The mainstream media proved once again this weekend that it only takes one article headline to push skateboarding into having the bad rep that it has always been tarnished with over the years. This particular piece in the Guardian/Observer refers to the Boston bombers who wreaked havok across the pond last week with their horrific plans to blow up as many people as they could at the Boston Marathon.
This newspaper ran with the headline that depicted terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a “skateboarding weed smoker, who flirted with jihad”, even though in the same article Tsarnaev was said to have been interested in various other normal pastimes and sports. Boxing and football were mentioned but the newspaper chose to categorise the Islamist and box it up as youth gone wild. There’s no doubt that this guy’s outlook had long gone walkies due to his participation in this dreadful atrocity, but tarring skateboarders with the same old brush that has been dipped in the sticky pot of media bullshit once again rang loud bells this morning. Why should skateboarders be brought into this tragedy? Why do journalists always feel a need to stereotype us?
This monolithic entity has demonized our scene as much as they have glamourised it over the years and with skateboarding being so popular right now across mainstream media and brand campaigns take this as a reminder that there are still people out there who believe that what we do is the work of the devil himself. Most skateboarders are, and always will be creative, like-minded individuals who will always bring fun to this planet whatever age they may be. It’s about time that those media whores who categorise us wake up and live in the year 2013 rather than being stuck in the 1980s when skateboarders listened to their records backwards, wore leather gloves and spoke of ‘rat bones’ and ‘dudes’.
Speculation is the initial basis of journalism; the raw speculation is sifted and examined to find potential truths. Like it or not, 24-hour rolling news means that much of that speculation is aired in public, and sometimes we as skateboarders lose.
Bomb hills not people.
(For the record, I am aware of exactly what the article itself states about the character of the offenders. This rant came from the headline as stated in the opening sentence as it will allow readers to stereotype and could also lead to skate spots being tightened further by security guards.)