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Sunday, March 17, 2013

More On Shannon Larratt

I have read two outstanding tributes about the life of Shannon Larrattt. See Marisa Kakoulas at Needled and Sins: She wrote: In discussing Shannon as the ultimate cheerleader of people's adornment and body morphing, my friend Julien said it best, "He trusted people to do right by themselves." Shannon had faith in people, especially people for whom society treated with little respect. He understood it because he lived it. Even in his last post, he discusses how he was not given the proper pain management for his chronic illness because doctors looked at him and thought he was just a drug addict. His life was dedicated to changing this prejudice and offering support to all of us who have faced so much discrimination because of the way we look.

Shawn Porter at Sacred Debris wrote a moving tribute about Larratt entitled Stay Calm: Don't Panic. I found Porter's words fascinating for Larratt was and always did push the boundaries of body art and modification while in recent years Porter has become more conservative. See:

Over the years my friendship with Shannon evolved. We didn’t always agree; far from it. As I got older my views became increasingly conservative and his progressively more radical. We’d butt heads privately and publicly about the safety of a procedure or the ethics of a practitioner, but we’d always respect the other’s opinion and by the end of the argument we’d be smiling. We went through good periods and bad together, the balance shifting depending on the year, but through it all, he remained someone who’s impact on my life is so thorough that it’s impossible to imagine my life without him.
I know the last two posts have been a bit of a departure from my usual focus on disability rights but there are obvious parallels between the bias modified people encounter and the bias people with a disability encounter. I urge those who have never heard of Larratt to visit BME. 


Shawn Porter said...

Dr Peace-
I'm not sure if you remember, but I was once lucky enough to sit in on one of your classes. It was a really good time and I appreciate you allowing some dorky modification nerd the chance to see the academic side of contemporary body modification.

Losing Shannon has been tough, but... man we had some good times and I choose to remember those (and half of the experiences were blissfully unrepeatable) instead of being overwhelmed with sadness that I'll never get to argue with my old friend again.

I hope all is well with you,


william Peace said...

Shawn, I remember your visit quite well and our chat after class. Larratt's death is a huge loss. He was a critically important figure in contemporary body art--especially in pushing the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable. I am doing great. 2010/11 were very hard years due to severe illness but that is behind me.

Shawn Porter said...

Good to hear. I've had my rough times as well in the last year, but like yourself I've put it behind me. Are you still teaching? Obviously my visit to your class was brief but I was very impressed with not only your curriculum but your passion for it.

It's still so wonderfully surreal that the culture that we fostered so privately is now collegiate material, being discussed, dissected and talked about openly and with interest on both a personal and academic level for the students.

Keep fighting the good fight, sir!