Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Tattoos? Fiddlesticks!

February 2nd, 2009 by

This week my blog post is going in a different direction.  Rather than report on some new tattoo related story, I am instead going to respond to a recent op-ed piece by Australian journalist James Campbell.

You see, this week Mr. Campbell felt it appropriate, as the worst heatwave to hit  Australia in 100 years bakes the land down under, to lash out at the tattoo community.  I’m not sure if it’s just the heat that causes Mr. Campbell to be so crotchety toward others who have zero impact on his life, but at any rate I’m here to tell James Campbell that people with attitudes such as his have my sympathies.

Surely it must be difficult to hold such stale and plainly outdated beliefs as the world around you continues to evolve and change. Mr. Campbell refers to tattoos as “common” without so much as a moment’s acknowledgement as to how incredibly common his own beliefs and opinions are.  Judging by his concern that: 

“…the rise of the tattoo into the middle class is an example of the creeping proletarianisation of society.”

Jamesie boy has some deep seeded classist issues going on.  The creeping proletarianisation of society?  Not to be rude Mr. Campbell, but I think you need to hop back in your time machine and set the dials for some time in the 18th century.  You’d probably be a lot happier back then, with a fob pocket and a nice pair of jackboots.  You’d be able to fraternize with proper members of society who share equal levels of disgust for the working class and perhaps best of all, you could invest in a plantation somewhere and really tighten the screws on those damned common proletarians.

In short Mr. Campbell, your article was offensive in its broad generalizations and ridiculous assumptions about people who have tattoos.  It’s really amazing that you’re so knowledgeable as to all the reasons why people get tattoos.  Your statement that:

“If you have to mark yourself with indelible ink to show what an individual you are, you are not convincing anyone – least of all yourself,”

surprised me a great deal.  All these years that I’ve had tattoos I’ve failed to realize that 1. I was tattooed in an attempt to show others what an individual I am and 2. That I’m not even convincing myself of this fact!  I guess my personal, private reasons for wanting to have the tattoos that I have are overshadowed by my obvious vanity.  Thank you so much Mr. James Campbell, for pointing out what a fool I’ve been.

 “But the most depressing thing about so many of the tattoos that were out there loud and proud in the heat is what they say about the tattooed person’s taste.”

And what pray tell, does your article say about your taste, James?  You’ve managed to achieve quite the double standard here.  You’re permitted to exercise your taste and personal expression, which you no doubt feel is of great value, while complaining that people with tattoos are just foolish for doing so?  Low class?  Stupid?  Common?  Interesting in its obvious hypocrisy, is it not?

I’m also fairly gobsmacked that you had the nerve to title your article “Ugly Truth About the Tattoo Obsession”, as if your pompous, classist rantings are to be taken as gospel.  All hail James Campell!  He knows the Truth about tattoos and he’s going to tell us all!  No James, I’m sorry.  The only truth you’ve espoused is that you’re narrow minded and intolerant.  You’ve let your hate for something that doesn’t effect you in any way make you feel superior and allow you to write people you’ve never met off as stupid, low-rent morons. 

And that, Mr Campbell, is the most common behaviour of all.


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