TEXT: STUART GOMEZ
The relationship between celebrities and skateboarding is fraught with conflict and misunderstandings. When famous people open their big mouths about skaters, we band together and point out how they’re wrong—even if it’s kinda funny. When did we become so sensitive? Does our sensitivity stem from the acute self-awareness that every skater seems to be born with? When you’re picking over every detail of someone’s style, or evaluating whether someone should’ve gotten the last part in a video, that kind of rigorous analysis leaves a mark on our collective psyche. We’re subconsciously rolling around, stricken with paranoia, aware that others might be going over our every skate move with a fine-toothed skate comb.
We don’t have to babies about it, though.
There have been frequent examples of our thin-skinned tendencies in the past few years. The inevitable skate community backlash on social media has produced some embarrassing episodes of skaters jumping headfirst into a hot take without the benefit of perspective. In the most spectacular example, footage of Oasis’ reliably outspoken Noel Gallagher made the rounds: he stated that “Skateboarding’s for fucking little idiots.” Now, now… just hold on. Before you get your pitchforks out, just consider his statement literally. In a way, skateboarding IS for idiots. But then we learn a little something about ourselves in the process of skateboarding; we mature as human beings. And some of us just stay little fucking idiots.
We blew up his Insta, he fired back. We looked like little fucking idiots.
The brilliant Fran Lebowitz (a kind of cross between Oscar Wilde and “Oscar the Grouch”) is famous, and infamous, for speaking her mind with willful disregard for anyone who might be hurt along the way. Her targets typically are modern life and societal norms—but you don’t see them complaining. She went on Jimmy Fallon and stated bluntly that 40-year-olds are “too old to be skateboarding.” She’s right. After age 35, our bones begin to lose density at an alarming rate. Middle-aged men shouldn’t be skateboarding. But we’re rebels. That’s what skateboarding is all about, and Fran was just slyly acknowledging that fact (as she is known to do).
And comedian Ali Wong? In her Netflix special, she implored women to “Stop dating skaters.” ‘Nuff said.
But there are countless examples of support among celebrities, and we tend to ignore that. It was obvious that we all focused on the negative in 2016 (how could you not?), but in 2017 let’s try to embrace every comment uttered by celebrities on social and beyond. Even if it’s the most ignorant, inflammatory insult that has absolutely no basis in fact. Let’s just take it with a grain of salt instead of just being salty.
Use “The Mighty Boosh”‘s Noel Fielding as inspiration. The UK comedian and artist paid tribute to Tony Alva on Instagram this morning with one of his signature drawings, stating, “Alva the Mick Jagger of skateboarding x”
Don’t come back at him like, “No way, you don’t know what you’re talking about. He’s Carlos Santana.” Just respond with a fist bump. It’s not all about you.