Here at non-communist BTO we are strident believers in the power and authority of free markets. Tony Hawk for instance popularized the McSqueeb hair-cut and named a trick after Madonna, in between raising awareness of international arms trafficking via the movie “Gleaming the Cube” – therefore he gained power and many dollars. The question upon our minds this week is what recognition from a newly created Skateboarding Hall of Fame could possibly offer the Birdman that he does not already have, aside from a hazy notion of name recognition among future skateboarders with the inclination to read press releases, but we all know this to be untrue because Tony Hawk is in it for the money, the money and the cars, cars and the clothes, as clearly stated on his upcoming solo album.
But the skateboard hall of fame is the latest brainchild of the International Association of Skateboard Companies, that conglomeration of businessmen and unemployed werewolfs who devised the international “Go Skateboarding Day” and helps get kids in Arkansas arrested. As to their rationale, we’ll let IASC executive director John Bernards tell the tale:
“Taking the opportunity to acknowledge and honor the individuals who have so greatly influenced and shaped the industry allows us to look forward to the future of skateboarding without ever forgetting our roots and everything it took to get where we are today – each and every shenanigan, triumph and challenge.”
So choke on it, On Video magazine. No, but from a purely internet entertainment value perspective there are a number of funnier ways they could have approached this, for instance, judging on the criteria of “most jailed” or “most times caught on fire” or most money in the bank by the time NSS/Power/Air Speed stopped cutting checks. But instead there is only this vague notion of “influencing and shaping,” which plainly sounds like a bra ad, while spanning some unspecified time frame, similar to a series of bra catalogues. Ought not Steve Cab be in there somewhere between the Tonys Alva and Hawk? If we’re going to hook up Bruce Logan, why not the legions of additional talented freestylers and slalomers who nobly gave their dignity and lives so we could enjoy this family restaurant? Er, Rodney Mullen? What about all those guys who invented skateboarding by nailing rollerskate wheels to two-by-fours, who I keep meeting slumped atop stools in various bars? What are they, chopped liver?
As a largely uninformed third party, it is incumbent upon this blog to predict that these type of annoying and largely pointless questions will dog the SHOF (or SHOE if you like) as long as it persists, which is of course part of the whole idea. Kind of like when VH1 counts down the top 400 celebrity somethings, killing valuable airtime but also sewing the seeds of discourse across office water-coolers and internet chat-venues the world over. Is BTO blindly and blunderingly playing into the IASC’s hand just with this misguided post? Perhaps, which is why I will slyly continue to refer to it as SHOE.
Back to the cultural significance. I submit to you, is the average peanut-leaguer more aware of Mickey Mantle because of multiple references on syndicated Seinfeld re-runs, or because he’s enshrined in some privately operated shrine in Cooperstown NY, home of shrines? Is there more to this SHOE beyond self-aggrandizement and some type of vague promotion of the “sport”? Is skate-boarding history, such as it is, the sort of thing that’s learned in museums and on CNN.com’s offbeat sports page, or on the streets? (I.E., not learned at all.)
Trophies and contest purses aside there is (was?) an aspect of all this shit that’s more about shooting spitballs at the homecoming kings and star quarterbacks than hoarding achievements and gala dinners. I’m sure the SHOE will raise all manner of money for new skateparks and promotions etc, and all involved are sweet bros with only the bro-est of intentions, but ought not the arbitrator of influence and, er, “shaping” be whether or not kid kickflip at the park recognizes a name, or knows how a certain trick came about? The limitations of physics aside, wasn’t one of the main attractions the lack of vicious rules and by-laws, along with the trappings and ceremony of the institutionalized sports? Can we expect to see a SHOE spot among the career aims of Ryan Sheckler, Greg Lutzka and Chaz Ortiz? And is Bo Turner lurking out back with violent designs on the winners’ lunch money?