Thursday, January 8, 2009

Jew-Skin Lampshade

For ten years, since the death of the first Family Dog, Family Dog's collar has been lying gently in a place of honour on my parents' mantlepiece. It's much harder, I realised, to create that sort of touching monument to a person. People don't wear collars.

At a recent funeral for a dearly-loved friend, I couldn't help but grieve for his tattoos as well as the body they were about to cremate. He had some fantastic ink, and, I caught myself wondering somewhat perversely whether they might not be worth keeping. It seemed like such a waste. My friend's tattoos were the only parts of him which he had created himself, and chosen to present to the world. It seemed like we were going to burn a piece of his mind along with his body.

Perhaps it was the grief, or perhaps it was mainly the booze we had thickly laid on as a salve to that grief, but a few days later, I found myself slurring some particularly politically-incorrect sentiments at a family gathering.

"I want you to preserve my tattoo after I die."

The silence was tangible. My mother snorted and attempted to pass off my comment as a joke.

"No, I'm serious. When I die, I want you to cut it off my back, have it stretched and preserved like leather. You could mount it and hang it."

"Can you do that to human skin?" Clever Little Sister asked, her gore-hound glands pricking.

"Course you can. The Nazis did it heaps. Made collectibles. Couches, books, lampshades. That sort of thing. Apparently it was quite a thing to show your guest a Jew-skin lampshade."

This was probably a cruel topic to bring up. One side of my family were refugees from the Holocaust. I can see my mother's face growing whiter as she realises I'm serious. Wine-fuelled, I garble on, providing my own momentum.

"Come on Mum. I'm a Jew. Sort of. You could show all your friends your Jew-Skin artwork."

I don't know why, but I was being deliberately cruel. Maybe it comes down to being in grief and shock. I was the only person at the gathering who knew the deceased. It can be self-indulgently fun to act the part of the ennui-ridden nihilist at a time like that. But, at the same time, I actually believed what I was saying. I believe in organ donation - based on the logic that I won't need my organs after death. I don't believe in an afterlife, so I won't be needing my tattoos there. Wouldn't my family want to keep the best part of my skin, indelibly printed with something that came from my heart and mind?

My mother's face answers that one for me. She looks shocked, and more than a little nauseated. Her lips have twisted around as though she sucked something sour. I can see her picturing a patch of my dead, dried leather mounted in a little frame between her prints of cherubs and French maisons. Skin that she carried around inside of her for months. A piece of her, on the wall.

The idea of saving my ink still appeals to me, but I'll keep it to myself next time.

Would you preserve your tattoos (or someone else's) after death?


  1. Hater but Gem, I'll keep those tattoos. But yes, it would be weird! ;)

  2. Ooo yeah, i can think of several i would like to make shoes out of ,or a nice flight jacket , or ammo pouches. To think of it , i have had a few x's that would go nice glued around the gauges of my big rig old yeller. i have a wonderful imagination for that sort of thing. when those s.o.b's are dead thats all they would be good for, come to think of it, thats all they ever were good for.Hitler could see all this coming, and we went to over throw him.....

  3. The truth is that Hitler was only the third-worst monster of the 20th Century, behind Stalin (worst) and Mao (second-worst)! Even at third-worst, though, he was STILL a monster, I won't dispute that! Another little-known truth is that "Nazi" is just a shortened version of the real name of one of many related poisonous ideologies, National SOCIALISM! All varieties of Socialism are evil ideologies wherein the falsified notion of the "public good" is used as "justification" for all manner of unspeakable atrocities to be committed by a centralized authoritarian State. It really IS that simple.

  4. Where does Pol Pot fit into your rankings? I would argue that any form of government from monarchist to socialist regimes can be twisted into an authoritarian nightmare.

  5. Pol Pot ranks in the five worst, certainly. I based my rankings on the number murdered by each regime.

    Yes, almost any form of government can be twisted into an authoritarian nightmare. I definitely agree. It has been happening gradually here in America since Woodrow Wilson enslaved the whole country to a ruthless counterfeiting gang (privately-owned centralized banking cartel) calling itself "Federal Reserve" in 1913. FDR was our first would-be Communist dictator, offering "New Deal" tax slavery as the "solution" to saving the Middle Class after the Great Depression was manufactured on Hoover's watch. JFK almost succeeded in ridding us of that counterfeiting gang, until they had him "whacked" in 1963 while George Bush Sr. ordered his Secret Service detail to step away from the limousine. LBJ declared war on small businesses in Downtowns everywhere, calling it the "war on poverty" while shopping malls popped up like weeds in the countryside. Nixon destroyed industry here, exporting our best jobs to Asia, by creating the EPA with its runaway job-killing regulations which only force industries overseas to Second-World (Communist) and Third-World (uncivilized) countries where NO laws to "protect the environment" exist and where the greedy bankers who got most of the businesses cheap in foreclosures and bankruptcies can pollute more than Americans would have ever tolerated here without massive picketing and boycotts. Later, there was Bush I and Gulf War I, Slick Willie who allowed the SPLC to recruit McVeigh to bomb the Murrah Building in order to justify MORE gun bans, Bush II who stood by and let 9/11 happen (there's WAY more to it than that) to "justify" Gulf War II as the "new Pearl Harbor" suggested by PNAC in 2000. Now, we have Obama with government buy-outs (called "bailouts" as a distraction) after Bush II's manufactured "economic crisis" laid the economy to waste. Ultimately, we'll end up just another Communist country where the "government" owns everything, and just like ALL socialist "public ownership" BS, the "government" will own everything IN NAME ONLY as about 300 filthy-rich bankers who own the MORTGAGE on our National Debt will be the REAL owners. It's like Robin Hood in reverse ... rob from EVERYONE to give to the ALREADY FILTHY RICH!

  6. Depressingly enough, I have to agree with the last statement you made here... not sure I agree that old FDR quite fits the bill of a communist dictator, though.

  7. FDR, elected in 1932 during the Depression, made himself "President for Life" and used crisis situations (Depression and War) to frighten voters into re-electing him in 1936, 1940, and 1944. All provisions of the New Deal represented de-facto tax slavery for the Middle Class, while Social Security was nothing more than a massive Ponzi scheme. Some incentives for the private sector to offer Retirement, Disability, and Medical insurance coverage and an absolute code of ethics to keep the insurance industry HONEST and its products ACCESSIBLE would have been the RIGHT way to fix the problem, but he owed his position as President to the big-money special-interests who funded his campaigns, so the RIGHT idea wasn't going to be offered by him. The RIGHT idea was against his backers' interests.

    Expanding on that last statement about Robin Hood in reverse, BOTH political parties have been "bought and paid for" by a few hundred filthy-rich people who already own almost everything of value on this planet, but it's the "almost" that REALLY pisses them off. They want it ALL and don't give a damn how many millions they have to kill to get it ALL! While Repuglicans and Democraps hand the brainwashed sheeple whatever lies their Party bosses tell them to dispense, it's never the voters' interests that get represented to the other politicians in Washington DC like it's SUPPOSED to be! What REALLY happens is that career politicians like Ted Kennedy and Bob Graham (OK, Kennedy's dead now, but Graham is still a career politician, as was Kennedy for over 40 years) spout Party platforms that appear to be "polar opposites" while just pushing two different sides of the same counterfeit coin of "career politics" whereby the opposite of their REAL duty to the voters is done. Politicians go to Washington DC to learn how to (mis)represent what their Party bosses want as being "good" for their constituents in their "home" districts (and con the voters into re-electing them to multiple consecutive terms). The only "free choice" we have in our Two-Party System elections is a choice between whatever two CRUMMY options the Party bosses on each side have already hand-picked for us. As one of my favorite talk radio guys (forced off the air by powerful enemies he made by telling the truth) said, "The problem with the Two Party System is that only one party at a time ever loses." The late, great, George Carlin hit the nail on the head in THIS clip (family-friendly edit version)

  8. Regarding the "career politicians" I mistakenly typed "Bob" as the first name of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina (who replaced "career politician" Strom Thurmond after his retirement as South Carolina's apparent NEXT career Senator). Apologies for the "brain fart" in typing that part of my comment.

  9. In a prior comment, I stated that Hitler held approximately third place among the most murderous Socialist dictators of the Twentieth Century. In some countries, questioning whether any other dictator might actually have been guilty of more murders than Hitler or questioning the accuracy of the number of murders for which Hitler’s regime was actually to blame is punishable as a criminal act.

    Did you know there are real Jews who love and respect God, but there are also many who call themselves "Jews" while hating God and doing everything possible to undermine His Will and discredit His Word? I use the term "false 'Jews'" to describe these people who are basically IDENTITY THIEVES since they have STOLEN THE IDENTITY of the Jewish people for political and financial gain.

    The true Jews are ONE of the Twelve Tribes who are true Israelites in the Biblical context. The false "Jews" claim that they themselves are ALL TWELVE Tribes and that no one but they themselves are worthy of God's Kingdom. They regard all who are not of their false "Jewish" lineage as subhuman. That is a blatant lie. These people are so overtly RACIST that they make the KKK seem "inclusive" by comparison!

  10. I've just deleted the last few comments that you submitted, Anonymous. I don't want to be censorious, but I'm not publishing material which is that close to denying the Holocaust.
    Thanks for posting.

  11. Whats all this s#!+ got to do with preserving tattos after death? I was thinking abou tthis same thing a few months ago and it just now reoccured to me so I started searching. There are actually a number of discussions around the web on this topic. Personally I think its a very interesting idea and one that will probably become common practice quicker than anyone thinks.

  12. The nazis never made lampshades or anything else out of human skin.All the things said about the Germans like that were lies.The lamps they found were later determined to be made of goat skin.There was in fact a factory near one of the death camps that made the goat skin products like lamp shades and book covers. The media even fabricated storys about human soap being made.Anyone who knows anything about the German culture of the WWII erra would know that one of the reasons the Germans took issue with Jews was because of there methods and uses of animals was throught to be unclean and cruel. What the Germans did to them was murder ,or torchure.But they did not want anything to do with them after they were dead.They wanted to get rid of them ,after death,as quickly as possible........Peace

  13. I'm seriously considering getting a tattoo, a poem of my favorite poet (Edith Sodergran), and apparently as a "gore-hound" myself have already decided to get cremated, but as I get closer to having the tattoo, I've started to consider having that patch of my skin preserved. I like the sentiments the writer expresses about a leathered tattoo as a piece of mind preserved since a tattoo is a (hopefully) conscientiously made decision. I also think about the past cultures that have gotten tattoos, and how little we know about them since the skin is one of the first things to decompose. I'd considered before getting a tattoo with some kind of Celtic or Viking sign honoring my Irish/Swedish ancestry, but it is impossible to know the exact meaning and designs of such body artwork, since it was not recorded.

    I guess I didn't think of the time before historical significance when someone would have to hang on to my carcass. Still, is it any less bizarre than an urn or putting a body in the ground? It's certainly a space-saver, at the very least.

    The Holocaust-denying comments were removed by the time I got here, but I can say to May 30 Anonymous that he/she is at least a little inaccurate. I don't know about the skin of Jewish victims being preserved as decor, except that it was referenced in "Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath. I can tell you that the prisoners of concentration camps would have their heads shaved when they first arrived, and there are many sources that can prove that the concentration camps sent that hair out to be made into mattress stuffing. Also, the guards inspected the victims for valuables, saving eyeglasses frames (often made of silver or gold in that time period, since it is sturdy yet malleable) and even tooth fillings (also silver and gold). Unless I am mistaken, I believe that this was a point at the Nuremberg trials; when some of the SS tried to deny their culpability in their war crimes, the prosecutors asked, "How often did you melt down other people's gold tooth fillings before you operated death camps?" or something similar to that. So at the very least, the operators of the concentration camps and rulemakers at the time didn't let squeamishness override their mercenary interest in their 6-7 million (yes, Holocaust-deniers, MILLIONS) of victims.

  14. I'm currently researching human taxidermy or at least human skin preservation.
    I have several tattoos that I would like preserved after my passing. Luckily, I have to religion to confuse the matter. I'm trying to find if tere are any laws prohibiting a coroner or taxidermist from cutting off a section of skin and tanning it for framing.
    We live in a retarded society in America and let too many opinions become laws. I really hope this is legal in some way...

  15. Oy, Deny zee holocaust?

    Vat you say ?