David Brooks, self-professed high school nerd, is snickering at people who have tattoos:
And that’s the most delightful thing about the whole tattoo fad. A cadre of fashion-forward types thought they were doing something to separate themselves from the vanilla middle classes but are now discovering that the signs etched into their skins are absolutely mainstream. They are at the beach looking across the acres of similar markings and learning there is nothing more conformist than displays of individuality, nothing more risk-free than rebellion, nothing more conservative than youth culture.The thing is, I know a number of people who have tattoos, and while their reasons vary (ranging from "I was drunk on my 21st birthday, and my friends..." to "It symbolizes my struggle with cancer") I can't recall a one who argues, "I wanted to separate myself from the likes of David Brooks and his vanilla (upper) middle class values," or "I am trying to be a nonconformist". I'm not excluding the fact that there are those who would get tattoos with the purpose of shocking the likes of David Brooks, but they're not in my social circle, and that's something different from rejecting middle class values.
To the extent that Brooks is arguing that something once considered outside the mainstream has become pretty much a part of the mainstream, well, sure. But he seems to be a couple of decades behind-the-times in figuring this out.