Tattoos And The Vulgarity of Our Times

No decency, no class, no brains, but an example for Britains’ youth: David Beckham.

I grew up in a very simple, well-ordered world. Very rarely –  actually, VERY rarely – we got as children those water tattoos, that you apply on your skin with a bit of water and create a design that disappears after a short time. I actually remember we had to ask for permission to use them, even if we had found them in the crisps packet (this might be an Italian thing; I don’t know).

In those times, tattoos were the preserve of pirates and sailors – and jail inmates, I suppose; but this we did not know – and to put a tattoo on your skin was something meant to allow one to innocently “play pirates (or mariner)” for a while. Of course, that one could come to the idea of getting a real tattoo was not of this world, and I remember once feeling “dirty” after applying the water tattoo, with the result that I never had a water tattoo again. Why did I feel dirty? Because in that simple world, to have a (real) tattoo was considered sinful. Even to a child like me, this made a lot of sense, as the idea that one might be allowed to paint and scar oneself for life had  a lot to do with savages, but nothing with Christian civilisation.  I cannot remember whether I was explicitly told that my body is a gift from God and as such not to be abused in any way, but the fact was so self-evident that to tell a child “tattoos are very bad” already conveyed all the meaning, and I positively remember the little girl who assured us she was told people with tattoos went to hell.

Letting aside hell for a moment, I do not know whether the people who told me tattoos are very bad were theologically correct, but I do not doubt they were right.

Fast Forward to 2012. You only need to look at some of the teams of the European Football Championship (alas, Italy not excluded!) to see in what way some people can disfigure themselves, possibly for life.  It is simply shocking, and the vulgarity of those carrying such tattoos is only surpassed by their truly unspeakable stupidity in thus scarring themselves.

The vulgarity and stupidity ruling the football fields is only a reflex of the vulgarity and stupidity now invading increasingly bigger parts of our lives: those taken as examples in our times are illiterate footballers and drug-addicted singers; their fans have long ceased to be the pimple-plagued teenagers one expected in days of yore, and are more and more the ageing generation of Sixty-Eighters, and of their offspring.  Teenagers without pimples, and it is not a compliment.

You only need to approach a newsstand, or to rapidly browse the channels available on TV, to see to what point we have come. One can’t be too surprised the Prime Minister can tell his electors that the so-called “gay marriage” is “conservative”. He might have gauged their stupidity better than I.

Encouragingly, this fad seems not to have taken so much ground in Northern/Eastern Europe. I am now looking at Poland-Russia and well, the situation is entirely different from the one experienced looking at, say, Italy-Spain.

One day, this craze will go like many others before and after, and an army of cretins will find themselves scarred for life of their own accord. They can only hope when the moment comes laser technology will have advanced enough to allow them to get rid of their tattoos without looking like a walking scar. In any way, with their tattoos they’ll look very stupid, and deservedly so, because the tattoos are just another example of the absence of proper behaviour, proper rules, common decency and basic Christian feelings we see in so many aspects of today’s West.


Posted on June 12, 2012, in Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. IT is a BIG CRAZE here in Tennessee and you see the most lovely people with the most HORRIBLE UGLY tatoos…..I can never really see why anyone would want to mar their bodies with such horrid scenes (which most of them are). I can almost understand having a small pretty one with your child’s name but still I would NEVER opt for this…..I always think when I see these people coverd head to toe in tatoos…..WHAT are they going to LOOK like when they are like 80 years old and their skin is sagging and wrinkled.

    But then there is a new challenge for the tatooers! Be as creative as the Chinese with their double sided silk embroderies! Create the tatoos so that when the person starts to SAG the picture then turns into a NEW design!!! Now THAT would be worth seeing!

    • Elizabeth,

      I personally cannot understand at all even the smallest tattoo. To me, it is just a small descration.

      I like that of the creative tattoo… 😉 It could let the writing appear “I have been an idiot and now everyone will notice as long as I live…” ;).


  2. The proliferation of tatoos, including body piercing, is another manifestation of paganism in the West (cf. Hinduism, etc.). This extreme, fanatical marring of the physical body not only reflects a contemptuous view of the human body (there are Manichean aspects here), but an over-emphasized immanence, an irrevocable connection to the material world, a vulgar pagan “earthiness”, so to speak, devoid of any association to the really transcendent.

    • Excellently said, TH2.

      I would add a contempt, in many cases, for one’s own possibilities in life and calling to higher things. Tattoos condemn one to a permanent position in the working class, and they do not notice just because some of these working class people happen to make a lot of money.


  3. Sometimes our like-mindedness is uncany, M.

    I recently was visiting the site “Catholic Answers” and was somewhat surprised to read the answer given to one inquiring mind regarding the propriety of tattooing oneself with an image of a rosary around one’s ankle.

    The so called “expert” replied, “Oh, by all means, go ahead and do so–anything that will bring the public closer to Our Lord or Our Lady is by all means recommended”. Of course, I shot back, “this is a desecration of our body and by no means brings honor to Our Lord or Our Lady”. I asked the “expert” to consider that if a rosary tattooed around the ankle was okay for some, who is to say a crucifix tattooed across the forehead and down the bridge of the nose would not bring some closer to God?”. (By the way, did Madonna, bedecked in rosaries during her lewd shows bring people closer to our Lady?) The stupidity of that answer left be breathless. There is no reflection on what honoring one’s body might mean even among the so called “Catholic experts” at Catholic Answeres.

    I had a woman recent brag to me about how she had tattooes of the “Playboy Bunny” all over her torso. I asked her what she thought Jesus would have to say about that at the Last Judgement. She proceeded to tell me that I would burn in hell for judging her. I told her I wasn’t judging her, I was judging the behavior. She was incensed with me. I told her that the Playboy Bunny represented a love of promiscuity, immodesty, etc, but she had no insight into this. I didn’t ask if she was into porn, as I was afraid of the answer…

    Yes, so much evidence out there of the decline of the West…

    • “Catholic answers” can be truly appalling.

      I remember one “expert” giving an astonishingly reassuring answer concerning a person who had committed suicide.
      These people cause souls to get lost.


  4. In the 1970’s we got water tattoos in our crackerjacks (popcorn). To us it was the dud prize, but we used them anyway. My mother would use the occasion to explain how bad real tattoos were, telling us it was because our body was the temple of the Holy Ghost. I wonder, how bad is it for an unbaptized person to get a tattoo?

    • Yes pierino, exactly so it was, and we all knew one thing is a water tattoo, and a completely different one a real one.

      I can’t say any different for the unbaptised, as it is not that the fact is is authorises him to scar his body. As I see it, it is not baptism who puts on us the obligation of not scarring our body, but natural law.


  5. As my good mother taught me …. “your body is a temple and you don’t mar the temple”. … and because of that sticking in my head, I resisted several invitations to go and get tats when I was in the USMC. Later on in life I realized where she got that from…

    “Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.” 1 Cor 16:16-17

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