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Ink is in

Some people get tattoos of hearts with mom written on the inside. Some get dragons scaling their forearms. Some get the word “Veritas” etched into their knuckles. Some get Bowser from Super Mario wearing shades that he is pulling down in a wink, while riding a surfboard on a wave, while also wailing on a double-neck guitar that has musical notes coming out, all on top of a banner that says “Happy Birthday Rick.”

OK, nobody probably has that last tattoo, but one of the guys from the Whitest Kids U Know almost did. Tattoos, in many forms, have become mainstream parts of our culture.

When I thought of celebrity tattoos, some names instantly popped into my head:Lebron James, Amy Winehouse, Angelina Jolie, Kat Von D (the star of the reality show L.A. Ink), etc. One would suppose that celebrities got tattoos merely to look cool, since this is what celebrities do: Try to look cool. Upon further research however, I discovered that looking cool would be far too normal a reason to get a tattoo. For example, Jolie has a tattoo of the latitudes and longitudes of the birthplaces of her six children. She is certainly a big influence in the ink world. She’s even got her husband involved, as Brad Pitt can be seen sporting tattoos, including a big one on his back that was the product of Jolie doodling on him out of boredom.

Some celeb tattoos are a little out there, but somehow professional basketball players always seem to pull them off. I mean, LeBron has a bigger wingspan than most people meet, and having ink running up and down that entire length just screams, “I am going to humiliate you while I dunk over your head.” And we can’t forget authority figures shaking their heads at Allen Iverson, deathly afraid that their children would fall into the trap of turning into thugs who just happened to be multimillionaires.

Speaking of authority figures, let’s not forget that tattoos were a big form of rebellion for the punk and skater kids who would someday turn into celebrities, who by looking rad would spawn a new generation of kids who wanted to look just like them. That is a list that includes Travis Barker, Pink, Steve O, Bam Margera and fill in the blank with your favorite punk star.

And don’t forget about the original rebels with tattoos: Pirates! Seriously, didn’t anyone else want a big tattoo of a sparrow on their arm like Johnny Depp in that movie? Speaking of Depp, he happens to be a real-life celebrity who sports a lot of tattoos, some of which represent her dark and mysterious outlook on life. Others are more comical: After splitting with ex-girlfriend Winona Ryder, Depp got a tattoo of her name altered to the word “Wino.”

Next, we have a huge list of celebrity females who I believe get tattoos for no other reason than they think it enhances their attractiveness. The list of those trying to raise the hottie factor includes Jessica Alba, Sienna Miller, Rhianna, Lindsey Lohan, Allysa Milano, Jessica Biel and Meghan Fox.

I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide if their attempts are effective. I am in no way trying to claim that their attempts are shallow. Many celebrities get tattoos for sentimental reasons, like love and family, hoping to express their deep meaning to the paparazzi.

Tattoos have become a huge part of our society. From the sentimental to the daring and emotional, tattoos are extremely visible parts of our culture. Celebrities, with all of their visual and glamorous presence, are helping this permanent trend thrive.

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