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NY Times, back to reality…

July 15, 2011

After coming off my recent high from Marcus Kuhn’s first installment of his Gypsy Gentleman series, the New York Times has snapped me back into reality. I suppose I’ll have to direct you to the article first, where the non-tattooed “writer” outlines a (tongue-in-cheek?) nice little set of rules for the tattooed –– which include acquiescing to strangers’ requests of your tattoo “stories” and also dressing strategically to cover your tattoos if you don’t want to get hassled.

I am not a spokesman for the tattoo community/industry, this is simply my own response. Marisa of N+S said it pretty well: The NY Times should leave its attempts at humor on their wedding announcement pages.

Here is the “article.” Below is the letter I wrote to the editor. I also sent them a 150-word version, on the off-chance they decide to publish it. Unfortunately, now I have thought of a few more things to add.. ah well.

To Whom It May Concern:

This Friday you ran a story, “Please Don’t Swat the Bug Tattoo,” as part of your City Critic series. I cringed before reading, though I held out a sliver of hope that my aversion would prove unfounded.

Unfortunately, it was not. As every media outlet continues to pile onto the bursting and beat down tattoo bandwagon, I expected more from the Times. The article was insulting to the heavily tattooed on multiple levels, and to suggest that anyone with a tattoo owes anyone an explanation is the height of disrespect. Tattoos are not a conversation piece. And I find that always, without fail, it is the tattooed women that receive the brunt of unwanted advances –– and touches –– on the street, subway, restaurant, bars, et al.

Your snide, non-tattooed City Critic has absolutely no business writing an article on tattoos and even less business constructing this kind of tongue-in-cheek etiquette for the tattooed any more than I can make rules for anyone else. I would also like to add that Ami James is only a “big name” in American living rooms, and the “tattoo universe” you speak of generally abhors what he has done to perpetuate the slow ruin of the tattoo industry.

I hope next time you will seek out a knowledgeable and intelligent writer who has experience writing for the tattoo industry and community. I am happy to provide you with a list.

All the best,

Patrick Sullivan

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 16, 2011 12:52 am

    Brilliant stuff, mate! They should run that on their front page. I mean, they won’t, but they freakin’ should. You know from reading my blog I couldn’t agree with you more about the women getting the raw deal with morons asking stupid questions and touching you when you don’t want to be touched. If you saw that moron who stroked my arm creepily that I was talking about, you’d get why he needed to be punched.
    You’re a real asset to those with brains, Pat! 🙂

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