This appeared on my favorite tattoo forum recently in a thread about ‘biting’, its a stupid topic where tattooers all cluck like hens over the evils of a tattooer copying someone elses work.
“Searching old antique stores for books almost doesn’t happen anymore with tatters.”
this is a great example of making the “evil them”. its a dangerous and stupid thing for us tattooers to do but we do it all the time. We create a legion of made-up lousy tattooers who dont do things the way “we” (in our infinite superiority) think is right. Once we have this mythical straw man ‘bad’ tattooer we can assign him all sorts of bad behaviour and habits (like his unwillingness to work as hard as we do for reference) and then we can all sit in a big circle and pat ourselves on our back for how superior and blue collar we are for our workmanlike habits.
There isnt a single one of us tattooers who doesnt need improvement because there isnt a single human on earth who doesnt need improvement. The fact this that ever single second we spend worrying about what a mythical “them” is doing is valuable, essential, priceless seconds we could be working on the ONE person in the whole world we can fix. Ourselves.
Its a lot easier to decry junkies, bad tattooers, races we dont feel comfortable around, political stripes that scare us and people who dont agree with us than it is to sit down, look inward for even a second and take an honest inventory of what we see. How many times have you gone a whole day without a single bad thing to say about anyone else? have you ever done it? I havent and Im making a special fucking effort not to do that shit! Its hard. Its hard because its clear to US what everyone else ought to do and nearly impossible to put ANY of it into practice for ourselves.
There is no bottom to the moral superiority spiral. ANYONE can find something about a another that makes them feel superior and that person can do the same. No one perfect in mind and action so the effort to decide what “They” are doing wrong is stupid and pointless. Every single one of us on here has done or is doing something that everyone else would find fault with. Talking tough about what someone else does is like talking about punching the moon, it doesnt mean shit in reality. The only thing that does is what you actually do.
I like internet tattoo forums a lot, I have (and continue to ) learn amazing things daily and the knowledge that is shared is priceless. however Im having to wade through more and more chest thumping, cool club bullshit to get to it and its sickening to watch a bunch of people I admire and learn from flush themselves down a toilet of self-righteous negativity. True strength is doing what you do without needing to judge what someone else is doing. its not talking tough, its being tough enough to look at the real problem, us.