The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The Pierced Vermin of the Apocalypse

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The  second in my series of posts in which I give rants against trends that have developed in society since the days of my youth, the halcyon days of the seventies, when leisure suits and disco were sure signs that society was ready to be engulfed in a tide of ignorance, bad taste and general buffoonery.

We have started off the series with a look at seven developments that I view as intensely annoying and proof that many people lack the sense that God granted a goose.  I like to refer to these as  The Seven Hamsters of the Apocalypse, minor evils that collectively illustrate a society that has entered a slough of extreme stupidity.  Each of the Seven Hamsters will have a separate post.  We have already discussed here the Tattooed Vermin.  The  second of the Hamsters is the Pierced Vermin.

Piercing is something, outside of the traditional earrings worn by the wilier of the species, that has been a fairly recent plague upon our society.  Piercing has been popular in primitive   technologically-otherly-abled cultures, but self-mutilation for the sake of fashion is a post Sixties development in the US.  Like most truly bad ideas in this country it began in California.  The late Richard Simonton, better known to self-mutilation enthusiasts as Doug Malloy, advanced in 1975 to Jim Ward the money to start a business known as  Gauntlet which produced body piercing jewelry, and in 1978, Mr. Ward opened the world’s first body piercing studio in, where else?, West Hollywood, California.  Body piercing rapidly became popular among some homosexuals, and the body piercing craze has its origin in that community.

The phrase “suffering for fashion” applies to all body piercing, but especially to tongue piercing, the means by which every meal becomes an opportunity for infection, teeth are chipped away and swollen tongues give a delightful slurred quality to speech even on the rare occasions when the proud owner of the pierced tongue is not drunk or stoned.

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Needless to say, but of course I will say it anyway, piercing oneself is rarely a good idea unless tours of emergency rooms is ones’ hobby.

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For those for whom tongue piercing is not quite avant garde enough, there is the charming disfiguration known as tongue splitting.  I think I’ll let the American Dental Association explain that particularly painful form of self mutilation:

Tongue splitting is considered by some to be a form of body art. The process literally splits a person’s tongue into two pieces, creating a “forked” appearance. Reports in the public press indicate that various primitive techniques are used by lay people for splitting tongues. For example, without anesthesia, a scalpel may be used followed by a cauterizing pen, or fishing line may be threaded through the pierced tongue and pulled forward, severing the anterior aspect. Individuals regularly pull the two tongue pieces apart to maintain the split so it does not “heal” back together. Once healed, additional surgery may be required to repair the “split” should the individual decide reversal is desired.

Many people desperately desire to stand out in modern society.  That in itself is not necessarily a wholly negative impulse if one stands out by being a good scholar, excelling in a sport, by showing moral or physical courage, engaging in charitable activities, awakening the conscience of the public to a great evil, etc.  However, ripping metal through one’s flesh merely gives a strong indication that the only thing outstanding about you is stupidity.  Body piercing does therefore have social utility as a handy idiot detector, or at least presenting a rebuttable presumption of idiocy as to those who appear in public as human pincushions. 

But perhaps I am being too harsh.  These poor folk are inflicting pain only on themselves.  True, the rest of us have to observe them, but we can always avert our eyes, as we do from ghastly carwrecks, or politicians pretending to be sincere.  No, they do not prevent us from not noticing them, as would be the case if they were yelling out obscenities.  That brings us to the Third Hamster of the Apocalypse, the F-Bomb Hamster.  However, the hour grows late, almost 9:30 PM, and it is time for my warm milk, a foot massage and then bed.  Until next time.

 

Hattip to my daughter, or, as we refer to her, THE MIGHTY HUNTRESS, who trapped the elusive pierced vermin for the above photo.

22 Responses to The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The Pierced Vermin of the Apocalypse

  • I like this series a lot, because I get the feeling you really want to write it with Caps Lock on. My one complaint is with your statement that “swollen tongues give a delightful slurred quality to speech even when the proud owner of the pierced tongue is not drunk or stoned”. Wouldn’t it have been better to say “on the rare occasions when the proud owner…”?

  • You just don’t like people who are holey-er than thou.

  • “I like this series a lot, because I get the feeling you really want to write it with Caps Lock on. My one complaint is with your statement that “swollen tongues give a delightful slurred quality to speech even when the proud owner of the pierced tongue is not drunk or stoned”. Wouldn’t it have been better to say “on the rare occasions when the proud owner…”?”

    WHATEVER WOULD GIVE YOU THAT IMPRESSION PINKY? A GOOD SUGGESTION AS TO THE SENTENCE REGARDING THE SLURRED SPEACH OF THE TONGUE-PIERCED, AND I HAVE ADOPTED IT.

  • Fie, fie, you modern-worshiping modern type fellow, my granny never did get her ears pierced– it Was Not Done when she was a girl! (not by Good Girls, anyways)

    A little research finds that women with pierced ears was popular rebellion-style in the 20s, then went unpopular again until the 60s.

    Barbaric practice!

    (…because this is the internet, I must label: HUMOR.)

  • Foxfier, my bride of 28 years standing has never had her ears pierced. On the other hand my sainted mother had her ears pierced. I never crossed my Mom, quite a formidable lady, while she lived, and I will not risk it now!

  • *grin* Was the good lady old enough to remember the 20s? Or perhaps had a rebellious streak in her?

  • Mom was born in 1936 and tended to march to her own drum and bugle corps.

  • *blink* Wow. My grandmothers were old enough to be her mother, just barely. I keep forgetting normal families had kids a lot earlier than mine.

  • I never cared for body piercings, or tatoos. I think the church is against it as well.

  • My wife of 32 years has not had her ears pierced. No tatoos, either. Jewelry is an easy gift for Christmas, etc.

    None of the sons have piercings.

    The sons have tats. I wouldn’t call any one, “vermin.” One is an airborne ranger combat vet, still on active duty playing rugby for the Army, too. One is a MSME and former nationally ranked/medalled (competed on US Junior National Team in Greece) Olympic style weightlifter. The third is co-captain of his U rugby team and dean’s list student.

    Not that I approved or they asked my permission.

    I’m too chicken. I thought about a red cross patte on the left chest and one on the left shoulder. Problem also I don’t look so good without a shirt camouflaging the 60 y.o. chassis.

    I think dudes with tats and girly arms are vermin. My sons don’t fit that.

    And, it’s probably against Church teaching. God gave you your body and you should keep it a Temple of the Holy Spirit.

    Jasper, I’m a Jasper, too.

  • Being a builder, the only body piercings I have had have been involuntary.
    I mean, nail guns aren’t very selective what they pierce if you have them directed at the wrong target.
    Lets see if I can recall.
    1986 – nailed 2 fingers to a ceilng joist. Blood everywhere, pulled the nail, band aids to the fingers, carry on.
    1998. Nailed through end of middle finger to a roof purlin, and while yanking hand away and yelling “OUCH’ split open end of finger. Band aids, wait till shaking stops, get up on roof and carry on.
    2008. While holding piece of timber, nail gun slipped and fired nail through wrist. Uummm….grap nail head and yank out of wrist – move fingers, no damaged bones or tendons. Check entry wound, very little blood, so veins/arteries OK.
    Asked the woman to get a band aid, and she fainted :-)

    So yeah, Don.
    I really agree that body piercings are really not the GO.

  • Don, my experience along those lines was when as a boy I accidentally sent a nail through my left foot when I stepped on it. Interestingly enough the tetanus shot hurt worse than the nail.

  • I did not get my ears pierced until I was 21 — I was probably one of the few customers of the shopping mall jewelry store that did it, who was actually old enough to sign her own consent form! I wore pierced earrings regularly after that for about 10 years or so. (Clip earrings had become pretty hard to find by the mid 1980s and that was the main reason I got my ears pierced in the first place.) Then I gradually lost interest in wearing earrings at all. Now my piercings have healed over and the only earrings I can wear are clip-ons inherited from my late mother. (She was born in 1927 and never got her ears pierced either.) My husband served in the Navy for four years but never got a tattoo and never had the slightest interest in getting one. I guess our aversion to being poked with needles by persons other than trained medical professionals trumps any desire we might have to be fashionable!

  • I thought tongue piercing took the cake. Then I saw a young man wearing beer cans in his ears. Apparently simple pierced ears were not quite freaky enough for this goofy dude; he needed to stretch the holes out so he could fit Budweiser empties through them. Perhaps that will seem mundane to him after a while and he’ll yearn to fill the holes with dinner plates or hub caps or Frisbees.

    A person who gets nose or eyebrow or even tongue pierced has one advantage over the tattooed, when fashions change or one gets tired of the look, all a pierced person has to do is stop wearing the stud and the hole will eventually close up. But stretched out ear lobes are forever. If I had to interview a fellow with ears touching his collar, I would have a terrible time resisting breaking out into song: “Do your ears hang low? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow?”

    The late, great Mike Royko came up with the best description of the pierced ones; he said they looked like they had fallen face first into a tackle box.

  • Many years ago, my nephew called to see me ( he was about 17 yrs old) with a friend of his. His friend had a spike inserted between his bottom lip and his chin.

    I asked, ” What’ve you been up to mate? Eating dog’s collars?”

  • On Facebook Family Feud, one of the clues that comes up is “Name an article cf clothing that both men and women can wear.” I’ve had the question a few times, and every time I’ve missed “Earrings,” which I don’t even think of as an article of clothing.

    In any case, I’m a strong believer in a strict interpretation of the Church’s condemnation of self-mutilation. It really isn’t a small sin. Tattoos and piercings represent a fundamental lack of respect and admiration for the human body, a lack of gratitude for God’s gift, a desire for novelty, and, most importantly, a reflection of the view that the body is just an accidental containeer for the soul, and therefore property.

    Even as I have my own Manichean tendencies resulting form my own severely defective body, I still honor my genetic defects as a unique gift of God and a form of His artistry.

    I get annoyed by those who abuse drugs for self-styled suffering when they don’t know the half of it, and I get annoyed by those who would intentionally mutilate my body, when my body has been unintentionally mutilated by surgery and IVs and needles and CT/X Ray radiation.

  • “The late, great Mike Royko came up with the best description of the pierced ones; he said they looked like they had fallen face first into a tackle box.”

    How I miss reading his acerbic observations, Donna!

    ”What’ve you been up to mate? Eating dog’s collars?”

    That one goes into my stolen quotes book Don!

    “I get annoyed by those who abuse drugs for self-styled suffering when they don’t know the half of it, and I get annoyed by those who would intentionally mutilate my body, when my body has been unintentionally mutilated by surgery and IVs and needles and CT/X Ray radiation.”

    You are in my prayers GodsGadfly.

  • Thanks.

    For the annoyance, the rotten body, or both? :)

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