Last week, right-wingnut Fox News host Bill O'Reilly interviewed Donald Trump, who discussed unemployment among African-Americans. O'Reilly then astonishingly asks Trump:
How are you going to get jobs for them?" O'Reilly asked. "Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads, and I hate to be generalized about it but it's true.Yup. He believes that the innumerable forehead tattoos on black people are stopping American from being great again. Thankfully, Larry Wilmore called out this vitriol on his Nightly Show segment: "#ForeheadSolidarity - Bill O'Reilly's Racist Tattoo Fantasy."
Wilmore then asked his viewers (of all races) to create their own (fake) forehead tattoos and send a message to O'Reilly using the hashtag #ForeheadSolidarity. Rawstory featured some fun ones from Instagram and Twitter.
So many of us have experienced bias because of our tattoos, but this demonizing racist rhetoric goes far beyond that.
In response to the hatefulness of this year's election campaigning, one Florida man got a portrait of Trump (and "his micropenis") as a protest tattoo. According to Vice's Motherboard, Spooks Joya, owner of Pride N Envy Tattoos, was inspired by artist Illma Gore's "Make America Great Again," which portrays a naked open mouthed Trump with tiny genitals. [The Trump team has allegedly threatened her with a law suit.]
And so Joya offered to tattoo Gore's artwork for free on anyone willing to get it. Hector Santos was willing and quickly responded. Santos said:
"One of the main reasons why I got the tattoo is it reminds me to be a better person everyday. To never be as closed-minded and arrogant as Donald Trump."[...]See the full tattoo, including progress shots, here.
The recent headlines this week tackled tattoos and tradition, sacred rituals, racism, celebrity, comedy and more.
First up, when PBS ran a story on a family of Trump supporters in North Carolina, it seems they producers did not know (or did not alert viewers) that the hand tattoos on one of them are commonly considered "white power" symbols. Gawker called out the racist tattoos, interviewing Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League, for more on the Celtic cross and "88" tattoos on the hands of Trump fan Grace Tilly (shown above). Pitcavage told Gawker:
The Celtic Cross is an ancient and revered Christian symbol typically not associated with extremism at all. However, one particular version of the Celtic Cross--a squarish cross with a thick circle intersecting with it (also known as Odin's Cross), has become one of the most popular white supremacist symbols around. In the past 20 years, its popularity has done little but grow, thanks to its use as the logo by Stormfront, the largest white supremacist website in the world.Gawker adds: "Per the ADL's website, '88 is a white supremacist numerical code for Heil Hitler.' Finally, a connection has been made between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump."
When the discussion of the PBS piece turned largely to these tattoos, PBS had to add two editor's notes acknowledging the tattoo issue. When they reached out to Tilly, she denied that her tattoos were white power symbols, but commenters weren't buying it, especially, the "88."
With continued association to racist groups, Trump supporters who have gotten tattoo tributes to The Donald may soon be looking to erase their mistakes. Looking forward, Gizmodo offers a "Preview of the Presidential Tattoos People Will Be Getting Removed In 2017."
Negative associations with tattoos, particularly to the criminal underworld, are what lie behind the bans found at so many spas and hot springs in Japan. [In Sept 2013, I wrote on how one Maori woman was refused entry to a bathhouse in Hokkaido because of her Moko.] Recently, the Japan Tourism Agency has asked spa operators to accept tattooed foreign tourists. According to the Japan Times,"the agency asked operators to take measures such as offering stickers to cover tattoos and setting certain time frames for tattooed tourists to bathe, so as to separate them from other visitors." They would need one very large sticker for my bod! Japan Times also noted that the request does not extend to relaxing the rules for Japanese with tattoos.
In Thailand, tens of thousands descended upon Wat Bang Phra for the annual Wai Khru ceremony in which devotees receive Sak Yant -- tattoos believed to imbue the wearers with magical powers, and also "re-energize" the powers of their existing tattoos. The MalayMail has this video of the ceremony, and The Nation interviewed attendees about their tattoo talismans.
Proving you're never too old to be tattooed, 103-year-old Jack Reynolds plans to get a tattoo for his 104th birthday next month, making him the oldest person on record to do so. Check this adorable video interview with him. In an interview with Good Morning Britain, Reynolds says that he would like to get tattooed on his arms, but they are too skinny, so it may just be inked on his butt.
On the celebrity tattoo tip, GQ offers "An Annotated Guide to David Beckham's Many Tattoos." Thank you, GQ.
Also thankfully, that awful Ben Affleck backpiece is a fake. Phew.
Finally, I had to giggle watching comedian Amy Schumer trash Mike Tyson for his 'slutty' facial tattoo.
Photo above by Davann Srey.
There were a bunch of fun features in the recent tattoo news ...
My favorite pieces were on the The Tattoo Pavilion at the Star Wars Celebration this past weekend. There were 45 tattoo artists on the convention floor offering Star Wars-themed tattoos for hardcore fans. The LA Times had a special feature -- "Star Wars Celebration: Tattoos, a convention" -- which had some interesting info (at least for this tattoo law geek) about how the tattooers working the show paid a fee to be a "a Lucasfilm-licensed artist," meaning they had a right to tattoo the iconic *trademarked* images without a galactic legal battle.
Also check this video of one fan getting tattooed at the show. For some great photos from the Star Wars convention, check the Flickr Album of Davann Srey, a contributor to io9.com. Find more from Davann on Facebook.
Another favorite piece this weekend: this video of Betty White meeting people who have tribute tattoos to her on Jimmy Kimmel Live! In Kimmel's Wall of America segment, the 93-year-old powerhouse seems shocked -- very shocked -- by the very real devotion of 9 fans (out of so many) who have her face on them. When asked how she felt, Betty said, "It makes me feel wonderful and so glad I'm not them!" It's pretty adorable. I've embedded the video below. Take a look.
Speaking of kickass women, there's a cute article on a grandmother who celebrated her 92nd birthday with her first tattoo.
I was also inspired by this social justice news item: The Terre Haute Tattoo Company offered free LGBT pride tattoos in protest of Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, in essence, allows individuals and businesses to refuse services and jobs to people based on their sexual orientation in the name of "religious freedom." In response, the artists at Terre Haute Tattoo Company offered free LGBT pride designs, with over 100 people lining up to get a heart, a triangle, or a rectangle, all with rainbow colors. Hopefully, their tattoo messages will have an impact and rally others against this discriminatory law, which goes into effect in July.
The BBC's "Refusing racist tattoos in Hungary" was not really a truly engaging video piece, but is worth nothing for the debate on "giving clients what they want," particularly when what they want are hate symbols. Do you refuse to do them or help show the world what kind of people they are?
Finally, two female tattooers were recently featured: the OC Weekly profiles Evie Yapelli of Laguna Ink, and the Daily News of the University of California profiled Pat Fish. Both good reads.
Feel free to share your thoughts on any of these news items on our Facebook Group or Tweet at me.
Yesterday, our art historian and good friend Dr. Matt Lodder posted on the Needles & Sins FB group page a link to an article about the arrest of a man with a mosque bomb tattoo.As we can see from the photo captured at an EDL rally above, Reah not only has a hate tattoo, but is displaying it before the media.
Earlier in the week, I had seen the buzz over the "Boom" tattoo, but decided not to post it because I didn't want to give anyone more press to Shaun Reah -- a pathetic man with an idiotic racist tattoo. Sadly, there are too many of those. And I'm guessing that, especially within the Islamophobic English Defence League (EDL), Reah is not alone.
However, what Matt posted yesterday sparked the tattoo law nerdiness in me because it was the first time that I've heard about a man who was actually arrested solely on the basis of the content of his tattoo. Sky.com wrote:
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: "A 39-year-old man has been arrested in South Tyneside on behalf of West Midlands Police on suspicion of using words or behavior, or displaying written material with intent to stir up racial hatred."
The only US case involving a tattoo arrest that I know of was in April 2011, in which another dumbass explicitly tattooed the murder scene of a crime he had committed -- with details that only the murderer would really know -- and it was used as evidence against him.
The end note to the story about the mosque bomb tattoo is that Reah got it removed, as noted in this video below (although it looks like it was just blacked out).
But is it really that he had a change of heart or just simply to get out of jail?