When will it end? As tired a topic as it has become, the internet continues to change the way skateboarding's incoming generation perceives themselves. I'll put it this way: Until they create scratch and sniff touch screens, none of these little turds are ever going to realize that it's their shit that's been stinkin' up the biodome. I'm lookin' at you, Instagram. In one swift motion, this incredible photo sharing app has produced an army of #mememe #lookatmytricks robots who actually have themselves convinced that they've built up a fan base who gives a shit. And now, on behalf of everyone old enough to buy their own 6-Pack, I have the distinct pleasure of telling them this:
No one cares what tricks you just learned, how blessed you think you are, where you just "practiced", or "trained" for this weekend's tournament game of S.K.A.T.E. that you obviously expect to win. Nobody cares about the new product you frequently get or the amount of instagram followers you had your parents buy you. Nobody cares about the tattoo you got on your 18th birthday. Nobody cares about the #skatelife you live. Nobody cares about the video "project" you're working on, the release to hellaclips part you've poured your heart and soul into. Nobody cares.
You will never go pro. And if you do, so what?
I know this all sounds very harsh and cynical. I know. But god damn, I've had enough. I can't watch a clip of some kid 360 flip front boarding the Hollywood 12 rail knowing how amazed my 12-year-old self was to watch Braydon Szafranksy cut his head open trying to kickflip front board the same thing. And all for what? To post it to instagram? You had your filmer put the time and effort into filming a trick, only to have them compress the clip and format it especially for Instagram?
So what's the point in all of this bitching and complaining anyways? I think I'm just bitter that it seems like there's no sense of rejection in skateboarding anymore. Before, a kid had to basically film their own part, put it onto a tape or some sort of secret quicktime file, gain support from more connected people (usually people who support the local scene, like shop owners), and send it off to a team manager who would either be cool with it, or straight up tell it like it is and say NO. This was a very natural and organic path for a promising skateboarder to take.
But now? Kids can craft an image for themselves and shamelessly secrete their dumpy footage to the endless feed. This way, if it's good (i.e. worth the most points in THPS), someone will eventually notice and they'll get hooked up. If it's bad (it almost always is), they rarely find out that people don't like it or approve of it. The process of rejection is completely blurred. What results is a generation of kids who don't know what it's like to fail until its too late, and that's some scary shit.
Now listen, I'm sure there are still perfectly humble kids out there who are just doing their thing. I'm not even saying that all instagram skate clips are bad. Post your little heart out. But like anything, it's all in the way you present yourself. Stop hashtagging skate life. Stop pretending you feel blessed. Stop tagging companies you aren't sponsored by in all of your clips. Just fucking skate. Whether you dress like Sean Pablo, or Manny Santiago, it's just skateboarding (the skateboarding fashion show argument is a whole other can of worms). So next time you double-treflip the 4-stair at the Stoner Plaza, switch it up a bit. Post it to Snapchat instead.