“Body Art” and Conservative Values

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New York Times Magazine recently praised the current craze for “artistic” self-mutilation, declaring that “the danger, the fear, the foolishness and the pain of getting a tattoo contribute to the thrill.” A new Harris survey suggests that more than one-in-four Americans have now pursued that “thrill,” with 47% of adults under 35 marking themselves permanently with so-called “body art.”

This popular practice actually violates key elements of conservative values: placing fleeting urges ahead of long-term consequences.

On personal as well as political issues, a more conservative, responsible, faith-based approach would ask whether giving in to a momentary inclination would be more likely to lead to long-term benefit, or damage. In the case of tattoos, it’s hard to imagine long-term advantages in terms of health, relationships, career or self-esteem, while the chances for regret are high. Surveys show a full fourth of tattoo decorated Americans, including the trendiest young people, already regret their decision to ink their bodies.



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Comments (13)

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  1. Scott Bogut  •  Jun 3, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I have a tattoo of a homeless man in a Halloween costume, littering.
    I will be praying for fewer slow news days for you.
    Love the show. I have been listening since week 2 in Seattle. Diane win all the Halloween debates.

  2. Keith  •  Jun 3, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    When I see young adults hideously marked for life, I usually recall the dieter's lament: "A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!" Michael seems to think that this is always a "conscious" or at least an "informed" decision, but this is not necessarily true. Many otherwise rational persons decide while in a fog of drugs or alcohol and regret the act once sober.

  3. Horatio LN  •  Jun 3, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Tatooism is Metooism,just like the sixties ego mania had college kids protesting authoritatarian conformity and then dressing all exactly alike. Tatooing is an affectation of primitivism as is sucking on tobacco or marijuana leaves. Its a security blanket for the intellectually, culturally and aesthetically challenged. As the (black) music and social critic Stanley Crouch put it when responding to rap music's appeal," when a culture aspires downward its the death spiral for the arts."

  4. Joe Preston  •  Jun 3, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Mr. Medved,
    I have been a regular listener of your radio show for several years and respect your talents and opinions very much. But we are at a parting point because of your anti Trump campaign. If you persist with this you will contribute to the possibility of handing the country back to Clinton and the Washington mafia. I cannot support you with my time and attention any longer. I regret your choices in this matter.
    You are a fine person and I wish you and your family all the best.
    Joe Preston

    • Doug Brinton  •  Jun 3, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      I agree with you. If the people in Washington had spent some time listening to their constituents and following through on their election promises we would have never gotten to the point of Trump winning out. But between Senate leadership and house leadership and the past two failures in the presidential election we are now at the point where you Michael Medved and the Washington leadership have paved the golden pathway for Trump to be successful. You only have your own actions from Romney to McCain to Senate leadership and House leadership that never stood up to Obama and never stood up to Harry Reid and never stood up to anyone in the Democratic party to blame for Trump success.

      • Caleb  •  Jun 7, 2016 at 5:35 pm

        You are mistaken. As a movement conservatives need to stop fighting. Whether you are a fan of Trump or not, whether you are voting for Trump or not we need to stop attacking each other. Medved hates Trump and refuses to vote for him because in all honesty isolationism has never worked in American history, also several of Trump's public policies are actually very far left. I hate Trump for these reasons, but I am voting for him because I believe abstaining from voting helps Clinton. However, Medved cannot bring himself to do so, or just doesn't see the world as I do. I am fine with that since I am a conservative and open to freedom of speech and DIVERSITY of IDEAS. You need to get off your high horse and so do the idiots who accuse you of stupidity for backing Trump. We need to focus on Clinton, and put our differences aside. (BTW one of the biggest driving forces for keeping far right tea party people away from Trump is your hostility towards the non-Trump right. Welcome us, and we will come, or not, but that is still a step in the right direction.)

        P.S. I am 20, in college and my first pick was Cruz (the most hated man in Congress because he fought the establishment from the inside out).

      • Fritz von Hardenberg  •  Jun 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

        When is the last time you have picked a winner?

  5. Derek Brewer  •  Jun 3, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    I have interviewed a lot of people over the years for very well-paying jobs. I can assure anybody that you cannot get to the second step with visible/illustrated poor decisions on display. I can hear people saying; "you can't see mine…" great, you spent X$ on something you are sure you don't want people to see. It is not just ink, I look at the ears of males to see if they wear/wore earrings because that is a concession to popular culture compromise I didn't want to deal with either. Generations have always tested the boundaries, I suppose that longer hair was my generation's rebellon. The thing is NOT everybody had long hair, and as HS kid I got jobs because I didn't look like others.

  6. Royak  •  Jun 4, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    At one time the "Beehive" hairdo was all the rage for young women. Imagine if it was as permanent as a tattoo, and we could now see older women walking around with crazy hair! Tattoos are a fad and will eventually become as unpopular as the Beehive. I would hesitate to hire an obviously tattooed person because it shows a lack of ability to plan ahead. Also, unmentioned in Mr. Medved's commentary is the cost of such "body art." The "sleeve" shown in the photo probably cost thousands of dollars. What might that money have achieved if properly invested?

  7. Gene Soloway  •  Jun 5, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    As a physician Ihave seen many patients with tattoos, both blatantly visible and hidden. In my own unofficial survey, 85% wish they had not gotten the tattoo.

  8. Alicia Anderson  •  Jun 8, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Was this really the story? This was like eating a slice of white bread: it feels you up for the time being but there's no sustenance. I can guarantee you that nobody thinks that tats are a great idea. They just like the rebellion behind it.

  9. Bob Bonanno  •  Jun 9, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Here's a site that lists a lot more reasons why a person shouldn't get a tattoo:

    Reasons include health, social status, prejudice, and, most importantly, the illusion that a persons beliefs and the world will not change.

  10. Fritz von Hardenberg  •  Jun 10, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I have discovered one of the immutable truths of medical science by observing at Walmart. Tattoos cause obesity! As soon as the available skin is occupied, the stretching of the media makes room fore more "art?"

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