Probably it’s a good thing that after a half-decade’s worth of footwear purveyours collectively issuing the same half-dozen models adorned with various logos, and the seven-ply hot dog holding sway for at least three times that long, it is a plus that a subculture stretched thin by recession and embracing a certain amount of commoditization retains enough crankiness and spark to gnash message-board teeth over perceived biting. And so it is that we take heart in the internet tizzy fermented by the debut of Politic, which devotees of the “Static II” aesthetic immediately scrutinized over similarities to UK phenom Palace, what with their comparable names, repurposing of analog video machines, and triangular logos that come on t-shirts with a little version over the left breast zone and a big version on the back.
Some may call it ironic that for a subset whose pride in cellar doors, wallies, natural and/or abrupt transition and certain other unconventional landforms got it pasted as “creative” here and there now seems clearly to be eating its own tail, but there’s potentially a murkier kind of food chain being linked together here.* Palace came in for accolades from this and other quarters when it emerged as a synthesis of Silverstar, Illuminati and “Time Code” era AWS, transplanted to overcast U.K. backwaters and dubbed over on VHS tape. Politic’s initial look cribs from the same playbook and you could read in some nods to Blueprint circa “Lost & Found.” But whereas Palace a year or two into its run dialed the nostalgia-meter back to 1995 with a big, sloppy kiss to the Menace segment in “20-Shot Sequence,” Politic may be trying not to join Palace but to beat them in their golden-age tribute-payments, its supposed take-off on Palace itself a take-off on the World-led wave of logo swipes that pervaded the early 90s?
The invisible hand of the free market will determine whether domestic and international consumers will catch feelings over this episode, embiggen their hearts to allow room for competition in the subgroup or ultimately cast both into the vast sale pile that sits below the deck wall in the skate shop of the great beyond. What is not up for debate is that Steve Durante seemingly has a long-overdue professional model and the lure of new footage, in these longer and colder autumn days, that right there is enough to warm the cockles of even the most cold-hearted capitalist.
*Others would challenge this statement and say that the staters don’t have a good grasp on the actual definition of ironic, driving additional unique visitors to Dictionary.com.