Electric Relaxation

Forgive the tardiness, ModBloggers, but your editor has thrown out his stupid shitty back and has been laid up on the couch in substantial pain for the past 15 hours or so, because he is the oldest man alive. Please accept, as penance, this intense series of photos from Chris of Shi’a Muslims in Nabatiyya, Lebanon, participating in traditional rites in observance of Ashura, the “holiest day of the Shiite Muslim calendar.” According to Chris (and Wikipedia!), it “marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.” Apparently, this sort of bloodletting (which the men are doing to themselves with those large machetes*) is frowned upon by some Muslim clerics, but…well, not all of them, I guess. More photos after the jump.

*Says Chris: “They actually cut their scalps with straight razors and chant with the machetes. Only the really hard-core guys cut themselves with the machetes (and chains).”

See more in Cultural Rituals (Culture)

Nothing Overlooked

Hey, that was an exciting-ish day, right? A Lionel tattoo, L’il Mister Strange, and a glorious running diary of one of those newfangled tattoo reality shows. Let’s wind down with this beautiful scarification project composed of Hindu iconography—Trishula, Om and Swastika. Two months into the healing process, these pieces were done by Dimitri working out of Officina in Milano, Italy. Between the precision of the design and the evenness of the way they’re healing, this is shaping up to be a truly gorgeous piece. Sleep on that, ModBloggers. We’ll see you tomorrow.

See more in Misc. Cuttings (Scarification)

Walking a Cheetah

Somebody get this man a lifetime membership! Err:

Lord’s Gym is a sports outreach center desinged to give young people an outlet and alternative in today’s world. Not only does Lord’s gym provide weight training and cardiovascular training, it also provides mentoring. Lord’s Gym believes the best in young people and gives them an avenue to forsee thier potential and future. Lord’s Gym also features boxing, kickboxing, cardio classes, Hip Hop breakdancing, indoor basketball court, game consoles, pool tables and much more.

Oh, right. So, not really a membership situation, then? Carry on.

(Tattoo by Sean Walrad at Pikes Peak Tattoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado.)

See more in Religious and Mythological Tattoos (Tattoos)

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?