Preamble to Chalmers’
3 part article
On a psychological level it is quite telling that this article comes
"out of the blue,"
meaning: there was nothing to predict it. Chalmers likely has never been
inside a tattoo shop, much less interviewed a tattoo artist or those who
had real tattoos and piercings. The utter poverty of any background for
writing on this subject is amply seen in the article itself, which will
be shown in the critique. But for the moment, it's as if she had never
given two seconds thought to tattoo as subject matter prior to writing
this article over a few week ends of internet searches.
employment as a college instructor teaching students how to write papers
exactly like this one, this may be simply opportunistic or something
that might have been started as merely an example for the class, which
is fine and not objectionable even if fundamentally, hopelessly flawed
in fact. But having immersed herself in the assignment she acts out her
fictionalized reality by seeking the prize, the crown, publication in an
academic journal. It becomes a personal statement of prowess and
justification for recognition declaring herself as a serious contender
in effecting life and society, not merely a classroom teacher.
One can imagine a student at some point having handed in a paper on the
subject of tattoo, which stimulated Chalmers' to see this as an
opportunity to publish in an area not inundated with contributors, a
proof of her value that she too could write papers to get results or
change things, that she is the real deal, a "doer." This then could be
interpreted as a class-oriented exercise to prove the worth of the
class, that it did have an impact on what can be done in the world. A
very noble reason, but lacking emotion, values or morality. This
is a speculation about motivation, which is a legitimate question,
because her article content is so utterly wrong, invented, distorted and
misunderstood. This will all be laid out. Such a low level of
correctness absolutely demonstrates, in my mind, a total lack of contact
with the subject raising the question of "Why this? Why now?" as
legitimate areas of inquiry.
Regardless of this view
, if we forget for the moment
her occupation, the classroom responsibilities, and those things, it is
possible to imagine a human scenario in which her subconscious had been
accumulating thoughts and observations about tattoo and one morning it
distilled and broke through: she had to do something to stop the harm
being inflicted on Western culture by tattoo. Her weapon at hand is her
occupational writing skills and the happenstance of being within an
educational context. These things happen to a person. One morning a
person wakes up and says "I am not going to take it anymore", or "I have
a brilliant idea", in either a good sense or a bad sense. This
motivation includes a moral component not found in homework assignments
There certainly could be some of that here. Maybe a relative got a
tattoo or piercing and she began to grapple with this phenomenon.
There is another view that flows from the first suggestion of
opportunism. As you will see in my critique there are questionable
things using of other peoples' words, etc. etc..
As a teacher of writing she would naturally avoid these appearances of
plagiarism with a scalpel. It is just puzzling therefore, given her
occupation, that her most-used author, Professor Myrna Anderson, who has
been writing for more than two decades, warning may be a more accurate
term, how bad tattoo and piercing are. Chalmers references more than 10
articles by her, but Professor Anderson's watershed article written a
few years before Chalmers article, is conspicuously missing. Chalmers'
thesis looks like it was copied from Anderson. This has to be mentioned
as it would need an explanation how Chalmers missed that article but was
able to reference the rest.
These are germane areas of inquiry and speculation.
In a different abstract way to view this article, as a representative of an historical
can conceive of Chalmers, not as a person, but as the social and political force
in power over society. After all, individuals and groups create and exercise
power over others.
For the moment take it as true, but it will be clearly
demonstrated later, that tattoo has always been either purposely used by
individuals and forces in a social structure or ignored as a peculiar
practice of the lower classes, laborers, the military etc. as of no
importance. Chalmers, not knowing any of this history throws up into the
air the accusation that tattoo has been allowed to exist unregulated and
uncertificated throughout much of history. Of course, this is quite as
laughable as saying the same thing about the drinking age.
Tattoo is visual, as abstract, or representational, and
laden with communication that may not be apparent except to initiates or
those viewing the tattoo, perhaps diametrically oppositional in
Suddenly tattoo is everywhere in spite of the teachings
of intellectual elites, the medical establishment, religious
groups, even government agencies themselves.
It is of keen concern for those in power over others, no
matter how large or small the group, what is being communicated to,
from, and among the subjects.
We see this now greatly practiced by the monitoring and
recording of every key stroke any one makes on the internet and the
recording of the location of devices that can communicate. A total
monitoring of populations, a global superstructure of control, a world
attempted domination by the elites, who know better.
Chalmers sees tattoo as a threat which must be
countered, reduced through a complex series of regulations. Tattoo was
indeed historically used as a weapon to vocally oppose the missionaries
in their efforts to eradicate this heathen practice, as well as a symbol
of defiance by captive populations. All you have to do is realize that marking the body is a
commonly accepted utilitarian communication device for sex appeal.
Tattoo, like dress and lipstick, is a communication device.
Chalmers states this plainly saying that tattoo threatens
the heritage of Western civilization and something has to be done, and
she declares she is the person to do it.