… More than 95 percent of imprisoned white British criminals are tattooed. The statistical association between tattooing and criminality is very much stronger (with the exception of that between criminality and smoking) than that with any of the more conventionally investigated factors, such as broken homes, drug addiction, low intelligence, and poor educational attainment.
Oh … and when you choose that tattoo out of a 3-ring binder of choices, or from a photo you brought with you:
… The individuality of the designs chosen for their tattoos by the middle classes is strictly relative. … It is a visual exhibition of modern superstition, the superstition of people who have strong emotions but weak minds and a very limited cultural and historical frame of reference.
And what of the claim that it is an expression of individuality:
… There is a deeper reason why such efforts at asserting one’s unique individuality are pathetically bound to fail: for true individuality does not arise from a decision to be an individual. A man who decides to be an eccentric, and therefore to behave eccentrically, is not an eccentric at all, but an actor, and usually a bad one at that. A true eccentric is a man who behaves eccentrically because it simply does not occur to him to behave otherwise.
By all means, get the tattoo if you want it. Just don’t invest the decision with moral tones, and make sure you clearly understand the signal you’re sending everyone.
Via Newmark’s Door.