Quote by Henry David Thoreau
The childish and savage taste of men and women for new patterns keeps how many shaking and squinting through kaleidoscopes that they may discover the particular figure which this generation requires to-day. The manufacturers have learned that this taste is merely whimsical. Of two patterns which differ only by a few threads more or less of a particular color, the one will be sold readily, the other lie on the shelf, though it frequently happens that after the lapse of a season the latter becomes the most fashionable. Comparatively, tattooing is not the hideous custom which it is called. It is not barbarous merely because the printing is skin-deep and unalterable.
This quote by Henry David Thoreau criticizes the fickle nature of people's taste for new trends and patterns. Thoreau suggests that people obsessively search for the latest fashion or trend, like looking through a kaleidoscope for a particular figure. Manufacturers exploit this whimsical taste, creating slight variations of patterns to make consumers want to buy more. Thoreau also challenges the notion that tattooing is a barbarous custom, arguing that it is no different from temporary fashion choices since it also involves printing on the skin, albeit permanently. The quote highlights the fleeting nature of trends and questions societal definitions of barbarity.