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"A Theory for Tattoos"

Mark Bauerlein:

Beneath the variety, though, is the same call: “Look at me.” The bearer may think it’s cool or lovely or poignant, a certification of membership, a work of art, or a testimonial, but a selfish demand accompanies each message, not because of what they say but where they say it. Tattoos go on a person’s skin, and so they can’t be separated from the ego of that person. It’s always there as part of one’s being, and others must register it as much as they do one’s face and speech. A tattoo has form and color and meaning, but it also solicits a social recognition, a “This is me, check me out.”

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