Fuck you

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 07.57.38These words, writes Dalrymple, are

the chief motto of British service industries.

They are also chosen, he points out, by

a surprisingly large number of auto-tattooists for the exercise of their dermatographical art.

He recalls a patient who

had the two words tattooed in mirror writing upon his forehead, no doubt that he might read them in the bathroom mirror every morning and be reminded of the vanity of earthly concerns.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 07.49.36The seemingly minor social phenomenon of tattooing affords us, says Dalrymple,

a little glimpse into the Hobbesian moral world inhabited by a section of the population with whom we normally have little contact: they actually want to be considered psychopathic.

A considerable number of the auto-tattooed inject themselves with swastikas. At first Dalrymple thought this was

profoundly nasty, a reflection of their political beliefs.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 08.08.54But in his alarm he had failed to take into consideration the fathomless historical ignorance of those who do such things to themselves.

People who believe (as one of my recent patients did) that the Second World War started in 1918 and ended in 1960—a better approximation to the true dates than some I have heard—are unlikely to know what exactly the Nazis and their emblem stood for, beyond the everyday brutality with which they are familiar, and which they admire and aspire to.

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