There are certain things in this town in Oregon that really blow me away occassionally. For a while i've been amazed by the really stupid spiritual hippie dippie names the tattoo spots have. Here are their actual names. (for the record, i've met a bunch of the dudes who tattoo at these spots & they generally aren't bad at all, it's just the business names that drive up the fucking wall.)
High Priestess: They're primarily a piercing joint, which i'll get into later. This isn't so bad as a double entendre as this is a big glass-blowing patchouli location, but when i want to get tattooed or pierced by a priestess, high or not, i'll let you know. Here's language from their website.
"Those of us within the HPP family consider body modifications to not only represent a mind state or way of life, but a legitimate art form as well. It is perhaps humankind’s oldest form of self expressionism. It has been a right of passage for countless cultures and indigenous tribes as long as time can tell. We are a dedicated tribe of modern day primitives here to bring this ancient art form into our present world."
Spiritual Tree: Yes, Spiritual Tree. This is probably the stupidest name for a tattoo parlour or anything i've ever heard. "Oh man, it's like... it's like a SPIRITUAL TREE! Heavy!"
Sacred Space: Before the collapse of culture, women used to only get tattoos on their Sacred Space & maybe their ankle.
Evolved Ink: This ties with Spiritual Tree for most obnoxious name. I'm not sure if they are saying that they put nanomachines into the tattoo ink so that your tattoos hide when your mom sees you naked or what, but it isn't alright to call a tattoo shop "Evolved Ink". It's just not right.
IT'S A CON
What really set me off on this mission to clarify the place of tattoos in society was a High Priestess advert that said "decorate your soul". Jesus H. f*cking Christ! Tattoos are for the dregs of society, people living on the edge of a knife, not for wanna-be aesthetic buddhas. "Piercing your soul." "The crayon marks on your consciousness." "Metal pimples all over your body." It's not spiritual, it's body graffiti; skulls, knives, flowers, dice, snakes & chicks. That doesn't mean they aren't cool, it just means it aint right to sell this service with spiritual bullshit. It's like if Motorhead became Buddhists. Kill me! If your idea of spirituality is getting tattoos, you're wrong. You're just plain wrong. These tattoo parlours are selling you a service, not initiating you into a tribe. The tattoo slingers aren't priests, they aren't even initiates for the most part, they do tattoos & they have been pushing to sell more & more of their service. So, a tattoo gun isn't called a gun anymore, it's a machine or tool now. Guns are bad. Tattoos are good. Moms can get tattoos, even moms who aren't hookers. Buy spirituality! Whee! Tattoos are you celebrating your individuality by joining the tribe of modern primitivism. The only thing primitive here is the stupidity involved. If getting a tattoo is part of your initiation into a tribe, make sure you aren't paying for it. Get the tribal tattooist to do it for you, not Johnny Joe Joe at "Trance End Ant Tattoo" for $300. Also, why do so many tattoo slingers look like the Verizon network guy? It's wrong!
MODERN PRIMITIVES = JUST AS GULLIBLE AS THE ORIGINAL SAVAGES
During the 90s, this idea of modern primitivism got going really strong, largely promoted by a RE/SEARCH book. I'm not sure what it means to these people, but to me it means ravers who get millions of piercings & tattoos, pretend to be Maori or Eskimos or whatever, do tons of drugs, eat health food & recycle. As with all Hippies, they figured out a way to sell their stupid half-baked ideas to the general public which makes stupid ideas even stupider & then the pool of stupidity spreads from there. Pretty soon, the whole dream-catcher & wolf t-shirt crowd is on it as well & from there the furries take it. It's just wrong. I will never deny that the desire for some kind of tribal spirituality or initiatory ceremony is very strong, but within a modern capitalist framework, it's just a load of bollocks. These sorts of things should be passed down & maintained by traditional & highly repressive cultural structures which the whole Modern Primitive types would NEVER conform to. You wouldn't be able to just sell these services to whoever wanted them either, they are exclusive by nature, the exclusivity gives value to the experience because not just any schmuck with $100 can suddenly "join the tribe". Here's the bottom line, you can't buy spirituality or tribal identity, it takes personal sacrifice & devotion to something outside of yourself. The tribal identity thing requires for a tribe to accept your ass first as well, you most likely shouldn't even be allowed into one if you aren't born & raised in the fucker.
There are some tattoo shops with alright names here though. Black Lotus manages to use a lotus in their name, but adds the word black, making it work for me. They also have spider webs in their window. Parlour says it straight-forwardly, it's a tattoo parlour, simple, straight-forward, honest! But where's the "the", in Parlour? & not to just be a sour grape, here are some constructively critical names to use instead of stupid spiritual ones. SKULL & BONES TATTOOS. CHEAP LIFE TATTOOS. IN THE ARMY NOW TATTOOS. ALMOST A HOOKER TATTOOS. EDGE OF THE KNIFE TATTOOS. SKIN DEEP TATTOOS. NICE N' SLEAZY TATTOOS. GRAVEN IMAGE TATTOOS. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE TATTOOS. LOVE & HATE TATTOOS. TATTOOS BY THE WIZARD. etc etc.
REAL TATTOO CULTURE IS...