Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Love & Sk8

Is this still new to people? I thought people realized those ugly nubs you see all over everything were skateboard deterrents. But if it's new to the cutting-edge crowd at BoingBoing, then I guess I'm just incredibly hip.

The BoingBoing post is written as though the Skatestoppers actually cause accidents, which they would if you tried to grind over them, but in real life skaters actually plan out their line before skating and notice Skatestoppers first, so that never happens. Hence the lack of death porn on the Skatestoppers website. Not to mention, they'd have to get the footage from skaters.

It's pretty amazing how the Skatestoppers controversy reveals skaters as inarticulate idiots incapable of grasping the concept of property damage. Even skateboarders with jobs don't get it.

"[Chris Loarie, creator of Skatestoppers] is, basically, the enemy of skateboarding," said Dave Swift, the former editor of Transworld Skateboarding magazine.

No. He's just the enemy of you fucking up property with skateboards.

They can call skating "free expression" all they want, but it is undeniably damaging property that someone else paid for. They may not think the damage is bad, but that is not for them to decide. Maybe spraying paint against a wall is free expression too, grafitti is just the unfortunate residue of the expressive activity.

I would like to be sympathetic to skaters. As many of you know, I enjoy pretending to be one myself. But they can't express themselves without sounding like spoiled, petulant children. Oh, wait.

Much of Loarie's hate mail sounds the same: Why does he hate skateboarders so much? Was he an abused child? Why does he have to be such a money-grubbing capitalist? One letter calls Skatestoppers "the most heartbreaking tool or weapon against the world."

Way worse than the atomic bomb, definitely. You have to give skaters credit for one thing: Perspective.

Perhaps the loftiest accusation, voiced in a number of letters, is that by discouraging skateboarding Loarie is encouraging teenage delinquency and drug use.

"Skateboarding is and always will be better than drugs, prostitution, and robbery," David Schleith wrote in a recent e-mail.

Skateboarding is better than rape and murder. Drug use is and always will be better than genocide. Pedophilia is better than the end of the world. Anything and everything is okay if there are things that are worse. Plato would be proud.

Mostly, skateboarders warn Loarie that his efforts are for naught, and their letters often include intricate directions for disabling or destroying Skatestoppers.

"Your product seems to work well, other than the fact that it completely sucks," Jon wrote in a handwritten letter addressed to "Dearest Skatestoppers."


He continued: "Your product is easily cut of (sic) with a simple hack saw. You may think that you now need to make something newer and better, but it will never matter."

Dearest Jon,
Your writing seems to work well, other than the fact that it completely sucks. Thank you for telling us how precisely how to improve Skatestoppers in the future.

Skateboarders routinely conduct guerrilla missions to remove what they call "Nazi knobs" from their favorite skate spots.

You know who hated skaters? Hitler.

Eric Dill, a loss control analyst for San Dieguito High School – Loarie's alma mater – said a group of skateboarders recently removed a batch of Skatestoppers and then used quick-dry cement to repair the damage.

"It's kind of funny," Dill said. "They did such a good job, we left it as is."

If skateboarders were willing to do this more often--to simply take responsibility, repair their own damage and maintain their own skate spots--maybe locations could be persuaded not to install Skatestoppers in the first place.

1 comment:

lydia said...

um, that's definitely old hat. But, like you, I was all "poseur" for awhile ;)

I did really enjoy your guided tour of the article, however.