Tag Archives: Neo-Nazis

Tattoo Wars: Can a Waiting Period Prevent Stupidity?

Maybe DC bureaucrats can add mandatory spell check to the 24–hour tattoo waiting period.

Maybe DC bureaucrats can add mandatory spell check to the 24–hour tattoo waiting period.

District of Columbia leftists have been so generous in providing ideas for negative columns; it’s only fair to compliment them when they do something positive. Currently the District of Columbia Health Department is proposing a mandatory 24–hour waiting period before getting a tattoo. I think making prospective tattoo customers pass a Breathalyzer and recite the alphabet backward would be a good idea, too, since it combines a sobriety and I.Q. test.

As gratifying as this waiting period is, it’s still mystifying. Why draw the line here? The extent of cultural decay that gets a pass in the District is breathtaking, so what makes getting a tattoo worthy of regulation?

It’s true that throughout history tattoos have been associated with less desirable elements including pirates, cannibals, the SS and neo–Nazis, but guilt by association is never an issue in DC. You have only to count the number of politicians at the various alternative lifestyle ‘pride’ parades to know that.

Trendies use a tattoo to declare themselves ‘edgy’ without the accompanying inconvenience of joining a para–military organization or abandoning their vegan diet.

Still, just the mention of a waiting period was enough to motivate the Washington Post to interview those opposed.

Paul Roe, who owns a tattoo parlor, is quoted as saying, “It’s honestly ridiculous. Why not 24 hours’ waiting time before shaving your head?” (This points out the danger of the uncreative mind attempting to construct a metaphor on the fly. Unless Roe is using henna tattoos his marks are permanent, whereas even the worst haircut eventually grows out.)

Roe’s trump card against any new rules is two words: Breaking bad. “Simple regulation is effective regulation,” he said. “Overregulation will kill the profession and drive it underground and make it less safe for everybody.” Evidently the tattoo industry is as fundamentally lawless as meth dealers and abortionists. At the first hint of government oversight everyone threatens to head for the nearest alley and bring out the coat hangers.

Actually I’m not a total anti–tattoo fanatic. I can see the need for a medicinal tattoo on Alzheimer’s patients (name, address, phone number, next of kin and the GPS coordinates of the assisted–living home) for those awkward times when grandpa is found wandering in the median wearing grandma’s pajamas.

My view of ‘decorative’ tattoos is the same as my wife’s. She believes getting a tattoo is like wearing the same tee–shirt every day for the rest of your life.

Marcela Onyango told the WaPost that she had been pondering getting her late mother’s birth year — 1961 — etched on her rib cage for the last three years. Naturally, she thinks waiting an additional 24 hours constitutes an outrage. Although she might wish she’d delayed even longer if a future armed robber mistakes those four digits for her PIN number.

William O’Sullivan contributed an opinion piece where we learn that in the tattoo subculture “there seems to be an unspoken code not to talk about them [tattoos].” Another bizarre case of flaunting something in public you don’t want people to notice.

It’s like the time I was walking through a casino and a woman passed by who was featuring her pulchritude in an outfit with a plunging neckline.

Since I’m weak and a sinner, my attention was irresistibly drawn to that canyon. Simultaneously, my wife poked me in the ribs and the woman’s companion gave me a hostile look. “Hey,” I protested in defense, “if you don’t want people to look at the merchandise, keep it out of the display case!”

While Virginia only regulates tattoos for those under 18, the DC waiting period will apply to everyone regardless of age. And about time, too, since it looks like AARP may soon be offering a tattoo discount.

Darlene Nash, a 57–year–old grandmother, told the WaPost her tattoos are for a dead sister, two granddaughters, her mother and friends who died of cancer. This epidermal notice board is located on her shoulder blades so everyone behind her on the ladder to the water slide can pause and consider mortality.

Evidently there is a lot of commemoration going on. In the same article the owner of Maryland tattoo parlor says older customers “often want to commemorate a milestone, such as the death of a spouse, the birth of a grandchild, a marriage or a divorce.” Looking at it that way, the ink saves time and gas in the long run, because you won’t feel guilty for not visiting mom at the cemetery; and it lasts a lot longer than a mylar birthday balloon.

The Posties also discovered Myrna Armstrong, a tattoo culture professor who has comforting news for older hipsters. She says since the over–55 set already has saggy skin there’s no need to worry about the tattoo wilting. It’s like buying a pre–shrunk shirt. The tattoo–wanting senior just has to find an ‘artist’ skilled enough to ink on the fleshy equivalent of a grocery bag.

It could be the DC Dept. of Health is on the leading edge of a body ink backlash. The Army is considering a ban on any tattoo on the forearm, below the knee or above the neckline and it will require the removal of “offensive” tattoos.

I only wish the District would expand activities covered by a waiting period. Right now the authorities require a waiting before you can buy a gun, but it’s step–right–this–way if you want an abortion. It seems only consistent to expand the wait period to abortion, too. Because although a gun purchase may sometime result in an innocent death, an abortion purchase is designed to result in an innocent death.

Évocateur – The movie about the show that started it all

Morton Downey Jr. in ÉVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Morton Downey Jr. in ÉVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Morton Downey Jr. in ÉVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

If you are a conservative that has paid any attention at all to the likes of Andrew Breitbart, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh, you may have thought that these men were trailblazers – something new under the sun, when it comes to conservative commentary. You would be partially right in that assessment, in that they each have set their own place in the conservative political world. However, before any of them, there was Morton Downey, Jr.

“The Morton Downey, Jr. Show” was an entertainment anomaly in its day, airing in the late eighties for just under a year nationwide. Mort had a cult-like following on college campuses, and can be credited with being the father of shock television. In the beginning, the show focused on political topics, and can be credited with introducing a national audience to the likes of Gloria Allred and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Conservatives today might be tempted to curse him for that, but it can be argued that the interaction between Mort and his guests in general lead to the current tenor of commentary we see everyday from Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity. Today, they are more polite, so if there’s any complaining to do, it probably shouldn’t be about Mort.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the man, and his meteoric rise to fame at the close of the Reagan years, you have the opportunity to learn. Évocateur – The Morton Downey, Jr. Movie is a documentary set for nationwide release on June 7 that explores the history of the show, and the man that made it possible. From the beginning, there was no question about whether or not Mort would attempt to get in the national spotlight – the only question was how he would do it. After failed attempts at following in his father’s footsteps in the music industry, Mort moved to radio. Once he discovered he could use his flamboyant personality to move people on political causes, after speaking on Pro-Life issues, it was only a matter of time before he would parlay that into some form of entertainment.

Based in part on the 1960’s talk show, “The Joe Pyne Show”, “The Morton Downey, Jr. Show” in the New York region on WWOR in Seacaucus, NJ in 1987. Under a year later, the show went into national syndication. The show focused on politics from the beginning until shortly after the Reverend Al Sharpton’s pet cause – the case of Tawana Brawley – was found to be false by a grand jury investigation. The Brawley case was an integral part of Mort’s fame, and when it became clear that the girl had lied about being gang raped by white men, the show could no longer book legitimate guests. It became a freak show, with strippers, prostitutes, and Neo-Nazis as regular guests. Part of Brawley’s claims included racist epithets being written on her body by her attackers – something she apparently did to herself. So, when Mort claimed that he had been attacked by Neo-Nazis, and had swastikas drawn on him in an airport restroom, there was more than a little distrust in his claims. “The Morton Downey, Jr.” show was cancelled shortly after that.

“Évocateur” explores all of this, and is a walk down memory lane for anyone that remembers the man, and his show. As for current conservatives, it is important to understand the rise and fall of Mort. While even his close friend, Lloyd Schoonmaker, admits in the film that Mort’s political beliefs were whatever served him best at any given moment, one thing the man did understand was how to turn populism into real entertainment. If the show was aired today, it probably still would appeal to a large audience, because of its off-the-wall flavor, if nothing else. However, Mort would be branded as RINO, because of he would often switch stands on various issues. As shown in a very short clip in the film, it apparently was done to “see how the audience reacts” – he was a showman first, pundit second if at all. His goal was to entertain, then inform. Today, entertaining audiences has either been abandoned entirely, or takes second seat to informing the masses. Conservatives today have been debating for years about how to reach a larger audience, and if Mort can teach us anything, it is that we’re going about it backwards. First entertain the people, and then inform them.

If there is one must-see film out there now for conservatives, it is “Évocateur”. This should be the start point for anyone seeking to spread the conservative message to a larger audience, because it is about a man who did it right, before he got everything absolutely wrong. His failure was highly personal, in that he was obsessed with eclipsing his father’s fame. However, on the tactical end, his other failure was in putting so much faith in one story – the Tawana Brawley story. It is a bitter irony that story didn’t spell the end of Sharpton as well. But, none of it lessens the value of what can be learned from Morton Downey, Jr. – the man that defined the populist conservative movement in the waning days of the Reagan era.

Interview with “Évocateur” director Jeremy Newberger: Listen here