April 5, 2011
SEE this about a 35-year-old mother of four in today’s Daily Mail. These are gruesome images. Please don’t look at them while children are nearby. Notice how the woman justifies her appearance because she suffered domestic abuse. She may very well be the victim of beatings or torture. She has gone on to inflict horror on others.
By the way, the recent discussion of tattoos continues. In that entry, I responded to a photo sent by a reader of a tattoo that is particularly tasteful, at the opposite end of the spectrum from the tattooed monster above. However, I said I did not find the far more tasteful image beautiful. (Leaving aside the obvious reality that a woman who has gone to such lengths to ornament her torso is unlikely to keep it private, as the photo proves.) I wrote:
I don’t find the image beautiful because it is on skin and thus calls to mind 1) the pain involved in receiving or removing the tattoo and 2) the inevitable appearance of this tattoo 30 years from now.
The skin is the most sensitive of human organs, the medium of exquisite contact with the physical world and with other human beings. It is sensitive to pain and pleasure like no other part of our bodies. There is nothing more beautiful in the young. It records time and change as if a sculptor was assigned to each one of us. I cannot understand leaving our own inferior impressions, however tasteful or artistic they may be, on what is so finely and mysteriously wrought. We must experience some injury to our awareness of what skin is or, by some misfortune of fate or congenital deficiency, never have possessed it in the first place, before we are tattooed.
— Comments —
Thomas F. Bertonneau writes:
While the word satanic ought to be used sparingly, I’d say that the Mexican “vampire mother” is satanic; she looks as though she stepped out of some Aztec blood-rite. As you say, she has decided to inflict the pain of her childhood violation on everyone with whom she comes into contact, even at a distance or by the medium of photography.
The objection to the body-piercings and tattoos that college students sport is, in part, that they are the first step toward the “vampire mother.”
Do you remember the Australian transvestite fashion-model who was the topic of discussion at The Thinking Housewife last summer? The “vampire mother” inspires in me the same moral revulsion as the fashion-model.
Satan rarely chooses to reveal himself in such an obvious way (for marketing reasons), but occasionally he loses all sense of restraint. Dumb.
George S. writes:
I think you’re missing the real problem with tattoos. Having a tattoo is a signal of poor future time orientation and lack of impulse control. You’ll be repulsed by tattoos and by people with them because you know that they are signaling they are irresponsible as human beings. They don’t call them “tramp stamps” for no good reason. In a way this is good because the woman is letting you know ahead of time what you’re getting into.
I understand that tattoos and piercings are not for everyone – I don’t like piercings myself, although I do like tattoos quite a bit. However, I think there’s a good deal of legalism and fuddy-duddyism occurring here. I was quite impressed by the cleric in the initial article who smugly denied that he was a fundamentalist – and then went on to prove himself a fundamentalist. One of my ongoing beefs with traditionalism and social conservatism generally is that adhering to socially conservative sexual mores, for example, need not imply being a square in every facet of life.
The assertion that garden-variety tattoos or piercings are the “first step” towards vampire motherhood is absurd. This argument likewise rules out, for instance, the piercing of the ears – a tradition with a rich history in the West. Has the ubiquity of pierced ears birthed hordes of vampire mothers? No. Likewise, the increasing prevalence of tattoos in no way implies that “vampire women” are going to become common, or accepted. In fact, most people have an aesthetic sense that falls within certain limits, and critically, most people can distinguish between body art that is tasteful and attractive, and that which is not. This vampire person is an aberration, not useful for proving any point.
A failure to appreciate the sensual and aesthetic qualities of unadorned skin speaks to me of fuddy-duddyism, if fuddy-duddyism is defined as an inability to experience and approve of bodily pleasures. To me, the tattoo is a symbol of conformity and a loss of real eccentricty and individuality. I think for many people it is a symbol of sexual vitality, but it speaks of sexual numbness, a last-ditch effort to get high when the body has lost its charm through overexposure. Remember, we’re talking about the popularization of tattoos.
Piercing the ear lobe, which is a part of the body of no functional use and which is not sensitive to pain, is radically different from piercing the tongue, the lips, and the nose. Piercings of this kind are another sign of sterility, an almost totalitarian conformity and diabolism. The earring is ornamental. The nose ring is mutilation and it’s intended to be aggressive. It makes other people uncomfortable for good reason.
As far as the vampire mother, once the strictures against garden-variety tattoos are removed, there is much less to prevent the extreme. When many thousands of middle-class people are attending tattoo conventions, stunts like this become inevitable. They pay.
You say most people have an aesthetic sense that falls with certain limits. Really? Well, okay if you say so. You might look at documentary films of sixty years ago and how people dressed in public and agree that aesthetic standards can undergo devolution. I agree that we aren’t going to see many vampire mothers, but even a few are disturbing. In any event, if tattoos are acceptable and cool, you are going to get quite a few of them that fall outside the limits of what many consider tasteful and a significant number of people who have to either live with permanent markings they no longer appreciate or go to the expense and ordeal of having them removed. To whose benefit? The tattoo “artist.”