By Dawn Cooke
Lately, I have had some cynical views toward the state of tattoo culture and pop culture in general and I have had to apologize for affecting sensitivities. So I have been researching, writing and thinking about why I feel this way. The phenomenon of counter-culture becoming popular culture has been written about quite a lot. If you are interested in this topic the book, Nation of Rebels is a good one. What I see, is that we have an overly competitive narcissistic consumer culture that has really negative effects on individuals and on society as a whole. A person can get swept away by the tide if they aren’t careful. I have come dangerously close too many times personally...
Media in Western culture is so biased that you never know what’s truth or fiction anymore. There’s something wrong when marketing and media catch phrases are reality, handmade and artisan. And suddenly those words mean nothing at all. People have been starved for authenticity since before I was born! Real isn’t something you will find on TV or the Internet… If you want a real experience you go out into the world and find one in-person right? Hollywood can’t create real for you, but they damn sure try to create the illusion!!! Hollywood creates people like Charles Manson and Roman Polanski...
Real people DO shit; they don’t sit around watching it on TV or become consumed by Facebook. Why is there this huge obsession with fame and celebrity? Because that is what we are fed from the time we can sit up in a bouncy chair. Are we being fed a lie? If people spent more time living their dreams and less time fantasizing about it there might be more peace in the world. But people believe that they need all these possessions and money to make things happen.
Here’s an idea, couldn’t we make the things we use here in our own country? Are we really the LAZY and ENTITLED Americans our critics say we are? Are we a nation of fat slobs who just want to be entertained? And YET so many other countries try to be like us. Hey world, “We the people...” aren’t the government! We think we deserve everything with minimal effort, the rest of the world is watching and they are like, “Screw you America, we need a piece of the pie.” And then what do we do? We (the government) stage a coup or just go bomb people and take what they have. Do we really give a shit about the human atrocities going on around the world? I can’t believe that we (the government) do because we (the people) keep letting it all happen and turn the other cheek to watch Miami Towing, Ink Master, The Greatest Model Cupcake Chef. We want a spectacle like the Romans did, but unlike the Romans we can’t stomach real blood and guts!
On the lighter side, I kind of like the idea that I can now walk down the street without being looked at like a criminal or a freak. It does feel good to be mildly accepted by society. I experienced a shadow of how it used to be today while I was at the gym. I went for a swim and these two older ladies (age 70 or so) both looked at me like I was going to eat them. I smiled and said hello and they both turned their noses up at me. I have to say, in a way that was refreshing. I wonder how strange the world seems to that generation. What sucks about my generation and younger one is; everyone thinks that there’s this magical cloud that takes you to the top, or that you have to claw your way there stomping everyone in the wake. Once we figure out there’s no substitute for hard work maybe we’ll all be better off. That’s the secret! Image doesn’t have too much to do with it.
When I started getting tattooed in the late 90s, which wasn’t all that long ago, it was still a subversive culture. A lot has changed in that short amount of time. Tattoos totally play into our vanities as a society right now. But if you know anything about history you will know that tattooing popularity comes and goes. I’m telling you the truth when I say that it was never acceptable to be a heavily tattooed woman in society in the 80s and 90s, and even before.
It was never fashionable and now we have girls calling themselves models with tattoos all up onto their hands and necks and faces. To me that is interesting because what was once an anti-social statement is now a fashion statement. But what are those individuals all going to do when tattoos aren’t in fashion? Tattoos are permanent and fashion is constantly changing. I got tattooed as a rebellion against society's ideals about beauty. So when tattoos aren’t fashionable I’ll still be glad I did it. I hope everyone will feel the same way!
When old people ask me what I’m going to do when I’m 80 with all these tattoos, I say, “I’m going to be ugly either way! At least now I’ll have some pretty colors on me.”
If you want, take the narcissism personality disorder quiz just for fun!!! If you want to help me do a study about narcissism e-mail me with your results, age and how many tattoos you have. I’ll post my findings and keep individuals anonymous of course! I took it and scored an 8…
Ironically I doubt anyone who reads my blogs is a narcissist…What can I blog about to attract a narcissist? “Hot fake breasted women, here to do your bidding.” Or how about “How to paint on the perfect eyebrows.” Ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!
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(Dawn Cooke is a contributing blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine can be found at Depot Town Tattoo, 33 East Cross St. Ypsilanti, MI 48197 www.dawncooke.net and www.dawncookeart.com)Dawn Cooke is featured in Tattoo Artist Magazine #21: