I've heard heard it said by many piercers and tattoo artists that people getting body modifications post-1996 are very different than those who got them earlier — that they're not individuals… that they're simply trading one “uniform” or “dress code” for another, and thus when they spy a real individual in their midst, they attack them. So the person with an eyebrow ring, a labret, and a big band of star tattoos is welcomed and protected, but the dude with the facial tattoo or the piercings that go “too far” is thrown to the wolves. Enter David Clinger.
Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, because the average person can't see past the end of their own nose and believes anything the media tells them, but I am surprised that people believe the characterizations people have made of Clinger and his motivation given how much people here have seen our own miscaricaturization in the media first-hand. This is a guy that's spent his life traveling internationally and has had Polynesian work for years, understands its meaning, and cares about it personally. Did he get it when the time felt right? Yes, of course. When you want a facial tattoo, you think about it for years, and then get it “spur of the moment” when you know you're ready. Don't think that a couple of brief, disjointed, and unprepared quotes from him shortly after having his life threatened have any real meaning.
I've seen other comments on cultural appropriation. Take a look at his tattoo. Is it Polynesian in design motif? Yes. But is it a copy of someone else's moko? Of course not. Neither is Mike Tyson's, even if he could be muddled into talking about such specifics — and the same folks making noise about Clinger's moko also made noise about Tyson's tattoo. It's ignorant and self-righteous. Others suggest that Clinger hasn't earned it… The guy has spent his life dedicated to achieving what he has as an athlete. He absolutely has earned a warrior's tattoo, with or without the permission of some indignant descendant of a tribe that once had similar tattoos.
Still others have said that he must not have cared about it much if he's willing to have it lasered off to keep his job. As I said before, Clinger is a professional athlete. He's spent his life working and training hard to get where he is. Throwing him off the team at the start of the season puts his life's work at risk. He wasn't getting fired from some easily replaced job at Cosco. If you have two children, and have to kill one of them, which will you kill? That is more akin to the decision he was forced to make.
But I'm not sure why I'm mentioning this. David Clinger's actions represents individualism. The average person getting pierced and tattooed these days is just looking for another uniform, one where they can pretend to be an individual without actually having to feel the occasional pain and loneliness of being one.
I, as an individual, fully support David Clinger.
Anyway, off to Zurich.