Lately I’ve been running across variations of a certain phrase used frequently in rollerblading media—on message boards, on Twitter, on Facebook—sometimes even as an ultimatum in real life.
There are many varieties, but here are some examples of the basic sentiment:
“Pics, or it didn’t happen.”
“Pics, or you weren’t there.”
and the even more rollerblading-specific:
“Clips, or you didn’t do it.”
This sentiment really gets at one of the primary characteristics of our community. We’re a media-driven group. And we have a voyeuristic culture. We watch videos and examine photographs. We spend a huge amount of time paying attention to what the others are doing. What they’re wearing, what tricks they’re doing, what style they skate with.
In bald promotion of that, we learn photography and video editing, we post pictures of our friends and ourselves, we make online edits and skate sections and overlay our favorite music on top.
It feels good to have a picture in a magazine or a great clip in an edit. But we’re something of a spectacle and we seem to embrace it more than we shun it.
But voyeurism isn’t the only thing imbedded in those phrases listed above. They also encode something fairly strange that has to do with how we see the world as rollerbladers.
When someone challenges you with, “Clips, or you didn’t do it,” they aren’t really doubting that you did the trick. What they’re doing is enforcing a system of values on you—values that you’re supposed to share. In a way, they’re trying to coerce you into abiding to the norms of our community, which, as I said before, is voyeuristic and spectacle.
If you aren’t willing to participate in those kinds of things, the community often tries to force you to abide by its norms and standards, or risk banishment at your own peril.
But this isn’t some rant about whether or not you should film yourself or whether you should look at the pictures that people post up everywhere.
The important thing, to me anyway, is to realize how the sort of behavior (above) affects the way we see the world.
This one is a lot less hermetical that your first entry. A fun read, indeed.
Thanks for giving me another shot, man! I’m glad you liked it.
Makes me think back to all the shit I did before the filming culture was as pervasive as it is now. Lost of stuff that I wouldn’t even think of trying now, haha.
P.S. And just giving you shit but isn’t it farside soul? 😉
P.P.S. What’s a hommie?
Hey Jesse! I’m glad you brought that up about filming culture. It’s a topic I’d like to address soon but I haven’t quite figured out what I want to say about it just yet.
To your “PS”, do you mean that it’s two words not one?
To your “PP”, “hommie” is my spelling of “homeboy” because I haven’t seen it canonized yet. Some people write “homie” and others I’ve seen–though perhaps illiterate–spell it “homey” or “homy”. Thanks for reading, man! and thanks for the comments!
What do you think about how the filming culture affects people trying big tricks? I mean, you used to just go for it because you wanted it but do you think people who are attached to filming will hold off if they can’t film it?
RE: PS I was just kidding around about you saying, “So, when you film yourself doing a topside soul down a rail” and trying to keep the farside name going.
RE: PPS LOL! http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hommie
It’s hard to say. People have always summoned what Matt Mantz used to call Kodak courage — either in skating or in stuff like ‘America’s Funniest Videos’ — when it comes to big tricks or stunts. I’ve known lots of guys over the years who wouldn’t try stuff unless there was a camera rolling, and that’s as true today as it was in the mid 90s. Not everyone is like that, obviously. But it’s definitely been “out there in the ether” for a very long time.
As for the farsides… man. whew! I don’t even know what to say anymore! I skate with some younger guys every week, along with some OGs and I find myself code-switching between the old terms and the new depending on who I’m talking to. “Savanna” is another stumbling block for me that I have to pay attention to depending on who I’m talking to.
As for the correct spelling of “hommie” vs. “homie” I’m not sure I trust Urban Dictionary to be the final word, but I definitely will accept that I don’t know as much as I should about rap and hip hop culture!
Thanks for your comments, Jesse!