Thursday, February 4, 2010

TOLDJA: NY Post's Chinese Oopsie!

In her "undercover" piece for the New York Post on her visit to the prostidude, Mandy Stadtmiller wrote that the Chinese tattoo adorning America's first legal and licensed manslut, Patrick L. "Marcus" Norton, means "to seek." As I wrote in the prior post, it fit neatly in her narrative that he had turned to the gigolo life because of a mommy complex and an ongoing search for attention, love, a woman's touch. Here's a close-up of that tat:


As many of you know, I lived in Beijing from 2000-02. I never became fluent and can only recognize some characters. However, it's become a bit of a pastime for me to ask clueless Laowais what their Chinese tattoos mean. Without fail, I later find out they were quite wrong.

And so it is with the Rosa Parks of Whores. Thanks to Tony Zeng, my former China Daily colleague and now a writer for Bloomberg in New York, for letting me know this is actually the symbol for... well... I'll just show ya:


Oops! Luckily for the New York Post, the tattoo isn't something obscene or nutty. That's the problem NBA players run into when they get tats they think say "Love" and "Harmony" but actually mean "Fuck you very much." Then they appear on Chinese TV because, post Yao Ming the Chinese are gaga over the NBA, and controversy erupts.

As it happens, had Stadtmiller checked it out, she would've had a brilliant ironic bit for her hit piece. You see, Chinese characters frequently have multiple meanings, all roughly in the same neighborhood. And Norton's tat could mean "destroy" or, perhaps even more pertinent...


How neatly that would've fit her narrative, huh? Bummer!

8 comments:

mike_ch said...

You sure? The strokes for the two upper quadrants don't look the same. The one in the upper right look like a stylized "n1" shape on his arm while the one in your destroy picture looks kinda like a cursive "r"

I don't know if the same exists for Chinese, but in the case of Japanese a foreigner can sorta kinda narrow down the meaning of a character by counting the number of strokes and create what's called a SKIP Code that goes #-#-#. For more information on that kind of thing, see http://www.basic-japanese.com/Hilfsdateien/skipCode.html

Again, that's for Japanese, but Chinese and so on have stroke orders as well.

THE STRIP PODCAST said...

Dude. Chinese people confirmed this. Just because that tattoo artist is sloppy doesn't mean that people who know their own language are incorrect.

Anonymous said...

This is like the story I saw in the Globe last week where Tom Arnold got a Chinese character tatoo on his leg that he thought meant "Love For Mankind", and was told it really translated to "Man Love"

Jeff in OKC

Anonymous said...

Dude, Chinese people can be wrong. There are differences in the tattoo and the characters you posted.

And both of your examples have additional characters so, from your example, the tattoo doesn't mean "destruction." It is something unknown, unless you know the meaning of that character alone. You can't post something and say "Here's what it means" when your examples clearly don't match.

I'm not a tattoo fan myself but I do know that tattoos can be very meaningful to those who have them. If this guy thinks his tattoo means something, what good are you doing him by telling him otherwise? Does it make you feel good about yourself?

Dan wong, Cambridge said...

No, you dumb, ignorant anonymous fuck, Chinese people aren't wrong about our own language. Tony is exactly right and steve is correct that the tattoo person wrote it badly because lots of ignorant, culturally insensitive tattoo fucks think adding a swirl or something to a Chinese character is like some sort of calligraphy. And thanks, too, you goddamn moron, for suggesting that words don't have meaning other than what some white trash whore decides they have. If I wrote dogshit in English on my arm and told everyone it meant heaven, it wouldn't matter because I was stupid enuf to have something that wrong permanently stained on my body? You don't think that reflects something about the intelligence or pretentiousness of the wearer? This is a dumb shit who thinks he's in league with Rosa parks, u asshole.

Dan wong in cambridge said...

Ps: the second characters in these images correspond to the second Chinese synonym for the word, you stupid shithead. You should have stupid shithead tattooed on you in Chinese and tell everyone it says brain surgeon. It's not like there aren't a billion or so people in the world who can read it or something...

Anonymous said...

The first definition "destroy" is more likely than the second one "self destruction" since you can't assume the first character for "self". It is true that Chinese phrases are hardly ever single characters so you can't make the assumption that a prefix exists. You can only assume a suffix at best.

Nonetheless, I am pretty much convinced that most people who have these tattoos only get them for aesthetic reasons. The meaning is often lost with incorrect usage.

And Dan Wong, take a breather.

Jason said...

This is the funniest thing a commenter has ever written on this blog: "You should have stupid shithead tattooed on you in Chinese and tell everyone it says brain surgeon."