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Tit for tat

By Ian Nance - posted Friday, 31 July 2015

There is a cultural habit that has been around since 2000 BC. It is an affront to my eyes, and one which I dislike intensely in modern times.

It passes itself of as an art form yet is really little more than cosmetic vandalism. I speak of the increasingly widespread custom of using the body as a canvas, a trend that dictates much of the human body which can be seen outside clothing must be hit with gross graffiti.

The habit of tattooing.


Society's slaves obey intensively the decrees of the herd, particularly when females flaunt their markings ranging from small pictorial promiscuity particularly around the breast area, such as the display on Miley Cyrus' left chest stating "just breathe", up to a gross display of skin sign-writing all over legs and arms.

This pervasive painting isn't a new fad or fashion. Humans have marked their bodies with tattoos for the thousands of years over which tattooing has been present in Western society from the earliest times of its beginnings in Ancient Greece. The present-day term "tattoo" is said by some to have its origins in James Cook's explorations in the southern seas, where the Polynesians he encountered indulged in this sort of body marking, naming it "tatau".

Today's growing usage indicates that fashion often is cyclic. Viewed over this last century we are seeing the similarly fashionable re-emergences of beards, moustaches, long unkempt hair, and a partial reversion to Victorian-style clothing.

But why do I scorn tattoos so much?

One reason is that they are forever a display of extrovert thoughtlessness. Yet their presence is not without comedy; when I see what would be a normally pleasing human form covered in these sometimes kitsch comics, I can't suppress a laugh, particularly if the wearer's face carries its attendant proud smirk of ignorance suggesting that this is perfectly acceptable.

A number of girls choose a display near the exposed parts of their breast or around their attractive ankles, no doubt to entice stimulated male glances.


Similar mark ups also appear on men. The branding of bogan boofhead footballers sometimes is an attempt to flaunt themselves as aggressive.

A while ago when I commented on the markings displayed by couple of young guys, they displayed stern disapproving expressions on their faces. They took their drawings very, very, seriously, feeling aggrieved that I had spoken. I could not help smirking at their sheer assumption about the desirability of what they'd done.

But I guess that my reactions are conditioned by experience. I conjure up memories of the many times spent helping out on farms when livestock were herded meekly into a race to be branded. When I see similarly-branded humans flaunt their laughable logos, often I wait to hear the bellowing moo of conformist cattle over sounds of my patronising chuckles.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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