I think tribals have gotten a bad rap since they're overdone. I like them when they're done not for their own sake or picked at random, but designed expressly to contour and color someone's body, redirecting their lines of sight visually.
So, sure, if it was just something i'd picked out of a catalog and pasted on my back I'd see your point. But who's the bigger fgt - the person who designs and wears a tribal, or the person who'd be terrified to wear something resembling one because it's no longer chic?
I'm not a big fan of Orton's arm tribals, but the one on his back is great imo. After he got the arms filled in (after this pic was taken), even the tribals there add some neat detail.