New York Times covers skating; Utter boredom ensues.
It’s always interesting when the mainstream media covers skateboarding or something else subculture oriented. Sometimes you’ll read an article and it just sounds like they’re observing the whole thing using a telescope, from behind a glass bubble, inside of a quarantine room. Whether it’s due to unfamiliarity with the subject, an unwillingness to immerse themself in the culture before reporting on it, or the fact that they just needed 500 more words before deadline, many of these so-called “feature” stories tend to suck out the fervor and the soul that makes the whole subculture tick. Why bother?
Take, for instance, this New York Times article from last week, “Woosh! Another Shoe Destroyed”. It tells you, in no uncertain terms, that skaters seem to prefer different shoes because…get this…their skating styles are different. It also tells you that ::GASP:: skaters’ shoes receive a lot of abuse and ::SURPRISE!:: they have to get new ones fairly often. Also, and you’ll never believe this, a lot of skaters nowadays tend to prefer shoes that they think are stylish. The nerve of those kids.
The way that the whole thing’s written, you’d think that the reporter was observing a new species in a terrarium or some kind of extraterrestrial instead of human beings on four wheels. Is most of that stuff not COMMON FREAKING SENSE? In a sport where the entire objective is to look stylish while using your feet to manipulate your skateboard, can’t anyone with a brain larger than a paramecium infer that those kids are going to stick to shoes that are both aesthetically pleasing and acceptably durable?
Skateboarding’s come a long way from the days when it was seen as dangerous and sometimes anarchic. It’s a multimillion dollar industry that’s spread its popularity all over the globe, with heroes like Tony Hawk and celebrities like Rob Dyrdek becoming household names. It’s just as popular, if not moreso, as traditional sports like football and basketball.
So it makes me sad to see pointless stories like this. They could have been interviewing their subject, Lamonte Macintosh on his favorite skaters, his most difficult trick, or what kind of music he sessions to. They could have done a photojournal on skating in uber-urban environments like New York City. Shit, it’s the Fashion & Style section – they could have photographed different, unique skate-influenced looks. It’s the New York Times for chrissakes, I can’t believe that someone’s editor let this fly.
Instead, they give us this garbage. Which, more than anything, just shows that some people still don’t see skateboarding as part of the mainstream, still see it as nothing more than a trend. It’s not only sad, it’s wholly ignorant.
On the bright side, most skaters hate “The Man” anyway. Maybe this is a good thing.
Photo courtesy of newyorktimes.com