is that early picture of Dailee’s piercing from BME’s archives.

I’m also happy to say that I continue seeing new ideas in this general design — different ways of bending the jewelry, different materials, gem settings, and little design nuances like overlapping metal with little “notches” to hold the shape together better. But the funny thing is that all these things, as new as they seem to the people doing them, have almost certainly been done before. Piercing is definitely a place where the old saying “great minds think alike” is very true and oft validated in our history. And while I think most piercers claiming to be “first” genuinely believe it and make the claim with honest intentions, even if it’s not true, there is also some truth to the other old saying, sometimes attributed to Picasso but probably apocryphal, “good artists borrow, great artists steal.”

Anyway, if anyone can document an earlier date than December 9, 2005, let me know. I know there are lots of people who’ve done it earlier — so the real trick here is documenting it. Until then, as far as I’m concerned, the person who first documented it — which had the effect of popularizing it — is Nicc Stienmetz, and he is who could best to be said to be responsible for this trend taking off if we’re going to track the “influence chain”.

No more heart-shaped jewelry allowed?!?!

As of September 25, 2012, Haven Body Arts LLC of Northampton, MA has a registered trademark for heart shaped jewelry called “ear-heart”. They are claiming first use as of September 30, 2009, presumably saying this was the invention. So… what do you think? Obviously this is a popular jewelry design that is being widely used all over the world and has been for some time, and “ear-heart” is an obvious but incredibly lame name. But who can show it being used before 2009?

I know that there are pictures in the BME galleries of it being used — ie. prior art — that is much older than late 2009 — for example, back in 2006 I posted this photo of John Lopez’s work. He was at Slave to the Needle in Seattle by the way. I’m sure I could come up with hundreds of others. I am sure some of them called it an ear-heart. I can’t stand jackasses who try and abuse patent and trademark and other intellectual property law.

Click the photo of the registration to see Reg #4,215,685 on Trademarkia.

Note: I should clarify that this trademark almost certainly doesn’t stop anyone for using jewelry of this design, it just stops them from calling it an “ear-heart”. Which is perhaps even sillier since these are such common and obvious words!

Changing industry ethics?

When you first look at these tattoos, maybe the first thing you say to yourself is, “wow, I didn’t know tattoos could shift that much with age!”


But then you realize that the chestpiece is on well known tattoo artist Toni Moore (of Broad Street Studio in Bath) by Tim Kern, and the neck piece is a knock off by Marcel Daatz at Extremetattoo in Munich. I know, not a line-for-line copy, but close enough that if you didn’t look at the pieces side-by-side you could easily assume they’re the same tattoo.s I often have more permissive feelings about copying than many of my friends in the industry, because it’s my opinion that tattooing has always been an artform that is built on appropriation, but this example of tattoo plaigiarism really upset me.

The reason this piece upset me so much is that Marcel Daatz appears to be a talented and capable tattoo artist. There is no need or excuse for him to be knocking off his peers’ work and claiming it as his own. It makes me very sad, and it’s an unfortunate comment on how many of the traditional tattoo culture ethics have been lost as this industry ages. I’m used to crap artists aping the pros. But for talented artists to rip each other off? To have so little respect for each other, for themselves, for the industry? It’s really heartbreaking.

What do you think? Where is the line? Is this an example of a professional backstabbing a peer? Or am I overreacting, and it’s been changed enough, and is instead an example of someone simply drawing inspiration from a well-known tattoo and getting “their own version”?

Piercing with a Dermal Punch

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a body modification editorial. I don’t really have time to do it on a regular basis, but after some private discussion on the subject of the assumed illegality of dermal punches — and becoming fed up with fifteen years of legal urban legends on the subject — I felt compelled to expound on this subject.


There has been a lot of debate over the past two decades over the use by body piercers of dermal punches (more accurately known as biopsy punches, as they are used by doctors to core out pieces of flesh for analysis). Even though at this point virtually all piercers agree that for certain procedures the dermal punch is a superior and safer tool, many American piercers avoid them and have expressed legal concern over the tool being a “Class II medical device” and this potentially putting them at risk of charges of practising medicine without a license or similar prosecution — or to use a more culturally accurate word, persecution.

In short, the essay will make the case that medical labelling is not only irrelevant to the piercing community, but that it is important that it not be a part of the discussion. I will seek to dispel the persistent myth that dermal punches as used by body piercers are a federally regulated device, and make the case that by perpetuating this myth, the piercing industry both cripples progress and creates new legal risk. Please note however that my argument is regarding federal medical device regulations, and that several state and county US jurisdiction may have secondary tool laws specific to body piercing that are directly relevant to piercers. While I feel these laws were created in error and need to be repealed, they are not the subject of this essay.

Disposable Dermal Punches (Biopsy Punches)

Disposable Dermal Punches (Biopsy Punches)

Before discussing the law, I want to point out the obvious history of the piercing needle. The piercing needle is of course based on the hollow medical hypodermic needle, and is used by the piercing community in one of two forms historically. In Europe and South America, it was common to use a cannula needle, similar to what is used for installing an IV drip, which is a hollow metal needle with a removable plastic sheath. The piercing was done with the two parts together, and once through the body, the metal part was withdrawn, leaving a plastic tube in the piercing. The jewelry was then inserted into this tube, which was then withdrawn, acting like a sort of taper to install the jewelry in the piercing. In the United States and Canada it was more common for piercers to purchase hypodermic needles of the sort that were mounted on the end of syringes to inject medication in a medical or veterinary context. Because these needles contained hubs for mounting on the syringes, piercers would cut off or otherwise remove the hubs prior to piercing, turning them into the simple needles (metal tubes that have a sharp bevel on one end and are flat on the other) that are in common use today.

From left to right: Hubbed hypodermic needles, catheter needles, modern piercing needles.

From left to right: Hubbed hypodermic needles, catheter needles, modern piercing needles.

n time, converting the medical device fell out of favour, and companies began manufacturing piercing needles purely for the body piercing industry. This was for two main reasons — first, to distance themselves from using a medical device and any potential legalities and regulatory issues that might carry with it. Second, to provide a product that was of consistent quality and had a bevel design better suited to the needs of the body piercing community. However, it is important to recognize that the piercing needle’s genesis and nature is objectively a repurposed medical device.

I should also at this point very briefly comment on what are being called “O-needles” or “chamfer needles”. A normal needle has a diagonal bevel, but these have a bevel that runs perpendicular to the length of the needle. It is essentially a biopsy punch without the plastic handle (although a portion of the metal may be textured to act as a handle), just like a piercing needle is a hypodermic syringe needle without the plastic hub. It works like a biopsy punch in that instead of cutting a curved slot, it “cores” out a small circle of flesh, which, as with dermal punches, makes certain piercings such as cartilage work heal faster and with less scarring and other complications by relieving the pressure on the surrounding tissue. As I write this these new “needles” are being made only in smaller sizes (12ga and below) — but even an 18ga punch is superior to an 18ga needle in some circumstances so I’m not complaining! It is my hope that in time they will be available larger, but at the time of this writing, only “medical” dermal punches are available in larger sizes, with 8mm (approximately 0ga) being a popular size for conch punching. While I am very pleased that the piercing industry is beginning to manufacture punches themselves, and all things being equal, I would much rather see us making all our tools in-house, until both deeper market penetration has been achieved and larger sizes are available many piercers are still in the position of needing tools that were ostensibly made by the manufacturer primarily as a “medical device”.

Chamfer needles made by Sharpass Needles (the grey section is a rougher area for grip).

Chamfer needles made by Sharpass Needles (the grey section is a rougher area for grip).

Now, on to the law itself. You can read an overview here:

A careful reading should make it clear that the majority of these rules have to do with labelling regulations and other issues relevant primarily to device manufacturers. It is not a set of laws discussing the criminal matters of possession or use as one would have for example with opiate-based medications. No requirements are put forward for the possession of these devices, so while you will be charged as a drug dealer for possessing a bottle of OxyCodone without authorization, you face no such charges for possessing a case of dermal punches. That said, it is important to again note that some local health board regulations governing piercing may well ban the use of dermal punches, and in those cases their simple possession can affect shop licensing. The FDA however makes no such federal ban.

While it is true that the legal definition of the use of dermal punches, scalpels, or piercing needles to perform the procedures common to body piercing has never been tested in court, it is my strong opinion that none of these, when used in the context of body piercing (implants or tongue splitting may well be a different matter) meets the legal definition of “practising medicine”. As such, it is my opinion that once a “medical device” has been repurposed as a “piercing device”, and is being used in a completely different and non-medical context, that these regulations are no longer relevant. The fact that a needle or a biopsy punch is a medical device is relevant to the manufacturer that sells it to the medical community, but it is not relevant to the piercing community who are not doctors and are not acting as doctors. This statement also holds for the S&M and sex store market, which of course also appropriates medical devices in their own way.

Perhaps it is easier to understand why the use of dermal punches is not per se evidence of practising medicine when we examine other items that are also categorized in the regulations as Class II medical devices. For example, motorized wheelchairs are a Class II medical device, just like biopsy punches. Clearly it is sensible that there be regulations in place governing the manufacture and sale of wheelchairs to the medical industry. However, it does not from that stand that all use of wheelchairs is medical in nature or governed by medical law, or that one can be charged for “practising medicine” due to the possession, use, or misuse of wheelchairs. For example, it is perfectly legal — if a bit foolhardy — to organize a wheelchair racing league. You do not need a medical degree to do this. You do not need to be a paraplegic with a prescription from your doctor for the wheelchair. You do not need medical licensing to be a wheelchair mechanic and repurpose or modify the wheelchairs for racing.

The same applies to dermal punches. It’s only a medical device when you’re using it for medicine. If you want to use it for piercing, then you only need to concern yourself with the piercing regulations. As I said, in some jurisdictions, the piercing-specific regulations deal with these in both positive and negative manners depending on who wrote those regulations, although in most they are not specifically mentioned or restricted. In either case, these are piercing regulations, not medical regulations. Those FDA rules are separate and unrelated. And if you want to put a condom on a dermal punch and violate it in ways I don’t want to know about, that’s your business, and again, you don’t need to be a doctor to do it. Admittedly you may need a doctor afterwards, but that still doesn’t make your initial perverse act with the dermal punch medicine.

I am certain that in the future we will see more tools and techniques leak over from the medical field into body piercing and body modification as a whole. Some of the more popular tools will eventually be manufactured by the body modification industry, but not all of them. This issue does not end when the debate on dermal punches ends, or when “O-needles” effectively dominate the market.

It should now be clear that when piercing professionals worry that they should avoid medical devices such as biopsy punches that by the law, this has nothing to do with the regulation itself. It is solely related to how it is being used. Charges related to the unlicensed practise of medicine are related to the act, not the tool. That is, if you do liposuction using a modified home vacuum cleaner, rather than using appropriate medical tools, you are still practising medicine without a license. However, if you use real liposuction tools in an art installation, it is not medicine. What that means is that when a piercer makes the statement that performing a dermal punch procedure is risking such charges, what the law hears is that they are making the very clear claim that the piercing procedure itself is of a medical procedure. Ipso facto, body piercing can not be done by amateurs and should only be performed by doctors. Clearly this is a self-destructive line of thinking by the piercing community, to say nothing of being objectively incorrect, both culturally and legally — for the past decade or more, there are health boards in nearly every jurisdiction specifically regulating piercing completely distinct from medicine. Obviously piercing and medicine are distinct fields.

One last note on the FDA’s regulations on medical device labelling. Stating the obvious, historically the manufacturers of tools used in piercing have been concerned only with the medical community (since they were medical device manufacturers having their products repurposed without their consent or knowledge) and as such have always complied with the FDA’s medical device regulations. However, now that we are making many of our own implements — both piercing needles of the traditional sort and “O-needles” — the new manufacturers do not comply with any of those regulations, even though they are making tools that are arguably very close to the medical devices we are emulating and appropriating (and could in fact be used in medical procedures such as biopsies). I want to urge individual piercers, professional organizations such as the APP, and manufacturers of piercing equipment to be extremely careful about the rhetoric they use calling piercer’s use of dermal punches “medical” or in referring to these tools as “medical devices”. By not stating in the clearest possible terms that “piercing is not medicine” and that tools used by piercers (no matter what the source) are not “medical devices”, we put ourselves at risk of these regulations being unfairly applied to piercers, or more likely, piercing tool manufacturers. We must take care to not allow our caution in avoiding persecution to be used against us in bringing the law down upon us in new and unexpected ways. I feel the best way to do this is by taking a hard-line stance that medical regulations are completely irrelevant and unrelated to the piercing industry, since we are in the business of the ancient art of body piercing, and not that of modern medicine.

So please, let’s drop the fear-mongering. All we do when we promote falsehoods like this is feed into the paranoia of ignorant legislators that may be eavesdropping on our conversations, and use them to write unfair piercing regulations which block piercers from using the best and most ethical tools available to them. For piercing to continue progressing and moving forward, it is important that piercing is not frozen and “locked down”, but that we can innovate and seek out the best possible methods of performing this ancient yet still evolving art form.

Legal Defense Fundraising

Since I’ve posted about this in a couple places, I figured I should also post it on Modblog. It’s been over a year since I last posted about BME being sued and we’re still deep in the thick of it. As it stands now, BME owes about 50k in legal fees and I’d really like to get some help to pay those bills down. If one day’s worth of visitors to Modblog donated a dollar, I’d have way more than enough to pay my legal fees and start the BME Legal Defense Fund that I’ve been working on but haven’t had a way to fund as of yet and buy a house, a car and retire (I am only slightly kidding but Modblog has A LOT of visitors).

Since BME can’t accept paypal or other similar payment processing sites, I’ve put up sets of sticker packs that you can buy to help support BME and contribute to it’s legal fees. Click here to get your fundraising sticker pack. Not only will you get to help support BME but you’ll get some limited edition stickers which unless you’ve been hoarding the stickers, they’re impossible to get.


I’ve set it up so there are 5 donation levels.

The levels available are:
Bronze – $20
Silver – $50
Titanium – $100
Gold – $500
Platinum – $1000

You can mix and match any donation level or add multiple quantities to get to the desired amount that you want to donate.  Once we get out of this mess, I’ll be converting any left over legal funds to the BME Legal Defense Fund and start going after cities that are zoning shops out of business and helping out artists and practitioners around the world who need help. Before I can get that done, I need your help to put the final nails in this frivolous lawsuits coffin and give this guy what he deserves. When we win, if I’m awarded my legal fees, since he’s the one who brought this frivolous suit to begin with, I’ll be donating those funds to kick start the LDF.I’ll be leaving the sticker packs up as an easy way for people to continue to donate to the defense of Body Modification worldwide.

I will also be making a permanent Thank You page to those who donate and support BME. If you’re a business who has been profiting thanks to the free advertising you receive on BME, consider giving back to help us recover from this devastating and draining lawsuit. I know BME’s staff and I would really appreciate it. If you only want to donate and do not want the stickers sent out to you, please send us an email at BMEshop and let us know. If you want to donate anonymously and not be included on the public and prominent thank you page, please email us and let us know that as well.

I’ll be posting an update in the next couple of weeks as to where the lawsuit is at once I get the approval from my lawyer about what I’ve written up. For now though you can check this link from November of 2008!

Saddle Ranch Chop House discriminates against customers

We’ve all heard stories of when someone feels like they’ve been given poor service at a store or a restaurant because of being heavily modified. I’ve felt like the scene in Pretty Women before where I’m told the store has nothing for me but last night was the first time in a decade that I have ever been refused entry into a restaurant based solely on the fact that we had tattoos.

Last night around 10:30pm, I headed to CityWalk in Universal City, CA with Norm, Charlie and Vanessa Roberts and our friend Jason. We had tickets to see Avatar at 12:10am and wanted to get dinner first. Everything but Subway and Saddle Ranch Chop House were closed. We walked all the way from the movie theatre to Saddle Ranch where Jason and I went in first and got a table. I noticed that Norm was being held at the door. I went back to see what the problem was and found that they were making him remove his clothing to inspect his tattoos. As I asked what the problem was, I was asked to step aside and Norm and I were escorted out of the line to get in, even though I had already been given a table.

Upon further inspection they told us that we had “gang tattoos” and would not be allowed into the restaurant for the safety of the other patrons. Those of you that know us know that we have no gang affiliations, nor do we have any gang tattoos. I’m covered in Flower and faerie tattoos and that’s it. I guess the “Always” on my hand now stands for some gang that I have no idea about? Norm was a gentleman about it but I wanted to talk to the manager even though we had decided we didn’t want to spend our dollars at a businesss that discriminates against tattooed patrons. We left to go to Subway, which by the time we walked all the way back, was closed.

The lesson that we all need to know is that our dollar effects the decisions that corporations make. I’m asking that you do not visit the Saddle Ranch Chop House or their affiliated restaurants.We should come together and boycott them.

If you want to make a difference, email Alex Chavez (Senior Manager) at [email protected] and let them know that you don’t appreciate rampant discrimination by management against customers who have tattoos and that you and your friends will not be visiting their establishment. You can also call them at 818-760-9680 or send your letter via fax to 818-760-9686. Remember to keep your emails/faxes/phone calls polite and well written otherwise they will just cast us off as they already have.


Do we look like “gang members” to you? Nope, didn’t think so. Using an excuse like that to discriminate against tattooed individuals is reckless and irresponsible. We all want to be able to visit a restaurant and be safe but using a fake claim that we had “gang tattoos” to discriminant against us using their “anti gang tattoo policy” because we are visibly tattooed is unacceptable. Help me to rectify this situation by making sure organizations like this don’t use their policies to discriminate against everyone who is visibly tattooed.

Upcoming Events!

Tonight is a killer book release at CanvasLA from 8pm-11pm. It features the amazing artwork of Ichibay and Pint as well as live drawing by both artists. There are limited books available at the event, though we’re hoping to be able to get a couple copies for BME shop. So don’t miss out on this if you’re here in the Los Angeles area tonight.

I posted about Paul Booth’s upcoming Halloween event for the east coaster readers and I wanted to give the west coast a little love as well. If you’re in the San Jose area, don’t forget to check out the San Jose Tattoo Convention which is put on by State of Grace. Check out their internationally renowned attending artists lists and GO if you love anything about the art of tattooing and can make it out! It’s well worth it! Taki puts on an amazing show that focuses on the art of tattooing at his conventions without distractions of bands, MMA or BMX etc that other promoters add to their shows.

I wish I could make it up but I’ll be out in Las Vegas defending BME against the lawsuit that was filed AGAINST BME (not the other way around) after the plaintiff was found guilty of cybersquatting by a three-member panel, including an arbitrator that he hand-picked. He filed suit against us (not vice versa) and keeps trying to get us to pay him almost $100,000 for the domain.  If anyone wants to have a Vegas meet up this week, I’ll be there from Monday till Wednesday!

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (July 23, 2009)

[Boston Herald] Hey, what’s in the news, hmm? Turns out that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is well upon its way to instituting formal regulations on body piercing—rules that, apparently, do not currently exist. They actually seem pretty reasonable, though! Rep. Bruce Ayers (seen in the video on the right) sponsored the bill, which prohibits people under the age of 18 from getting pierced without being accompanied by a parent (ear piercings excluded) and seeks to establish rules regarding cleanliness within shops, which, hey, that’s a good thing. Ayers is a decent chap, by the sounds of things; he makes it very clear that there are body piercing shops that are setting a fine example, and that the goal of these new regulations will not be to marginalize or restrict body art and its practitioners and clients in any way, but rather to ensure that these things are done safely and responsibly. The anchor even plays devil’s advocate and poses the question of how he would respond to people who would reject the age restriction on the basis that the government shouldn’t play a role in telling citizens what to do with their bodies, and even then, he’s convincing enough about not wanting to impose any sort of “nanny state.” The interview is certainly worth a look.

What we’ve linked above, however, is one of your common hilarious editorials about people just freakin’ the hell out when their little demon children coming strolling in the door covered in satanic metals and such. Take it away, columnist Margery Eagan!

When Adam Femino, 23, came home with his latest body art – ear “plugs” that can stretch earlobes to the size of dinner plates – his mother “started to cry.”

The fashion forward might say his plugs, a modest half inch or so, nicely complement his Mohawk and his huge, black FEMINO tattoo dominating his upper arm. Femino says, removing the plugs to reveal an empty cylindrical hole in his lobe, like a mini Ted Williams Tunnel, proved too much for mom.

It’s for the sake of Adam’s mom, and moms everywhere, that I hope state Rep. Bruce Ayers finally gets somewhere today with legislation to outlaw body piercing on anyone under 18 unless accompanied by a parent.

Ha ha, this “Adam” guy sounds like a real weirdo, huh? The circus is that way, crazy! But really, here is a 23-year-old man who has some stretched lobes, and this happens to be the case to which the author chooses to refer when discussing a bill that will restrict body piercing to those under 18 years of age (without a parent present), excluding ear piercings, which are the only piercings the above mentioned scoundrel seems to have. So far, so good! So, so good.

[Consider] this. Almost nobody over 40 has pierced anything save ears, discreetly. Aged 26 to 40? Twenty-two percent have pierced nipples, tongues, whatever. Aged 18 to 25? The numbers rise to 30 percent. And those numbers are three years old, but the latest available from the Pew Research people.

Look around your local high school. It’s an epidemic. Look at your own teenagers. Who knows what dastardly plot they’re hatching?

First of all, nobody over 40 ever gets pierced because, gross, right? Keep your clothes on, grandpa! (We kid, we kid.) Anyway, the last part is very true. If your kids have or want or have ever even thought about body piercings, the least you can do is check their rooms for trenchcoats and bombs and Barack Obama’s hidden birth certificate. It’s for the good of the land!

Ayers said yesterday he does not propose regulating ear “plugs.” So no matter what happens today, we’ll continue enduring those 45 rpm-sized holes in the lobes of skinny, young artists dressed in black, cashiers at Whole Foods and anyone “expressing their individuality,” as Eric Leger, 32, of Hopedale said yesterday. He’s the father of five. He insists his “plugs” and skull tattoos have cramped neither his fathering nor his work as a property manager.

Clearly, he is a liar and thoroughly unfit to father his five (!) children. Someone please tell him to surrender these youngsters to the state, at which point they will be handed over to our fair lady Margery here who will raise them with the proper respect for authority, so as to ensure they do not let their damn earlobes dangle like some filthy stripper’s nipple tassels, which is just not the sort of thing anyone needs to see when they’re grocery shopping.

[Dallas News] Looks like Massachusetts isn’t the only place trying its hand at instituting fancy new regulations! Turns out that the Dallas Police Department is tired of its esteemed police officers looking like common thugs, and is telling its employees that visible tattoos aren’t part of the damn uniform.

The next time you see a Dallas police officer wearing a long-sleeved shirt when it’s hotter than a furnace outside, it may be because he or she is hiding something.

A tattoo.

The department is planning to require police officers to cover up their tattoos, even if it means wearing makeup or a skin-colored patch over a hard-to-obscure place such as the neck or wrist.

“A lot of officers are coming in with tattoos,” said Lt. Andrew Harvey, a police spokesman.

“It’s more normal now than it ever has been,” he said but added that the department wants officers “to display a more professional image.”

Luckily, up here in the wintry north, our officers are free to get tattooed to their hearts’ content, seeing as it is a vast icy tundra where people are discouraged from leaving their homes without several thermal layers, a Gortex-brand jacket and the carcass of a freshly slaughtered Tan-Tan. Dallas, however, is a sweltering sweat-bucket where “Naked Days” are held several times a summer, just to make sure everybody doesn’t die. Now, tattooed police will be the first to go.

Officer Nick Novello has four tattoos on his arms, including an American Indian on his right forearm that was there when he was hired by the city in 1982. He said he believes the department should consider grandfathering in current officers and thinks it’s a mistake to have an across-the-board policy.

“If I got hired in 1982 and had that tattoo on my forearm, how can you expect me to cover my tattoo up in 2009?” Novello asked. “If you have to cover up your arms, they’re going to have a lot of problems staying hydrated. You put a guy in long sleeves and he’s not going out of the car unless it’s an absolute emergency” during the hot summer months.

Novello, who also has an eagle bursting out of an American flag on his left arm, said he can understand requiring officers to cover up tattoos if they are offensive in some way.

“In culture at large, tattoos are extremely prevalent,” he said. “We’re not divorced from society at large.”

This seems like a reasonable solution—some sort of grandfather policy would surely need to be put into place, unless the DPD really wants to be a bunch of pricks. It makes perfect sense to want your police officers to abide by a certain sense of decorum, and “inappropriate” tattoos should surely be discouraged or left covered, but are you really going to tell a 20-plus-year veteran of the force with an American flag tattoo to shut it down and wear a goddamn snowsuit in the middle of a Texas summer? Come on now.

Tattoo Hollywood, BME’s first tattoo convention, is coming to Los Angeles from August 21-23, featuring contests, prizes and some of the best artists from around the world! Click here for more information.

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (June 29, 2009)

[Twitter/Meghan McCain] Oh well look at that, important political daughter Meghan McCain is all up in the Twitters, talking about getting tattooed! As we know, she used to joke about getting tattooed when her pops, John McCain, was running for President, hoping that it would give him flashbacks or something. But now that her father has retired from the presidency, she is free to get all the tattoos she pleases while he naps. At least, judging by this recent “tweet,” she has good taste in artists. That said, it’s refreshing to know that not even government tattoo snobs like the McCains can jump the line with Paul Booth. Vote Paul Booth in 2012!

[First Amendment Center] A few months back, we covered this sordid tale of some murdering shitbag who had all sorts of demonic tattoos that lawyers tried to use against him in court, and we were generally bummed out by everyone involved in the situation being so distasteful and unsympathetic. To recap:

Martin Robles and his shit-demon accomplice were indicted for breaking into a home in 2002 and killing two men, crimes for which Robles was sentenced to death in Texas. He lost an appeal, then made a last-ditch effort to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming, among other things, that his First Amendment rights were violated during the trial. […] [He argued] that his religious-liberty rights were violated when the state placed into evidence his tattoo of a religious figure. As described in trial proceedings, the tattoo depicted “Jesus with a demon devouring his brains.”

Now, I’m not an attorney, but I usually catch about 25 minutes of Law & Order: SVU a night, so I understand the importance of legal precedence in cases like this. In the quoted case, much was made of a 1992 trial, Dawson v. Delaware, in which tattoos were of central importance:

[U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack] distinguished Robles’ case from the 1992 case Dawson v. Delaware, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a defendant’s First Amendment associational rights were violated when prosecutors introduced into evidence his membership in a white supremacist group when such association had nothing to do with the underlying crime. […] However, the Court in Dawson pointed out that “elements of racial hatred were … not involved in the killing.”

Well boy howdy, another case just rolled through that’s invoking Dawson yet again! And…it’s even dumber than the one with the Jesus-eating zombie thing.

A trial court did not violate the First Amendment rights of a criminal defendant when it allowed a prosecutor to comment, and a county sheriff to testify, on a defendant’s “Lying Eyes” tattoos during closing arguments, a Texas appeals court ruled recently.

A jury had convicted Michael Lee Wood of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for brutally beating a convenience store clerk with a sharp object in Haskell, Texas. During the punishment phase of the trial, the prosecutor elicited testimony from Haskell County Sheriff David Halliburton. The sheriff testified that Wood had a tattoo on each eyelid. One tattoo read “Lying” and the other read “Eyes.” Wood’s attorney contended such evidence was irrelevant. The prosecutor countered that the “Lying Eyes” tattoos showed Wood’s lack of respect for society.

This, apparently, was not a violation of his First Amendment rights due to the fact that his eyelid tattoos were supposedly evidence of a lack of moral character, and not some manner of gang affiliation. Again, I really, really hate to be put into a position to offer any sort of defense on the behalf of goons like this, but this seems like a bad precedent to set. The Jesus brain thing? Sure, that probably wouldn’t play well with conservative/religious folks, but “Lying Eyes” on someone’s eyelids? What, are we just going to start locking up people who get shitty puns tattooed on them?

Actually, when you put it that way….

[Norwich Bulletin] Oh baby, so we were all just waiting to see how those jackals in the “mainstream media” would react to, uh whatshername, the girl with all the stars tattooed on her face? Well, here go! This sack of garbage disguised as a column is honestly the most paint-by-numbers, thoughtless pablum I’ve seen in quite some time. But don’t take my word for it! Let’s hear what you have to say, Sharma Howard!

There’s one thing I know for sure I don’t want to see on my sons:

The roof of your house! A burning car! A murderous lion!


That’s the “one thing [you] know for sure” you don’t want to see on your songs? No offense, lady, but my answers are way deadlier.

When I was growing up, tattoos were for the fringe of society — and the two adults I knew that had them always kept them covered up in embarrassment.

Now, tattoos adorn movie stars such as Angelina Jolie, who makes for an odd sight in an evening gown and lines of Oriental writing marching up her neck. It’s jolting, to be sure.

“Oriental” is not the preferred nomenclature, dude! Anyway, yes, Angelina Jolie should pretty much be ashamed of herself, at all times. That’s where you were going with that, right?

Now, 36 percent of 18-25 year-olds have tattoos, inching towards the 50/50 mark that would make having a tattoo almost blase.

“Blase” is kind of a poor word choice in this instance but whatever, sure. Now, get ready for the reappearance of our old friend Starface!

I watched in horror when the young teen from Belgium claimed in the news the 56 black stars that now blanket her face like a constellation were the result of a tattoo artist gone wild as she slept. The story had many people skeptical, but one look at the tattoo artist, who had his own face covered in tattoos and had stretched his skin with heavy piercings stirred sympathy for the 18-year old.

Look, we’re not necessarily going to defend the artist’s somewhat poor judgment in this case, but we don’t recall there being a ton of sympathy for Starface. We will grant you, however, that seeing Rouslan in an evening gown can be a jolting experience. I would quote more from this chumbucket but once I got to the seventh paragraph I fell asleep for a hundred years. “Enjoy” it on your own, if you must.