Elf ears

Today in elf news, the ears have it: pointy ones, that is, cut surgically from the standard round human set. Mark posted about a pioneer some time ago, but now the mainstream's caught on. The tabloids are Concerned. From the Daily Mail:
Some fantasy film buffs in Arizona are taking their obsessions to new levels by actually having their ears cut open and sculpted to look like elves. The elf ears craze has many health risks but that isn't stopping sci-fi fans having the top of their cartilage sliced and sewed back together in a point. ... The elf ears craze is believed to have been brought on by films such as Lord of the Rings and Avatar, as well as HBO's comedy television series Bored to Death.
Dr. Arthur W. Perry, quoted by the Mail, warns that scultping cartilage is dangerous and risks a "major deformity of the ear," though that would seem to be rather the idea. ABC ran a news segment about it, full of pointed criticism. Fans undergo elf ear operations to look like fantasy film characters [Daily Mail]


  1. I really envy folks like this. Having obsessions is one thing, but taking those obsessions to ridiculous lengths is quite honorable.

    1. Honorable? I wonder what people would say if this was a post about a woman who was obsessed with being thin and continually got liposuction/tummy tucks. I guess I’ll just pass on elective surgery for now.

  2. This tickles a strange nerve for me, as my paternal grandmother had slightly pointed ears. She lived in rural Ireland in the early 20th century and from childhood on she wore her hair down to hide the more pointed nature. Only when she was in her 60’s did she become comfortable enough to let people see, and only let a couple pictures get taken.

    I never met her, and the photos are small and blurry, but her ears are barely pointed at all. A life-long fear over a teeny bit of awkward cartilage.

    So yeah, if you want to Grock out with your Spock out, cool for you. Better to let your Elf flag fly than feel ashamed.

  3. Wait, the guy that do that elfjobs cannot use anesthetics because is not a doctor? And if he misses critically his medicine roll the ear explodes and disintegrates?

    I can`t see what can go wrong! /s

    On the other hand: elf ears are cool*.

    *Not including those ridiculous long WoW elf ears.

    1. Supposedly, getting the Elf ears thing done lets you hear *better* then you can with normal ones.

      that’s probably just hype, though.

    2. Ummmm… isn’t the shape of the ear important for, you know, hearing?

      Yes. The shape of your head and ear impacts the way you hear things via what’s known as the head-related transfer function. The HRTF, in turn, is part of what helps you localize sound, especially in the up-down direction, where triangulation from time-of-arrival doesn’t help. So, these people probably end up with somewhat impaired sound localization in the short term, although it’s probable that their brains would eventually adapt to the new shape of their new ears.

  4. So, who’s up for dyeing their entire skin blue? As in an all-body tattoo?

    (By Jove, that rhymed!)

  5. surprised that they mentioned bored to death. it was barely even a part of that show at all… and I don’t think the show was even that popular to begin with.

  6. “he elf ears craze has many health risks but that isn’t stopping sci-fi fans ”

    Since when are elves sci-fi? My inner nerd is angry.

  7. I’ve seen this story before, with little evidence to support it.

    Yes, I can see the photo, but the fact that it’s the Daily Mail makes me doubt even that! Recent headline: “Are U.S. government microwave mind-control tests causing TV presenters’ brains to melt down?”. No, really: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1372538/Are-government-microwave-mind-control-tests-causing-TV-presenters-brains-melt-down.html

    Alternatively: if one or two people want to have a strange new body mod, why on earth would that be news?

  8. Wondering… what sorts of vocations do these folks hope to secure in later life when they learn the world DOES judge ones appearance in an interview?

    Are these people that are content to live in the fringes for the remainder of their lives?

  9. Whats the big deal? In the past thousands of people had Boob jobs, Penis enlargements, Face Jobs, ect.

    So now they get an Ear-Job.

  10. If you have ears that are like radar dishes, I think the pointy part would look nice. But if your ears are flat to your head, probably not.

  11. Couldn’t you just get a couple of holes made at the top of your ears, like regular piercings, to allow enterprising jewellers and craftspeople to create a selection of wild and exotic ear extensions, pointing up like elf-ears, but that could be easily fixed on when wanted, and removed at other times? So you wouldn’t just have a puny little point like the girl in the picture. You could have amazing, flamboyant extensions, with silver and jewels and feathers and … I’m getting a bit carried away here, I think.

  12. If anyone’s doing this, it’s neither “film buffs” nor “sci-fi fans.” Do newspapers know nothing? Oh wait, this is the Daily Mail….

    As for hearing, if I recall, a study in which volunteers wore molds of other people’s ears for a time found that people could no longer distinguish up from down and back from front for a few days, but that eventually the brain sorted it all out and they could pinpoint sounds as normal. Can’t find the article now.

  13. Next people will be sticking bits of metal in their ears or permanently inking artwork onto their body’s!

    Won’t someone think of the children!?

  14. Jesus H christ hangin off the cross. I can’t imagine how much this would hurt or how long it would take to heal. I got a piercing in that area in July and it still isn’t healed and it regularly gets infected. I can’t sleep on my right side at all. Probably gonna have it removed soon, I don’t know how these people would bear it…

  15. I was born with a left ear like this. I’d hate to think of anyone jumping to the conclusion that I’d had surgery done on it! Strangely, I was very self-conscious of my ‘elf ear’ as a kid, even to the point of wanting my hair to cover it. I’m comfortable with it now though. Each to their own, I say. This surgery isn’t any worse than visible tattoos or extreme piercings IMO.

  16. But nose, boob, face, and lip jobs are fine. As is injecting frigging BOTULIN into your face to smooth wrinkles. But elf ears? Too freaky?


  17. Doesn’t seem all that different from getting a massive body tattoo or a tongue splitting or something. Which is to say it’s everyone’s right to do what they please with their body, but it’s objectively a really stupid and bad idea that’s 5% daydream, 30% alcohol, and 65% regret.

  18. It’s nothing compared to what boxers and wrestlers do to their ears. If those guys can hear through their cauliflowers and flattened out elephant ears, I suspect these elf ear people will be fine.

  19. Golly, I can’t see any way that this could end badly, with a lifetime of regret.

    Perhaps now I can act on my lifelong dream to have a long, luxurious panther-like tail.

  20. Monstrous!

    The only ear cartilage modifications that are acceptable to decent, right-thinking people are ones with strong gender norms and long histories. Anything else is just freaky.

    (Incidentally, somebody should tell the Daily Heil that illegal immigrants and council-housed-single-mothers-of-8-ASBOed-yobs-by-numerous-different-men are getting this procedure done on the NHS…)

  21. The big danger in this? Right after you get it done, someone like Paris Hilton gets it done. The media then labels everyone with pointy ears a Paris Hilton wannabe.

  22. My daughter was born with hairy, pointed ears. They were very cute but after a few years the fur and points went away… her ears are like anyone else’s now.

  23. Kind of weird, and definitely not for me, but live and let live, eh?

    OTOH, I rather wish people wouldn’t feed the trolls by responding to anything – anything – the Mail publishes. My world is so much improved by pretending it simply doesn’t exist.

  24. Steve Haworth, who is mentioned in the article as the practitioner, has been doing this procedure for many years, and if memory serves, it’s made its way through the tabloid internet a few times before. This is recycled fear-hype/freak bashing for the sake of ad revenue.

  25. What freaks me out the most about body modification, is that doctors do not do it. Your letting some sketchy tattoo artist take a freaking knife to you? Are you insane?

    I once met a guy who had whole bunch of 1″ stainless steel ball bearings inserted into his forearm from elbow to wrist. It created a bumpy and hard surface, and very freaky. And as crazy as that is all I could think about was some crazy tattoo artist actually doing it which freaked me out even more.

  26. It is well known that tats (especially lo-back), keychain ear lobes, skull knobs AND elf ears ALL look cooler in the golden years, when major decisions of the day include which sweater vest to wear, or which bifocal subscription to upgrade.

    In your face, regular, unmodified-ians! When you’re in your 60s, you’ll be sorry you didn’t jump on that band wagon 40 years earlier.

  27. Back in the ’60s, if you wanted this look, you had to get your head stuck in a mechanical rice picker and hope there was a plastic surgeon nearby.

  28. Well, so far we’ve got a backhanded “you’ll regret this when you’re 80, you’ll see!” and “omg this is done by sketchy unclean people!”. Now all we need is “people just do this kind of thing to get attention” and we’ll have hit the dumbass-assumptions-about-body-modification trifecta.

  29. This is something that’s been going on for years. Way to go, Daily Mail, for being on top of the “latest trend” in body modification. I also highly doubt that people undergoing this procedure are all Lord of the Rings fans or fantasy nuts. Some people just want to alter their appearance and I completely respect that.

    In reply to DarthVain: Unfortunately for people who want extreme body modifications, most licensed doctors won’t do them. People like Steve Haworth have years of practice and training and aren’t just “crazy tattoo artists” who decided to pick up a scalpel and start slicing people up. And because they aren’t doctors, they can’t use anesthetics without risk of being arrested for practicing medicine without a license.

    I’m pretty sure the people getting and giving these procedures know the risks, so scolding/ridiculing them is pointless. Not everyone who gets extreme modification is a bored naive teenager with cash to throw around. We may not understand the value of their aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean we should assume they have no forethought or intelligence.

  30. I don’t understand this as a spectacle. As far as body mods go, this is extremely tame, and actually kind of cool in my opinion.

    Elf-ing your ears really won’t change much about your appearance, and likely won’t do much to your hearing. If people want to do it, I don’t think it should be considered any more ridiculous than the effort put into getting that perfect cosplay outfit assembled.

  31. That’s nuthin’ check out this guy who removed his nose because of a Sesame Street episode…


    (yeah I know its fake)

    A real mouth-breather…

    [Note: I have a DVD from Witz coming tomorrow, so full photos of the procedure and more photos are in the next BME/extreme update in the “miscellaneous amputations” section, and the video of the procedure should be posted shortly on BMEvideo. – Shannon/Roo]

    Any BME members around to verify this?

  32. To be honest, this bothers me less than breast augmentation/botox injections provided it were done with a little more doctor involvement.

  33. I think it would diminish the darling little fools’ hearing to a noticeable degree, just as cupping your hand to your ear enhances your hearing significantly. At least this is the case if you’re in your mid-fifties in a crowded setting trying to hear the other side of a conversation. The poor wee things may not care a fig now, but regret may lie in wait. It looks sweet though.

  34. Is it really any worse than plastic bags filled with toxic stuff inside breasts or hormones injected into faces to make them look fuller?

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