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.
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.
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.