Living Up to a Biblical Name

|

There's a great post up over at Modblog (the go-to site for the newest exploits in the realm of body modification), about a Colombian bod-modder named Cain, who wanted to look more like the devil:

My friend Cain from Bogota, Colombia, was waiting a long time to modify his physical appearance. So last year, I took a trip to Bogota and saw, when I met Cain, he had a very hard, rough appearance; even with no modifications, he impressed me. He told me he wanted to look more evil, you know, like the devil itself, and to pay tribute to the name Cain.

I started by giving him silicone horns, and had to take a few trips there for make them bigger — our goal is 2-inch horns, and to eventually add another set of 1.5-inch horns, manufactured by Steve Haworth. Cain was really happy with the work I did and wanted to go to the next step: making his nose like the bad guy from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Lord Voldemort, but with a very personal touch.

When I came home to Caracas, my big friend Cesar Gonzalez (a plastic surgeon, specialized in nose reconstruction) and I had a very long conversation about Cain's situation. When I went back to Colombia for a tattoo convention, I did the procedure on him — he was more than pleased, and very soon you will see the result. I want to give thanks to BME, and a special thanks to Lukas Zpira for helping me a long time ago to make my first step into the modification world.

Cain's drastic refiguring is interesting for two reasons (both of which transcend the shock/disgust factor): For one, it's difficult to convince plastic surgeons in the U.S. to conduct non-cosmetic surgeries, yet, in most states, it's illegal to pay someone without a medical license to do anything more "extreme" than a simple ear piercing or tattoo. In Florida—a territory more liberal than most with regards to guns and booze—it's illegal to have your ears or nose scalpeled or punched, or any other part of your body scarred or branded.

The end results of these laws—which often serve to enforce the mainstream medical community's views on appropriateness, as well as fatten the pockets of AMA ABPS-licensed certified plastic surgeons—is that people interested in the procedures end up either feeding another state's—or country's—economy (several scarification studios in Austin, TX., have a months-long waiting list), or getting back-alley procedures. In the former case, states that prohibit "risky procedures" lose revenue and earn resentment, but in the latter case, artists and their patrons are forced to behave like criminals. One Florida artist I spoke with said that for years, he conducted scarification procedures in hotel rooms, using a portable surgical kit and painting plastic. He moved to a more sterile environment when he started a tattoo and piercing shop, doing scar work on Sundays and after hours—evidence that legislation aimed at stopping risky procedures hampers the trade more than anything.

And reason number two almost speaks for itself, but I still feel compelled to ask, How are triple M boobs more justifiable, from a cosmetic surgery perspective, than an untraditional nose reconstruction?

Advertisement

NEXT: Putin's Naked Ambition

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I just had to go and explore modblog. I guess you can not un-see things huh?

  2. Mike Riggs = our resident blogger on today’s most pressing tattoo-related issues….

    on “cain”…

    will anyone be surprised when this guy gets shot to death after startling someone?

    And would you really blame the shooter?

    Fuck, even a staunch atheist would unload a clip into the guys face *just in case*. Most people have seen enough zombie movies to think, “better safe than sorry”.

  3. I’m sorry, Jeff, I should have warned you. Welcome to the underworld!

  4. Will…not…look.
    Hate…throwing…up.

    The taste, the taste.

  5. Some people out there really need some intense psychotherapy.

  6. Thanks for NOT posting a picture! Chalk me in the “disgust” column.

    I couldn’t resist the triple-Ms though. Actually, I *can* resist those things.

  7. That fella just needs him some Jesus. Because I personally want to see him walking around Heaven, weirdin out the squares.

  8. I seem to look a lot like the devil to tripping people. I’d like to think that people think of me more as a sort of tanned Ruthven than as a ravening beast.

    I remember going to a party held in the direct aftermath of a Dead show and later being told that some girl completely flipped out because she was convinced I was the Devil himself- I remembered her hiding behind stuff, actually, but I just thought she was flipping. Well, I guess she was, but I didn’t realize that I was the but-for cause.

    I’m not sure if I should take it as an insult or a compliment. My family was in Asia for a couple of generations and I certainly look a bit Asiatic (Zoolander would die for my cheekbones, though not for my potato of a nose). I’ve always wondered if this devil thing is all because of European depictions of the devil as a Mongol, and my slight resemblance to Mongols.

    Anyway, as a devilish fellow, I can’t say that I understand why someone would go to the trouble of plastic surgery to achieve the effect. It’s not worth it, man ;). Chicks hide from you at parties.

  9. “as well as fatten the pockets of AMA-licensed plastic surgeons”

    huh?

    AMA-licensed?

  10. VM is correct: The AMA doesn’t license plastic surgeons, or any other kind of physician for that matter.

  11. Nor does the ABA license lawyers, or, for that matter, bankers.

  12. “Some people out there really need some intense psychotherapy.”

    No… in need of easier access to irreversible medical proceedures apparently.

    “The end results of these laws-which often serve to enforce the mainstream medical community’s views on appropriateness…”

    This would suggest you’re barking up the wrong tree then, if you know the law isn’t what’s stopping this. Is it a better result if there’s no law and doctors just say “fuck off you freak” instead, based on these same views, while refusing to perform unnecessary mutilations of people’s faces as is their right ?

    Quid Pro Quo (2008) is an interesting movie covering this topic. Maybe there’s a libertarian view on whether fetishists seeking amputation of perfectly good limbs should have access to a saw-doctor as opposed to a head-doctor.

  13. when it comes down to it, making yourself look like the devil isn’t much different than other cosmetic surgeries, except this is both extreme and not the usual attempt to make someone – generally a woman – look younger. (or like a life flotation device.)

  14. a) is performing these “modifications” actually doing a disservice to the patient? Remember, a doctor’s motto is “do no harm.” Perhaps these people actually need psychological treatment and not body modification.

    b) @ reasonoids: i explored the bme site a few months ago out of morbid curiosity. for your sake, don’t make the same mistake i did. as jeff said, some things can not be unseen or easily forgotten.

  15. In Florida-a territory more liberal than most with regards to guns and booze-it’s illegal to have your ears or nose scalpeled . . .

    You can’t get a nose job in Florida?

    fatten the pockets of AMA ABPS-licensed plastic surgeons

    Nor does the ABPS license plastic surgeons. Only states license physicians. The ABPS does board certification of plastic surgeons. Hang in there, Mike, you’ll get it.

  16. Perhaps these people actually need psychological treatment and not body modification.

    maybe the body modification is psychological treatment?

  17. Okay, for all of you “he needed therapy/jesus” folks out there (brotherben excluded); tell me what’s the difference between a set of diamond studs and a 1/2″ tunnel? What about a tramp stamp vs. Enigma? How does the underlying principal change with degree or rarity of the occurrence? Is a MMM enlargement extreme? I think so. Is it fundamentally different than an enlargement from an A to a D? I think not. A desire to look different than you currently do is the driving force behind all body modifications, mild to wild.

    Regardless, from a libertarian point of view making such modifications illegal to obtain is just another ridiculous overreach by the government.

  18. I bet this guy is already whining about how unfair it is that no one will hire him. Sure, go mod your bod all you want, but don’t come crying when the repercussions of your “individuality” bite you hard on the ass.

  19. That’s some effed-up shit, right there.

    I can’t wait until the 2030s, when there are a bunch of geriatric self-mutilators running around. They’ll probably be demanding my tax dollars for restorative surgery. Assuming that Uncle Sam hasn’t already completely vacuumed out my wallet by then.

  20. Some people out there really need some intense psychotherapy.

    No shit.

    Okay, for all of you “he needed therapy/jesus” folks out there (brotherben excluded); tell me what’s the difference between a set of diamond studs and a 1/2″ tunnel? What about a tramp stamp vs. Enigma?

    jesus aside, it’s a matter of scale. By the same logic, what’s the difference between a shotgun and a nuclear missile?

    Is a MMM enlargement extreme? I think so.

    I would agree.

    Is it fundamentally different than an enlargement from an A to a D? I think not

    I would disagree. Going from an A to a D takes one from one side of the “normal” human variation to the other. Going to an MMM is way beyond the “normal” human variation. The goal of most mainline PS, beyond the honorable work of restoring damage due to various causes, is to approach the idealized human form. The goal of this is, well, not that, it’s designed for some reason to attract attention in a “Look at me! I’m a freak!” kind of way. I wonder what happens when these people grow up and decide to be adults?

    This is far different than a tribal initiation, trying to equate it is bullshit, btw. Not that kwix said that, but I can imagine that coming from some direction.

    maybe the body modification is psychological treatment?

    Maybe. I would hope that there would be a somewhat less damaging way to accomplish it.

  21. The above said, people can do what they want if they’re legally adults, even if they don’t act like it. Qualify that as some other people said, I don’t want to be paying bills due to the subsequent failure of his “body modifications”.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.