Posts Tagged ‘Dodongo dislikes smoke’

Instagram’s Never-Ending Demo

May 6, 2018

“It’s annoying. There are people who know where you are when you don’t want them to know where you are. Add to that the fact that I’m being told by people that I’m blowing it and losing out on board royalties and shoe royalties because of not being on the stuff? That makes me sick. That, in skateboarding, you’re hurting yourself by choosing not to spend more time stuck behind a computer. That doesn’t make sense. Just talk to a kid when you’re out skating, and they buy your board, you know?”

What if two-trucked handrailing Luddite David Gravette got it wrong? What if all other pros who’ve half-heartedly wished away Instagram’s round-the-clock, feed-the-beast Antlion death trap for skate content of all stripes and quality levels were looking at it totally cockeyed? What if nobility and honour lay not in turning away from the doubletapping throng, their fickle tags and fleeting tastes, and instead throwing oneself completely into it?

Just as remote email access and space mission-worthy computers in every Dockers pocket has turned white-collar jobs into 24-hour affairs, clocking in at desperate, late-night hours or out of sheer boredom on the john, so too has Instagram’s advent extended outward the dimension of the skate demo. Now, fossil fuel-guzzling, sweaty summertime tour stops stand as an anachronism beside an infinity-scrolling, pro-packed skate session beneath fingers that may or may not pick up your board the next time they stop by the shop, but may also click over to your bro-brand’s BigCartel to scoop a $32 t-shirt before they all wind up on Ebay.

In the never-ending Instagram demo, perhaps the pro daily dribbling out indifferently phone-filmed park clips is not some navel-gazing lazy, tossing half-baked bones to his or her followers while too hungover to step to street spots. He or she is our 21st century demo king, rifling off tricks and stoking out touchscreen-hypnosis kids who faithfully scroll their way to a front-row seat for the round-the-clock session stretching across time zones, continents and hemispheres, right now, go look. Like when a real demo is popping it’s hard to catch everything if your eyes aren’t peeled and pivoting.

In the never-ending Instagram demo, perhaps the pro following you back and now and then ‘liking’ one of your jiggly park clips is not grimly cycling through his or her followers to pick a predetermined handful to hype up and pump devotion into an overinflated personal brand, while awaiting an Uber to Tuesday night’s first bar. Perhaps they are those who, in the days when gas prices, hotel rates and deck company saturation levels were comparatively lower, would follow your post-demo trick on the medium-sized park ledge with one they had in a six-month-old 411, or turn to holler “yeah!” from the ramp deck while signing autographs.

In the never-ending Instagram demo, perhaps the pro posting inane ‘what’s-your-favorite’ queries to rack up responses and assert onesself into followers’ feeds isn’t fulfilling some soul-eroding contractual obligation to accumulate aspirational ‘like’ totals, while tagging the intricately curated accounts of private equity-backed sponsors. Perhaps they are the ones who, when bumper tag-scarred vans ferried teams across American hinterlands — between ramp-stuffed hockey rinks and mostly cleared-out parking lots — would jawbone idly with kids from the open sliding door, or while presumptuously perched behind the counters of skate shops where they’d clocked in briefly on the previous summer’s tour.

In the never-ending Instagram demo, perhaps the pro who trumpets the selection of one lucky commenter or nth new follower to receive a fat box is not cynically tapping internet-raised youngsters’ thirst for free shit, and frequent profile checks. Perhaps he or she is ascending his or her own digital ramp deck to perform a 4G-enabled product toss, tapping every kid’s thirst for free shit and endearing his or her sponsors to them by heaving product across the country via the internet-subsidizing postal service. Widely distributed mobile video capabilities ensure the continued capacity for kids to debase themselves in return, whether crawling through drainage ditches or taming irate and multi-ton wild animals.

Did David Gravette capitulate in 2014, or finally decide to get off the great and tactile sideline that is the offline life? What’s the Instagram equivalent of a board shooting out at a demo and cracking somebody in the face? What about the autographed car? Are all pro skater Instagram accounts actually controlled by bots, the internet largely calibrated by self-teaching algorithms, and none of this real anyway because you are dreaming right now?

Heated Seats And Pants With No Pleats

October 17, 2015

judge_kiss

“There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it,” grumbled the dark lord Sauron in a recent and grumbly voiceover advertising the new Star Wars movie. “The dark side, and the light.” The vibrant world of wookies and hard-partying ewoks again has fallen into strife and discord, lousy with massing storm troopers and crashed spaceships. It represents an extension of what is perhaps the nation’s best-known workplace drama, in which the rigors of toiling under the Emperor’s exacting standards caused Darth Vader to crack and fail to recoup the Empire’s lofty investment in the initial Death Star, then resign his position before construction on the second could complete.

Darth Vader, like so many other career professionals laboring under layers of blubbery bureaucracy, encountered distressors* that occasionally drove him to lash out at colleagues and competitors, employing telekinesis and a lazery sword in equal measure, often illegally. As hinted by the Star Warrior-baiting Santa Cruz decks of yesteryear, Darth Vader’s broiling frustrations may mirror those gripping the skateboard sphere in these, the autumn days of 2015.

Like an incredulous Death Star space welder handed a snorkel, a flathead screwdriver and an unconvincing clap on the shoulder, stakes and requirements for workaday professional bros seem to ratchet ever higher while the constraints of a turbulent global economy seem intent on culling the industry herd. Once high-flying board affairs like Alien Workshop, Zero and Girl are undergoing painful evolutions, while rumors swirl around the future of Dekline shoes and Adio has taken to advertising former team riders in its bid for continued relevance. Signature-model toting professionals increasingly are expected to bear the responsibility of marketing themselves via crowd-courting internet pages, and we live in a time when not only is it unshocking to see a marginally-known amateur break off tricks like Gabriel Summers’ shiveringly gnarly nosegrind, it also is de regueur do it nominally for free. Olympic endorsement contracts would beckon skateboarding’s sobriety-compatible 1%, while remaining ne’er do wells contemplate crowdfunding raisers to sop up medical bills.

Are stress levels within skating’s grand talent pool rising to a Vader level in which colleagues get choked out at sit-down meetings? You hear these things, but it is hard to know for sure. There are signs and siguls, including but not limited to growth in powerviolence-sprinkled parts and graphics, or soundtracks bearing murderer music. Vignettes tucked into ‘Sabotage 4’ and the ‘Our Life’ video, two of the grittier and grottier outputs of recent weeks, feature fights with cops and passersby, recalling a previous industry crunch that manifested itself in part via board-to-drill combat.

Veins of latent but palpable anger burble beneath the overcast surface and betwixt combusting switchstance tricks in Gilbert Crockett’s ‘Salt Life’ video part for the redubbed Quasi, an outfit forged from the wreckage and occasional raw feelings of a highflying corporate adventure gone kaput. Quasi’s initial video look transposes some of the hi-contrast and sharp cuts of their graphical concepts, anchored in a somewhat deeper trench of Gilbert Crockett’s technical skating, including a crunchy switch backside smith grind and one of the more eye-popping switch shove-its in recent memory, and peppered with enraged grunts and a viciously celebratory board beating.

Has the quantity of cathartic, building-slapping wallrides and wallies risen in lockstep with the industry’s general level of fiscal insecurity? Will snapchatted pro boxing matches emerge as a multipronged answer to slackened incomes and late night instagram sniping? May all of it be symptomatic of a divide-and-conquer conspiracy among deep-pocketed sportswear and drink manufacturers? Does the environment grow ever riper for a Bo Turner comeback?

*versus happier eustressors trafficked among those hard-partying ewoks and jawas