So I was listening to the radio at work today. I was driving in the Unit, and to stave off the boredom, I tend to listen to cds, or the radio (though I only listen to talk radio if I stoop to that level). So I listen to 97.1 FM, which is all talk, and for the most part I enjoy the shows that play during my work hours. From the time I start, Tom Leykis is on til 8 p.m., then Conway & Whitman, followed by The John & Jeff Show at 11. From the top, Leykis is quite entertaining. I agree with a lot of what he has to say, though there is quite a bit of things I will take a different stand on. Conway & Whitman is a funny show. They talk about a variety of topics, and Whitman is a comedian of sorts, specializing in impersonations. They had an awesome bit last week where they had their sound fx guy eating disgusting foods from a vending machine for cash. I believe he made $400 and ate 3 dishes, that I would have had nothing to do with. Finally, The John & Jeff show (the 3rd shift) is pretty awesome. They like to take news snippets and discuss, and have some pretty solid opinions about things. The only problem is this show airs at the same time as “Love Line” (on KROQ, 106.7 FM), so I sometimes ditch it for that.
Anyhow, the reason I’m bringing up listening to the radio (aside from the fact that I think you should take a listen (by the way, if you don’t live in Southern California, you can listen to the shows online)), is because Leykis brought up a controversial topic today, one that I have an opinion on. The topic: Tattoos. The overall jist of the story was that someone on the east coast (I believe it was) is starting a foundation against discrimination directed at people with tattoos. Leykis went on to say that he wouldn’t hire an attorney, accountant, stock broker, etc. that has tattoos (he later clarified that he meant visible tattoos). He said that he believes that tattoos aren’t something you are born with such as race, religion, creed (how religion fits in here, I don’t understand since you aren’t born with one); things that are all protected by discrimination laws, but rather tattoos are behavioral, something that everyone has the right to discriminate against. There were a few callers during this hour, mostly all agreeing with him. The thing I noticed the most that pissed me off was the fact that people with tattoos were being stereotyped as criminals, or as being uneducated, unintelligent, unsuccessful people in general. One caller pointed out Mr. Leykis’ stereotyping, and Leykis argued, then kicked that caller off the air as they continued to make other good points. Apparently he isn’t the master debater that he’s made himself out to be. The subject of tattoos being about the artwork was quickly dismissed, Leykis stating that he hasn’t seen any tattoos that are original, tasteful, or very “art-like”. He then made some reference to Van Gogh. The best caller though, brought up the fact that Leykis is supporting a dying ideaology, that when those of us in our 20s are in his position, that we will be in power and tattoos will be more widely accepted. The same caller also mentioned tattoos as being a part of various cultures throughout history, but Leykis stated that he doesn’t care about the past or the future, that “we’re talking about what’s happening right now”.
Well Mr. Leykis, had I not been at work at that timeframe, I would have called up, and I have a few things to say about the topic. First of all, I DO believe denying any person employment, service, etc., simply due to the fact that they have tattoos IS discrimination. Personally I don’t believe a God exists, and I have the right to believe so. You can’t deny me shit because of this belief. And that in itself is a good arguement, because laws exist that state you cannot deny a religious (or non-religious in my case) individual employment etc., as they chose this belief, it was not born unto them. Thusly, I CHOSE to place tattoos on my body, and I should be given the same treatment. Basing a person’s character SOLELY on the fact that they have tattoos is just as bad as basing it on their religious beliefs. That’s like saying someone like me (or Mr. Leykis) who is not religious, is going to be more “rebellious” and less “focused” because I don’t follow God. And the person who does will be a perfect “angel”. I am all for the man who has decided to form this organization, because it is for the greater good, making all men equal. Second, tattoos ARE art. Some of the definitions of art:
“any field using the skills or techniques of art; illustrative or decorative material; the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance”
Judging by the definition, taken straight from Dictionary.com, tattooing falls into the “any field” category of art. Tattoos are illustrative AND decorative material. And dependant on the person viewing the tattoos, they can be beautiful, appealing, and of extraordinary significance. So I believe the point is, Mr. Leykis, that people from YOUR generation (and older) are the ones who don’t consider it art, and don’t consider it to be “professional” or whatever else it was that you were trying to say. It’s people like you who are keeping the culture locked up. Holding it down. It’s slowly breaking from it’s cage though, and as it spreads, soon no one will be able to say “we’re sorry but your application was denied” due to having a tattoo that happened to be in a visible place. And the part where you said “we’re talking about what’s happening right now”, proves your ignorance, as denying the past has proven to let it happen again, and denying the future is just that. Denial.
Personally, I haven’t gotten any tattoos in visible places, though I have always wanted to get something on my neck, and I want to get a phrase on my knuckles. But until its more socially acceptable, I will not do so. I wear long sleeves at work, and that option will always be available to me, so I don’t have to worry about being denied anything, or judged by my tattoos alone. Judging a book by its cover is the most ignorant thing a person can do… and hiding behind conformity is weak and cowardly. I will still listen to the Leykis show, but his integrity has been damaged in my eyes.