INDIVIDUAL: A “Skater”
GROUP SIZE: Anything from around 1,000 on up to 10,000,000
NATURE OF GROUP: Citizens of towns or cities who
fund, through taxation, state, county, or city funded and operated
INCIDENCE OF SOCIOMETRY: False Sense of Security.
A SKATEBOARD IS:
A means of creative expression.
A piece of athletic equipment.
A mode of transportation.
A potential weapon.
Three is Agents installed two signs (see above) at entrances
to the Denver Municipal Skate Park, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A
OF TERRIBLY MISMANAGED SOCIAL CONDITIONING:
A pastime is allowed to develop that, because of its unique combination
of qualities, attracts societies most promising youth, hones their
creative self expression, keeps them in peak physical condition, allows
them complete freedom of movement, and arms them with clubs. Society
is, in turn, allowed to continually eject the pastime participants
from public and private property, cite them, arrest them, and deride
them as noisy, dangerous, and destructive.
Additionally three simulated security cameras were installed.
Views from each are pictured. All were removed by the city.
IN THE UNITED STATES ROUGHLY 1985-1995. The Problem:
Insurance rates skyrocketed. The bottom dropped out. Commercial skate
parks died. Vert disappeared. Kids took to streets and alleyways looking
for a hip, ledge or backyard pool to emulate the moves of last years
pros sessioning now demolished or buried parks and spent the next
decade BUSTED. Constant harassment from traditional authority figures
such as police, property owners, and business patrons disenfranchised
skaters to such a degree that the activity assumed an outlaw aesthetic.
“Good kids” soiled their image with skulls, wallet chains,
and hair in the eyes. “Delinquents” looking for the next
thrill naturally gravitated toward this increasingly hostile “sport”
and its promise of no uniforms, no coach, and “no fuckin’
In addition to turning societies best and brightest into menaces,
it drove them into the arms of societies best and brightest menaces.
The tribe of wild miscreants born of this union hit the pavement laughing
in the face of authority, gleefully running from cops, wantonly destroying
property, fearlessly spitting on security guards, physically fighting
adults of all creeds, and filming it all as a challenge to those who
would dare to follow
IN THE UNITED STATES ROUGHLY 1995-PRESENT. The Solution:
Build killer public skate parks in every town. Provide a place that
no local brick bank or concrete bench could hold a candle to. Make
them free. Limit rules to common sense regulations like those that
pertain to jungle gyms and public basketball courts. Make the rails
a foot lower for the juvenile delinquents. Lure the older unreformable
set with cloverleaf and capsule bowls poured of the smoothest concrete
commercially available. Effectively entice a legion of problem cases
to hang out in a socially sanctioned, municipally funded, centrally
located, and easily monitored environment. Keep them pinned in by
their own desires.
Go to the skate park in any U.S. town. Look at the old-school vert
dogs. They’re whooping it up, occasionally self-medicating in
the privacy of their cars, and complacently settling into routines
of adulthood. The wives and Jr. come down to watch on Saturdays. Look
at the new-school hip-hop skaters approaching a ledge or bar, content
to repeat a sequence over and over. Their cloths are baggy yet clean.
Skate brands are substituted with more affluent designer and corporate
logos. Shirts are collared. Look at the little kids – the future
of skateboarding. Helmets and pads all around. Mom reads a book at
the end of the hip-hoppers ledge. Skaters and roller-bladers commingle.
Now, take a second look at both old and new school. Vert-dogs and
hip-hoppers. Note the occasional glance toward the Downtown skyline,
the frequent blank looks, long periods on the bench. Now look again
at the little ones. The kids not yet in a school. They are content
with their bike helmets, their alterna-mom, and their roller-blader
brother. They know and follow the rules. They might as well be playing
touch football! They are and will continue to be followers... Sissies!
(This report was originally printed in The
Mobernist Issue #3)