Monthly Archives: October 2003

I live in a swamp, not the woods.

First, BMEshop just got its shipment of shoulder bags (ie. purses) in stock… Click the pix to jump to the order page (there are four different kinds right now):

I'm continuing to get feedback on the article — it's quite fascinating how it breaks down. I think without exception so far, the response from self-cutters has been incredibly warm and positive. I have gotten some positive responses from people who are not cutters, but on the whole they've been a lot more negative — as predicted in the article, a combination of “these people are sick and you are encouraging them” and “how dare you suggest that what I do is anything like those people!”

I'm not really surprised though and I don't think poorly of those commentors or anything… It must seem totally foreign to folks who don't have experience in either transformative body ritual or self-injury, so they have these somewhat ignorant knee-jerk reactions. The funny thing is that they don't clue in that it's the same thing that mainstream society does to them — older members will recall that body piercing was banned from tattoo conventions for quite a while.

I'll finish this comment up by quoting an email I got from my father on the article that I think is worth reading:

"You must of course continue to lobby and make safe alternatives available for persons who are going to do something on their own that could be done more safely by trained professionals. But you will not have won till the state returns the sovereignty of each man and woman over his body while his mind lives in it."

Other than that I just got email from a British TV channel that's doing a show on heavy mods. I'd agreed to let them use some pictures from BME/extreme on the condition that they put in a “thanks to for the photos” sort of note. Anyway, today they wrote me back to say that they “can't legally put a credit on the photos because thanking a company for photos is illegal under British broadcast law” or something… I told them they could either credit the pix or not use them. If they're going to profit from the site, they can at least promote it in return.

I think people think BME is bigger than it is… Last week I got this email, and for some reason I get messages like it all the time:

"I saw a tattoo in ITA in the December 2003 issue. It's on page 74 in the lower right-hand corner. Can you give me some more info on this tattoo? I would like to have the person who thought of it do it for me, if possible. If not then can you send me a bigger pic via email? God Bless."

I always wonder where they get the idea that BME runs all the tattoo magazines. It's as if I'm some kind of body modification illuminati figure or anything. As much as I'd be evilly thrilled if that was true, I'm just some dude that lives in a shack in the woods that happens to have a website.

It's almost time for my high-noon gunfight

I'm ordering the video editing box today (tomorrow)… nothing too exciting, but it will be built around Avid Xpress Pro so it'll be pretty slick. I'm probably going to couple it with a terabyte or two of drive space; I think a firewire enclosure might be the cheapest and most versatile way to do so — way cheaper than a NAS and more modular than SCSI I figure (although I may get a small NAS for BME work in the short-term future).

I've been getting weird pseudo-spam lately from people wanting to advertise on BME. Now, that's no shocker given that BME is one of the most popular sites on the entire Internet (shocking, isn't it?), but one of the odd side-effects is that any phrase on BME gets artificially bumped way up in the Google rankings — so it turns out that as I write this, BME is Google's fourth highest result for rate my rack!

In a less amusing piece of spam a lot of people have been complaining to me about being contacted by a “modeling agency” (who wants to charge people $75 or something to sign up) offering to fly them out to get a pile of “temporary” tattoos and piercings and do shoots with them — these folks are harvesting the personals as far as I can tell (which happened last time as well) — so if you have your email address listed there (rather than keeping it locked to BME/HARD only for example) you may have gotten the emails. I'm assuming the reasons for not working for this company are obvious, but who knows… maybe it's a good money maker. If they actually sign a contract stating that those tattoos will disappear in six months, you can probably sue them for a fortune — even if they fade dramatically, there should be some residual scarring and discoloration.

Other than that, I'm getting some really wonderful feedback on the articles that Monty, Cora, and I put together. One person did write me to say they were worried I'd just told cutters it was “cool”, but I hope it's alright if I share some of the other responses. Thank you to the people who had the strength to share them:

"When I entered BME the first time I was a little kid who did cut himself and was trying to find something or someone similar to him. Now I'm getting my degree in cultural anthropology and semiotics and im a tattooer — between then and now I've been in therapy (panic attacks), and one day my psychiatrist told exactly what you wrote in your column: your cutting thing was just your own therapy; now getting into the bodmod world and doing it professionally is your way to mark your growth. I knew it before but hearing it is somewhat different."

"Your article on SI was beautiful, to put it lightly. I am a self cutter of over 25 years, and no-one has ever so eloquently put into words the ideas I could never seem to get out of my head and onto paper. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts (and the thoughts of others as well) with such a large community. I hope it is one thing people do stop to read before heading in to other pieces of BME."

"Cutting helps me cope with my life. I have depression — I know that — it makes me feel happy and in control. I choose to cut, and while I am able to choose something that makes me happy I will continue. Thank you for allowing me to send in my cutting pictures for my gallery -- believe it or not but BME has helped me more than any anti-depressive pill I've ever been prescribed."

Someone else asked me whether I agreed that extreme body modifications were a sign of mental illness (believing that I'd implied that cutting was a sign of mental illness I guess — which I do not in fact believe). I'd like to include my reply here:

First, I think it's a mistake to believe that "extreme" modifications are more likely to be indicative of a problem than "normal" modifications — and self-injury is just a very "undiluted" form of transformative body ritual.

But I think what's very important to understand is that people who are injuring "as therapy" don't injure themselves because there's something sick in them — as I see it, they do these things in response to something sick in the world... they're using ritual injury to protect themselves from the sickness outside.

Anyway, I've got to prep an image update, an experience update, and another column in the next 48 hours or so, so I'll probably not be around too much as it's work work work till I leave for Amsterdam. Oh, and I'll be shutting off parts of the IAM server (nothing essential) while I'm gone which should mean less work for CT keeping things alive.

Finally — something I've forgotten to mention about the new experience engine… It allows pictures. Now when you're submitting an experience you can also upload a picture of the mod which will become integrated into the experience without having to find somewhere to host the image.



The logo of the hacker will be the glider? (more)

Lame and annoying.

I won't talk about by who, that doesn't matter, but I got accused earlier today of stealing the HOLY shirt design — which is totally lame of course and utterly untrue.

I sent in an idea like your Holy shirt to Ryan on friday oct 3rd. It was this ( Also for the above one you could just do a pic of Jesus (cartoon style kinda like an old school tattoo) Have his hands have barbells thru them as well as his feet, a few facial piercings, some tattoos, and maybe some brandings. The bottum of the shirt would say IAM Holey, or IAM Modified. ) He sent me an email back saying he filed them away. I still have these emails. It just kinda seems like its a rip off of my idea.

First of all, I never saw those particular ones — Ryan and I are not in fact the same person. If we were, I (or him) would have a world of explaining to do to Corrie and Rachel! Now, that's not to say I haven't been sent a dozen variations on these general ideas from a dozen different people over the years…

Second, the idea of doing a crucifixion piercing is old news. I've documented it on BME, and it's existed in sideshow for at least a hundred years.

Third, the idea of using a Jesus/piercing joke is old news. Shirts based on the idea have been floating around — often from church groups — for years. Fourth, the notion of using the word “HOLY” or “HOLEY” in relation to piercing is old news and has been done on shirts before (including by BME).

Fifth, what this person just described is pretty much totally different from the shirt I designed except in the vaguest possible sense… Mine isn't an “old school cartoon”, it uses “HOLY” not “IAM Holey or IAM Modified”, there's no direct Jesus reference (I'd thought of it as an extreme piercing reference — the religious aspect wasn't used until I used it as a banner to ask people about Christianity and mods a week later), and it's not even a full body shot including many mods as proposed. If my idea is a “rip off” of this, then so is probably every other piercing shirt in the world.

I just thought it took some nerve to accuse me of stealing this. It's kind of like these patent companies that watch tech trends, and try and find ideas that aren't yet patented (but are in use by others). They then patent them in some vague and meaningless sense, and then try and make money by suing people.


Yes, this does make me #1 on razoreater's dead pool…

…for taking his shirt design and adding the world's dumbest text… But luckily sometimes humor cancels out dumbness. Wanna hear a dirty joke? A horse fell in a mud puddle! Wanna hear a really dirty joke? A white horse fell in a mud puddle!