20/20 Downtown: The Extreme Modification Scare

RABcon provided a national network with the means to make a mockery of the body mod community, and they tried, but were they successful? 20/20 Downtown aired a extreme body modifcation segment on their October 28th airing, and tried there hardest to give the mod community a bad name, but things didn't go completely as planned. Gracefulness, beauty, and intelligence overcame the attacks of the execs and reporters of ABC.

The segment started off on a bad note, with shock and danger being the main emphasis that the reporter wanted to get across. The target: RABcon. Among the people involved in the segment were Erik Sprague aka Spidergod, Steve Haworth, Josh Burdette, Keith Alexander, and a woman named Essie. Also featured was a plastic surgeon and Dr. Favvava, author of Bodies Under Siege. The subject matter covered a range of mods including implants, cutting, branding, tongue splitting, and included a portion on suspensions. All mods were presented with a tone of completely unacceptance from the reporter, however despite ABC's slant of negativity, much light shines through in this segment.

The light is shed by the representatives of the body modification community. Essie had to hold back tears as she spoke of not telling her parents about her life choices. Images of Essie being suspended were shown, with a comparison drawn of Essie appearing to be an angel as she hangs suspended. Steve Haworth's knowledge shines through in his interview, as with every question thrown his way, he formed a very intelligent response. Through these two and the rest of the modded people involved, ABC's intentions were thwarted . . . they could not prove modified people to be stupid young kids following a trend and going about it in a unsafe and unclean way. They showed instead a community of people who are safe, know what they are talking about, and modify themselves not out of self-hatred, but out of a love for the art.

Dr. Favvava studies mentally ill people and tried to compare mods to self-hatred and the self-harm that comes along with it. He did not succeed during the segment. There was a moderated chat afterwards at ABC's website. Although the moderator also tried to slant the angle thrown on the story, Essie showed once again the beauty, emotion, and intelligence of the body mod community. Dr. Favvava came across in the chat as having not done his homework, leaving many questions either unanswered or poorly answered. This helped once again to further thwart ABC's efforts.

Despite all the negativity surrounding this, a little look at the good that came from it should also be given. Is it negative for someone if they get called names, but then make the name-caller look foolish?



Return to Archives