Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Tattoos Don’t Forget

September 4th, 2009 by

I swear that I’m not deliberately trying to provoke reactions on controversial subjects this week, but I saw this story in the news today and I felt that I had to comment on it.

I don’t watch UFC or any of that M-1 kind of stuff.  Doesn’t interest me and I’ve got better ways to spend my time than to watch two meatheads beat each other senseless.  Plus, all these ultimate fighter guys look a little too much like the type of dudes who used to turn up at punk gigs when I was a teenager, drunk off their asses and looking to fight anyone who was foolish enough to make eye contact with them.  But I digress…

The problem here is that one of the fighters who fights M-1 fights, Toni Valtonen, has a rather large Nazi tattoo.  Nazi tattoos, in this bloggers opinion, are the worst of the worst, the vilest of the vile.  Not only do they represent something entirely abject and objectionable, but they also do absolutely nothing positive for the image of tattoo artists and the tattoo community as a whole.

When questioned about his Nazi tattoo, Valtonen had this to say:

“I had a crazy and rebellious youth, I made some faults in my past and I am not proud of these marks. I regret that I ever had these tattoos made. Nowadays I am a dedicated family man and professional athlete, and I am not involved in any politics whatsoever.”

That’s fair enough, I suppose, but none of that changes the fact that getting the tattoo removed would be the intelligent thing to do.  People have the right to get what they want tattooed on their bodies, but when that tattoo advocates hatred and murder, well…then I think that one sort of forfeits those rights.  It seems to me that everyone should be free to do whatever it is that they want to do, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.  Last time I checked, Nazism harms others.

Like I said before, these sorts of tattoos shine a negative light on the tattoo community.  I personally don’t understand the artists that will willingly tattoo these sorts of images.  A friend of mine tattoos in a rather Yakuza saturated area of Shinjuku, in Tokyo.  Over the years she has forged some friendships with the Yakuza gangsters in the area.  She has also tattooed many of them with overtly fascist and anti-foreign images and phrases.  When I asked her why she does it, she told me that she simply loves to tattoo and that by refusing to tattoo the Yazkuza men, she is passing judgement on their lives just as they pass judgement on people of other nationalities and races.  She felt that passing judgement is what causes hatred and she maintains that she doesn’t want to be a part of that.  It’s an interesting manner of looking at things, though I can’t help feel that to indulge racists, fascists and thugs with the tattoo art of their choice is only adding to the problem.

Regardless, anyone who gets something like a swastika tattooed on their body should have to deal with the consequences.  I guess until he decides to get his Nazi tattoo removed, Toni Valtonen will have to deal with the negative backlash of being labelled a Nazi or a Skinhead.

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