Not much, to tell you the truth.
But if you’ve got an original thought you’d like to unveil to the skateboard magazine-reading public, or even a stolen idea you’d like to pass off as your own, then please visit skateboarding.com and lay it on us. Simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with “Questionable December” as the subject heading.
And as cliché as it may sound, you might make a little bit of a difference.
This month’s Questionable question:Is corporate America using skateboarding, or is skateboarding using corporate America?
“It’s hard to say, really. It’s good to see that skateboarding is becoming more accepted nowadays, but in a way, it has its bad points. One of the things I’d really hate to see is skateboarding go pop like everything else in this country has been doing lately. Let’s face it—look at rock, there aren’t that many good bands keeping rock alive like there used to be. This is all due to pop culture.
I fear that if skating becomes too commercial, it’ll die. The question shouldn’t be ‘Is corporate America using skateboarding, or is skateboarding using corporate America?’ It should be, ‘Do you want corporate America to exploit skating?'”—Eric R., Hagerstown, Maryland
“I think it’s just the natural progression of a new industry. Skateboarding developed with the tremendous skills and talents of true skateboarders, but once it became marketable and of great interest to ‘outside’ money, the progression was taken over by the corporations. Of course, nobody can deny the fantastic skills of the few who still possess them and the feeling skateboarding gives millions, but look at the other millions of kids who live skateboarding only vicariously though video games—they are the corporate backing that now drives the industry. From the shoes they wear to the slang they throw on the schoolyard, it’s now the foundation from which skateboarding will propel.”—Beau May, Interneturbia
“Both. Corporate America jumped on the hype that skateboarding should’ve had from the beginning. In turn, more skaters can make a living off the sport then ever before. I’d have to say that we are using each other. Milk the bastards for all their worth and have fun doing it. The next step—the Olympics. We’ll show these f—ks what a real sport is yet!”—Chad Priest, Detroit, Michigan
“In a way, both. Some corporations use skating in the form of fingerboards, music videos, acne medicine, the list goes on, etc. Some skaters are using corporations in the form of the X-Games, Tony Hawk’s kid in a movie, and this list goes on, too. With a mix of lists like that, it’s getting harder to ignore the Rocket Power, extreme, fingerboarding, fake, plastic world that’s getting to skateboarding.”—Ken Eby, Internetica
“Who cares? Just skate and have fun. That’s it.”—D.C., Long Island, New York
“Is corporate America using skateboarding? Yes. Is skateboarding using corporate America? Of course. Skateboarders are human, and like the incredible vast majority of the human race, skateboarders and others in the industry are highly concerned with creating comfortable lives for themselves, as well as an image. Thanks to society—including corporate America—people are rarely content with simply existing. People desire wealth, and skateboarders are in no way immune to this desire.
“Skateboarders have been setting trends for years. Everyone from Abercrombie and Fitch to Nike knows this, but now skaters are begging to let corporate America exploit them. It’s a natural evolution, and like many ‘progressions,’ people feel hurt by it. I used to love that my friends and I could have conversations about skateboarders like they were gods, and the average kid didn’t have a clue who we were talking about. Now 35-year-old ex-frat boys know who Geoff Rowley is. That’s where alienation sets in.<
“If it’s really all about skateboarding, why do we see ads with Colin McKay next to a Bentley? Skateboarders have obviously had a taste of how corporate America’s influence can positively impact their bank accounts. Why would anyone ever give that up?”—Robby Wells, Internetopia
“Skateboarding is totally being used by corporate America. All of you at TransWorld are perfect examples because you’re all owned by AOL Time Warner—one of the biggest and worst corporations in the world. The Man owns you.”—Brandon Gray, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Who gives a shit about who’s using who? The fact remains that skateboarders are now thoroughly involved in the corporate game. This is nothing new—we’ve been playing for a while. But the true test of skateboarding will be to see how and if we will be able to transcend corporate capitalism and maintain purity as a genuine artform.
“I’m often struck by the similarities between skateboarders and the samurai class of ancient Japan. Skateboarders (like the samurai) are fiercely independent, have intense dedication to their path, and are often satisfied with nothing short of perfection. They were also pretty damn cool. The Samurai, however, had a unified vision, something I think we lack as skateboarders.
“Indeed, skateboarding’s already being used as a corporate vehicle. If we’re going to talk about using corporate America, let’s hope that it’s for the propagation of our collective vision—whatever that may be—as opposed to the propagation of our collective wallet size.”—Dan Boyce, Gotham
December 2002’s question:
Click here to respond to the Winter 2002 Questionable: What’s the best city in the world for skateboarding?
Click here to respond to the January 2003 Questionable: Why does it seem like skateboarding never stops progressing?
Click here to respond to the February 2003 Questionable: Everyone bitches, but is there really any place better to skate than where you are right now?