August 15, 2008

Nip Tats, Ear Brands, and Back Piercing

Coping with the Dangers of Tattooing, Body Piercing, and Branding by Beth Wilkinson (Rosen Publishing Group, 1998, ISBN: 0-8239-2717-2)

This book was written by: Beth Wilkinson, who enjoys “paper making, candy making, and getting to know people of all ages.”

What is in this book: A rational examination of everything you need to know before undergoing body modification. This includes a discussion of reasons for getting a tattoo such as being in love (p.94), religious considerations (p.96), body art addiction (p.92), the Holocaust (p.97), and peer pressure (p.91). ”There is a great deal of misinformation about body art,”(p.113) but this book offers rock-solid, indisputable facts. For example, in prison, “after the lights are out, cellmates frequently and sometimes painfully tattoo one another”(p.64).
Although “in modern Western cultures, tattoos have alternately been regarded as signs of chic and high fashion or as disgusting and crude practices by misfits and sailors,”(p.3) this book tracks body modification trends. “Recently, a magazine, written especially for people interested in body modification, issued a special edition dedicated to the art of branding”(p.4).

What is not in this book: Condemnation. Coping with the Dangers of Tattooing, Body Piercing, and Branding wants to provide you with all the information that you will need for a safe, hygienic, body-mutilating experience. “The business should be in a neat and clean studio – not in an apartment, a tent at a circus, a garage, a music festival, or a bike or motorcycle shop”(p.13). Also, “if an artist should insist that you remove more clothing than you feel you need to, he or she may not be the right artist for you”(p.12). It is especially important to remember that “criminals turning state’s evidence often ask that any identifying tattoos be removed”(p.68). Would you really want to be prevented from quitting a gang because you couldn’t bear to undergo the tattoo removal procedure?

Would you recommend this book to Warren Buffett? Yes. Even though “people who work in places from McDonald’s to Manhattan’s Wall Street have eyebrow, lip, tongue, cheek, and bellybutton piercings,”(p.3), he should be fully informed of his risks before accessorizing his “Thug Life” back tattoo with an eyebrow bolt.

Would you recommend this book to Kat Von D? Without reservation. I would also recommend that she get a decent wardrobe, a real job, and a name that doesn't manage to embody the worst aspects of bourgeoisie pretension and hipster irony at the same time.

What was interesting about this book? This book is one of a series on “Coping with” issues including interracial dating, confrontations with the police, teenage motherhood, compulsive eating, gay parents, and migraines and other headaches.

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