This sucks. Yes. For everyone.
The end until it’s not the end.
Since we’re logging historical levels of screentime, it’s important to evaluate your media diet. What you put in your brain is as important as what you put in your body and there’s a lot of junk food out there, plus no one really knows what these ones and zeroes are doing to our brands. There’s an ongoing debate among brainiacs about whether or not YouTube can radicalize people, so if you’re at all curious about this phenomenon check out the Rabbit Hole podcast instead of Joseph Rogan.
At the beginning of this pandemic, I made the mistake of reactivating my Facebook account as friends and family who would rather hang out on that platform were concerned. This was god tier stupid and reminded me why I focused my account originally.
I noticed two very strange things after scrolling but not really engaging with content for a few weeks:
I was getting more friend requests than usual. Not more confused people messaging me that they love “my parts,” or whatever but a deluge of men of all colors who appeared to be skateboarders with mutual friends, often with alliterative names like Bugsy Bugman and shit like that which is always a red flag. After “accepting” these “people,” I’d immediately see my new buddies appear in my feeds, posting conspiracy theories, pro-Tr*mp memes, and plenty of sexist, racist, xenophobic, and just haggard content before I deaded them. Yes, there are “SkateBots.”
The level of “normal people” in my feed who are usually apolitical or fall into the “all politicians are evil and you’re dumb if you care” category had secretly received their doctorates in infectious diseases. They post their “research” and are convinced that Coronavirus is some plot to control people who are… already completely controlled.
There’s probably a Venn Diagram opportunity here but the latter observation made me think that some percentage of my newly friended and unfriended “accounts” were maybe not bots but just who they are: Bugsy Bugman, a dude who doesn’t travel, doesn’t appreciate art, says he reads but really doesn’t, hates the media but loves random YouTubers who know the “truth” and may or may not be real.
This really concerns me because like those who think COVID-19 isn’t “real,” I can’t tell who is real anymore because of the widespread Meme-a-facation of the United States and the entire Planet Earth.
So, hold up. In the United States, everyone is ranked by a CREDIT SCORE. It basically decides what you can and cannot do. It was invented in the 1950s by two men: Bill Fair and mathematician Earl Isaac. So while some are flummoxed by those fighting to open bowling alleys or nail salons, let’s also realize that skateboarders are being equally ridiculous right now.
Once again, I caught myself playing into a trope I’m highly aware and critical of: skateboarders aren’t normal. This is 100% not true and not a fact. People just have skateboards. They are objects. I saw two kids riding them yesterday and they were wearing Sponge Bob clothing.
Bugsy and Kelly Ann from my high school process things in the same way and what they do on social media has an impact on others whether or not they realize it because we’re all our own mini-channels. As psychotic as it is for the person in charge of the US telling people to inject bleach, it is equally disturbing that a civilian would broadcast to their followers to avoid vaccines or that Coronavirus isn’t real and that “the media” is fake.
I’d like to expand on this quickly before we get back to talking about how fucking stupid we all are.
Calling a career journalist “fake” vs. a random podcaster is absurd. The average human doesn’t realize the level of fact-checking and training it takes to get an article published. OK, maybe not in skateboarding but in mainstream media, it’s a different game entirely Yes, reporters and journalists make mistakes but reputable ones are operating at a very average of accuracy whereas a podcaster can just “make things.” It’s not even comparable and it’s insulting to anyone in the media who respects what media is intended to be.
There are some skateboarders out there that I know are real so I looked at what they were saying and posting about COVID-19 and wow, it’s yeah... they shouldn’t be doing this. And there’s a thread and it’s not skateboarding, it’s education. I’m not slighting anyone or getting into their backstory at all, I’m just observing that in this small sample size of insights, most haven’t achieved a degree past a high school diploma, like many of the norms in my feeds who know everything about viruses and the New World Order.
I’d like to use a quote from a Mikey Taylor bio written by Justin Gordon:
Armed with only a high school education but more than a lifetime of real world experience, Mikey is committed to helping the next generation define the new American dream.
So what is the American dream? For me it was a sick ‘90s company that Jahmal Williams rode for or the fact I get to do all the stupid shit I choose but Mikey’s focus seems to be making money and he has a lot of opinions on money and how you should have it and why you don’t have it and how it’s a vehicle for life or whatever. It’s fine but it’s a narrow view of dreaming, right?
Mikey has also taken heat for his flippant Tweets about Coronavirus resulting in Jamal Smith telling him to “shut up” but what’s interesting is that he uses a slightly different voice and brand on Instagram, where political posts don’t trend and can lead to losing followers. Weird.
This one is particularly amazing:
This is an odd tweet for a salesman to make but also very on-brand for Mr. Taylor. You see, these types of quotes and thoughts are basically the inspo mad lib for Keto Ju-Jitsu bros and Influencers.
You take a thing, then turn the thing into the opposite thing. Let’s try it.
Sleep isn’t the end of your day, it’s the beginning of your dreams.
Knowledge isn’t what you know, it’s what you don’t know.
If you’re afraid to fail you’re afraid to learn.
Cool. So we get that now and it’s not motivational or clever. And there are other former pros posting wild shit but I’m not linking that in an attempt to curb the disinformation but trust me, there’s a lot and it’s rough.
And then you have this. A petition that doesn’t really make much sense but is asking Governor Gavin Newsom to force skate shops to open during a global pandemic because, you know, he doesn’t really have much going on these days.
As per the petition:
We are requesting that the governor of California recognize skateboarding as a legitimate means of transportation and designate all California skate shops and related facilities as essential businesses during the CoViD-19 crisis.
What in the fuck is a related facility to a skate shop?
I don’t even understand what’s happening here but that’s fine, I guess. Shops are open in the sense that they are finding ways to sell you things, I detailed this in a prior letter. But you know, we need to start a petition to change how the state of California is governed. If you peep the comments, you’ll see some MAGA shit happening because trying to stop the spread of a virus is political and just another tool of the left to somehow get everyone microchipped because we all don’t already carry tracking devices in our pockets and are slaves to money.
Skateboarding is not essential.
If you are fighting for the right to go into a room to buy wheels you’re a psychopath.
If you are getting information from skateboarders about anything other than how to do a trick, you are also a psychopath.
If you are outraged that your local park is closed you are closely aligned with Ted Cruz.
If you think the media is part of a greater plan to control society, you probably have an Alien Workshop tattoo but never rode for Alien Workshop.
Go skating. By yourself. Stop posting “facts” and using the word “sheeple.”
People in the ‘80s used to ride a single board for a year. Get a fucking grip. If you need a product, hit up your local shop and see if they can send it to you or deliver it, if not, get really tricky and do a Google search, you’ll be shocked to find out that things are readily available.
Most importantly, think about your mental health and how the digital things you consume impact you. Unfollow, unfriend, and curate your cyber world to ensure that you aren’t absorbing stress and idiocy all day. Unsubscribe to this newsletter if I’m too much of a snowflake. I won’t trip out.
I’ll leave you with the biggest cliché in advertising:
Advertising doesn’t work on me.
This is akin to saying you don’t read horoscopes because you don’t want to know what’s going to happen. Sure, an ad might not make you buy something and a meme might not change how you vote but it will cause you to feel something because we’re all blobs of emotions so be careful and don’t listen to skateboarders, including me.