Friday, January 16, 2015

Oh My God: The Rip-Roaring Rise of the Mods

Guess who's coming to dinner.
Yo, man. I want to marry your daughter. You got a problem with that?
    What explains the surge in recent years of extreme body modification, or Bod Mods? Young people are scarring their skin, driving steel posts and spikes into their faces, slitting their tongues, injecting saline and/or steel balls under their flesh, slashing their ears, covering themselves in vivid, sometimes shocking, tattoos, and piercing whatever little fold of epidermis they can find. Then they attach something sparkly.
     I wish I were so brave.
    They look like crazies or psychopaths or beings from another world, but most of them are just nice young people who have taken possession of their bodies, and made them their own.
    I think it's an intriguing phenomenon, even (or especially) when it's deliberately grotesque.  The notion that your body is your playground, your canvas, your medium of self-expression, is ancient and probably hard-wired, to some extent. I admire and enjoy the color and inventiveness of these wonderfully crazy kids. Why not "play with yourself," and have some fun? Why was my generation satisfied with being so bland? What's caused this current explosion of in-your-face faces?
    We all need self-expression. If I didn't have my blog, I'd probably get some screws in my skull and a switchblade through my nose. If I did, it would be less outrageous than some of the things I've written.
Red Skull
Here's a fan who went to extremes to look like his favorite screen character, Red Skull.
    Just yesterday, the Examiner reported  that 37-year old Henry Damon of Caracas, Venezuela has taken it upon himself to get multiple implants in his face, tattoo his entire face with red ink and cut his nose completely off of his face in order to look like the Captain America villain Red Skull (played by Hugo Weaving in Captain America: The First Avenger). 

    First: the history. The tradition of self-transformation is ancient and multicultural.
The better to hear you with, my dear.

Don't give me any lip, young lady!

She is literally neck and neck.

After the screaming is over, fanciful beauty emerges.

Binding begins in infancy to help you "get ahead."

Tooth filing adds pointed pulchritude to your smile.

Fossil evidence points to tooth etching in ancient times.

Foot binding shows the lengths to which people will go.
Even prehistoric mummies reveal tattoo art.
    Some modern kids are doing it to adorn and beautify themselves.

Primordial influences inspire modern enhancements.

There is joy in elaborate coloration.
Making oneself memorable is a worthy goal.
Using feline influences adds allure. Meow to you, too!

This iteration of beauty is a cinch.
    But for many, beauty isn't the point. Body modification is a way of expressing part of the self that is otherwise pent up:

Is he saying "proceed with caution"?
An earnest young man with a few idiosyncracies.
Saline inflation is used to achieve these festive mods. Bagels!
Or you can play the part of a slave to fashion.

You can even accessorize your eyeball with little jewels.

You can have a tongue in both cheeks.
Corneal tattooing is more than an eye for an eye.
Subcutaneous jewelry goes with every ensemble.
This Japanese technique combines scarification with tattoo.
This is open to all sorts of interpretations.

Some choose to project an elfin image.

Others do their best to keep abreast of the trends.

I don't have the balls to speculate about the inspiration for this.

"I can't believe I ate the hole thing."

His mods elicit piercing screams and pointed stares.

Might as well embellish your uvula while you're at it (but why?)

I am backing away slowly. Please remain in place.

Should this win a prize or instigate a malpractice suit?

I wouldn't "just say no" to this gentleman. He's cool.

He isn't a freak. Maybe he was just bored.

Don't give him an earful - you'll be there all day.

He's pretty damned cheeky. Good for you, dude. Rock on!
Her body is "a work in progress."
I'm sorry, but I can't understand a word you're saying.
Wholly holiness, dude!
Is he praying that this is a bad dream, or is he saying, "Thank you Jesus!"
Transdermal implants definitely make a point.