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Cohen Waxes Cranky on Tattoos, Kids These Days


Tattooed betches*, meet Richard Cohen.  Richard Cohen is a columnist for the Washington Post.  Richard Cohen called y'all (and me!) "ink-stained wretches" yesterday.

Yep, he sure did.  Adjusting his monocle, Richard grumbled:

Tattoos are the emblems of our age. They bristle from the biceps of men in summer shirts, from the lower backs of women as they ascend stairs, from the shoulders of basketball players as they drive toward the basket, and from every inch of certain celebrities. The tattoo is the battle flag of today in its war with tomorrow. It is carried by sure losers.

"Sure losers?"  Izzatso?  And this is in the war with tomorrow, right?  We're losing that one?  Because of our tattoos?  Which bazillions of us have?  INTERESTING.  First of all, I wasn't aware of any war with tomorrow being waged by "younger Americans," as Richard Cohen identifies the 26-40 crowd.  I was aware that members of a certain generation fucked us politically, economically, and ecologically, though, and that they like to try to distract us by getting all in our grills about our ink-stained wretchedness, the vulgarity of our music, and the sagitude of our dungarees, though.  Perhaps Cohen thinks he'll fool us out of a war on yesterday.

Oh, but he has an answer to that, kind of:

The permanence of the moment -- the conviction that now is forever -- explains what has happened to the American economy. We are, as a people, deeply in debt. We are, as a nation, deeply in debt. The average American household owes more than its yearly income. We save almost nothing (0.4 percent of disposable income) and spend almost everything (99.6 percent of disposable income) in the hope that tomorrow will be a lot like today. We bought homes we could not afford and took out mortgages we could not pay and whipped out the plastic on everything else. Debts would be due in the future, but, with any luck, the future would remain in the future.

Oh fucking really, Richard?  Is that your explanation in its entirety for "what has happened" to the American economy?  Never mind dropping wage floors, MASSIVE military spending, and the disappearance of the manufacturing sector... if we flaky Gen-Xers would just stop trying to make the moment permanent with our wretched ink, we wouldn't have a mortgage crisis brought to us by CEOs twice our age!  WHAT WERE WE THINKING.

Plus, our tattoos are gross, anyway:

But the tattoos of today are not minor affairs or miniatures placed on the body where only an intimate or an internist would see them. Today's are gargantuan, inevitably tacky, gauche and ugly. They bear little relationship to the skin that they're on. They don't represent an indelible experience or membership in some sort of group but an assertion that today's whim will be tomorrow's joy. After all, a tattoo cannot be easily removed. It takes a laser -- and some cash.

Well, Dick, allow me to allay a little of your moral hysteria, here.  I will never lay out cash for laser treatment to remove my tattoos.  And my ZOMG gargantuan back tattoo, which I don't give a flying frog's ass if you think is tacky, gauche, and ugly, does in fact bear quite a lot of relationship to the skin it's on.  It's an assertion that today's strongly held belief in the wisdom of the words of a brilliant philosopher will be tomorrow's joy.  What will ultimately become of the "xFuck Grumpy Old WaPo Columnistsx" I just got on my bicep remains to be seen.

*Betches: meet me in the forums to show off our wretched ink!

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My goodness, Mr. Cohen, is someone cranky today??? I, too, will nevah laser off my beloved ink, and am now considering adding to my copious back piece with the emblem "Suck it, Cohen!"


I read that diatribe against Cohen and felt a sense of solidarity with my fellow gen Xers. I felt like a rebel and that I should shake my fist in tandem with the beat of Skid Row's Youth Gone Wild. I felt like it
was time to speak out against the oppressive by yelling, "It's my life! And I'll live it how I want".
And then I remembered I don't have a tattoo. And I am an oppressive parent with a teen aged daughter. And then my mental rock n' roll soundtrack went silent. Then slowly and oh so quietly, I heard the strains of a new song. A song that describes my life as it is now. The beat got stronger and then I heard the lyrics of the chorus,

Bruce Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she's uncool
Cuz she's still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985


Wow. I'm 41, so I guess my tatoo and I are safe from idiot's diatribe, as I'm no longer a "younger American" and all?....


So the initals and birth/death years of my husband are TACKY???? So is this gesture I'm making at my computer screen.

But, ok, I will admit, the yellow rose on my big toe 15 years ago ... that could look better.


OK, things like this want me to GET a tattoo.
I haven't because I don't need the grief from my mom, plus I don't have any one thing I like that much, yet.

He's clueless on this one, I'm afraid. I'd like to see him in Hampden (Baltimore) sometime!


I wanted a tattoo for a long time, but my husband always told me that if I came home with a tattoo, it better be to pack my bags. Maybe he knows Mr Cohen?

When the marriage ended, the first thing I did as a single woman was walk in to a tattoo studio and plunk down my cash. I am not tacky. I do not owe anyone more than I make in a year. And while it could be considered a battle flag, it isn't in my "war with tomorrow", it's in my war with the past. And I WON, betch.

Jenny H.

What an ass. And this man considers himself a jounalist. What a joke. I mean really. There isn't enough going on in the world around us? An article on TATTOOS?

I have five tattoos. Most of them are hidden. The only one you can really see is the dragon on the back of my neck. It is my favorite. All of my tattoos carry meaning for me. Just like the next one(s) I get will.

A mother's knot, to celebrate my children.

Think that's meaningful enough for ya?


Oh... so people with tattoos are the losers. I'm so glad he cleared that up. And here I always thought losers were pseudo intellectuals with beards and Harry Potter glasses...

Taylor Blue

I love it when people love to attack other people with tattoos...I have five...and I am in the process of getting a half arm sleeve. They are not tacky. I was just told the other day that I was trash because I had tattoos and then told in the next breath that my wrist tattoo was classy? I think people need to get rid of the stereotype of the tattoo. Everyone is so uptight...relax...get a tattoo...it will all be better in the morning.

Okay, rant over...

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