I’VE BEEN MIA AND FOR THAT I AM SORRY!
The real reason I haven’t been blogging since the new year is because when I moved into my new place, I decided not to get home Internet service because: a) I have a 1GB data plan on my smartphone that covers my immediate e-mail/social networking needs b) I knew that I was moving out in less than 12 months, and didn’t want to pay cancellation fees c) I have unlimited WIFI service on campus.
So, that just translated into me not always having access to WordPress when inspiration struck. I know they have an iPhone app, but it has mediocre ratings, and I don’t like cluttering up my phone with mediocre apps.
Also, I’ve been incredibly busy with finishing up my thesis, so….that’s happening. Let’s not get into it right now (read: STRESS!!)
But the real reason I’ve decided to pause my thesis-ing and update my blog is because I was browsing one of my favourite sites, SmartCanucks, and came across this entry. I had never heard of Rick Genest, a.k.a. Zombie Boy, before, but it intrigued me because he’s from Montreal and I love seeing a unique, local homie receive recognition for just being himself.
But then, I looked at the entry title again and it bothered me so much. “Zombie Boy: Art or Just Plain Creepy?” (emphasis added)?! Not only is it rude to suggest that someone’s body art is creepy, but to even ask if he is one or the other is just SO small-minded and essentializing. It’s like asking “Homosexuals: Flamboyant Queens or Just Plain Godforsaken Humans?” OK – that’s an extreme example. But what I’m trying to illustrate is that you can’t pinpoint an aspect of a human’s identity as just being ONE thing out of TWO choices, and we all know that homosexuality is not “either/or” of any of the stereotypes that abound about living a homosexual lifestyle – humans have a multitude of traits (whether it be regarding personality, physical, cultural, etc.) that cannot be reduced to extreme ends of a spectrum.
No doubt that Genest has taken on “Zombie Boy” as a large part of his identity, and to reductively suggest that his body art/identity is artistic or “just plain creepy” just seems so wrong to me, and it spawns such negative or flaccid responses. Responses such as: “Icky!” or “He probably did it to get noticed.” or “What will he do when he has children?” or “He’s going to regret it when he’s older.” or “What does his mom think of this?”
WHAT THE FUCK?! Does anybody see the problem of assumption in these responses, and the lack of self-awareness and self-indictment?
- First of all, “icky” is just an immature response, lacking any veritable clarity of thought to back it up and make a valid opinion.
- Don’t we ALL do things to get noticed? We put on makeup, get our hair styled, put on nice outfits, wear perfume, paint our nails, wash our cars, blog, change our phone ring tones, etc. The list doesn’t end. So who in the world has the right to accuse someone of doing something to get noticed, as if it’s “WRONG”?
- Why are we assuming that he doesn’t have children? Also, why are we assuming that he plans on having children? Why are we assuming that he is fertile and not sterile? Why are we assuming that children are frightened by nature? Fear (of difference) is taught, remember?
- It’s so rude to think that people who commit to getting tattooed are not cognizant of the fact that tattoos, for the most part (and especially at this extent and grandiose-ness), ARE PERMANENT. Of COURSE it’s going to be there when we are lucky enough to grow old. When people commit to a partner, do they know how their partner is going to look when they get old and wrinkly, and assume that they’re going to regret their commitment because they just don’t look “good” anymore (again, extreme example, but just trying to illustrate!)? On another level of analyzing that comment: do people’s love and passion for art and desire for self-expression really die off when they age? Why even commit to full body art if it’s not a true passion?
- Finally, what does it matter to us what Genest’s mother thinks of his art? Again: does he know/have a relationship with his mother? Is his mother alive? The user’s comment/question assumes (via implication) that his mother disapproves. What kind of mother abandons their love for their child just because of an image decision?
So in response to the post, I submitted this comment:
The question that’s being asked by the blogger is all wrong.
I think it’s incredibly diminutive to consider one’s self-expression as “just plain creepy” (said in a fairly derogatory manner); even to ask it is questionable as it immediately attaches a label. It’s fair to consider a horror film that is intended to evoke fear and the heebie-jeebies as creepy, and perhaps Zombie Boy’s intention is to disarm and surprise people (his Facebook page does not have any detailed info or an “about” page, so I can’t say for sure), but to say he is one or the other is so essentializing.
I understand the desire to evoke discussion and debate. It’s an important way to spark public discourse. However, it shouldn’t be initiated in such a manner that is so black and white, especially when considering the matter of human expression.
Despite it being there for a couple of hours and many others’ comments (similar to the ones I sampled above) being approved after I had submitted mine, my comment is still “awaiting moderation.”
UPDATE: My comment is no longer awaiting moderation. It has been duly moderated and deemed unsuitable for the site – it has been deleted.
For more info on Rick Genest/Zombie Boy, check out his Facebook page. Also, check him out in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” video or keep an eye out for the recent Thierry Mugler ad campaign starring Genest.