Monthly Archives: June 2003

Paradise NOW

Some more pictures from BVI; these ones via Kay… We've been looking very seriously into purchasing a large lot and opening a restaurant and boutique resort*… It's just a matter of raising the investment cash… Anyone want to pre-purchase some vacation time? (Seriously; we'd be looking for people who are interested in investing $1000+ in trade for guarantee'd time and bookings). Temptation:

* Yes, I am aware that I have a half-dozen epic and somewhat conflicting plans. But I figure that if I always have numerous exciting quests in front of me that only good things can happen! When all your dreams are paradise, having a few of them fail isn't a big deal?

Loserville…

Ha ha ha… Here's the latest in the saga of the moron piercer in Winnipeg that's obsessed with me and flips between threatening to fabricate child porn charges against me and begging to be in the BME movie… His latest thing is pretending to be a journalist* and asking me questions that he thinks are incriminating (“aren't you worried that kids will get hurt by reading bme” and “what activities will be happening at bmefest” and stuff like that).

Seriously, what a giant dumbass. If his goal is to take me to court or to fabricate some kind of “frame” against me, constantly incriminating himself isn't really helping. It's kind of funny when really stupid people get obsessed with you, but really, this guy is going over the top as far as pathetic goes. He keeps threatening me with “public debates” to prove what a danger I am and all that junk, but the fact is he's just too stupid to actually go through with that successfully.

He's also been making veiled threats to have BME events raided and so on…

* Due to the originating IP address on the messages matching the same ISP in Winnipeg; I can't say with certainty that it's not a journalist using the same internet cafe of course, but I highly doubt it given past events!


Anyway, I like answering questions (it helps refine one's thinking), so while I'm not sending them to him (one of his loser friends will surely forward this to him anyway), I'll post them here:

A. could you explain tongue splitting for us? Seeing that you have it done personally.

As far as general questions about tongue splitting, please refer to the tongue splitting FAQ at http://www.bmezine.com/tsplitfaq.html — it's written by me so you can use any of it as a “quote”. If you have more specific questions I'd be glad to answer them though.

B. in Illinois the government was attempting to make tongue splitting an illegal procedure but now after voting it is able to be done under the care of a physician. Being a very well known proponent of body modification in its various forms, what are your thoughts on this? And the government becoming involved?

I was strongly opposed to the original legislation, which sought to ban the procedure outright, rather than ensure it was done safely — it's not governments place to legislate taste. However, the amended form makes it clear that doctors are permitted to do the procedure for elective reasons — and seeing as it is a surgical procedure, the new legislation is effectively meaningless. It was already restricted to doctors. All this legislation accomplished is putting tongue splitting on the front page of every newspaper in the world, which will presumably sky-rocket its popularity.

My personal feeling on the matter is that on a commercial level this is a procedure that is best left to doctors. There are dangers involved that to me seem better protected against in a properly equipped and staffed medical facility. I do feel rather uncomfortable with the government claiming dominion and ownership over its citizens' bodies though — I believe that a person owns their body and that ultimately the government has no right to say what we can and can not do with it.

My focus has always been, and will continue to be on promoting education rather than restrictive legislation. I believe a well informed and educated public will make the right decisions for themselves.

C. with more and more celebrities becoming modified in various ways (tattoos and or piercings) do you see modifications in general becoming more socially acceptable?

I think it's clear that body modification has enjoyed massive acceptance over the past twenty years — that's absolutely not up for debate. The question I suppose is whether it becomes more or less acceptable as more time passes, or even if it becomes commonplace… And to be honest, I really don't know. Society on all levels is very much stratifying and belief systems are becoming absolutely black and white with very little in the middle.

D. could you give us some tips for finding a reputable artist for our sons or daughters?

If you're talking about a reputable artist for a pseudo-surgical procedure it's as simple as opening the yellow pages and approaching plastic surgeons and oral surgeons. If you're talking about a reputable artist for piercing or tattooing, then my advice would be two-fold. First, both the parent and the child should educate themselves fully and be able to identify quality artists based both on esthetic talent and the technical issues of sterility and contamination control. Second, I'd strongly encourage people to visit multiple studios and look through their portfolios, talk to the artists, and feel free to ask questions about their sterilization procedures (such as asking to see copies of a recent spore test).

People can also research the artists they're considering on the internet. BME contains a massive repository of experiences written about artists all over the world… But at its core, when you're dealing with a largely unregulated industry (even if we draft legislation ensuring minimum standards, there will never be a way to rate talent objectively) the best way for consumers to protect themselves is through education and common sense.

E. some people do not realize the various modifications that can be done to the human body. Could you tell us your opinion in the difference of minor modifications versus extreme modifications?

There is no difference other than “flavor”. There are a myriad of ways that people can express themselves using the body. Some are “minor” (navel piercing) and others are more “extreme” (tongue splitting), but ultimately they are expressions of the same human drives. Different people simply express themselves in different ways — if this wasn't true, we'd all have the same haircut. Self-expression is something of fundamental importance, and I think that as a society we need to protect and encourage these drives (safely and responsibly) rather than limiting them. Most enlightened cultures appreciate that self-expression is a fundamental right and enshrine that notion in their Bill of Rights and Constitutions in one form or another.

F. after researching some of the laws or should I say lack there of, do you believe there are some procedures that only an adult should be able to have done?

Well, what's an adult? If you look at the laws regarding sex, voting, drinking, and other “adult” activities both around this country and around the world in general we don't seem particularly able to agree on it — I deal with people of all ages with body modifications and I regularly see thirty year olds who are immature and unable to deal with their modifications, while also seeing fifteen year olds who are very responsible.

I suppose we need to get to a point where we both protect the less capable members of our society while also not restricting the freedoms of the competent folks… In most areas of Canada the law says that at age 16 a person “owns” their body and can make decisions about it; personally I feel that is a fair compromise and have no complaints with the law as it stands now.

I realize that there are some people who suggest that one needs to be 18 for a piercing or tattoo, but really, when we have as a society agreed that a person can both drive a car and get an abortion at a younger age it seems a little silly to tell them they're not mature enough for a little ring in their navel!

G. with the afore mentioned laws it is technically legal for a minor to be pierced in most Canadian provinces without parental consent. What are your views on this?

Anyone who believes a 17 year old can't handle an earring is being agist. I mean, I can own a shotgun at 14 in many areas — the notion that a body piercing requires more maturity than a firearm is preposterous.

H. on your website (www.bmezine.com), I have read a few personal experiences of minors being pierced by adults in sexual regions without parental consent. What are your views on this?

I think it's very unfortunate that so many young people are not able to have more open relationships with their parents. Let's face it — some young people will get “sexual” piercings and almost all young people start having sex (typically in secret from their parents) while still living at home. By attempting to stop it, all we do is push it underground and endanger our children. So we need to ask ourselves; is our goal to try and eliminate a relatively harmless activity that we find distasteful, or is it to do what is best for our children — because both are not always possible.

I. again on your website I have read several methods of do it yourself extreme modifications like tongue splitting. Does it not concern you that a minor may attempt these without the where with all to perform it in the safest possible manner? And attempt it without parental consent?

Sure it concerns me — I want people to express themselves in safe and positive ways (including tongue splitting) — and that's why I publish as much health and safety information as I can. The fact is these things are happening. BME reporting on them doesn't change that fact, so my feeling is that I need to put out as much information as possible so that people make informed decisions about their lives.

Since we obviously can't stop people from doing things themselves short of constant surveillance and an insane police state, our goal must be first education, and then providing safe alternatives. We need to make sure that any legislation we enact does not push people into dangerous areas.

There are two main reasons why people perform procedures on themselves. Many people do it because they appreciate the process of self-discovery involved in doing so and typically walk away from the experience feeling “more” or “enlightened” in some way. I would argue that this is very positive and valid — and their happiness should serve as evidence. On the other hand, other people do it because their option to go to a reputable practitioner has been restricted by law or simply by parental control. In these cases our attempt to “protect” our children clearly backfires and pushes them toward more harm rather than less.

J. I noticed that you are hosting a festival on July 1 for like minded people. Could you explain what the event will consist of?

It's a BBQ; a bunch of friends hanging out.

K. during my research I came across (www.zentastic.com) and from what I seen you would like to build your Internet community into an actual community. Could you explain?

Well, that's not an entirely correct assessment of what it is. I try and lead my life according to moral principles that I believe in, including a policy of synergy, non-aggression, and the importance of making a positive change to the world and one's community while at the same time bettering oneself. BME (the website) was built and is run under this philosophy. The project described at Zentastic.com is an attempt to apply these principles to living, housing and community, and that's really the limit of the connection between the two.

There are several groups around the world working on building real-life communities for individuals into body modification, and while my project absolutely encourages this activity, it is far from its primary focus.

L. is there anything you would like to see changed here in Canada in the modification fields?

I'd like to ensure that there are minimum standards across the board guaranteeing proper use of autoclaves and so on in studios (although this is already the norm in almost all areas). I would also like to see a clear message sent to doctors that they will not be penalized for doing atypical procedures. Too many doctors turn away clients simply because they do not want to do an unsual procedures for fear of risking their license, and as a result these clients are forced to turn to less qualified practitioners or do it themselves.

M. any last words for the readers?

Be yourself and don't be afraid to shout out your name from the top of the mountain.

I don't know… Maybe that's a criminally dangerous attitude that I have, but if it is, I don't see it. Maybe I'm just blind or self-serving, but I really don't think that the body modification community would be improved by killing off BME. (Not that it's going to happen!)

One more bunch…

These pix are also all via Clive (hence the photo credit on them) from the BVI leg of the CURED movie. There are still lots of stops on the US/Canada tour, and then of course there's South America in October…

Underwater

Some great photos from the BVI filming; in hindsight I really wish I'd sprung for an underwater casing for the video cameras (these are from a disposible film camera)… There was, among other things, an underwater pull considered — imagine that, doing a pull in the waters of a tropical beach with sea turtles swimming around you (and I hear sharks are attracted by blood).

Oh, and the NPR interview is now available to download by clicking here… It's just a three minute fluff piece really, but it was funny to make pervy comments to an old lady in front of a giant audience.

Ohh…..

I don't know if anyone got to hear the NPR interview (I haven't yet), but I think you can listen to it online here later today. I hope it's ok… Now in about fifteen minutes I have to do an interview with Radio Caracol… I have to admit that thanks to Clive inducing me to start on the 151 last night I'm not entirely looking forward to it!

Anyway, some more photos from the BVI filming trip; these are of Jason and Marty: