The thing about the internet is that is has lead to a lot of people spending more time reading a lot of opinions from more people. Opinions, however, are like arseholes – everyone’s got them and the majority of them stink. Mine included.
Even still, here’s an opinion for you; attempting to discuss skateboarding in a social media setting in 2018 is a shitshow. You can find a few social media groups and forums out there to discuss skateboarding publicly, but here’s a thing for you – it fucking sucks.
One such group I was added to a while back (and I have since left), seemed to be ran by a group of gate-keeping moaning keyboard warriors who couldn’t take the slightest bit of discourse which went against their collective opinion. They had posts that literally just told them group they had spent their Saturday removing their bearings, cleaning their bearings, and then putting them back on their boards.
For some reason this group was massive as well. It was everything I hated about the UK skateboarding industry and the reason I stepped back from actively trying to mingle and involve myself in it. It is the exact reason I sacked off Terribleco in 2013. That’s right, this shit is so fucking lame it made me not want to make videos and skate less.
In order to join, you had to be referred by an existing member (in their own words, “they had some bad eggs join and want existing members to vouch for any new ones”). I added someone I knew who was totally legit and not an arsehole, and was bombarded with tagged posts telling me to contact the group admin immediately. I HAD BEEN SUMMONED. SUMMONED BY THE SELF-PROFESSED LORDS OF SKATEBOARDING TO ANSWER FOR WHY I WOULD ADD ANOTHER SKATEBOARDER TO A SKATEBOARDING GROUP ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
Fuck. That. Shit.
It was a cesspit of negativity that thrived on gathering around something or someone to hate on. Myself (and others) posted videos we had made, or videos we thought were rad, in there. No response. No fucks given. Someone posts a badly written 2 line post about Jake Phelps and suddenly it’s got 50 replies and reactions to it.
And even in situations like this, if you so dare as to have a different opinion to the crowd, they will use mob mentality and condescending reasoning to explain why you are wrong, and they AS THE HOLY ARBITERS OF ALL THAT IS SACRED IN SKATEBOARDING are right. Let people have an opinion (as I said, we all have them, and they mostly stink).
Skateboarding is about freedom of expression and not giving a shit what people think, and part of that is accepting sometimes people have horrendously bad opinions about things that should be obvious. As long as those opinions are not hateful or harmful to others, you shouldn’t be sitting there dictating how someone is wrong for still liking some guy who edits a skateboard magazine.
In 2018, skateboarding is incredibly popular and progressive – more skaters of all backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, age, and for the most part people are more open and friendly and hyped on skateboarding, which is one of the reasons I think a lot of us stick with it. I have zero tolerance or time for the gate-keeping “locals only” mentality of old men who think their view of skateboarding is the only one that matters.
The irony of me complaining about these dickheads is not lost on me. I, a man in his thirties, complaining about other skateboarders is exactly what I have complained about in this blog post – but the difference is that I never once claimed to be representing all skateboarders. I represent myself and no one else, and I couldn’t give a shit if your opinion doesn’t align with what I think. As long as you aren’t a dick and you aren’t causing harm to anyone you’re opinion is harmless and yours to have.
The Terrible Company is not gate-keeping you from any community and has never been about keeping anyone out. You don’t need to vouch for anyone in order for them to like the shit I make or to skate with me and people I know and film. The word family gets thrown out there a lot to make it seem like something is inclusive and friendly when really it’s a group of people just wanting to bitch online. Skateboarding is a family, and you don’t need approval from anyone to join.