Sorry to bait you in this way but Donald Trump can’t possibly have any tattoos, and in a moment you’ll see why. This post is an explanation of this crazy two- decades old cultural phenomenon of skyrocketing tattoo use in America and you have to understand the hidden emotional drivers behind it.
First, think back to a saner time in America, pre-1960s say, when the only place you would have seen tattoos was on sailors and criminal convicts. A tattoo was a rare sight back then. And then in the early 1990s the heroin addled rock band Nirvana made a music video of nubile dancing teenage high school cheerleaders covered with elaborate tattoos undulating to the accompaniment of Nirvana’s hit song “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Indulgence in tattooing mushroomed almost overnight, especially by young women with all their stupid ankle and shoulder and lower back (tramp stamp) tattoos, etc. What the hell happened?
Going back to the sailors and convicts, they’ve been getting tattooed for generations. What do sailors and convicts have in common? The lives they lead are much more subject to the whims of fate, to caprice and chance, or to the authority of social superiors, than the average person. Sailors are subject to the capricious and overpowering sea where they can be swamped and lose their lives in an eyeblink and convicts are locked up in prison and have no control over their lives. The common denominator among the afficionados of tattoos has thus been historically this: that, as persons, they have, or feel they have, very little control over their lives.
The ancient Romans, for as long as they could feel themselves a part of their historical tradition of being the masters of a republic or empire, eschewed tattooing and considered it the lower cultural expression of the barbarians on the fringes of empire. Once Roman civilization began to decay and deteriorate, however, the fashion of tattooing, like the barbarians, became all the rage. The barbarians, as all primitive peoples the world over who have had very little civilization, and felt overwhelmed by the forces, both natural and man-made emanating from superior civilizations, have turned to tattooing and other body modification as a magical means to try to get a grip on all those strange and incomprehensible goings-on around them.
So that’s what body art and tattooing are all about. It’s a primitive psychological mechanism for diminishing the fear and anxiety generated by all the incomprehensibility of the world around the individual and the primitive society and this is accomplished by the use of the ‘sympathetic magic’ of making or drawing pictures of parts of the world on the body. Or, as in pre-historic Neolithic art, on cave walls as in the famous caves of Lascaux, France, etc.
Today it has been, until recently, only the members of subcultures, like bikers and sailors and soldier grunts, etc., who have been fanciers of tattoos, because those people live precariously (bikers and sailors and soldiers can be killed at any moment). And witches and warlocks with their tattooed pentagrams and other pseudo-religious arcana are perfect examples of the ‘sympathetic magical’ thinking of their pre-rational or irrational minds.
So tattooing and piercing and all that stuff is a reversion to a more primitive, simpler, pre-rational state of mind and civilization. Is it any wonder that post-modern-day human beings, like young people in America starting in the 1990s, feeling overwhelmed by the explosive growth of incomprehensible technologies and global economic and social forces around them, turned to tattoos as a safety valve for relieving mounting subconscious anxieties? And teenage girls and young women especially, confused and overwhelmed by incessant overpowering pornographic and sexual imagery inundating them 24/7, began fancying tattoos more and more as something cool and stress-relieving, without even knowing their own basic motivations.
So we come back to the Donald. You can bet he doesn’t have any tattoos. A bullying billionaire of his stripe doesn’t NEED the dubious psychological comfort of body modification or tattoos. If he’s feeling a bit antsy he can always indulge in the blood libel of Megyn Kelly instead (wink).