Monthly Archives: June 2004

Guns, guns, guns

Wednesday I have a meeting with an importer here to see their new piercing guns for the review article on them… Outside of the small-gauge kits you all know, they're showing me “what's coming up”, including systems that can pierce navels and other bits with normal barbells and rings, as well as stretching guns and devices designed to hit 95% of the bread-and-butter of piercing studios. Automated devices like this are getting better and better, and as they increasingly penetrate the market over the next three years, piercing studios risk seeing their market evaporate.

If piercings are performed for a few dollars in salons and mall kiosks, and can be shown to be comprably safe as well as offering a similar range of options and jewelry, how many piercing studios will survive? Will piercing again become just another footnote to tattooing? Will this type of mainstreaming kill piercing, or will it split it into two branches — “true believers” and “fashion vicitims”? Or is this just part of a normal 20-year trend cycle, and piercing will be back to “1994-normal” by 2014? Should piercing studios start using guns if it makes them economically competitive?

What will piercing guns do? (lots)

The benefits of eating well (and wearing nice jewelry)

This link is c/o Ryan. It's about a principal that banned soft drinks, fried foods, high-fat foods, and sugary deserts from their cafeteria. Parents were angry (?!?), but at the end of the first year of these changes, not only had many students achieved a healthier weight, but according to the article:

  • visits to the school nurse were down 30 percent
  • disciplinary problems dropped 20 percent
  • And test scores improved 10 percent to 15 percent

Also, I should promote some of the new stuff over at BMEshop (who will also have a big stand at ). Ryan has added the new line of Kaos Softwear silicone plugs (these are the first of the new design, which means that so far we've got them from 4ga up to 5/8″ in black — more will come as the factory spits them out), as well as Glasswear Studios pyrex plugs (in 7/16″ to 1″ so far).



From a pending interview:

First, BME is the largest body modification community online. What do you attribute to its success?

BME’s first goal is to let people know that they are not alone and to help them understand who they are and what they are going through. While I think it’s also an interesting magazine in and of itself, most of the elements of BME, both the main site and the community site, were built because I needed them to heal myself and stay alive. Since it had saved me, I felt it was my job to try and make sure everyone everywhere in the world could have the same opportunity if they wanted it. I think staying true to that is what has given BME its “family” feel, and its success.

And beyond, mere size, so many people pledge allegiance to BME by tattooing or scarring BME logos on their bodies. The why question is a very personal one but do you have a general sense on why people do this? What do you think the community offers them that they cannot get any where else?

I don’t think people care about BME because BME explicitly gives them something or provides something or anything like that at all. BME’s strength comes from its ability to be a catalyst; to start positive change inside people. When people tattoo a BME logo on themselves, they aren’t just celebrating BME — they’re celebrating themselves (BME stands for “Be Me” as well as “Body Modification Ezine”).

The community doesn’t offer them anything but a safe place to facilitate that change. I do worry a lot though that as body modification mainstreams and starts to be accepted as “just fashion”, that it will be more difficult to reach people who have a real need, because the noise level is so much higher and the community risks being overrun with people who don’t understand or care about people who use body modification as medicine and genuine self-definition, self-improvement, and growth. I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with seeing body modification as “just fashion”, but while I appreciate that mindset and will do my best to make a good magazine for it to enjoy, it is not where my personal commitment lies.

Do you think there is such a thing as an “addiction” to pain nd the adrenaline rush associated with many modifications?

I don’t believe there is any more “addiction” happening than you see in endorphin-heavy sports such as jogging. So yes, but only in a small percentage of individuals.

Favazza, in Bodies Under Siege, discusses the symbolic and some positive aspects to body modification but he also says that there are “tremendous parallels” between body modification and self-mutilation. What is your response to this?

People can use almost anything in a negative manner, and I’m sure there are a small percentage of people for whom body modification is not a benign force in their life. However, suggesting that equates to a “tremendous parallel” is like saying all Canadians are Nazis because of the actions of a tiny percentage of the population. The thing to remember about doctors is that they tend to only see the problems, so they often have a skewed perception of what body modification’s results are. Favazza’s observations are probably correct and insightful for the small number of people he’s come in contact with, but I’m sure that they’ll become more reasonable and less insulting as he educates himself further.

In a different vein, I know you discussed the New Zealand research on the gene that shows increased risk of self-mutilation on IAM, but for the purposes of this article, do you have specific thoughts on the subject that you would like to share with a general audience on the research. Do you feel this research is helpful or harmful to the body mod community?

The NZ study regarding the “self mutilation gene” is very preliminary and no conclusions have been reached by the researchers in relation to body modification, so this is all speculation at this point. However, if it is shown that body modification is also “caused” by this gene, I think it’s absolutely wonderful — that would go a long way to proving that positive and healthy forms of body modification can save a person from self harm!

On a personal note, what are your motivations for your own mods? I guess this is the big WHY questions as well.

It’s hard to articulate why, or how, but body modification for me is a healing force, and a way of understanding who I am on some primal level. Like a lot of people I know through the site, when I was a child I would poke holes in myself in secret and thread wire through them. This was in a small farming community in rural Canada in the 1980s, and I had little comprehension that other people, at least in a modern Western context, were doing anything like this — although I’m sure I was influenced by a Blackfoot neighbor who had performed the Sundance and told me stories about those traditions. As I grew up, I started stretching my ears, getting other piercings, and tattooing myself.

While I’d been raised being told I could be anyone I wanted, I experienced a backlash from my mother and her family and was pressured both emotionally and financially to stop being myself. They decided I was “crazy” and conspired with inexperienced doctors who agreed my behavior was dangerous and put me on psychiatric drugs, turning me into a zombie and nearly destroying me. I was hospitalized and was put on even more drugs, even though I’d never shown a symptom of mental illness other than piercings, tattoos, and scarifications. I hated the shell of a person I’d become on the drugs and since I was totally under the control of the medical system (if I stopped taking the drugs, they threatened to lock me up), I escaped the only way I could and committed suicide by overdosing on a mix of tranquilizers and dopamine-altering drugs.

I was living in my uncle’s basement at the time and, as luck would have it, he happened to come home early that day and found me unconscious. By the time the ambulance got me to the hospital, my breathing had failed, but miraculously, they managed to revive me and about a week later I was conscious again, although I found myself in psychiatric lock-down on a suicide watch. Luckily that had the effect of getting me a new doctor who recognized that the only thing wrong with me was the damage the psychiatric drugs had done to me.

I was weened off the drugs, as my brain chemistry normalized, my depression abated, I felt like “me” again, and my drive to modify my body returned full-force. While their attempt to break me had stolen my memory and damaged other parts of my brain, it had not actually destroyed who I was. I began stretching my ears again as well as getting other modifications, and I think that by taking control over myself in that way I was able to heal some of the damage that was done to me. Within months of that I started BME with the goal of telling this story, helping others tell the same story, and doing everything I could to spread the message that body modification saves lives.


Does anyone know how long it takes to get bloodstains out of concrete? I thought the rain would wash it away like tears, but it doesn't seem to be going away. People keep walking on it, not knowing what it is or what sequence of events played out to bring it there…

Are you saved?

13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God.
14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.
16 The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.
- Revelations 9:13-16

It's no secret that one of the promises of Bush's tight circle is to set into motion the rapture. Ashcroft has been quite clear and public that he believes America must build up the state of Israel in order to hurry the second coming of Christ and bring about the apocalypse (more, more, more, more, more, more). While this has been widely reported over the last two years, it's been one of those “ha ha, whatever” stories.

God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.
- George W. Bush

The Bible plainly forecasts the coming of yet another great war. It will be a war to eclipse anything the world has ever seen. It will embrace most of the nations of the world; and its focal point will be in the Middle East, where the armies of the world will some day deploy themselves, centering at Mount Megiddo. This great war has been called the battle of Armageddon. In the midst of this terrifying war that could destroy civilization the Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth in glory and power to judge the nations of the world and set up His own glorious kingdom. The sixth angel will pour out his vial upon the great river Euphrates.

- Billy Graham

But now we've got Bush apparently losing his mind (more), walking around the White House muttering biblical passages, paranoid of everyone but his inner circle, convinced he's being commanded by God's Will, and making growing lists of “enemies”, both inside and outside America…

With US soldiers now being told that they could be facing war crimes charges over their actions (more) and an ever growing army of hatred pointed straight at Bush and America, I can't imagine the personal stress Bush must be under. He's barely sleeping, he's in way over his head, and we know how he's handled stress in the past — drunk driving (more), cocaine (more), fist fights (more), and finally, running away (more)… now that he's under hundreds of times more stress than he's ever been in, can't run away, and can't escape into the bottle or drugs, what will he do as the man who controls more firepower than anyone else on the planet?