This morning, I watched a clip of Rodney Dangerfield on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I miss how late night shows showcased comedians almost on a nightly basis. Nowadays, most shows end with a musical act of which I’ve usually never heard–and which often leave me confused and with little faith for the future of the music industry. But back in the day, comedians were in demand (you couldn’t throw a stick at a screen without catching a stand-up routine and a brick background), and Rodney’s style was a machine gun delivery. You barely had time to process one joke before he hit with another.
All this led me to the Tuesday trivia tidbit that (as reported in 2007) Dangerfield tattoos are among the most popular celebrity tattoos in the United States. That struck me as odd, since he passed in 2004, and he peaked in the 80s. But check him out on what appears to be a young calf.
Maybe Dangerfield was a leg man, as he appears on many of them.
Here’s another variation of the same image, with the handkerchief applied to the face (like he’s sweating mid-panic attack).
He also made an appearance on a shoulder blade in the montage with fellow funnymen Sam Kinison, Benny Hill, and W.C. Fields.
It just seems an odd choice in a world full of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean tats, to ink your body with the face of a middle-aged Jewish man, aka Jacob Cohen. Then again, no one would recognize a tattoo of this young man.
Crap Your Hands, Everybody! Everybody, Crap Your Hands! I think things were actually GAINED in translation. Hopefully, a kind stranger will inform him what a difference a letter can make on his sweater that appears to have been stitched in the style of a Quaker. But at some point, he can remove it and toss it in the Goodwill pile. This lady is not so fortunate.
This pic hails from the Hanzi Smatter blog, dedicated to the misuse of Chinese characters in western culture. The lady who owns this arm believed the Chinese symbol to mean “chi.” Maybe she identified with the idea of vitality and life force and energy. Well, it’s not chi, per that blogger. Sadly, the symbol translates to “rice.” Rice.
But not all is lost. I mean, rice is still consistent with the Asian theme. Toss it in with that eerie koi (not to be confused with Iriquois), and it might make a great meal! Maybe she could stir fry it in a mild chili sauce and fresh orange peel, like P.F. Chang’s hunan style hot fish. Yum! As Winnie the Pooh says, I feel a rumbly in my tumbly. Actually, it isn’t farfetched to be associating food service with this colorful sleeve, since the enormity of it excludes her from many upper level management jobs, save quirky ice cream and sub sandwich shops.
Should we cut her (and the thousands of others who failed to research the symbol they had permanently inked onto their skin) some slack? I mean, there ARE 50,000 characters in the Chinese language. One cannot assume that all tattoo artists are fluent, no? And P.S., simply branding your arm with symbols does not automatically induct you into the spiritually enlightened hall of fame. It doesn’t give you a rich tapestry of character and dimension. Not all Chinese people do Tai Chi and catch flies like Mr. Miyagi, philosophizing near lily pads. It doesn’t make you deep. In the case of rice-girl, it just makes her ignorant.
So what’s the flip-side? When Asian people see things written in English, do they assume it’s all trivial and frivolous? Everyone knows Americans are fun and hip because we’re constantly shouting black music. Even our President does it.
If you’ve ever made a trip to the Engrish site, you’ve seen how desperately Asian designers are in need of skilled translators. But really, why would you walk around, wearing something that makes no sense? How can you make a statement when you don’t know what the statement is?
Maybe they like America’s bold stance on immigration, so they put it on a shirt.
And who could argue that Pacino reeks of cool? Even if he commands you to say hello to the bad gay…
And check out this question for the Creator. Are you there, God? It’s me Chao-Xing.
My bet is he’s at the nearest head shop. Now this next one is complex.
First, and foremost, lollygag, unless it’s loitering in front of a 7-11. Second, repeat a random Wilson Phillips lyric. Next, the typical association of a foamy kitten and dwarf bravery, because those two go together like peanut butter and jelly. I hate to admit that dwarf bravery has NEVER shone on me. Not once.
Americans have spent so much time thinking Asian culture has the answers, but what if they think WE’RE the deep ones?
Who knew Americans had the secret of life? We had it all along! Honey Boo Boo and Mama June can testify.
Well, it is. And it’s way better than crapping your hands.