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.