Jul 10 2012

My skin is at stake!

The Stiefel Foundation is backing a huge charitable donation: they want to give $1,000,000 to cancer research. They need godless atheists to join in, though, to show the world that we care and we can get things done, so Todd Stiefel has started a recruiting drive on Reddit to bring in donors and participants in a charity walk. We need 5,000 more people to sign on this week to meet the goal. And we’re volunteering our flesh and, umm, hair to motivate you. Let’s get some Pharyngula people involved!

our goal this week is to go from 400 to 5,400 people on the Foundation Beyond Belief international team raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We need your help. Please join our team at http://pages.lightthenight.org/2012/FBB. Please encourage your friends and local freethought groups to join as well. If we make this viral, we can hit this stretch goal!

If we are able to add 5,000 people before the end of Saturday, July 14, I will shave to a mohawk while at Camp Quest South Carolina next week. Additionally, PZ Myers and Hemant Mehta will get tattoos. (Watch their blogs today for proof.) Yeah, they are more braver than I am.

I also want you to know that while Hemant was trying to decide what sacrifice to make, I came forward with my plan to get a tat if we reach 5,000, and then he succumbed to his competitive instincts. Hey, Hemant, if I said I was going to jump off a cliff…?

But heck yeah, I will go through with it — in a tasteful, discreet way — if enough people step up and sign up for this endeavor.

(NO, you have absolutely no input on where or what tattoo I get. I’m not brain-damaged.)


Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare

    Who gets to design your tattoo? What squidcredible creation will it be?

  2. 2
    Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare

    Seriously–you want to increase the pot, put the design up for grabs, too.

  3. 3

    Are you going to tell us what you plan on having done, to entice us to pony up our money?

  4. 4

    I think your tattoo should be a squid with a Horde symbol on it.

  5. 5

    Oh, geez. How did you get suckered into this??

    At least one of those “shave your beard” bets would have been temporary.

  6. 6

    You’re clearly bullying leukemia.


  7. 7
    'Tis Himself

    I’m not brain-damaged.

    Is there something about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary proof?

  8. 8

    Hmmm, googling “full body octopus tattoo” turns up a few cool ideas…

  9. 9

    I do not think that one would have to be BRAIN DAMAGED to think that a tat of cthulhu rising out of your butt crack in tramp stamp splendor would be just about the spiffiest design possible. If only Carl Zimmer had not already published his “Science Ink” book…that would have made a terrific addition.

  10. 10

    Well, my donation depends on the style and location of this tatoo. Cthulhu rising out of butt crack? $100. Kitten on right upper arm? $5. We need details!

  11. 11
    Rey Fox

    Rather unfair that the fellow on the left only gets temporary disfigurement.

  12. 12
    PZ Myers

    He’s got the most money.

    What I might do is, as the numbers rise, start dropping hints about what the tattoo will be.

  13. 13
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Hint n.1 : It has tentacles.

  14. 14
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Hyperdeath – please accept this freshly baked internet. And then buy me a new monitor because mine is covered in bees!!! pepsi.

    A tattooed PZ is enough for me to donate. Doesn’t matter what the tat is, just as long as he joins the Inked Tribe.

  15. 15

    Hint #2: Eight of them

  16. 16

    My daughter will be Camp Quest SC next week. I hope she’ll get to see Todd sport that mowhawk!

    By the way, we are grateful to all the Stiefel Foundation has done to get Camp Quest going in our area. My daughter is super-excited about going.

  17. 17
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    (NO, you have absolutely no input on where or what tattoo I get. I’m not brain-damaged.)

    You’re a spoilsport. And a poopyhead.

    /*cough* communion wafer *cough* left buttcheek *cough*

  18. 18

    I suggest you get ‘Hammer of God’ tattooed across your cock.

    Jes’ Sayin.

  19. 19

    Ragarth, same location, “His Noodly Appendage” instead.

    Jes’ Sayin.

  20. 20

    Will you do like comedian Steven Wright did and get a tattoo of yourself, only bigger?

  21. 21
    Chris Clarke

    I suggest you get ‘Hammer of God’ tattooed across your cock. Jes’ Sayin.

    “No, that’s just all you can see right now. It actually says ‘Ed Steinwasser’s Tool, Die and Hammer of Godfrey, Illinois — serving the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area since 1948′.”

  22. 22

    “more braver”?

    (grammar nazi)

  23. 23

    More braverer.

  24. 24

    Do not try for a portrait of Mary. I’ve seen enough ugly tattoo websites to know how that kind of thing ends up.

  25. 25

    oooh oooh this one!!!

    tree of life

  26. 26

    Do you think an eye tattoo in the center of the forehead would be too obvious?

  27. 27

    Laughed out loud at work. People in adjacent cubes think the voices in my head are telling me jokes. Thanks.

  28. 28

    Even though you say we get no input on the design of the tattoo, I must also say that a Cthulhu tramp stamp is the obvious choice.

  29. 29
    chigau (違う)

    “tramp stamp”

  30. 30

    It’s not very small, nor very discreet, but Shan has a wonderful, tentacular tat that might inspire you…


  31. 31

    It should be a seahorse


  32. 32

    A couple more tattoo ideas:

  33. 33
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Nancy New:

    Heh. In all probability, Mary has an input… ;-)

  34. 34
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Pretty please PZ – say that you’ve put in some research and though about the artist…

    Any old local scratcher is a bad idea.

  35. 35

    Will there be video of it being done? :)

  36. 36
    thomasav guld

    Maybe something along these lines?

    Space Tentacles

    Cthulhu rising

    Cthulhu rising 2

    Cthulhu rising 3

  37. 37

    How much would we have to raise for a “thunderf00t” tattoo? ;)

  38. 38

    Maybe something in a nice cherry-blossom motif might be in order?

  39. 39

    You should get a nice, Biblical tattoo. May I suggest a tattoo reading: Leviticus 19:28?

  40. 40
    Anthony K

    Just remember that Sturgeon’s Law applies to tattoos as well as everything else.

    I suggest having something like “Yolk Braker”* in Gothic lettering across your shoulders. When people ask what it means, say that they’re English characters that mean free thought, “a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by religious or cultural authority, tradition, or other dogmas”.

    When they say that they don’t, ask “You can read English characters?! Why, what do they actually say?”
    *Yoke Breaker**
    **I may be trying too hard to twist this tendency in a way that still lampoons the same people.

  41. 41
    John Horstman

    PZ, get your tattoo done by this ironically blasphemous tattoo parlor next time you have cause to visit Minneapolis: http://leviticus.com/

    I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but it seems WAY too appropriate.

  42. 42

    I am guessing you mean a henna or other non-permanent tattoo?

  43. 43

    Counter productive: I don’t want to encourage anyone to get a tattoo.

  44. 44
  45. 45

    IMHO the classy octopus on Thingiverse would be good. I’ve built the model if you’d like me to send it to you for reference.

  46. 46
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    “tramp stamp”

    guffaw chuckkle snort. Yeah cuz bitchez with tattoos on their backs are total sluts, amirite? They’re asking for it!


    I don’t want to encourage anyone to get a tattoo.

    Why? They’re awesome and beautiful (if you pick a good artist and aren’t a dumbass picking something dumbassy).

    Sure, it hurts a little bit, but not enough to avoid them.

  47. 47
    Anthony K

    a3kr0n, don’t you have a flounce to stick?

  48. 48
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Well, at least, PZ is a biologist and knows enough about microbes to avoid like the plague tattoo parlors that are sloppy with sterilization and prep work.

  49. 49

    How about the USA penny without the obscene wording?

  50. 50
    John Morales

    So the point is to motivate people who will donate for the prospect of tattoos and a mohawk on some celebrities, but not otherwise.

    (People are petty)

  51. 51

    Tattoos seem to be a popular blog topic today: http://canadianatheist.com/2012/07/10/tattoos-for-jesus/

  52. 52
    Ace of Sevens

    Tasteful and discrete is accommodationism. Get a squid of your face with tentacles wrapped around your arms and neck.

  53. 53
    Hammer of dog

    Forcing people to do things they don’t want to do, i.e. get a tattoo, is reason for me not to participate. A mohawk, at least, will grow out, no biggie. How about getting one of those fancy manicures with tiny squids on each nail?

  54. 54

    Dear PZ,

    Getting a tattoo is super-exciting and I’m really happy for you, and for the great cause that you’re helping out. I don’t know if this will be your first tattoo or not, but in case it is, may I offer some advice?

    1) Have an idea that you love, and that you’re not afraid for everyone to see and know that you love. It sounds like you’ve got a good idea already so I’ll truncate this point.

    2) Do your research! I’m sure you’re no stranger to research, but first-timers often have the idea that black and grey photorealism is the best style. It’s not, necessarily. There are so many other styles, like Traditional American, Neo-Traditional, Traditional Japanese, New Skool (graffiti-influenced with perspective bending and right cartoony colours), as well as total outliers that aren’t easily defined (e.g. http://www.bugsartwork.com/tattoonew/tattoos.cfm). Spend as much time as you can researching styles to see what you like best.

    3) Having decided on a style, do more research and compare portfolios to find the best tattooist working in your preferred style. There’s no reason to stay in your town, state or even the US if the person you want is elsewhere. That being said, you have a plethora of remarkable talent in the US. If you have to travel, and also generally take a family holiday, why not holiday where the tattooist you want works, and work the appointment into the holiday? Depending on the size, it might take you only a few hours.

    4) Don’t be afraid to take your time, even though you get the tattoo in response to donations. I personally would be tempted to panic and try and get it done asap to avoid accusations of shirking, but it wouldn’t be best. If you were to post a series of updates as you research, plan and book your tattoo, people would at least know that you were moving towards fulfilling your forfeit, and you would be able to take your time to be comfortable

    To get you started researching, linked is one of my favourite tattoo blogs, which frequently showcases styles, artist and interviews with them http://needlesandsins.com/

  55. 55
    Anne C. Hanna

    Hammer of the dog @53, it seems to me that if PZ was really completely unwilling to get a tattoo, he would have chosen a different forfeit. Forfits in this kind of thing aren’t supposed to be something you genuinely find appalling, just something that’s noticeably outside your normal comfort zone.

    For me, seeing that he takes this project seriously enough to put his skin on the line for it caused me to re-evaluate my own vague discomfort about hitting people up for funds and my general unwillingness to be a joiner, and conclude that this event is important enough to the freethought community that I ought to get involved. I’m not slavering to make PZ do something he doesn’t want to do, just trying to do my small part to match his commitment.

  56. 56

    Seems to me that if Stiefel is willing to sport a Mohawk, a tattoo of a cephalopod is not an equivalent sacrifice. I suggest a kitteh, in a prominent, visible location. I believe that PZ can find a few subjects on which to base the tattoo among the FTB bloggers … although I suppose it might start a kitfight (sorry) over which one deserves the honor.

Comments have been disabled.