Response for August 4
7/30/2014 10:55:37 am
Emily VanLeuvan-Reflections on Readings for August 4, 2014
7/31/2014 12:48:23 pm
As someone who highly enjoys tattoos and piercings, there were a number of ideas in Phebe Shih Chao’s Tattoo and Piercing that piqued my interest. For example, the idea that tattoos and piercings are most often associated with one another seems rather accurate. Chao writes, “Tattoo and piercing often blend into one entity, one category, in public perception. Both require the skin to be pierced, though in varying degrees. Both are ways of decorating/transforming the body. The fact that ‘tattoo parlor’ is the generic term for a place where tattooing and piercing take place also helps us think of the two as parts of the same phenomenon” (328). Personally, I have found this to be quite true. Most tattoo shops I have visited also contain a piercing room/section, and if they did not, they at least sold body jewelry for a plethora of piercings. Given the many similarities between them, it is only sensible that we relate the two arts.
8/1/2014 11:49:46 pm
Both Page du Bois’ chapter, “The Tattoos of Epimenides,” from Out of Athens, and Phebe Shih Chao’s “Tattoo and Piercing’ Reflections on Mortification” from Rhetorics of Display offer a new twist to the classic idiom, “Wearing your heart on your sleeve.” I intend the pun lightly and with tongue in cheek, given the topic of tattoos and the term “sleeve’ a tattoo or collection of thematic tattoos covering an arm from wrist to shoulder. In the case of Epimenides after his death, legend has it that his poems “emerged from inside the body to take up residence on the outside.” If pared down to the simplest of plausible definitions of poetry, it can be said that poetry serves to express the emotions of the poet, regarding topics of import, perhaps plaguing the soul, to evoke responses of the emotional nature. In terms of the meaning of the idiom, “Wear your heart on your sleeve,” indicates the individual displays their emotions, or their “secret things” hiding below the surface of the “border zone” of the skin. Continuing with the premise that “the skin, the border zone between the bounded self and the social world” as Benson is quoted as an introduction to Chao’s exploration of the meaning of tattoos, the phenomenon of the current tattoo trends, and the associative mortification quality of tattoos, the skin may ‘protect’ and ‘conceal.’ This border zone, or protective “Epimenidian skin” hiding or revealing, “secret things’ is used, as a canvas by those who choose to be tattooed, displays “the bearer’s identity,” which can only be understood as the emotions and beliefs of the poet tattoo bearer.
8/2/2014 04:27:10 am
With the article “Rhetoric on Display” by Larence J. Prelli, I found the writer to make many assumptions in regards to the reasons behind why people get tattoos/piercings that just simply aren’t true; you can’t generalize a group of people just because they share a way of expressing art on their body. I personally have a tattoo, but it is hidden. As Prelli describes, “Tattoos and piercings must be acquired, and they are meant to be seen, if not by all, at least by someone” (338). While my tattoo remains hidden most of the time, I do have many piercings that are out in the open. Prelli explains how tattoos and piercings lead to a new identity. While I do agree that this is the case for some, it is not the case for all. I especially do not agree that people acquire these aspects of body art as “symbolic acts that expiate hierarchical guilt through purifying acts of mortification” (328). Specifically, in terms of the connection between people in prison acquiring tattoos as an attempt to “wish to purify himself” (330). I find myself watching a lot of late night prison shows when I can’t sleep and many of the tattoos people get in prison are not a way to purify their soul, but rather to make themselves appear intimidating, such as getting tear drops for the number of people they have killed, or affiliating themselves with a gang or racist group. While it may be true that some use tattoos to seek redemption, I do not feel that this generalization can be accurately made for all. For myself, I got my tattoo because I was eighteen; not much thought was put into it, and while I do not regret it, I wish I had waited to get something more symbolic.
8/4/2014 01:07:50 am
I found this week’s readings very interesting. They all dealt with the idea of marking the body in some way. Throughout this course, I’ve been intrigued by the discussion of the rhetorical significance of the human body. In Jay Dolmage’s “Metis, Metis, Mestiza, Medusa: Rhetorical Bodies across Rhetorical Traditions” I was interesting in the idea that in Greek mythology, Metis was literally the embodiment of wisdom. Andalzua is quoted in this piece: “For images, words, stories to have transformative power, they must arise from the human body – flesh and bone” (12). The reason that we, as readers, relate to stories, to literature, is because we can relate to the feelings, both emotional and physical, of the subjects. In this way, the body can contain, or represent, stories. The stories contained in Metis’ body, her wisdom and cunning, are too valuable and threatening to Zeus. He eats her and therefore gains her wisdom, illustrating that she literally “embodies” wisdom. Her wisdom is now in Zeus’s head, but it is his wisdom because it is now in his body.
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