When Cyber Bullying Becomes a Public Service

by Randall Cleveland

Relax, I'm not here to actually DEFEND cyber-bullying; it's everyone's favorite cause du jour. But I am wondering where the line is between "bullying" and "simply issuing a warning" since I heard about Synyster Ink Tattoo...

And no, I'm not gonna post photos of his tattoos because they're his and I don't have permission. Also, they're gross.

See, Synyster Ink Tattoo is, near as I can tell, just a dude in Green Bay trying to make it as a tattoo artist. Unfortunately he's not quite at the "Sailor Jerry" level of fame and seems to currently be mired in the "Giving Free, Terrible Tattoos to Friends So I Can Learn How To Do This" stage of his career. Then I Heart Chaos (link is safe, but the site has NSFW content and tends to look bad on your browsing history to corporate types), picked up on his Facebook page and asked a simple question: "Is this man the worst professional tattoo artist ever?"

Naturally, as people do when provided the cloak of anonymity the internet offers, almost everyone who read the article immediately took to Synyster's Facebook page to let him know just how much he sucks and how terrible a human being he is for daring to be bad at something and having such information leak out into the public where everyone else who is perfect at everything can mercilessly ridicule him. I'm not saying I would want one of his tattoos, I'm not going to defend the tattoos at all. I agree that they're terrible. But everyone starts somewhere, right? If this was just some kid posting pictures of his art and scores of internet gestapo slammed his Facebook page to let him know how much he sucks, wouldn't all the "Stop Cyber-Bullying!" activists have a fit?

So is it okay to bully a guy when he's legitimately bad at his job? You could argue that it's a public service announcement keeping people away from this disreputable shop with poor artistry, but anyone dumb or drunk enough to walk into a guy's filthy house (check out the winged tramp stamp photo and notice the grease-soaked paper plate on the floor) and get stabbed with a needle for an hour is getting what they deserve. So let the people with no impulse control brand themselves with terrible tattoos to make them more easily-avoidable in society, right?

What do you think? Does Synyster Ink have the right to practice his craft on anyone who'll let him without harassment? Or is there something to be said for crushing someone's dream when it's obviously futile?