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

Sunday, May 1, AD 2011

 

The sixth 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,  here the Pierced Vermin , here the F-Bomb Vermin, here the Texting Vermin and here the Trashy Vermin.   The sixth of the Hamsters is the Whatever Vermin.

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

  • Well and truly said, O Donald, but don’t neglect that other Hamster of the Apocalypse, the one on Prince Harry’s head during the recent wedding — one suspects that Harry is channeling the hair of the False Donald, the Last Trump.

    Life is good.

  • My kids rarely would end the discussion/flip me off with that one.

    Methinks “whatever” might be the F-bomb aimed at whomever ye varmint realizes he/she can’t hurl an F-bomb.

    RE: F-bombs. Taking (outside of prayer) in vain the Lord’s Name is never licit. However, (my twisted world here) some have earned the right to prodigious strings of expletives (an art form in certain circles). That “some” would be combat veterans. Most are virtuous and don’t.

  • True Mack. The Donald (Trump) is the standard by which we judge all bad toupes. In my next series which will be rants on the Seven Modern Deadly Sins, I assure you that the Trump that Roared will be a featured player.

  • Love those strolls down memory lane, Don. Here’s a blog I did some months ago:
    ========================================
    I’m constantly reminded of the generation gap – make those gaps. I am somewhat surprised to learn that the teaching of penmanship, also known as cursive, is all but gone from the curricula of public schools and it saddens me, especially when I look at fine old hand-written letters. The art of the writing beautiful words is disappearing as the machines take over the world.

    Most of the kids today can talk, type or text on their thingamabobs, for want of an all-inclusive term for high-tech communication devices – who can keep up with iPods, iPhones, Blackberries and all the other names? – but many young people can barely write their names legibly. Well, some can, but most can’t emulate the beautiful scripts that our literate and expressive ancestors could create with fine writing instruments.

    Another reminder of the yawning chasm between today’s generation and mine (call it roughly 40 years) is exemplified in the following exchange I had with a young clerk at a store who was around 25 years old. (Do the math to figure my approximate age):

    “Say, would you have any dungaree patches?” I asked.

    A blank stare and silence, then a response: “What’s a dungaree?”

    “Dungarees, you know what dungarees are, don’t you?”

    “No, I don’t have a clue.”

    “Blue jeans,” I say, somewhat taken aback that she is unfamiliar with my original term.

    “Oh, no, we don’t have any of those.”

    It was quiet at the time in the store and inasmuch as I was her only customer and she wasn’t busy and appeared willing to indulge my curiosity as to knowledge of my generation; I said, “Tell me something. Have you ever heard of James Cagney?”

    “No,” she replied. “Who’s he?”

    “He was a famous actor, one of biggest stars in Hollywood. He was in Yankee Doodle Dandy and White Heat and Public Enemy. Ever heard of those movies?”

    “Nope,” she said. “I don’t watch any black-and-white movies. I heard of Cagney and Lacey. It was a TV show, I think.”

    I nodded, but then tried a few more names. “How about Gary Cooper? Ever heard of him?”

    “No,” she said.

    I pressed on with Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, and kept getting a shake of the head until I got to Humphrey Bogart.

    “Yeah, I think I heard of him.”

    Then she turned the tables on me and asked me if I heard of a series of current pop singers, whom everyone under 30 seems to know, and I shook my head in ignorance.

    “How about Britney Spears?” she asked.

    “Yes, I’ve heard of her, along with Lindsay Lohan. They seem to be in the news practically every day.”

    “How about Lady Gaga?”

    “That’s an oxymoron, isn’t it” I joked lamely.

    She didn’t get it.

    A middle-aged woman, closer to me in years than the store clerk, overheard part of our conversation and jumped in with a remark directed at the youngster:

    “Don’t you remember Clark Gable from ‘Gone With The Wind’?” she asked. “He was the one that said, ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’”

    “Oh, him!” the clerk said, her face lighting up with recognition. “Yeah, I kinda remember that.”

    I couldn’t resist pointing out the film was in color.

    We had some more fun, the three of us, batting around generational differences and laughing at our ignorance of the other’s, and I began to think of many of the terms we used a half-century ago that have just about disappeared: “going steady,” “juvenile delinquency” and “balderdash,” for example, to be replaced with the likes of “Bollywood, “ginormous,” and “DVD.”

    I arrived in this world before the post-World War II Baby boomers, and subsequent generations X and Y or whatever they’re called nowadays. Why is it that I feel such a cultural and social divide between the time I grew up and today? Why do I feel such a sense of alienation from today’s youth and perhaps them from me? J.B. Priestly, the English writer, who died in 1984 at the age of 89, wrote: “There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age – I missed it coming and going.”

    Lately, still in the throes of nostalgia and the “good old days,” I began to compile a list of things and people from my childhood years that few kids would know about today but could easily find out thanks to Google: “Howdy Doody,” “The Lone Ranger,” television sets that took 10 seconds to warm up and then you got only 3 channels, including the Dumont network, Admiral TV’s and Motorola radios, street games like hide ‘n seek, Johnny-ride-a-pony, I declare war, stick ball, ball tag, red light/green light and hopscotch; the Good Humor man, peashooters and Wham-O’s, Green Stamps, Barnum & Bailey, Alfred E. Neuman, Estes Kefauver, Hula hoops, poodle skirts, pegged pants, sideburns, egg creams.

    Amos and Andy, The Hit Parade, Oxydol, mahjong, carbon paper, sneakers (either P.F. Flyers or Keds), Laurel & Hardy, Bishop Sheen and Milton Berle, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, John Cameron Swayze, Huntley-Brinkley, I Like Ike, full-service gas stations that gave out free road maps, Sinclair, Flying A and Esso, the five-and-ten, Pez, when being sent to the principal’s office was the worst thing that could happen to you in school next to going home with a bad report card. And something was either “nifty” or “boss” instead of “cool,” and dude referred to a ranch and pot to something you cooked in.

    Speaking of school, 50 years ago the worst offenses you could commit were “talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, getting out of turn in line, wearing improper clothes, and not putting paper in wastebaskets.“

    Contrast to today’s main problems — “drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, assault and guns in the schools.”

    In those days, there was no Internet, no texting, no computer dating, no day care centers, no group therapy, no word processors, no credit cards, no ATM machines, no talking back to your parents or teachers, no TV talking heads and no reality shows.

    These trips down memory lane are enjoyable, but a sobering reminder comes from cartoonist Al Capp, who said, “Today’s younger generation is no worse than my own. We were just as ignorant and repulsive as they are, but nobody listened to us.”

    So while I may sound like an old fuddy-duddy lost in a wistful haze, I am going to cut the young folks a break and grant them the same number of years to repeat the same mistakes of the past and in 40 years complain about the new generation that they raised.

  • Three hundred years ago, the royal barber would be chained to the wall in the dungeon of the Tower of London . . .

    My wife and I each own a Hermes portable typewriter.

    I have a cell phone with an antenna. It doesn’t fold. My lawyer, our age: seasoned citizen, laughed when he saw it.

  • Dear Giuseppe Verdi,

    I too thought “gi-normous” was recent slang, but in William Shawcross’s excellent biography of The Queen Mother we find it used in a letter Prince Charles wrote to QM in 1966 (p. 816).

    Now I really feel old.

  • Mack, actually its first use is traceable to 1948 but it wasn’t until very recently that it made it into Webster’s.

    How perceptive you are. Verdi is my favorite composer.

  • Oh, I was an expert at the bored eye-roll and exasperated sigh when I was 16. If “whatever” had been in use at the time, I am certain I would have said “whatEVER, mom” 10 thousand times a day.

    I have very little patience with lippy adolescents, precisely because I was once a major pain myself. I knew absolutely everything when I was in high school, but I was amazed by how wise my parents had become by the time I turned 20 🙂

  • There is a play in Britain Donna written by John Osborne, one of the “angry young men” playwrights of the Fifties, called “Look Back in Anger”. When I recall some of my actions during my teen years and young adulthood, I “Look Back in Embarrassment.”

  • C.S. Lewis also wrote about how, when we’re confronted about our wrong actions, we try to explain them as legitimate exceptions to the standards; the one thing we don’t do is deny the truth of the standards. I wonder if we haven’t changed in that regard.

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

Sunday, October 17, AD 2010

The  fifth 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,  here the Pierced Vermin , here the F-Bomb Vermin and here the Texting Vermin.  The fifth of the Hamsters is the Trashy Vermin.

I grew up in a blue collar family in which money was never plentiful.  ( I loved the old Jackie Gleason show The Honeymooners.  It was a howlingly funny show and they were more broke than we were.)   However, my parents always found money in our budget to make sure that all of us had good clothes to wear for Church and special occasions.  “Good clothes” meant a suit and tie for Dad, a nice dress for Mom, and sports jackets and ties for myself and my brother.  Now I know those of you born after 1980 will find this hard to credit, but we were not uncommon in that regard.  At Mass virtually every one was dressed that way.  (I still dress that way, and it is uncommon enough today that a visiting priest brought how I was dressed to my attention as I entered Church with my family a few weeks ago.)  Evidence of this is clear in the movies from the period.  For example, we have the film Blackboard Jungle (1955), which at the time was thought to be a shocking look at juvenile delinquency.

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

  • “I was going to say something in this category about the distaff offenses against aesthetics, but my survival instinct has just kicked in”

    As regards offenses against modesty, I touched on that in a previous post on “The Third Rail of the Catholic Blogosphere”. With regard to simple sloppiness, however, the most annoying and baffling trend I have seen is women wearing what appear to be pajama bottoms and plastic clog shoes in public. I would hesistate to go to my mailbox dressed like that, but some women go shopping, pick up their kids from school, etc. so attired.

  • Just so. In my little mission (happily full every Sunday) only two men wear coats and ties. In a too-informal age I suppose slacks and a nice shirt would be acceptable, but not shorts and tees and rotting tattoos.

  • O tempora o mores! – Cicero

  • The public high school where I teach has a dress code, so the students look nice (however, no ties or jackets).

    But, I do occassionally – two or three times per year – bring up how students dress outside of school. I bring them from the “Blackboard Jungle” days to the present, showing them the trend.

    Then, I ask what – if the seemingly unstoppable trend continues – will their children wear.

    There is always a pause for reflection, and the students understand the point that I’m making. Many of them even agree. However, few (none?) want to make personal changes to try to reverse the trend.

  • I am going to make an unconscionable statement: For the life of me, I can’t understand why people are facsinated with how others dress. No, I don’t mean that modesty in dress is no concern, nor that those Communist propagandist Che and Mao depictions don’t make me want to spank the punks that wear them; It’s just, what is the moral implication of wearing sweats in public? Granted, a church requires attention to appearance, so that we may show God our reverence, but what’s the problem if I go to the market ill-shaven and with unkempt hair? I cannot beleive that God really cares if I wear plaid and stripes, or if my socks match.

  • “I cannot beleive that God really cares if I wear plaid and stripes, or if my socks match.”

    Considering that He marks the sparrow’s fall Ike, I have never been comfortable predicting what God cares about or does not care about. Reasonable concern for one’s personal appearance is a sign often as to whether a person is just as neat or slovenly in other areas of life. It doesn’t always work that way, but I’d say it is usally a fair assumption. Neurotic concern about one’s appearance is taking things too far in the other direction.

  • I cannot beleive that God really cares if I wear plaid and stripes, or if my socks match.

    “Thou shalt not wear white after Labor Day, nor stripes with plaid, nor mismatched socks with our without sandals; for to do these things would bring shame upon yourself and your family.”

    Leviticus, page 129.

    😀

  • “I used to care about what I wore to church or wherever. That was before I had a completely incontinent unable-to-walk messy-eater father with dementia to care for alone.”

    Your dilemma, plus that of the family with young children still in diapers, are one of the reasons why I personally do not believe the “dress for church as you would if you were going to meet the pope/queen/president/etc.” standard should be strictly enforced on everyone. Modest and non-distracting dress, yes; but not 100 percent insistence on Sunday best.

    While the sentiment behind it is laudable and I admire anyone who chooses to and can adhere to it, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect it of everyone for two reasons:

    1. For most people other than celebrities and heads of state, meeting a pope, queen, president, etc. would be a once-in-a-lifetime event, while Sunday Mass is not.

    2. One does not normally have to bring infants, screaming hyperactive toddlers, sullen teenagers, or (in EMS’ case) elderly parents with dementia to an audience with a head of state AND keep them clean, changed, supervised and under control for 45-60 minutes at a stretch.

  • The rant is still good! Thanks.

    As Roger Scruton would put it:

    “Much that is said about beauty and its importance in our lives ignores the minimal beauty of an unpretentious street, a nice pair of shoes or a tasteful piece of wrapping paper, as though those things belonged to a different order of value from a church by Bramante or a Shakespeare sonnet. Yet these minimal beauties are far more important to our daily lives, and far more intricately involved in our own rational decisions, than the great works of art which (if we are lucky) occupy our leisure hours. They are part of the context in which we live our lives, and our desire for harmony, fittingness and civility is both expressed and confirmed in them. Moreover, the great works of architecture often depend for their beauty on the humble context that these lesser beauties provide.”

  • A secondary puzzlement: how do you go about dressing yourself, in general, as a Christian, this day and age? I mean, you have to dress decently, but not too nice, because that’s vain, and not too fashionably, because that means you’re paying too much attention like the gentiles do, and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, because that’s stealing from the needy, but in order not to spend too much money and still look reasonably sharp, you have to pay enough attention to catch the good sales, and not just buy what you need when you need it, because spending more on clothes than necessary is stealing from the needy, unless your time really is so valuable that paying any attention to sales is a criminal waste of it, and then there’s the trial-and-error of dressing yourself, which means mistakes will be made, but is that wasting money, or is it okay to experiment because mistakes are given away in charity, and speaking of giving away clothes, is it more charitable to give away clothes while they are still in good shape and passably fashionable, or is it better to hang on to your closet like a terrier with a dead rat, which saves money which then can be diverted to other charitable causes, but also reduces the reusable aspects of a wardrobe down the road.

    But, on topic, my dad’s jeans look just like those $400 paint-spattered, grease-marked, dirty-rinsed, torn, patched, and re-torn jeans marketed to college kids, and he seems to feel no more compunction about wearing them out and and about than the youngsterlings do. How can you win this battle when you’re bookended by custom-destroyed jeans on the (hapless quasi-rebel) kiddies and honestly-destroyed jeans on the (upright conservative) septuagenarians? Sheesh.

  • “How can you win this battle when you’re bookended by custom-destroyed jeans on the (hapless quasi-rebel) kiddies and honestly-destroyed jeans on the (upright conservative) septuagenarians? Sheesh.”

    My Mom, God rest her soul, used to stop my brother and me from appearing in public in hideous garb with the command, “You are not going out in public like that!” As for my Dad, she would throw out his clothes when she determined they had reached the rag stage, and were no longer fit to be seen around the house. My Dad knew better than to dispute my Mom in this area, where she was the benevolent dictatrix of our household.

  • Offensive slogans on shirts? I remember a time when any slogans, corporate logos, et cetera on shirts would be looked down upon. The old line was “You paid for those clothes? Nike should be paying you to walk around like a billboard.”

    To EMS, I understand. I often attend 5pm Mass, where the average outfit is far more casual than I’d wear, but I wouldn’t judge the people so attired. Many people are there because the day didn’t go as planned. Moms with newborns, teenagers on their way home from a shift at McDonald’s, and people in your situation can all be reasonably exempt from the rules of fashion.

  • As for immodest clothing, well, I think that’s just fantastic. I shouldn’t, and in a work or worship setting I recognize that it’s inappropriate, but I’m just not inclined to get upset over it.

  • I wish somebody would start talking about “tattooed vermin” in my immediate physical presence, or that of many men I served with in the military. That would be funny.

  • Not half as funny as the Marine I know who has “ghost” tattooes of the names of five former girlfriends visible on his chest. As he explained to me, “Don, it is curious what can seem like a good idea at the time when you are drunk.”

  • No, I actually I think it would be at least as funny as that.

    But I find perverse humor in smug, judgmental jackasses being physically assaulted, so maybe it’s just me.

  • It’s just you Linus. What I really find hilarious is banning jackasses who threaten me with physical assault. Have fun making jokes at other websites Linus since you are now banned at this one.

  • “My Dad knew better than to dispute my Mom in this area, where she was the benevolent dictatrix of our household.”

    Thank God for Moms! (She gets the jeans, and I grab the matches…)

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

Sunday, October 3, AD 2010

The  fourth 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,  here the Pierced Vermin and here the F-Bomb Vermin.  The fourth of the Hamsters is the Texting Vermin.

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

  • As an old fogey myself, I feel exactly the same way about all of this stuff. Amen and Amen!

  • We OFs have to stick together Mark!

  • Thunderous applause (which of course you can’t hear). But it is ironic — I visit AMERICAN CATHOLIC every day when I could be solitudinous (is that a real word?).

    Life is good.

  • As usual: 100% correct.

    We OF’s need to hang together, or we’ll hang separately (B. Franklin, the archetypical OF).

    If only: we pray 1/10th as much as they text.

  • I must be grateful for my ability to text our children, since they all live far from me. I go back into the days of DA’s and Packs of Lucky’s in the rolled up sleeves of shirts, although I was far too young to smoke(and still do not).
    You failed to mention “party lines”, but that does not mean the “talking point
    memos” of todays political propoganda and their sychphant followers.

    So, I guess I am one of those cheesy texters! Although I do it at a snails pace.

  • Remember that there were a solid core of phone numbers that everyone had memorized – their own, of course, the numbers of close relatives and friends, one’s work number and emergency numbers. Nobody has to remember numbers any more – I can still rattle off my parents’ phone number 21 years after I last dialed it, but I can’t remember my sister’s cell phone number, although I call her almost daily.

    But the ability to make a phone call just about anywhere can be a blessing. Last winter, I was on a city street after dark. It wasn’t too far from my place but the block was deserted. A rather dubious character called to me from across the street and asked me to help him change his tire. All sorts of alarms went off in my head. I continued to walk away, but held up my cell phone and offered to call AAA if he needed help. He said “forget it” and then cursed me. If cell phones did not exist, I still would not have been so stupid as to ignore my instincts and put myself in potential danger, but having the cell phone certainly provided an extra measure of security.

  • I find telephones dreadful objects, and flinch whenever the household phone rings. It’s obtrusive and invasive. Hand-lettered faxes, emails and text messages offer a certain graceful silence to communication, and also time to compose one’s thoughts.

    I mean, if you use them that way. Which naturally excludes the Vermin.

    And, good gravy, the one-sided cell phone conversations trumpeted up and down the aisles of stores, not excluding furious disputes, the berating of remote children, and, uh, pitching pretty serious woo—is this the new party line? Where we are ALL forced to eavesdrop?

  • As someone who absolutely hates talking on the phone, I find texting to be a great improvement. You can leave someone a message and let him respond at his leisure, without having to interrupt him and exchange pleasantries first.

    Also, if you text very often, you can do it without looking at the phone, just like a decent typist can type without looking at the keyboard. So I actually find it safer while driving than talking on the phone, which really does take one’s attention away (much like having an engaging conversation with a passenger).

  • I think it is an absolute blessing to be able to be able to make a phone call from just about any location, but like most everything, moderation is the key. As a frequent rider on mass Transit, I find the loud talkies to be absolutely infuriating. It’s one thing to have a brief “I’m on my way home” conversation with one’s spouse, but there are people who seem intent on having rather loud conversations for the entire duration of a bus ride. The snowball effect is that I am prompted to put on my headphones, which is probably going to be part six in Don’s series. 🙂

  • The snowball effect is that I am prompted to put on my headphones, which is probably going to be part six in Don’s series.

    LOL

  • Funny… accurate… sad. Very good commentary! I wonder if it’s a generational response? I am old enough to remember rotary phones and even manual typewriters.

  • I am old enough to remember rotary phones and even manual typewriters.

    So am I, though I don’t know if I’d qualify as an old fogey at the age of 33. But even my niece, who is 23, might be symbolic of the new generation. Try prying her cell phone/text message machine away from her. I dare you. You didn’t really need that hand, did you?

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The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The F-Bomb Vermin of the Apocalypse

Sunday, September 12, AD 2010

The  third 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 and here the Pierced Vermin.  The third of the Hamsters is the F-Bomb Vermin.

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27 Responses to The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The F-Bomb Vermin of the Apocalypse

  • And now there is the almost universal employment of “d****e-bag” on ‘blogs, even on purportedly Catholic ones.

  • When I hear the F-bomb burst from the lips of a beautiful young lady I only see black stains on her soul. From a young man I see dark times in his life.

  • I don’t think this should be listed among the minor vermin. It debases us more than we realize.

  • I’d agree with you Pinky except that most of the people who engage in frequent swearing truly are clueless as to its harmfulness. I regard this as a sign of debasement in modern life and not a cause of the underlying debasement.

  • Pinky & Don.

    It’s cyclical. The F bomb has become so commonplace b/c the sexual act to which it refers has become vulgar rather than sacred, yet the use of the F bomb to refer to that act further trivializes and moves our understand of the sexual act farther from its sacred nature.

  • I think the biggest problem you have is that people using such words are considered “cool”. Therefore, cinema and singers use such words, which reinforces the trend.

    You’d be surprised at how little Germans swear compared to Anglo-Saxons. Not because they don’t know how to do it, but because there is a social sanction associalted with that in most situations.

    I think another reason is the way people DRESS. You’ll find it stupid but I think that a lot people tend to speak better when they are better dressed. To be dressed properly often gives them a sense of their own dignity, and they tend to want to live up to that. People going around in shorts and flip flops as if they were in their own garten will tend not to pay any attention to social conventions in other areas as well. The age of ubiquitous jeans, unkempt hair and the like was also the age where swearing became common usage.

    M

  • “The age of ubiquitous jeans, unkempt hair and the like was also the age where swearing became common usage.”
    The slobbification of America.

  • On Joan of Arc: A common French term of endearment for English soldiers in her day was “les goddams,” for their frequent–ubiquitous–use of that term.

    My father was a career soldier with extensive combat experience in World War II, and he was more than liberal in the use of that phrase (but it was not tolerated among us children: apparently like smoking and drinking, for adults only, and then only for men). I never heard him use the f-word. He would not have used it around women or children, and I doubt he used it among his cronies. I don’t think many educated people of his generation would have (and that is why the Nixon tapes were so shocking).

    Coarse language by beautiful young ladies is depressing and off-putting, but may not indicate stains on their soul. Custom is very powerful, and the customs of recent times have not been helpful in reinforcing our innate sense of propriety.

  • Stan-
    Could you rephrase that to be clearer? The it reads right now seems to say that a cursing woman is sinful, and a cursing man is sinned against…. It could also be read as a lovely poetic way of saying “they have been hurt, stained, torn, battered, afflicted by a life that has not done them as it should.” (Yay, English; so many shades of meaning.)

    Can’t argue against this stance; I would suggest that a large part of why cursing is more common is because folks are ruder, making for more heartache and pain on emotional/mental levels, and there are fewer ways to defuse it. (This is also my theory behind “road rage.”)

  • Thank you Foxfier, I was trying to be brief.

    First off, male or female the use of this word does show a lack of respect for others and very much a lack of a Christian attitude. The F-bomb is neither loving nor kind. That is where an otherwise lovely looking young lady becomes stained to me. I would not have dated such when younger or appreciate my son from dating one with such language now.

    As far as a dark future for the men, most of them that I have meet who use this language in public are already racking up arrests, convictions and jail time.

    Have I ever used language like this, well maybe. When my head was almost taken off by a sheet of plywood dropped from the roof, or my 700 pound motorcycle was laying on me supported only by a folded up foot, even then it was said in a whispering scream. But never in conversation private or public since I found Christ.

  • “When my head was almost taken off by a sheet of plywood dropped from the roof, or my 700 pound motorcycle was laying on me supported only by a folded up foot, even then it was said in a whispering scream”

    Stan, I sympathize. During my first kidney stone a few years ago, if I had the presence of mind, I might have let lose with a few choice epithets. As it was, I writhed on the floor and whimpered with the pain, when I wasn’t making my painfully slow way to the bathroom to vomit up the shrimp gumbo that I had just before the kidney stone decided to makes its agonizing presence felt. I think God makes allowances for the weakness of the flesh at such times. 🙂

  • The F-bomb has been a pretty common expletive down here for as long as I can remember. I must agree though, that in the late 50’s when I was a teenager, and lad-about-town in that great decade, the 60’s, mainly used only by men including myself too lazy to select a more appropriate adjective, or as an encouragement for someone to leave your presence hurriedly. 😉
    In those days it was unusual to hear it coming from a woman. Nowadays it is commonplace. Then, one did not use that language in front of a woman – nowadays, it is a part of everyday casual conversation.
    I call it “building site language” (being a builder) where I still sometimes resort to the expletive, but that is usually where it stays.
    I do think that as with many things in society, it has been used so much that society in general has become desensitised to the shock effect, so it has become part of everyday language.

  • My other excuse is that I spent 11 years of my life in Australia. 🙂

  • I actually blame the Dutch for this blight on the English language 😉
    The Dutch and the English have always had a close relationship – why even a dutchman, William of Orange was king of England in the 17th century.
    As you may guess, this is a lead in to a rather humorous anecdote.
    In 1990 after I returned from Australia, I was doing a job with my wife’s cousin for a dutchman, Jack van Dungen (I think was his name) who had emigrated to NZ in the 1950’s. He had a brother, Joss who still lived in Holland, but visited every few years. Now Jack, who lived on a farm had built a pig pen and was starting to breed his own pigs. In Dutch, the word for a breeder is a – yes, you guessed it, – a “f**ker”.
    Joss had arrived from Holland late the previous night, and as we were all sitting down to morning tea, Joss who had just risen shortly before,came out from his room, greeted us, and looked out the window and saw the pig pen. Joss did not speak English too well, so he combined Dutch words with his English words. He said, ” Ah Yack, (dutch pronounce “J” as “Y”) I see you have become a pig f****er.”
    You can imagine our huge mirth – poor Joss did not really understand what the hilarity was about until Jack explained it to him.
    Over the past hundred and fifty years, we have had a lot of Dutch migration to NZ. After all, the country’s first european discoverer was a dutchman, Abel Tasman. So the dutch word “to breed” became a common word in the local English language.

    Well, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

  • I am always willing Don to blame as many ills of the world as I can on the Dutch. 🙂

  • While talking to a Catholic Chaplain who traveled to all of the FOBs in the South, he lamented to me that many of the soldiers have lost the ability to use adjectives and adverbs thanks to the F-bomb.

    What have we become?

  • Don the Kiwi,
    I’m visualizing the scene as featuring copious amounts of expectorated tea! Translation fiascoes always tickle me!

  • My dog, who, if possible, gets out even less than I do, appeared quite shocked by the cheerfully crass language flying between two college-aged canoeists passing close to the dock recently; he was too occupied with cocking his head back and forth, listening in astonishment, even to bark. I assume it was the tone and volume of the banter rather than the words, but it looked funny nonetheless.
    The kids (male and female; one shies away from “gentleman” and “lady” in such a situation) were entirely jolly in their loud, brash, crude, and very public discourtesy.
    Since I err in curbing my own tongue when injured or infuriated, but not so much when blithesome, or out canoeing, I was unsure whether to be offended, disapproving, or amused.
    An angry outburst may be far more unpleasant to hear, but casual cursing like this is actually harder to sympathize with, due to its utter meaninglessness.

  • Everything I’ve ever studied on demonology and deliverance confirms that the use of curse words–which really do curse the person, place or thing–is almost always the way that demonic infestations begin.

    Fr. Amorth said he dealt with a whole family–two boys were outright possessed, and all the family were experiencing some level of extraordinary demonic influence/attack–and the root cause was the grandfather. In his senility, he hardly ever said anything but “G– D—” because that’s the habit he built up in his life.

  • I don’t think the particular words matter. In England, f— is a casual word, but c— is the Most Profane Word (not that c— is trivial in the US). As common as f— has become in the US, it’s still our Most Profane Word. We may be seeing a transition toward it being a weak word, but for the time being, people use it frequently *because* they can’t think of a worse word.

    That’s the distinction I’m trying to make: it’s not that people who use it are immune to the power of the word; they’re unfamiliar with the idea of propriety.

  • I too watch reruns of the Welk show on TV. Another show that brings up wishes of long ago days are the Andy William Christmas shows. Innocence, family and faith joined in music and fun. The first time I used the f bomb my year older sister laughed at me. It was so ridiculous coming out of my 13 year old mouth. That cured me for a long, long time. The people who talk that way are clowns.

  • The fifth comment, made by Michael Denton has stuck in my mind.
    The F- word is of course, just a word, with a certain meaning……or is it?
    If we use the word “copulation” it has a certain context in biology, but with essentially the same meaning. Likewise, the word “fornication” which used to be often heard from the pulpit as a serious sin, but sadly nowadays is not – but we still read it in the scriptures.
    “Sexual intercourse” again, conveys the same meaning, but in the context of medical or educational areas.
    In all these situations, if the F- word simply had the same meaning, would it be acceptable as a substitute? Is it only because the word is socially unacceptable that it is not substituted? Definitely not.
    This is how I used to rationalise my occasional – in my younger day, casual – use of the word.

    I agree with you Michael. The commonplace use of the word has debased the act to which it refers, which should be held as sacred. So I want to thank you, and you too Don, for reminding me, and I’m sure some others, how the use of a word, irrespective of its innocent beginning, can be desensitising and trivialising and contribute to the debasement of our language, culture, and souls.

  • “The fifth comment, made by Michael Denton has stuck in my mind.”

    Likewise — good observation.

  • I have felt this way for years…! even as a college pagan back in the ’80s. Though there were things I (unfortunately) said or did, I felt there were zones of propriety. I never discussed certain things in front of women or children, for ex. Now that I’m an ex-pagan I only feel more strongly. I am unhappy that profanity and vulgarity worked its way into literature in the mid-20th c. and later into movies and finally TV. The fact that we had masterpieces of literature and drama for centuries without it shows just unecessary it is. Bad language/behavior was always there, but on the fringes. It was kept at bay.

  • When JFK was elected president one of his aides reportedly said, “this administration will do for sex what the last one (Ike’s) did for golf.”

    Had Blago ever realized his ambition of becoming president (shudder), his administration probably would have done the same thing for the F-bomb.

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

Sunday, August 29, AD 2010

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.

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

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

 

In this series of posts I intend to 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 will start 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.  The first of the Hamsters is the Tattooed Vermin.

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

  • A beauty of a rant, Don. And how true!

  • The most ridiculous tattoo I’ve seen was at the wedding of a young co-worker several years ago. The bridesmaids wore halter top gowns with exposed backs and one of them had a big wolf head tattooed on her back. Apparently she was “into wolves” when she was 16 – 10 years later, she was no longer interested in them, but the souvenir of her adolescent tastes was still imprinted on her flesh. The juxtaposition of elegant satin dress with ugly tattoo was quite striking, and not in a good way. (As a friend of mine who is very “into” old films says, “Would Audrey Hepburn get a tattoo? Or Grace Kelly?”)

    It’s one thing for 16 year olds to imagine that their teenaged likes and dislikes are permanent (if tattoos had been popular when I was a teenybopper, I might still be walking around with my high school boyfriend’s name and a picture of the Osmond Brothers adorning my carcass.) It’s another thing to believe that when you are in your 20’s.

  • Ah well, perhaps I am taking this all too seriously.

    Actually, I think this is the truest statement in your post. 😉

  • There are other reasons to get tattoos– my mom has a shamrock over her heart, and my sister has two– a pair of tiny Jesus-feet, one on her shaking-hand, one on her first-foot-forward.

  • Et tu Foxfier?

  • Nah, I didn’t even want to get my ears pierced. (Sibling pressure is amazing– sis couldn’t until I did.)

  • Considering your nautical background I am somewhat surprised that you didn’t get tattooed while you were a member of Uncle Sam’s Yacht Club.

  • Celtic crosses– and most anything saint, Catholic or Celtic-related– were declared “gang related symbols” a week after I hit my first duty station.

  • Including Gothic script, and most Latin phrases.

  • Down under over here ;-), tatoos are a part of the indigenous culture. Certain tatoos on the face of men for example, used to indicate his rank and seniority in his tribe.. Women who were looked on as being wise, ahd their own style of ‘moko’, or tattoo, mainly on their chin area.
    Samoans also have tattoo as a definer of rank. Their culture goes a step further with full body tattoo, which is the ultimate indicator of manhood.
    Many of our football players, whether of Maori, Samoan or Pacific Island descent or of European descent have tats, mainly on arms, occassionly facial.

    The problem is that now, much of the tats are done as ‘body adornment’ and have no bearing to rank. Many of the gangs now adopt strong tats as sign of intimidation – trying to indicate how tough they are.

    Many of the older Maori and Samoans are annoyed and insulted at the way traditional tattoos have become so fashionable, and the significance of the art is dumbed down and demeans their culture.

    On another note from another time, I also had mates in the navy back in the 60’s and 70’s who had a variety of tats – some of the more interesting included a fox tail down the back, with the fox obviously hiding in the ‘fox hole’. 🙂

  • Quite a few American Indian tribes used tattoos in similar ways Don. Tattoos that are part and parcel of an entire culture I have no problem with. As for sailors and their tatoos, I believe the fashion started in the Royal Navy when it came into contact with Polynesia in the Eighteenth Century.

  • As a woman, I thank God that I didn’t ever get drunk, lose my mind, and get a tattoo. I really don’t get the fascination with them.

  • Enjoyed the rant, Don. As the survey numbers suggest, there are different generational perspectives on this, but there’s something to be said for the artistry of a well done rant. What fun is griping if you can’t do it with style?

  • I was just warming up John Henry for the one on body piercing!

  • When I was in the Navy, the Boiler Tech Chief advised that, if you wanted a tat, don’t get one until you have settled on the exact image. Once you have decided, sleep on it, look through the books again, and, if you you still can’t imagine a tat other than the one you settled on the day before, get it.

    I didn’t get ink until about three years after leaving the Navy. I was hiking the AT and took a hitch-hiking detour to West Point. There, in that boneyard, among those monuments to generals I had never heard of, was a simple Celtic cross. There was something so sublime that I took a picture. The image stuck with me and I kept returning to the picture over the next few months. During the summer, I found a parlor with the right creds and had the image inked on my upper-arm.

    Not all ink is pathetic, my friend.

  • Think of it like marriage…but with the “massively bad idea, poorly thought out and entered with no reasonable notion of what they were getting into” statistics going the opposite way.

  • “Not all ink is pathetic, my friend.”

    Get back to me in three decades G-Veg, assuming I am still around.

  • If I don’t get up off of my settled rump and exercise a bit… there will undoubtably be serious “sagging”… Not buxom blond sagging, but, still…

  • Best tat ever:
    one of my grandfather’s Army buddies.

    A little lawnmower on his arm.

    Each morning, he’d shave his face, then a strip of hair on his arm, behind the mower……

  • You might consider that there’s some selection bias going on in the tats you observe.

    Perhaps there are a large number of perfectly ordinary-looking people around you who have tattoos that you don’t get outraged by, because the tattoos are small and unobtrusive or concealed by everyday clothing.

  • “Perhaps there are a large number of perfectly ordinary-looking people around you who have tattoos that you don’t get outraged by, because the tattoos are small and unobtrusive or concealed by everyday clothing.”

    What I don’t know obviously can’t outrage me bearing. I wish all tattoos were like that, and that people didn’t inflict their body pictures for me and the world to be forced to observe.

  • There was a psych study back in the 80’s that showed that people with more than one tattoo had increased behavioral/psych problems. I don’t know if anyone ever reproduced their results. Don’t know if anyone even bothered to try.

  • What I don’t know obviously can’t outrage me bearing. I wish all tattoos were like that, and that people didn’t inflict their body pictures for me and the world to be forced to observe

    I guess that ties back to Don the Kiwi’s point about the tattoo culture down under…

  • Phillip-
    Sounds like a “no, duh” study– just because so many folks with behavioral problems get tattoos. Given that they’re illegal in some countries, and disapproved of by many religions here in the US, and that it can easily be boiled down to a form of self-damage… same thing as with major piercing, or scarification. Shoot, if you assume one in a hundred of the sample were in gangs, that would blow the stats out of the water! (Actually…I don’t know if gangs did tats in the 80s. I was frankly more interested in Sat morning cartoons at the time.)

  • Don’t remember the details of the study after 25 years, so your critiques may be valid. Just pointing out that if a person has more than one tattoo there is likely to be more psych problems. That would go along with Don’s observation that more of his clients having tattoos.

    I don’t know if its obvious either that having one tattoo is not so big an issue (the drunken sailor not repeating his mistake) but having more than one tatto is a problem. But working back to Don’s point, if more people are having tattoos these days, is that because more people are having psych problems, or has the image in society of the body and its use/dignity changed over the years? I might say the latter.

  • I agree– when my mom was a girl, she was allowed to wear jeans to do the morning chores…but only under her skirt. When she got to college, it was a big deal that she was wearing slacks and jeans and not a lot of skirts.

    Now, it’s odd for a girl to wear skirts all the time. (Odd as in comment-worthy, not odd as in freaky.)

  • As a member of a younger generation, I disagree. Tattoos are cool!

    Back when I had piercings, my parents made me take them out in church. Parents don’t seem to care about that anymore. I don’t mind either. The only thing that bothers me are the girls at Mass in what looks like underwear. I always tell them that they forgot to wear their pants again.

  • “Tattoos are cool!”

    That you have fallen to the blandishments of the tattooed vermin of the seven hamsters of the apocalypse surprises me not one whit restrainedradical!

    “Parents don’t seem to care about that anymore.”

    This parent certainly does! Piercings do function as a useful idiot detector however, present company excepted I am sure.

    Now you’ve got me curious restrainedradical. Do you have any kids, and if so, are they teenagers yet?

  • No surprise. Get back to me restrainedradical when and if you have kids and little restrainedradical is closing in on 14.

  • “…and little restrained radical is closing in on 14.”

    These days try ten.

  • I read somewhere that tattoos are popular with the young because it is a substitute for coming of age rituals that we no longer have or require our youth to attend…the pain associated with the process is part of this “ritual”…this actually makes some sense to me…my son’s first tattoo was self inflicted and must have been uber painful to boot – his second tat was a “mom” banner inside a heart….which made me go “awwww” even as I was freaked out that he was irrevocably marking his body …there are worse things I suppose and in his case those worse things came and broke both our hearts…so the tats in a way were prophecies of bad things coming down the road…hindsight is twenty twenty….sigh……

  • Okay, when do we get the second hamster?

  • The Pierced Vermin should slouch his way onto the blog in a week or two.

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  • I just read Pierced Vermin and had to return to read about the tattoos. I work as an RN with many younger nurses in a major metro hospital. Many of them have tattoos and most are covered by their clothing. Honestly, rarely do I see one that I think looks good or attractive. They get them on vacation in Vegas, Mexico. etc. I’m sure a few adult beverages were consumed before the decision was made. Some are creepy looking and randomly placed on ankles, rib cage (ouch), inside wrists and on and on. Also, I’ve cared for patients with tattoos on almost every inch of their skin. The themes were frightening and hellish. I felt like I should sprinkle a little holy water on them.

  • We live in a bizarre world Ruby, and it is getting more bizarre by the mmoment, and nurses and attorneys get to see more than their fair share.

  • Ruby – had I been Catholic at the time my son got his tats I would have sprinkled him with holy water if I had thought of it…His name is Janos…please pray for him….thanks…

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  • The thing I find odd is that, as fascinated as people are with tattoos, they’re equally contemptuous of any sort of temporary tattoo. Yet that seems like the perfect solution, especially in a society where everything else is temporary. Get “Ruby” painted on your chest with something that’ll wash off in 3 months, and you’ll probably be broken up with her by then anyway. Or keep adjusting the position of your dolphin tat as things sag.

    It’s just pretty weird that a society that accepts temporary marriage will call you a chicken if you don’t want your body art to be permanent.

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  • I have always had two reasons for not getting a tattoo: (1) I could not think of anything that I knew would be an absolutely permanent representation of who I was, save for signs of my faith which should have been lived, not just worn; and (2) I am a complete coward who loathes and fears needles.

    The degree to which Reason #1 is merely a rationalization of Reason #2 even I don’t know, so feel free to think your worst. 🙂

    But having married a woman who *did* find such permanent self-representations and chose to wear them as part of herself, I can say that there *are* those out there who adopt tattoos responsibly, meaningfully and unashamedly. My wife is a writer, and her largest tattoo (an upper-arm work which can be covered conveniently) comprises two quotes written in a spiral: “Be neat and orderly in your life, like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and creative in your work” (Flaubert), and “Listen to stories; it’s always polite, and sometimes it improves you” (The Ramayama). This permanent artwork is a vital touchstone of her memory and identity.

    As with all else, tattoos can be a symbol of something permanent and meaningful, or a record of one’s impulses and bad judgement; it takes knowing the person to know which, but judging by the mere appearance is not always the wisest course.

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