Skip to comments.The Needle and the Damage Done
Posted on 01/05/2012 4:57:07 AM PST by Kaslin
Last semester, I was giving a lecture on the history of the Supreme Court from 1953 to present. Toward the end of the lecture, I asked my students if they could name the current Chief Justice. None were able to do so. There were thirty students in the class. This was in a college classroom, mind you.
I was annoyed by the failure of a single student to know the name of one of the three most powerful men in America. But, whenever annoyed, I have a tendency to make jokes to lighten the atmosphere. So I told my students to go to the SCOTUS website next time they were in the tattoo parlor and had a couple of spare hours to surf the internet on their iPhone. They laughed and then I casually asked How many of you have tattoos? About twenty students raised their hands, which was far more than I expected.
Asking that question was a big mistake. The next time I walked into class, a young man was asking a sorority girl where her tattoo was located. She lifted up the back of her shirt and showed him a giant tramp stamp across her lower back. It was as sad as it was surprising. Apparently blond hair, blue eyes, and natural beauty arent enough to attract college boys these days. She needs a tattoo to let him know that his chances of getting sex on the first date are close to 100%.
Over the last few years, tattoo parlors have been popping up like weeds here in Wilmington. I have always assumed that their popularity was easily explained: Young people just want to draw attention and tattoos give them something to show off. They are just another way of helping young people feel different. Even if most kids have them, theirs can be unique. They can even tell a story.
But the narcissistic and short-sighted component of tattoo accumulation is just half the story. I had an epiphany about the other half of the story as I was talking to a woman we will call Brooke. Were going to call her Brooke because that really is her name. Brooke was complaining to two of her friends (who are also my friends). She was complaining about the thing single women complain about most often: the boyfriend who wont respect her even though (maybe because?) she is sleeping with him regularly.
Brookes complaint with her boyfriend was that he desired to stay in her bed after they were finished having fun. This TMI moment was topped off by a deep philosophical argument: My bed is an intimate place. Until were married, hes not welcomed there overnight. Thats just too presumptuous. Its too intrusive.
Translation: You can have my body but not my bed. The former is of less value to me. Some will say its just one anecdote. Of course, it is. But it is part of a larger pattern I am seeing among younger adults. Like virtually all other unhealthy aspects of our culture, it is being nurtured in the university setting. Thinking about these three campus cultural trends will add some perspective:
*Sexual experimentation is encouraged by the administration. Free condoms are available, free birth control is often available. Students are taught to give themselves away and that the only concern is that they remain physically healthy enough to continue to do so.
*Abortion is strongly encouraged on campuses - often to the unconstitutional exclusion of competing ideas. Use of RU 486, which is a dangerous toxin causing the death (and then expulsion) of the unborn, is encouraged. Rarely is there an intelligent discussion of the drugs harmful side effects.
*Genital mutilation is promoted as a means of increasing diversity. College students even as young as 18 - are encouraged to resolve sexual confusion with the blade of a knife. This permanent disfigurement of their genitalia is simply another form of sexual expression. Its no longer stigmatized. Its celebrated!
There is a dangerous undercurrent here. It is obvious that immediate gratification appeals to young people. But it is compounded by something that is lacking. And what is lacking here is any sense that we as humans are made in the image of God and that our bodies, therefore, have some intrinsic value. If we were still willing to nurture that idea in our culture and allowed to do so by the Supreme Court - these trends would not be engulfing us and destroying our children.
Tattoos are a lot like guns. Soon after you get one, you want another. But unlike guns the tattoo always leaves a permanent mark. Whenever the desire to cover ones body with ink sets in, one thing is clear: there is a void in ones soul that desperately needs filling. Like all such voids it is of a spiritual nature and cannot be filled by physical things. At its core, every desire we experience is really a longing for God.
I should not be surprised that so many of our children are covering themselves with ink. They have been separated from transcendent meaning. Now they must create meaning for themselves in order to fill that void. Too often, they try to recreate themselves altogether. And they mask their God-given beauty in the process.
Needle and the Damage Done - Neil Young
Just me maybe, but I believe it disfigures their God-given beauty...
Though I already *knew* this somewhere in the cobwebs, it was wonderful to read this, put so well!
“At its core, every desire we experience is really a longing for God.”
That’s great. Thanks for posting this.
you are welcome
One of my two God-daughters - she got a free ride (full scolarship) as a math major to MIT - has a tramp stamp. When I saw it , she was horrified: “Don’t tell Dad.”
Yeah, no kidding.
Adams bump. Shameful none of them could name John Roberts.
I wonder if sailors get tattoos any more? Or do they get fewer?
A tattoo says, “Stupid & immature”. Multiple tattoos say, “Avoid contact with me if at all possible”.
The guns I've known can leave much more than merely a permanent mark, heh heh!
And that speaks of a needle that really does damage. Tattoos, not so much.
Fads are fads.
Mr Adams would have the same issues he has with his students regardless of tats. While in the late 70s condoms were not given out on my campus, random hookups happened all the time, no different from today. And abortions, pretty commonplace back then as well.
WTF is this all about and why is it happening in the U.S.A?
First I've heard of this.
What trend is he referring to with the “genital multilation” comment? I’m not aware of that one.
It’s easier to legitimize and normalize homosexuality and other abnormal sexual behavior, when you make all sex less special.
Barbarian pagans were and are heavily into tatooing their bodies as well as scarification. They also rutted like dogs.
No kidding. Without asking any one to be too graphic, what the heck is he talking about?
They do. My daughter has two - a Viking ship on one bicep, and a bomber on the opposite forearm. (She's a very militant girl, just graduated from Gunnery school and now a firearms instructor.)
And it's not because she was deprived of religion and transcendence and all that ... church-going, Bible-reading, homeschooled from 4 to 17, knows more Scripture, Greek and Latin classics, and world literature than anyone she ever meets. She just wanted a couple of tattoos, apparently because it's a sailor thing. She wants a motorcycle, too.
I got my first tattoo (an American flag on my right shoulder) at 18 as a form of protest against a mother who raised us to despise them. Then the crest of my university after college graduation on my other shoulder. These weren't meant to be flashy, meaningless images but outward expressions of who I was. Then came Latin phrases on my forearms. I figured, "I can always wear long-sleeved shirts to the office." They were phrases embodying my morality and ethics (Truth and Justice).
After several long years going without, I have no desire to get any more. I understand the want to ink one's body as a form of social or parental protest, but to do so as simply a way to get noticed or to have an excuse to lift one's shirt or take off one's shorts is to be hopelessly lost in one's own mind. I filled my soul with the warmth of God and the love of a great woman, but that doesn't mean I was empty-souled before.
Stupid and immature? Okay, maybe. Avoid all contact? Well you might find yourself in a very silent sea of people in the near future, Mister Da. Some of us choose our tattoos wisely and realize that they're not only permanent but an expression of our own humanity.
A tramp stamp? Yeah, that serves no purpose, hence the name. But a woman who tattoos the names of her children on her body or a soldier who tattoos the names of his fallen friends on his body, are they equally inane in your eyes or do they represent thoughtful understanding of the meaning of this art form?
Sex change operation
-——Were going to call her Brooke because that really is her name.-——
I thought perhaps she was really a southern girl named Creeke
I believe the technical terms for the mentioned surgeries as “addadictomy” and “choppadicophamy”. I may have spelled them incorrectly.
I can't wait until the wooden plate in the lower lip catches on.
Class of 2014:
Genital mutilation means gender reassignment - sex change.
I believe he is referring to “sex change” surgery.
Chief Justice of the United States. College students - especially in Criminal Justice, which is Dr. Adams’ field - ought to be able to name the occupant of the position, but if they were simply offered the name with no context, I can see why a lot of people would say, “Who?”
The author expressed my feeling very well.
He didn’t say much about piercings, but they are becoming more and more prevalent.
Rings in the nipples and Navel and even in the Vagina and penis. Absolutely sickening.
A yung man I know started getting tattoos when he was about 16, then came piercings, Tattos on the face and piercings made him looklike a freak.
Now he wonders why no one will hire him. Because he looks like a freak——Duh.
My young niece is filled with tattoos, a beautiful girl has 10 years in the Air Force, and looks like a freak out of uniform. The uniform covers the tattoos.
I thought the reference was to vaginal plastic surgery for cosmetic effect
Er, I was playfully kidding Rummyfan.
Oh. I have this literal-mindedness condition ... probably from being around children all the time ;-).
It used to be a means to convey a personal accomplishment of significance, or a remembrance of some one close.
Multiple tattoos say, Avoid contact with me if at all possible.
A friend of mine in the psychiatric field said that More than 5 tats was the sign of a sociopathic personality.
He should’ve asked them how many voted for Obama. Probably most of them that even bothered to vote.
Excellent point, but obviously it happens
I don’t think so. Note the references to “sexual confusion” and “diversity.”
Watch out, you are in delicate territory here. Tatooed folks fiercely defend the practice for whatever reason that I suppose is somehow knowing that the original decision to get inked was not the best. Defending shame or something like it. I once commented online that it was refreshing to see my alma mater’s football team pretty much bereft of tatoos and received a ton of criticism for my self-righteousness. I am a college teacher as well, but never brave enough to express my disgust with a lack of civic knowledge by going after what appears (unfortunately) to be a questionable fascination of the young and foolish.
Sounds like fun.
You have a beautiful family.
Sailors still get tatoos.
My sailor son Will just got three, at least one was a Sailor Jerry design.
He’s talking about transgender surgery.
Tattoos and piercings are forms of self-mutilation, nothing more. I’ll leave it to you to decide what kind of person values the practices of stabbing himself with needles and poking holes in his flesh.
How big a ship is she on?
I had dinner last night at the home of some friends. The lady of the house is from Canada, and she had some young relatives visiting as well. One is a high-school history teacher in eastern Canada (son-in-law) and then her son and his girlfriend turned up. The son is a Canadian soldier with a tour in Afghanistan under his belt. His arms ands hands are covered in tats, all meaningless swirls and designs. His girlfriend, also a soldier, has a couple of discreet tats as well. I don’t have any tats, although there are times when I wish I’d got one 50 years ago or so with my squadron’s logo, a fierce-looking coiled cobra, but I didn’t and now it’s way too late. Or maybe a shamrock or a harp (my mother would’ve approved).
I stand by my original comment.
Are you aware that a wound to a tattooed area could cause blood poisoning or other complications? Did you know that if a woman has a tattoo in the small of her back, she may be refused an epidural for pain during child birth? The same holds true for anyone where their tattoos prevent certain medical treatments?
In our busy lives, we must make instant decisions every day that could deeply affect our lives. Most times, we don’t have the time or inclination to properly evaluate people with which we have brief business or encounters.
Our eyes are our best & most immediate tool to make these decisions. If something or someone is visually offensive, we reject it, pure & simple. Human nature. Also, a right as an individual.
I believe in free speech, but I also believe others can reject that speech as wrong or offensive - rejection is also free speech. Ultimately, if you want an audience, you must play to that audience.
I used to be a very non athletic person, three years ago I began to run sprint Triathalons, I am working my way up to a Half Ironman, When I do that I will be getting a Tat on my right shoulder signifying my accomplishment.
Re my first post: I was kidding!!
Obviously, I have to work on my delivery.
Who is that in the photo?