While America’s body-modification subculture – featuring tattooing and piercing over virtually all parts of the body – continues to spread, at least one major body-mod professional has called it quits after reading “The Marketing of Evil” – the controversial bestseller by David Kupelian.

Saying the message in Chapter 3 – titled “Killer Culture: Who’s Selling Sex and Rebellion to Your Children?” – “was the inspiration” for his desire not only to change but to “try and spread what I agree to be a magnificent message you put forth,” he wrote this letter to Kupelian. (His name has been withheld for privacy reasons):

I was forwarded your article [“The Marketing of Evil,” Chapter 3, “Killer Culture”] by my mother and father who raised me in a Christian home. I have gone astray from that lifestyle, until recently, and submersed myself in a lifestyle that had become quite the opposite of that in which I was raised.

After I read your article about how the youth of today have gone crazy (along with the other one you wrote about selling sex to our youth), I felt compelled to post the following post in all the bulletin boards that I was formally associated, including BMEzine and Wildcat.co.uk and Tribalectic and others – all three are leading body modification websites. … I just wanted you to know that your article was the inspiration for my feelings that I should post and try and spread what I agree to be a magnificent message you put forth. … I don’t know that this post has survived the supervision of the webmasters but I felt it needed posting nonetheless. Thank-you.

A Call to Revolution from One Among You

I sit here ready to write my final statement, my last exit speech, as it were, as [NAME WITHHELD] and I don’t know quite where to begin. I know what I write here today will be controversial in nature. I know there are many that will condemn me and look down on me for the following words and I don’t pretend to think I will be allowed to be, after writing this, a friend to the body modification industry or culture. I know also that mine is not a big and renowned enough name in the industry to cause much, if any, a stir but I can only hope that what I write now is read and taken to heart by at least one of my brothers or sisters. That perhaps this last rambling of mine won’t be in vain.

I guess the place to begin is by telling you all who I am. Some of you know me but most do not. Many have come to me for advice, many to perform procedures, and some just to be brothers and sisters in this subculture we have fought to establish.

I am [NAME WITHHELD]. I am based in the U.S. in the Midwest and the Southeast. I’ve been a faithful student of the Body Modification lifestyle for a decade now. I have performed countless piercings, scarifications, brands, implants, and a host of other less “pop culture” procedures. Most of what I have done to others I have done to myself at some point or another. That has brought to me an odd revelation.

Now before I continue, let me make it clear to you all that in no way do I intend to hurt anyone’s feelings or harm anyone’s business, but as I step out of our culture and lifestyle I feel some things must be said even if only one gets the chance to read it before the webmasters yank it from bulletin boards.

You see, it’s dawned on me that perhaps we (the Bod Mod culture) have become much darker than we intended. We all in some way or another come into this “tribe” as it were, to rebel and fight on some psychological plane against someone or something, be it our individual parents, an establishment, or even society itself. We’ve come together to be with fellow rebels to find a voice, to be heard, to have an identity that is our own, to be loved and wanted, and to be a part of something.

“We are unique!” we’ve screamed. “We are individuals! We are powerful in our own right! We control our own destinies and choices!” we shout. “Let anyone TRY to condemn us for our individuality, our beliefs, our practices. Let them even TRY to say we’re wrong or foolish or perverse!” we challenge. “How DARE they!”

My friends, I think perhaps our machinations have gotten away from us. It seems to me that we’ve allowed it to come to a point where we must stop and examine their arguments once again and reflect, “Could they be right?”

I think back on some of the things I’ve been paid to do to people (and done to myself) at their own request and I think if someone accused me of doing these things to them without consent it would be undeniable torture. The things done to captives in the Middle Ages as torture in the worst degree I now get hired to do. How far have we come in our own devices? My God, what is the next level of our self-defections?

Self-inflicted castrations, lobotomies, amputations, disfigurement of every conceivable nature, suspensions – we do these things to each other and ourselves without a second thought. Think about it unemotionally for a moment: People pay us to hang them from a hook or have a finger, breast, or penis cut off. This used to be the worst form of punishment and condemnation for the worst criminals. Could these acts truly be signs of a perpetually growing disease? Could the fact that our acts are becoming darker and darker, more and more grotesque be a sign that we are heading in the wrong directions?

These acts were once outrageous and horrid acts of torture, and yet we have people standing in line to have us do it to them?? What’s next? Death? Will we continue so far in our devices that we will soon pay to be burned alive at the stake or dismembered? Will we bring back the rack and the gallows to achieve the next level of “ascension” or as the ultimate expression of rebellion?

You see, it starts so innocently, so pure with a simple labret or cage in the ear … but in the tinniest increments it turns darker and darker until we are far beyond the innocence and purity of our beginnings. I’ve seen it a thousand times. I’ve performed it for others a thousand times. I’ve even done it to myself.

Some of you know and are familiar with the psychology of the “cutter” and their “cutting,” but don’t you see that’s what we all in essence are? Ours is just a tad more socially acceptable form of the same disorder.

Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments against this statement. I’ve preached against it my whole life as a former cutter, but it’s true. The statement is valid. It is the same disease. We need to realize that by destroying our bodies in bits and pieces, baby step by baby step, we are undermining the very reason so many of us are in this culture.

We are unique. We are special. We are powerful just the way we were born. Do we need a split tongue to prove it?? NO! Do we need brands or castration to show our individuality?? HELL NO!

We need our minds, our hearts and our souls and that’s all! Each of us at birth was unique and powerful and special in our own right. Let’s not destroy pieces of our beautiful bodies to prove what our own individual minds and voices can accomplish so much more powerfully and perfectly: “We have a place in society and we are all in our own way beautiful and unique!”

And so I withdraw. I exit this subculture that is more and more becoming the “trend,” to enter into what is more completely my individuality. I condemn none of my brothers and sisters who remain. I now turn to what is my uniqueness, my power, and mine alone: my heart, soul, and mind which no body mod can ever symbolize more perfectly then my own emotions, thoughts and voice. Good luck to you all and best wishes. I hope at least one has heard some wisdom in these words.

“The Marketing of Evil” has been widely acclaimed since its release in August 2005, and over 150 reviewers have given it five-stars on Amazon.com, many claiming the book has had a profound effect on them.

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