It is not unethical to be entertained by the revenge schemes put into action by others, as long as we understand that revenge is unethical in a civilized society. A culture that embraces revenge as a norm will be a violent and unforgiving one. Because the perfect act of vengeance is viscerally indistinguishable from justice, it has the power to make us feel vicariously satisfied, and that should be taken as a warning. Revenge feels good, which is why revenge fantasies have been a popular genre from “The Odyssey” to “Kill Bill”…and also why revenge can easily expand from a guilty pleasure to a bad habit.
This tale of revenge from a trailer park in Dayton, Ohio, for example, makes me want to chuckle and tip my metaphorical hat to the avenger.
Rossie Brovent asked her boyfriend, tattoo artist Ryan L. Fitzjerald, to ink a large and lovely panorama from “The Chronicles of Narnia” on her back. Little did she suspect that Fitzjerald’s insistence that she sign a consent form agreeing to accept his “artistic discretion” was but the first step in a diabolical plan. Rossie also didn’t realize that her boyfriend was on to her secret infidelity: he had just learned that she had been cheating on him with one of his close friends.
Thus she patiently endured the pain of a long tattoo session as her talented boyfriend used his magic needle on her back, refusing to allow her to see his work in progress by assuring her that it was going to be a masterpiece. And it was a masterpiece…of vengeance. Instead of the lion, the witch or Prince Caspian, Fitzgerald had applied his artistic skills to ink this, permanently, on his horrified ex-girlfriend’s back:
Intentionally disfiguring someone is never ethical, of course, and even with the consent form, the tattoo artist may end up paying serious civil penalties to his victim. Still, it is hard not to appreciate the sheer audacity of his response to his former love’s betrayal, and his deftness in executing it. Just remember, as you smile, that vengeance isn’t good.
It just feels good.