This is the inaugural post of a new blog called Second Place. It’s committed solely to rhetorical and linguistic issues in rollerblading and rollerblading discourse. It won’t cover the hottest pros or the newest videos. It isn’t about contests, gossip, or some fake-ass schism between old school guys and new school guys.
Take me at my word when I say that I’m the last dude who’s gonna tell you to grab your backslides, wear baggier jeans or listen to punk rock. I’m not gonna preach about the “right way” to name tricks, how best to describe skate spots, or tell you to use correct spelling and punctuation. If you want to read that kind of rancor and tripe, this isn’t a blog you’ll be interested in.
What I am interested in doing here is presenting rollerbladers with a new perpective. Outside of my rollerblading life I’m an academic. I went to school for a long ass time and I earned a BA and two masters degrees. I’ve learned a lot of cool things in the fields I’ve studied and I think they can be both interesting and relevant to rollerbladers.
I’m calling this project ‘Second Place’ to help guarantee that I always privilege the actual activity of rollerblading above cultural, rhetorical or linguistic issues. Strapping inline wheels to your feet has to take a place above any other. I should also say, though, that rollerblading would be nothing without its culture. And a culture, no matter how big or how obscure, is always subject to the limitations of its language. Language restricts not only what we can say and how we can say it; language also reflexively affects what we can think.
Over the last few decades impressive advancements have been made in the cognitive sciences, and while we still understand only a fraction of what the brain does, cognitive linguistics can tell us a great deal about how our brains both handle and ‘do’ language. During the two and a half thousand years prior to those advancements, rhetoricians have studied how and why people come to believe the things they do. Both of these fields have a tremendous amount of insight to offer rollerblading, and I feel privileged to introduce this blog and share some of those insights with you.
Big THANKS to Justin Eisinger over at ONE for taking a chance on this kind of content. Other thanks go out to Jess Stoner, Jan Welch, and Lindsay Braun for their help getting this together.
I hope you’ll follow along with me as this project develops, and I hope you’ll contact me if you have a topic you’d like to see covered here.
The first post will be go up on the Second day in May, 2012.