Actress Cate Blanchett loved her elf ears from Lord of the Rings. She even had the false ears bronzed, to keep them forever. Fans also love them ... so much so that they're getting elf ears, too. But no, not the prosthetics. They're getting their ears permanently pointed.
The procedure, which is extremely difficult to reverse, involves splitting the cartilage of the ears and sewing them into a point. And according to ABC, it's being done by young people all across the country.
Ideologically, we have nothing against getting one's ears bobbed to look like an elf, a Vulcan or mutant. But we are absolutely squeamish about who's doing the procedure: Fans have been turning to body modification artists rather than plastic surgeons, who are licensed to perform surgery...and, ya know, have access to pain medication.
As Mikey Fahey of Kotaku wrote,
I'm no stranger to body mods myself. I've got my ears stretched to a half inch. I've got a septum ring. I've got another ring somewhere I will not mention. None of those were quite as painful as the time I decided to pierce my own upper ear cartilage. It hurt like hell, and while the hole is still there, any time I put something in it it quickly grows sore and red. ... I can only imagine how much pain these people are going through while this procedure heals.
Altering one's ears also makes sleeping extremely uncomfortable while the cartilage heals.
Risks include infections and permanent deformity. A potential benefit may be the ability to focus sound better.
But the best benefit of all is looking like an alien elf.
Take a look at this (somewhat condescending) ABC coverage: