Frank Stoner / September 30th, 2013 / Blogs
SPS2: Breaking Bad, White Privilege, and The Ghost of Rollerblading Past

[For reasons unknown, it seems intrinsic to the form that any article mentioning or discussing Breaking Bad must begin with some warning that there are spoilers ahead. This isn’t an entire post about Breaking Bad, however, if you’re saving yourself from public knowledge of the show’s conclusions, I suggest that you revisit this post once you’ve completed your Breaking Bad experience. (More about this later).

In a nutshell: BREAKING BAD SPOILERS AHEAD. You are warned thusly.]

If you’re a fan of AMC’s Breaking Bad, you’ve no doubt been following the show, reading about it, thinking about it, feeling about it, and so on. This post isn’t so much a detailed investigation of the show’s plot, symbolism, or meaning, but rather a kind of insight that I’d like to offer you based on my response to the show’s conclusion. If you want the former kind of analysis, I suggest you look to the recent articles in the NY Times (Style Section), Slate, Reddit, or really anywhere else on the World Wide Web.

If you want to see some other musings about Breaking Bad and rollerblading, I’d urge you to check out Brian Krans’ recent post over at Blader Digest. I’m a huge fan of Brian’s stuff, and he really did some thorough work to get his shit together for that post. Click here if you want to link to the connections he’s uncovered.

Okay. Now, on to business.

I’ll begin this by taking for granted that Walt’s megalomania is well established. I was never really a member of “Team Walt,” as they say, and I think it’s a pretty tall order to believe that Walt was a poor do-gooder, down on his luck doing what he could for his family in the face of his gloomy prognosis. I believe, in fact, rather the opposite. But I should take a second’s pause really quickly here to say that believing the “opposite” doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to abide to some (false) dichotomy. To get where I’m at on this, you don’t need to believe that Walt is a pure monster, selfish, corrupt, and sadistic. You don’t need to have concluded that Walt “won” or “lost.” If there is a truth to be had in this matter, it’s the same sort of truth that exists in all other matters: complicated, situated, resistant to simplicity, and, for all other purposes, unlikely.

Given that, the show, the character Walt, and writers who created Walt’s behavior are really exemplars of something called “White Privilege” (and no, this is not a pun on Walt’s surname), and, as always, I think there’s a good connection to be had there with rollerblading.

So, as the Roman philosopher (and emperor) Marcus Aurelius would have us do, let’s treat the first things first.

In order to do that, I want to be clear about what I mean by “White Privilege.” It’s not racism. It’s not something absurd like “reverse racism,” and it’s not a simple (and moronic) matter of suggesting some dumb generality like “all white people have it easier than everybody else.” Lots of people have it easy. Lots of people have a really hard time with things. Having it easy isn’t what it’s about. What the concept of “white privilege” seeks to address is the ways the white races are normalized as standard, the ways other races are marginalized as being somehow “non-standard,” and what the consequences are when those two ideas interact.

If you want to read about White Privilege, I suggest you take a quick peek at the Wikipedia page (click here) because I’m not going to go into great detail here. But it is pertinent that we treat things in their due order.

So, the deal with Walt, his situation, the writers, and the others involved with his creation, is that his view of things is centralized. We expect that, because we readily understand him as the show’s protagonist (or maybe antihero?). We’re shown most things from his point of view because we’re meant to see things from his perspective. It is always Walt’s issues that we’re told to be primarily concerned about: what HE knows, what HE thinks, what HE does, etc.

But, don’t get me wrong. It’s a show about a white dude, written (largely) by other white dudes. We’re bound to have to see things that way because the situation somewhat demands it. But having a show about a white dude (again, written largely by white dudes) does not necessitate the inclusion of “white privilege.” What makes it a show about “white privilege” is the fact that Walt and his creators view his circumstances and needs as being both more immediate and more important than all others—often to the detriment of those others.

Any time Walt is in a tough situation, it is HIS version of reality that gets primacy above everything else: above what his wife wants, above what his partners want, above what his son wants, etc.

The tidy end to the show — and by that I mean that Walt basically gets what he wants — could easily be viewed as charitable. Many of us who have watched the show all the way through feel like we’ve really been through a kind of emotional trauma, and giving us a shred of hope in the end (for instance that death for good-guys is at least somewhat dignified) provides us with a kind of relief that the story has basically ended and no further traumas are coming our way.

On the other hand, that’s all part of the mythos of “white privilege.” White people, in many ways, are taught to believe not only that they CAN win, but also that winning (or getting what you want) is the inevitable outcome of being a good guy.

As a white dude, Walt expects to win — he’s been trained to by his socialization. Perhaps the only thing more pernicious than that is the fact that Walt thinks he DESERVES to win. He manipulates everyone around him to get what he wants, regardless of what others want for themselves. Again, his needs are privileged above all others and he thinks that he deserves for it to be that way. And that’s where the connection to rollerblading comes in.

Over the years, I’ve heard a whole lot of talk about what “rollerblading deserves.” This is likely a very unpopular thing to say, but I honestly don’t believe that rollerblading “deserves” anything — or, at least, that it’s very pretentious to think somehow that it does deserve something. It’s the white privilege in us that leads us to think so. (I recognize the fact that many rollerbladers (regardless of race) feel that rollerblading or rollerbladers somehow deserve more than we’re getting, but let’s at least acknowledge that rollerblading is largely an international group of white dudes substantially bound by the needs, wants, and expectations of white dudes).

Many of us — like Walt — both expect and demand that being a good guy should net positive results. The problem there is twofold. The first part is something of a delusion, and the second part is something of a non sequitur. As for the delusion, Walt isn’t a good guy. He just isn’t. Only HE sees himself that way, and virtually no one else could reasonably agree to such a crazy notion. If we somehow concede the idea that we can somehow be simultaneously “good guys” AND people who take everything we deserve, we still can’t rectify that with simple causality. Being a good guy doesn’t guarantee a dignified death any more than doing huge 540s earns rollerbladers a nightly spot on ESPN’s “Top Ten” shows. It’s only the mythos of white privilege that could lead you to such a conclusion.

The problem, as I see it, is that many rollerbladers are haunted by something like the “Ghost of Rollerblading Past.” We used to have money, we used to have respect, we used to have centralized (-ish) leadership, and somehow, for some reason, we fall victim to a false notion that because we used to have those things that we’re somehow entitled to have those things again.

I want better skate technology and more (and by more I mean “any”) money for people working their ass off, but I think it’s a bridge too far to think that we somehow “deserve” it.

A few weeks ago, I was talking online with a gal I know about feminism and she offered one of the best summaries of that enterprise I’ve so far heard, which is this: It’s usually not about you, it’s usually about someone else. And every now and then, you need to quit thinking about yourself and just shut up and listen.

Walt couldn’t do that. He couldn’t just shut up and listen. He wouldn’t listen to his wife, he wouldn’t listen to his son, he wouldn’t listen to his partners — he wouldn’t listen to anybody.

When it comes to rollerbladers, we are often in the same situation. I’ll just speak for myself here, but I suspect that many of you will know instantly what I’m talking about. A day or two ago a dude posted a video of himself somewhere on the Internets doing a what he called “torque soul” down a long balance rail. I studied the video at length and concluded that at no point was the dude ever really doing a torque soul. Almost immediately I thought to myself something like “Well Jesus Christ this kind of dumbfuckery just cannot stand. This is an injustice and I must, in the name of all that is holy, disabuse this fool from his errant ways.” I can’t say that was word for word, but I bet you know the feeling.

That feeling is exactly what is meant by “white privilege.” It’s the pretentious feeling that I have when I feel the need to demand things be “my way” or somehow in keeping with my notions of “the right way.” The dude who posted that video doesn’t “deserve” to call a trick something any more or any less than I do — and it would be rather unsettling if I thought I did have such a special privilege. Rollerblading belongs to everybody who does it, and no one “deserves” more than anybody else. Some people take more, some people demand more, but it’s really delusional to think that giving and taking is some kind of entitlement.

As a final thought to point out how embedded in our psyches these kinds of things are, consider where this post started — with a disclaimer about “spoilers.” The very notion that we somehow deserve to go about our Internet surfing free from any knowledge we don’t want to have is absolutely crazy. We get all pissed off because we saw something we didn’t want to see. We didn’t want our own experience ruined by “careless jackasses who can’t just shut up about it.” It’s all about ME, ME, ME and FUCK YOU IF YOU TRY TO TAKE FROM ME WHAT’S RIGHTFULLY MINE.

Ugh. Think about that for a minute or two.

The best thing, in my view, is to take my friend’s advice and to realize that most of the time it’s not about you; it’s about someone else.

As always, thanks for reading.


Discussion / SPS2: Breaking Bad, White Privilege, and The Ghost of Rollerblading Past

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  • JE - September 30th, 2013

    All that and no mention of the EISENBERG / HEISENBERG connection.

  • jarrod mcbay - September 30th, 2013

    I agree with thinking of rollerblading in that aspect so with that said the question that the article brings to my mind is how do we start the first step to a greater unified culture?

  • Frank Stoner - September 30th, 2013

    JE: Touché sir.

    Jarrod: I think the best place to start is simply to give up on the idea that anybody “owes” rollerblading anything. Nobody owes us respect, time, patience, attention, money, etc. Understanding that would probably be a better start than anything else.

  • jarrod mcbay - September 30th, 2013

    So start a clean slate. Create ur own culture from multiple culture with a common thread aka rollerblading

  • Frank Stoner - September 30th, 2013

    Jarrod: Well we’re never gonna be able to have a clean slate. We’ll always have to bear the weight of the past. The biggest message far and away is simply not to expect things to come as entitlements, never to expect that we “deserve” things we haven’t made for ourselves, and never to think of ourselves as “good guys” if we’re not.

  • Austin Jay - September 30th, 2013

    Its really great to see people thinking this way. I learned a hard lesson about ego and entitlement last summer. I had been backpacking around Europe for coming up on 3 months, and had been hitting parks whenever possible along the way. I had like 4000 pictures and lots of footage. But I totally started getting cocky and a few times on facebook I posted some random shit bragging to friends back home. shortly after that all my valubles got jacked: camera, blades, macbook, iPod, basically everything of value and I lost all my pictures and the footage. It took a while but now I see why that needed to happen in that the trip wasn’t about showing off to friends. It was about the people I met traveling, great memories, and my own personal improvement. In a way I think rollerblading is special in a similar way because of the size of our community (at least compared to some other action sports) and lack of large scale recognition much beyond ourselves. I guess I like to think people push themselves to go bigger and be better simply cause they love the sport and less coming from a place of 1upmanship. and realistically the edits and videos are primarily going to be viewed by other bladers anyway, and in a way thats sort of a cool thing. I think if we got half of what people feel is “owed” to us we’d hastily become douches.

  • Frank Stoner - September 30th, 2013

    ^^^well put,sir.

  • Alan Hughes - September 30th, 2013

    I really disagree with you on this one, Frank. In a free market, rollerbladers and the rollerblading image would be valued somewhere between what it is now and its trendy peak value back in the 90’s.

    Most older bladers are upset and feel “entitled” because they remember the old days and know that things now a days aren’t based on an actual market value, but the result of two decades of skateboarding slander instead.

    It’s like diamonds, they aren’t actually rare or valuable, the market is distorted by one or two hoarders so they can make them appear to be rare and “entitled” to high price tags. While at the same time, maybe there is some rollerblader rocks out there that actually is extremely rare and valuable, but the diamond market bosses have slandered it so bad everybody thinks they are just common, worthless pebbles, with self esteem so low that even they write articles about how worthless they are.

  • Mushroom Stamp - September 30th, 2013

    The other side to your column is that rollerblading GOT what it deserved. We were a sport filled with entitled, affluent youth that assumed hard work and dedication were qualities best left to others.

    Because of these attitudes, our sport was essentially doomed to be what it has become.

  • Frank Stoner - September 30th, 2013


    Thanks for engaging thoughtfully in spite of our apparent disagreement. I want to be clear though, that it wasn’t my intention to attack the 90’s bladers (I, myself, being one of them) and I wasn’t just complaining about old mentalities. If this post came across as an attack, I apologize—it wasn’t meant that way.

    As for your other point, I have to say that your metaphor is really very well taken. It’s an excellent point and it certainly isn’t lost on me. JE emailed me a little while ago with a slightly different take, but I won’t speak for him about that here. I’d encourage you to email him about it if you have time.

    Not everyone in rollerblading acts “entitled” but it seems to me that there are a great many who do. Many, if not all of us who were around in the 90s remember what it was like, and we remember really well just how horrible it was at times (with respect to skateboarding’s slander and bullying).

    But we shouldn’t paint ourselves as victims here—even if in fact we actually were. There is no governing body we could appeal to for any sort of redress (e.g., lost wages, lost connections, lost fame, etc.) other than the Court of Cultural Opinion—which is a very fickle mistress indeed!

    My point, if boiled down to a nutshell version would be something like this: If we act entitled like we’re somehow “owed something” then we’re just a bunch of whiny jerks; if we seize everything to which we feel we’re entitled, we probably won’t be able to think of ourselves as good guys anymore.

    Personally, I liked what Austin wrote a few comments ago, that, at least for the moment, rollerblading seems to be almost 100% by rollerbladers, for rollerbladers. That seems like a pretty sweet deal to me most of the time, but then, I also wish some corporation with very deep pockets would come solve my decade-long “skate crisis.”

    It’s a very fine line we’re walking right now, and I’ll be very interested to see what things look like in another 10 years.

    Thanks again for reading and commenting, Alan. Let’s meet up in a decade or so and see where we stand then. I’ll buy the beer.

  • Jordan Smith - September 30th, 2013

    I obviously have the right to skate on private and public property. It’s just paint.

    Seriously though, good article Frank. Rollerbladers have been known to be an entitled bunch. I’d be interested to see where it’s routed practically and historically. To see the series of events that have given us this blindness, this natural talent we possess.

  • James Taylor - September 30th, 2013

    @Frank: I love it! However, because culture is cited so often as the determinant factor for so much of human behavior (or should I say “conduct” or “action” to indicate agency/intentionality?) I find myself searching for other answers to explain phenomena that, while perhaps not universal, is nonetheless ubiquitous. Hence, my interest in Structural Anthropology/sociolog, which I thank you for elaborating on some key points. It def helped clear up some confusion.

    That aside, it sounds as tho the industry has fallen off in a major way in the decade since self-identifying as a rollerblader. I agree with your position, no one is entitled to shit. I would add that things must remain fluid and if bladrrs become too preoccupied by outdated forms the industry has manifested in the past all innovation (not limited to trick creation but business models as well) and therby hope for the future.

    @Alan: Slander, libel, character assassination, etc. are all fair game in a free market. The defining characteristic of such a market (from what little I understand about the topic) is the absence of coercion or respect for the N.A.P

  • Jordan Smith - September 30th, 2013

    Also this is such an important concept to grasp heading into the future. If it ever so happens that deep pockets do come around, I would hope those given the opportunity wouldn’t waste too much time whining about former hardships. On one hand that underdog mentality really strikes a cord with an audience, but in the end you are doing something cool, and people either dig it or they don’t.

  • Frank Stoner - September 30th, 2013

    Hey Mushroom Stamp,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. I have to say, you raise a very interesting point. In fact, your point really IS something of a conundrum for my little comparison here. If rollerblading ISN’T acting entitled then we should compare it to somebody more like Jesse and less like Walt. Jesse is, after all, left broken and ruined and given the unhappy non-choice to fend for himself in all the aftermath of Walt’s greed and destruction. However, if Jesse were rollerblading in this construal, how would you account for all the shit talk on the message boards and video post comment sections? Jesse, after all, is pretty much the only guy on the whole show who is genuinely nice to the children.

    That’s quite a conundrum!

    I’ll just add, too, while I’m at it that I began the article saying that discovering the “truth” in this situation is, as it always is, unlikely. Anyhoo. Thanks again for reading and commenting on my post.

  • Alan Hughes - September 30th, 2013

    Nah, I didn’t think you were attacking or insulting anybody. At worst I felt like you were letting yourself become a victim of low self esteem for being a rollerblader syndrome.

    After acknowledging the perceived value problem, I would basically agree with you. It’s like alright, we’re in this shitty situation, but what are we gonna do about it now? Cry and try to tell on the skateboard industry for spreading false rumors about us? Obviously no, that would just make matters worse. But just taking it isn’t the right answer either. I think the way Bill Burr has been making jokes about it is the best way to address the problem, if it’s brought up at all.

  • Alan Hughes - September 30th, 2013

    @James Taylor not entirely. I don’t know all the crazy laws we have, but I know Samsung or Google couldn’t run commercials claiming that iPhones cause cancer and homosexuality, so you better buy their phones instead.

  • Frank Stoner - September 30th, 2013

    @Jordan: Thanks, man! I think at some point I should actually do a whole post on Institutional memory and Tacit Knowledge. Both would speak directly to your second point. Thanks for the suggestion!

    @James: Thanks, brotha. Glad you liked it. Glad to see that you’re back in the blading game, too, man! And just a few words to your point about free markets, that would really be a topic worth looking into… what tax brackets do most blading companies fall into, does any product receive any sort of subsidy (not blade companies but raw materials like urethane, steel, cotton, etc.) and what could we learn about those things. Maybe I’ll try to track down an economist to work me in doing a post on that stuff. Lastly, thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Frank Stoner - September 30th, 2013

    Alan: props given where props are due: Brian Krans should be credited (as far as I know) with unearthing that routine of Bill Burr’s (and for that matter, his background as a roller hockey player). I agree that humor is a solid strategy to take. It’s lets you have both sides: the serious set up, and then the funny reveal. I would do it if I could, it’s just not one of my talents. Ask my wife some time, she’ll tell you that I’m usually the only one laughing at my jokes!

  • James Taylor - September 30th, 2013

    @Alan: I can’t respond to your statement because im not sure you are using your terms consistently. If you’re right, then you’re right. if not it’s b/c you seem confused on the definition of a free market. No biggie. It was a minor point you were making so its all much ado about nothing. I’ll leave it at that. Cheers!

  • Alan Hughes - September 30th, 2013

    @Frank, yeah I got that from Brian’s article.

    @James, I’m not sure what you’re confused about.

  • James Taylor - October 1st, 2013

    @Alan: I’ll say this, since its now 8am and I’m on a bus with nothing better to do; if you can show how slander violates a person’s property rights then I will happily concede. peace.

  • Billy - October 1st, 2013

    It’s the cult’s own internal marketing that embraces entitlement — not all skaters.

    Rollerblading is the new disco externally. When money reanimates skating, it’s in a kitschy, canned capacity. Blading® is never consulted for creative direction, and its preferred self depiction is unconvincing:
    “You should like disco dancing because it deserves your respect, admiration, and participation!!!” is a horrible sales pitch.

  • Frank Stoner - October 1st, 2013


    I totally agree with that first bit, not sure I quite follow the disco part though. Care to elaborate?

  • Billy - October 1st, 2013

    Public consciousness perceives the activity to be neon wallet chain 90s passe, regardless of how it has evolved.

  • Alan Hughes - October 1st, 2013

    @James Taylor how do personal property rights fit in to this?

  • Frank Stoner - October 1st, 2013


    I completely get your point now, and I tend to agree. But if there is one thing that history has shown us, it’s that change routinely comes from unexpected places. I’ve seen a few things recently that lead me to believe that there are many more silent observers out there whose views might be slightly changing.

    Two instances in particular come to mind.

    1. A week or so ago someone on Imgur posted a gif of Wake Schepman’s 1620 and it got about 3,000 views. Many of the comments were what you’d expect, but a number of them expressed some rather sincere remarks about how rollerblading has changed and it’s no longer “what we thought it was”. I’m not saying this changes anything, but changing people’s minds about us is very likely going to be excruciatingly slow.

    2. Pretty much the same thing again, but lately I’ve been clicking through some of those “Humans are just AMAZING” videos on Youtube to see if any of them contain clips of rollerblading, and to my surprise, there have been several.

    These (and other similar) examples by no means indicate that we’ve changed mass public perception of rollerblading, but they are a good indicator that our emissaries are out there and slow progress is being made. I think the best thing we can do is make sure we’re continuing to do our best to represent ourselves in ways that we best see fit. That way, when the public judges us, they’re at least looking at things that we ourselves are proud of.

  • James Taylor - October 1st, 2013

    @Alan: LOL. This really isn’t the place for this discussion. Google your question and all will be revealed.

  • Alan Hughes - October 2nd, 2013

    What question do you think I have that I should Google? You lost me a while back as to what you are referring to and then you threw in the term “personal property rights.”

  • HotDog - October 2nd, 2013

    Great article.

    I think this is a brilliant follow on from the last article. Both bring into sharp focus some very pertinent and challenging questions.

    An argument about entitlement forces one into a state of self reflection which many aren’t capable of and possibly and activity like rollerblading doesn’t warrant.

    There’s also a sort of existential conundrum here. We’re being asked to challenge and possibly reject certain beliefs and then find our own meaning.
    Is rollerblading really worth this much thought? If anyone reading this understands the philosophical points being raised, I would really hope they’d channel it into an issue to effect others in a positive way, instead of rollerblading.

    Why does it matter why people rollerblade or what they think it deserves. The less I’ve cared about rollerblading the more I’ve enjoyed it. The fewer opinions I’ve had the more I’ve understood.

  • Frank Stoner - October 2nd, 2013

    Hey Hot Dog,

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

    I’m glad you liked the article and I’m glad you see a connection with the last post.

    You raise an interesting point, and you’re absolutely right, it is something of an existential conundrum.

    In my view though, there are a few different responses to that sort of argument. I suppose the first would simply be that the kinds of things addressed here on Second Place can be taken up or not. Thinking about these kinds of issues probably isn’t going to make it easier for anybody to do true spin fishbrains, but then again, the world is a very strange place, and I tend to think that we know can have some real (if immeasurable) consequences for what we do and what we can do.

    Secondly, I don’t necessarily think that these topics should be excluded from rollerblading, and they certainly shouldn’t be excluded on the basis that people can’t understand or don’t care about them. Personally, I think academics have a great responsibility to make their theories and processes known and knowable to the groups they study. I myself am a student of rollerblading discourse and I think it’s very likely that the way rollerbladers use, create, and modify known language patterns can be useful to linguists studying very different things. For example, linguists long believed that English prepositions could never encode shapes, but work I’ve done on blading discourse suggests otherwise. Most of the time academic contributions are very small ones, but in aggregate, they represent the sum of what is known in the academy. These things all have a use, it’s just not always all that easy to see.

    As a third response, I don’t think it’s necessary to specify where “good thinking” has to take place. What we learn in one domain of knowledge might affect thoughts and actions in other domains, but possibly only after a very long time. We can’t predict when or where we will decide to make something relevant or useful, and so, in my view, the best thing always is to keep thinking, and keep making connections. If thoughts here become useful elsewhere, great!–if not, they still kept the “brain muscles flexing” during time that might otherwise be spent playing solitaire (for me anyway).

    As a quick fourth response, I think it’s perfectly valid to apply the kinds of theories to rollerblading because lots of these issues have to do with the way we understand and treat each other, and that’s always worth consideration if you ask me.

    I think there are a few other responses I could come up with, but I’ll just offer one last thought that might tie things up a bit here. Thinking, to me, has always been a kind of entertainment. I don’t think it always has to be slave to something else, in fact I think it does just fine on its own. I like to sit around and think about stuff–whether rollerblading-related or otherwise–and I also think it’s just good clean fun. Just about anything can be viewed (or defined) as a kind of entertainment, and this view generally suits me pretty well. If you have time or care to, check out an old Bad Religion song called “Only Entertainment” from the Generator album. It’s a pretty decent rumination on this sort of thing, and I think it makes some pretty clever observations.

    Anyhoo. Thanks again for reading and commenting, Hot Dog!

  • Billy - October 3rd, 2013

    Blading® has been fighting the war of self-marketing attrition since Y2K.

    At this point, owning misrepresentation seems like it could be a better strategy for modification, rather than battling to replace it(?)

    Thanks for writing and reading.

  • HotDog - October 8th, 2013

    Hey Frank,

    thanks for taking the time to read my comment and responding. Definitely given me some points to think about! I look forward to your next article.

    ps: Do you have a blog?

  • Frank Stoner - October 8th, 2013

    Hey Hot Dog,

    You bet! Thanks again for reading and engaging! As for your post script question, Second Place is the only blog that I write.

  • Chris - October 15th, 2013

    Great article again, sir. It’s rad to see someone talking about deep shit like privilege and connecting it to blading. I couldn’t agree more that blading doesn’t “deserve” anything; the invisible hand has pretty much spoken, but also, that doesn’t mean we can’t get our voices in the dialogue by showing people how awesome (we think) it is. Speaking of socially constructing things (in this case meaning, not value), though, I personally wouldn’t hesitate to tell that dude he wasn’t doing a torque soul (in my mind). I might be taking the path of least resistance, but I think life’s easier when words have a relatively fixed meaning (haha). Until 1,000 dudes tell me I’m wrong, anyways.

    Still haven’t figured out that deconstructivist backslide. I guess you could argue that in the postmodern eye, blading /is/ dance already. Huh.

  • Frank Stoner - October 21st, 2013

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for reading and engaging with this post! You raise a number of interesting points–not the least of which is the question of what meaning really is.

    I think we have to act as if meaning is a regular object (with known and predictable properties) in order to get by in the world–even though the theoretical bases of meaning are far from certain (or completely understood). There’s a great Cognitive Linguistics book about meaning that you might check out if you’re interested. It’s called The Way We Think (by Fauconnier and Turner). In my view, it’s the most compressive theory on the matter that I’ve so far encountered, though it still has its issues.

    As for whether rollerblading is “dance” I would just comment that such an associative definition is just as feeble but also just as compelling as pretty much any other categorical (or what I would call rhetorical) definition. Aristotle had a lot to say about that. You might give his book On Rhetoric a look too, if you’re interested. His chapters about The Enthymeme are particularly enriching.

    Anyhoo. Thanks again for reading and commenting man!

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