Jewish World Review June 5, 2003 / 5 Sivan, 5763

Greg Crosby

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Consumer Reports

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse | I see in a recent Time Magazine blurb (May 26, 2003) that the newest thing in body mutilation is splitting your tongue in half. That's right. After doing all the obvious "speaking with forked tongue" jokes, the article went on to say that an estimated 500 to 2000 "thrill seekers and rebels" have slashed their tongues so far. Time magazine calls these self-mutilators "thrill seekers and rebels" -- I call them major idiots and serious imbeciles. Look -- a thrill seeker is Steve McQueen racing cars and motorcycles. A rebel is James Dean defying his parents by staying out all night with Natalie Wood. A person who cuts his tongue in two is a moron (actually even words like jerk, idiot, moron and imbecile are woefully inadequate).

Why do these geniuses do this? To give themselves a more "serpentine appearance," says Time Magazine. OHHH ..... Okay, now I get it. Well, that's all right then. Whew! For a minute there, I thought maybe they were doing it for A COMPLETELY TRIVIAL REASON. Glad to know that at least their motives are rock solid. It gives the term, "doing the splits" a whole new meaning.

Doctors don't approve (gee, I wonder why). But the mere fact that medical professionals have stated that there's a high risk of infection to the jaw and throat, not to mention uncontrolled bleeding, will only make this procedure more appealing to certain lame brains. You know the thinking, it's dangerous so it must be cool. In fact, tongue splitting is more dangerous than tongue piercing and evidently is very difficult to reverse. Can you see a guy going back to the tongue splitting salon?

"Yo, dude, whatshappenin'? Ya know, I had my tongue split awhile back, and well, you know the fad just didn't catch on the way I'd hoped it would, so could you, like, make it one piece again?"

According to the article, another little side benefit to slicing your tongue in half is that you've got to learn how to talk all over again. I have a hunch that a lot of the types who might go in for this probably don't speak too terribly well to begin with, so maybe it's no big loss for them.

Legislators in Illinois are considering a bill that would require tongue splitting to be performed by a medical professional. Oh, good -- although there might be a slight problem finding a medical clinic in your neighborhood that specializes in mutilation of body parts. Maybe some of Saddam's former doctors of torture would be available since they're out of work right now.

I must admit this latest "new look" caught me totally off guard. After observering our society going in for multiple tattooing and piercing of eyebrows, noses, belly buttons, lips, tongues, nipples, and other more private parts, I thought I knew exactly what was coming next. I figured the hot new thing would definitely be bones through the nose. Sure -- it's a natural. And it goes sooo well with the tattooed face thing. I really was so certain that that was coming next, I told everyone I knew, "Wait-- the next thing will be wearing a bone through your nose."

Then, after bones through the nose had run its course, I figured the really cool people would ease right into the classic Ubangi-brass-ring-in-the-lower-lip look. Why not? If the idea today is to be edgy and "in your face" then what's more "in your face" than somebody's big, red lower lip sticking out about three and a half inches? And speaking of edgy, when will the feces-in-the-hair craze catch on with the kids? If it does, let's hope it doesn't happen in the summer time, at least. And finally, the last big look before we all turn back into amoebas, will have to be the multiple layers of rings around the neck deal. Also Ubangi in origin, I think.

You remember what that is, don't you? Remember those photos in old National Geographic magazines of African tribesmen walking around with about fourteen brass rings around their necks? They started attaching the rings as babies and I think they added a new ring every year or so until their necks got really long and skinny. That went on until they got married or their necks broke off. Maybe it was only the girls that did that -- I'm not sure. It sounds like some goofy woman thing.

One thing's for sure -- no matter what we may think is coming up next on the fashion scene, it will actually be worse than we can ever imagine. I never would have guessed split tongues in a million years, but there it is. Who knows, maybe they'll start jamming ice picks through their necks like those Hindu fakirs who also sleep on beds of nails. You never can tell. Kinda makes you nostalgic for saddle shoes, ankle bracelets, poodle skirts and Beatle haircuts.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2001 Greg Crosby