Monday 3 October 2011

Royal Tattoo

Hands up. Admit it. You've got a tattoo. For pity's sake, why?

To permanently disfigure your body you have to have a valid reason. Maybe you have undergone certain rights of passage in a far-off, isolated, Pacific island society. Maybe you survived a dangerous, elite-troops operation in a major international conflict zone. Possibly you scored for your country in  critical trophy-winning season. Or you have decided to mark yourself forever with the names of those you will love dearly for the rest of your life. I still don't like it, but you have made a significant impact on the world and are entitled to celebrate it.

Tattoos have always been emblematic of sacrifice, love and bravery or a deep-rooted sense of belonging, but now that's all changed. Rather than being a badge of courage, tattoos have been relegated, in the main, to being a badge of cowardice. Cowardice in the face of peer pressure, cowardice in the face of fashion, which has never been a cause to die for.

'But my tattoo is symbolic', you cry. Yes, symbolic of your inability to resist following a fad of infantile folly. Draw on your arm in Biro and you cause nothing more than ripples of mild amusement. Carve into your flesh a symbol you don't understand, which has no more significance to you than the Apple logo and you do nothing other than signal your inability to discriminate what is right from what is utterly moronic.

So, you tattooed clowns, you painted poltroons, you just saved me the effort of having you branded. The snipers will be able to pick you off with impunity.

Have a lovely week.

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