Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Not A Freak.

June 2nd, 2010 by

When opportunity strikes, you can’t ignore it.  I was trying to decide on what to blog about today when I came across this article by Oakland Tribune columnist Dave Newhouse.  At the start of this past May, Newhouse had written a column about tattoos and his general disdain for them and the people who have them.  At one point he even pointed out that in his opinion, having full-body tattoos makes a person look like “a freak”.

There’s plenty of this sort of attitude about tattoos out there, but when someone like Newhouse gets quite firmly called out on his less than fully formed opinions and as a result actually devotes a column to proving that he was wrong about people with tattoos, well that needs to be brought to the attention of the ever faithful Tattoo Blog readership.

As I previously said, Newhouse wrote his anti-tattoo piece and when the article appeared online, it was accompanied by a photo of a woman having a back tattoo done.  The woman was Oakland resident Tanya Scalzo, who was being tattooed by her husband Dominick, owner of Dragon’s Lair Tattoo in Oakland.  The photo hadn’t been taken for Newhouse’s article, in fact it had been used for a previous article (written by someone other than Newhouse), which had cast a more positive light on tattooing.  When Tanya read Newhouse’s article and realized that her photo was included as an example of a tattooed “freak”, she was understandably very upset.

But Tanya didn’t just cry and try to forget about the entire incident.  Instead she contacted Newhouse via email, wanting an apology.

“When Tanya saw the column and photo, she broke down in tears, then e-mailed me, pointing out that “what’s on my skin does not make me a freak.” And she wanted an apology — from somebody.”

“I try to do the right thing every day, to promote positives,” said Tanya, 34. “I’m a mom, a wife, and a nurse at Nightingale Nursing, which sends me out to people’s homes, mostly elders, to take care of them.”

Furthermore, the tattoo on Tanya’s back that was included in Newhouse’s article was of Tanya and Dominick’s 11-year-old daughter.

Well Dave Newhouse, I hope you learned a little something throughout all this. I mean, let’s face it: you royally stuffed your foot in your mouth on this one.  Hopefully you realized that you can’t go making sweeping generalizations and/or judgements about people just because you don’t agree with or understand their way of life.  You don’t have to love tattoos or even like them, but now that you’ve taken the time to actually educate yourself a little about a couple of people with tattoos, maybe you can understand that a body covered with ink is no less human than one that isn’t.

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