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He is almost kinda sorta blaming the recession on tattoo people.

Posted by vooodooo84 | July 22, 2008 1:50 PM

somebody had to say it.

Posted by .. | July 22, 2008 1:51 PM

the battle with the future? is that what cultural expression is?

Posted by douglas | July 22, 2008 2:04 PM

Tattoos stopped being cool about 5 years ago: The same time I seen people in middle age white women (who were Bush supporters) have them tattoed all over their fat arms

Posted by Andrew | July 22, 2008 2:06 PM

He asked a college PROFESSOR? WOW!

Posted by A | July 22, 2008 2:10 PM
Anyone old enough and smart enough to get into college knows that only impermanence is permanent.

Richard Cohen is a Buddhist? Color me surprised.

Posted by Mahtli69 | July 22, 2008 2:13 PM

How does a tat "bristle"?

Posted by MEC | July 22, 2008 2:23 PM

At some point in every op-ed columnist's career, they come out against tattoos. When that happen for them is a function of how rapidly they are aging.

Posted by elenchos | July 22, 2008 2:25 PM

More people had tattoos back during WW II.

And during Celtic times.

They're not that common, actually.

Just ask most Pacific Islanders who are really old, they could tell you stories.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 22, 2008 2:26 PM
More people had tattoos back during WW II.
You're an idiot, Will.
Posted by Fnarf | July 22, 2008 2:31 PM

Tattoo's are pretty dumb, unless for *actual* family significance. So yes, you moron with the neck tattoo - you're not original or cool.

Posted by Original Monique | July 22, 2008 2:45 PM

@11 - No, what's dumb is using an apostrophe when you're trying to make a word plural. Tattoos don't have to have "family significance". I have mine because the art work is fantastic. But I guess I should regret it if you don't think it's cool. Because that's what I was going for.

@4 - Tattoos may have stopped being cool 5 years ago. Right about when it became cool to brag about not having a tattoo.

Posted by sleestak | July 22, 2008 2:52 PM

@11 - Sorry about my last post. Pointing out grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, etc. is lame.

Posted by sleestak | July 22, 2008 3:03 PM

@12: oh lo, I have had this fight with many a tatted friend. I get it, it is artistic! But really, a neck tattoo? REALLY? And is that bubble bobble on your arms?

*rolls eyes*

Posted by Original Monique | July 22, 2008 3:04 PM


1- even dumberer is quibbling over grammar avoiding the main point that tattos are dumb

2 - "Tattoos don't have to have "family significance". Also dumberer: mis-stating what @11 said.

3 - And then you don't know how to use quote marks yourself. Tsk tsk. Thou art hypocrit.

4 - the art work is fantastic -- sure it is.

Please note all tatooed people: they're ugly; they're odd; if that's why you did it you get a pass if u r in denial pls. wake up.

5. Name one famous painting or statue or person widely held to be good lookin' who's got a prominent tatoo.

6. oh please please hope I used apostophe's correctly. Oops dammit I didn't !! Arrggg'ggh.

Posted by PC | July 22, 2008 3:06 PM


Angelina motherfucking Joile.

Posted by Rebekah | July 22, 2008 3:29 PM

@15, David Beckham.

As for me, I have the Cross of St. George on my upper right bicep as a testament to my support for England football, also because I am half English. It's sedate, hidden and reflects one of the great passions of my life. Sorry I'm a loser, but I'll try to survive nonetheless.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 22, 2008 3:36 PM

um, pc, angelina jolie is widely considered good looking and she has several prominent(and terrible) tattoos. and how the fuck do you tattoo a statue? that's just silly.

tattoos are a form of personal expression, they hold meaning for the tattooed only, and they are aesthetic in nature, in short they are subjective. calling them ugly is ridiculous as is disparaging another persons culture or mode of self-expression.

finally, yes tattoos are odd, but are most of the clothing choices humans make. people do tons of weird stuff to their bodies.

Posted by douglas | July 22, 2008 3:40 PM

Don't like them? Don't get 'em.


Passing judgment on what people do with their bodies is pretty lame. And something i thought only right wing fundies did.

Posted by fer fuck's sake | July 22, 2008 3:42 PM

@15 - Tupac, Jessica Alba, Christina Ricci ... all prominently tattooed and all considered good looking.

Posted by Mahtli69 | July 22, 2008 3:42 PM

Really? Are people really talking about this?

Posted by Zack | July 22, 2008 4:12 PM

Did I travel back in time to 1999?

Is Mr Cohen's next essay on the cultural relevance of Seinfeld?

Posted by michael strangeways | July 22, 2008 4:16 PM

The difference between people with tattoos and people without: people with tattoos don't give a fuck that you don't have any. Get over yourself and MYOB.

Posted by Geni | July 22, 2008 4:24 PM

Tattoos have been popular for many years with the sort of people who type "Angelina Joile".

And Dye-vid Beckham. If there's a better argument against tattoos, I can't think of one. Hmm, maybe Dennis Rodman. But no, Rodman's smarter than Becks. My shoes are smarter than Becks.

Posted by Fnarf | July 22, 2008 4:54 PM


All of my tattoos have personal, and professional significance - to me, in addition to being interesting images in and of themselves, and that's really all I care about.

So, yeah. What @ 23 said.

Besides, everybody KNOWS it's the people putting RF chips and magnetic nodules under their skin, or getting their penis split in two who are the real "sure losers" for whom Mr. Cohen should be concerned. 'Cause in 10 or 15 years, HR Depts. will have already struck out the paragraphs about visible tats & piercings being against "dress code" from the employee handbook.

Posted by COMTE | July 22, 2008 5:01 PM

@24, which is why you're so clearly more successful than Becks, fartf. Because, as we all know, a drooling mouth-breather is all one needs to be to captain a major sports team and build a multi-faceted personal brand powerhouse.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 22, 2008 5:08 PM

The guy's an elite boys club type fuddy-duddy, and probably a few typewriter cartridges away from being Andy Rooney. It's not there there isn't bad tattoos out there, but objecting to them on principle is just dumb. He probably sat down and wrote this piece after a bike messenger freighted his driver.

He wasn't so concerned with the sanctity of permanence when he was having an affair with Peter Jennings' wife I guess.

Oh well, he may think "Israel is a mistake", but at least he agrees with the orthodoxy on one point.

Posted by Dougsf | July 22, 2008 5:11 PM

I've never been to the Dafur Starbucks, but have two on opposite sides of the street just a block away.

So I'm unlikely to miss it.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | July 22, 2008 5:18 PM

Jubie, you're cute when you say "build a multi-faceted personal brand powerhouse" like it's something to be thrilled about. Are you in marketing, by any chance?

Posted by Fnarf | July 22, 2008 5:24 PM

@29, nope. I have an understanding of disciplines outside my own. I make it a point to stroll outside my own box every now and then.

If one doesn't understand the powers and principles of branding in today's society, fartf, one needs to be very careful one isn't completely taken advantage of by the darker forces of marketing and it propagandists. Knowledge is power, old bean...

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 22, 2008 5:28 PM

@15 - I understand the hostility in your post. As I mentioned in my post #13, I was out of line. You're still a dick, though.

@14 - I'm not saying that ALL tattoos have artistic value. Most don't. But some do. Why do you even care? Why would you argue with your friends that have them? It doesn't affect you one bit.

Posted by sleestak | July 22, 2008 5:38 PM

@30: I understand; you admire. Bootlick much? Beckham is not an admirable figure; he's a washed-up footballer who can't read or write or even speak coherently, but has been turned into a tennis-shoe Jesus: an icon to millions of people who have no greater interest in life than in tattooing themselves with commercial logos. It's funny, because in the Starbucks thread you seem pretty contemptuous of people who have confused a multi-faceted personal brand powerhouse with neighborhood and community, but when it's Posh's pencil-dicked stud pony you go all wobbly inside. Is it just because it's football?

Posted by Fnarf | July 22, 2008 5:53 PM

@32, I don't profess that Becks is anything more -- or less -- than a near-great footballer. I don't assign messianic traits or the ability to build "neighborhoods" and sustain "community" to him.

Do you know for a fact he cannot read or write? That he cannot speak? He captained England under three managers -- all of whom, as different as they are, would certainly agree that being less than a compelling speaker and persuader of men in the dressing room is not on. Judging by the evidence, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt that you seem unable to.

I do go wobbly for football. I'm a sucker for a beautiful pass. For a last-gasp winner. For a set piece that converts to a brilliant goal or an outrageous save. I have to to watch some games at home because I know I'll tear up when my team wins a major game. You want to see a blubbering mess? Roll tape on 28 September 2004 when a young Rooney debuted for Manchester United and scored a hat trick. I live vicariously through those men because I'll never achieve that level of greatness; I am overcome with emotion because I can only dream of such things. And I make no apologies for that.

So yeah, I go gooey for Becks, who was practically run out of England after the Argentina red card and then, through sheer force of what I see as great character, came back to lead his team and country to important victories. Character counts for me. If his voice is squeaky, I could care less.

I get it. We disagree. You be you, and let me be me.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 22, 2008 6:29 PM

Fnarf and JTC having it out! Exciting!

I'm tattooed pretty much everywhere, including the back of my head and around my jawline.

It is generally agreed I have a nice style about me and that I am adorable.

Posted by it'smarkmitchell | July 22, 2008 6:40 PM

@34, actually IMM, it's no doubt boring to tears for anyone but me and fnarf and now, to me, too. i'm stepping away from it.

and yes, you seem cuddly and family-friendly. very good housekeeping and all that. :-)

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 22, 2008 6:46 PM

What I mean, Jube, is that you go wobbly for football in a peculiar way -- you lose your sense of humor, for one thing. I share your appreciation, more than you might like to admit -- for me it's not the pass, it's the tightening in the gut when the man WITHOUT the ball cuts in, before you know whether the pass will ever make it there, or be onsides. I get that. Though I'd welcome a Rooney hat trick about as much as I'd welcome a sudden attack of diarrhea while stuck in an elevator with a guy I was hoping would hire me. I liked him better when he scored for Everton, a team one doesn't have to give up one's soul to support.

But that's not what we were talking about. We were talking about branding, and how terrific you think it is, when it's done by a footballer you like, but not when it's done by a vendor of sweetened milk drinks. Suddenly the snark drains out of you, and you get all sentimental, maybe even a little weepy -- I don't know, maybe not, but I've seen people do it. MY favorite footballers get by on their footwork, not their global positioning systems. And while they may have tattoos -- everybody does these days, even me (a small one) -- it's not part of an advertising campaign. Everything Beckham does is an ad campaign, even his wife and kids. They're commercial objects. Seems to me.

I just think your reaction is odd. You've got it in for me for some reason, which is odd, because our interests -- and our snarky impulses -- are quite similar. But you've got that sentimentality thing going, for noble athletes and bombastic architecture. I don't. I could never shed a tear for Robbie Keane.

Posted by Fnarf | July 22, 2008 6:58 PM

@36, good lord. OK. Last word from me so please take the last word in the thread:

1. My argument about Brand Beckham was that it takes more sense than you were giving him to achieve and maintain what he has done. That includes the sense to hire and retain the right people to do most of the work. I am not commenting on the good/bad/ugly of the pursuit, merely the fact he's not a dunce.

2. We may have some similarities, fnarf, but my impression of you is "brutal absolutist" and me, beneath a rather fragile layer of mean candy-coating, have a whipped nougat core of squishy consensus building. I kind of want more people to like me than not, and I sense you wouldn't care if the entire world hated you.

I'm going to dinner.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 22, 2008 7:09 PM

You kind of want more people to like you? Is that why "idiot" and "fartf" feature so prominently in your discourse? And me? I am widely beloved.

Posted by Fnarf | July 22, 2008 9:04 PM

Please stop fighting...


Posted by Scott Dow | July 23, 2008 1:02 AM

I can't imagine why soccer fans in this country are widely considered a bunch of pretentious yobbos.

Posted by brent | July 23, 2008 1:08 AM

Play nice you two.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | July 23, 2008 6:39 AM

Brent, I don't think you know what the word "yobbo" means. It's impossible to be a pretentious one, for one thing.

Posted by Fnarf | July 23, 2008 6:49 AM

@42, FTW

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 23, 2008 7:18 AM

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