I had a pretty amazing month last month. Throughout March, I received quite a few e-mails and messages from really talented skaters, asking if they could write, photograph, paint, or draw for Everything Skateboarding. Now, I knew that sooner or later, Everything Skateboarding was going to become a destination for these sorts of super-creative people… okay, wait. Maybe it would be far more accurate for me to say that “I hoped that, sooner or later, Everything Skateboarding was going to become a destination for these sorts of super-creative people”. I didn’t really “know” anything about it at all; rather, I had a guesstimated sort of hunch that it might occur, eventually. But never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that “eventually” would happen in our third month of existence. Third year, perhaps. But, third month…?! That’s just crazy.
When people started sending in their submissions, I was blown away by how subdued and humble their tones were. Almost to the point of sounding bruised and wounded. They’d write things like, “Hey, I know this might not be your kind of vibe, or the sort of article you’re looking for… but I’d be so honored if you’d at least give it a read, and consider publishing it.” Apparently, these people didn’t quite get the memo regarding what an anarchic, troublemaking fucktard I really am at heart; they must have mistakenly assumed that I was some sort of “professional” or something. In any rate, the submissions came largely from people that clearly weren’t very confident about their chances of being successfully published at Everything Skateboarding. My job, last month, was to basically give those people mojo. That’s what made my job last month so damned epic.
Art embellishments by this month’s Featured Artist, Carson Smith. See the rest of the featured artworks, and learn more about the immensely likable fellow behind them, here.
Now, don’t think for a minute that we’re slacking on our standards over here. Oh, no sir, don’t even think that for a fucking second. I am a super mega-bitch about quality content, and I have extremely discriminating tastes to the point of being massively obsessive-compulsive about the most insignificant things, like how many commas were in “this” piece, or having to create a sludge-tossing stinkfest over a single word in “that” submission. It just turned out that we had really good, solid, quality articles come floating in this month that didn’t require me to play The Bitch Card too much. Just a smidge, as the poor staffers will surely attest to. But not too much.
The quality of the submissions actually surprised me a few times. In those moments, I felt compelled to actually ask the writer, “Hey, if you don’t mind me asking… but why didn’t you submit this to somebody far bigger and better paying than my stupid little website will ever be…?” The answers were fairly consistent, which was another strange surprise: nobody picked them up. These were the unwanted articles that were coming my way, the rejects of the skateboarding mass media, the red-headed stepchildren of skateboard literature. Yet, in my world, they were golden. I was constantly left in a confounded, head-scratching state, asking myself why the skateboard mass media had up and lost its fucking mind, and how I got so damned lucky all of a sudden. The answer, of course, is that our beloved skateboard media… just like so many other things in the world of skateboarding… has it’s very own “Cool Club” at work.
Art embellishments by this month’s Featured Artist, Carson Smith.
The problem with Cool Clubs, as we all know, is that they are exclusionary by nature. It’s just how they operate. And with many Cool Clubs, exclusion is the whole point of the exercise; that’s what they specifically exist to do, almost by definition. Their whole goal is to create a world where we and our snot-nosed little elitest fuckhead buddies get in, and “they”… the squares, the nerds, the geeks, and the kooks of the world… don’t. It’s an ethos that’s basically rooted in insecurity and self-loathing, of course; anyone that has to make themselves feel better by cutting everyone else down has some real problems on their hands and in their heads. It’s basically an emotional, intellectual, and philosophical shit show, which is why I tend to hate Cool Clubs so hard. Because they’re rooted in so many levels of dysfunctional narcissism, and only perpetuate envy and evil every bleedin’ step of the way.
Here at Everything Skateboarding, I’ve sort of evolved into The Ultimate Yes Man. I spent a lot of time last month saying things like, “Man, this is really great! How much do you want for it?!” Which, depressingly, seems to take everyone seriously aback at first exposure. People were so blown away, they simply could not believe what they were hearing (or reading). “Ummm….. did this chap really just say ‘yes’ to me…? And then, on top of that, actually offer to pay me for my contributions…!? Wow. I’m really not sure how I should be handling that right now.” Man, that’s a real kick in the nuts when you realize (as I did so may times last month) that people are actually so used to being shit on and beaten down these days, that anyone that shows even the slightest bit of encouraging, empowering, and engaging empathy is genuinely surprising, to the point of actually inspiring shock from the recipient of said positivity. What the fuck does that say about modern humanity, when one simple, slightly enthusiastic “yes” can have such an outsized effect on people…?
Art embellishments by this month’s Featured Artist, Carson Smith.
The best part of my job, is hearing the steaming enthusiasm that comes chugging down the tracks, once people fully realize that some pseudo-important dorkmeyer actually said “yes” to them for a change. Even when I bear the bad news that The Editorial Bitch (that’s me) is gonna make a few (generally small and insignificant) changes to the article- that’s always okay! They’re still stoked! Because now, they get to work with somebody in a collaborative manner, which is still far better than being shunned and ostracized by a bunch of Cooler-Than-Thou Cockwaffles. Even better: they get to work with like-minded and like-spirited artists that have also been ostracized and shunned, and now have a happy home where they can freely frolic, and do whatever they like to do, and do it well, with a bare minimum of fuss and intrusion from Yours Truly.
More than a neat little niche web ‘zine, we are building a prototype of a brand new kind of Cool Club. One that is actually cool to other people, and outwardly embracing and encouraging of their quirks. It’s inclusionary… there’s that Michael Brooke influence, again… which is the exact opposite of exclusionary. The only “rule” of this Cool Club, is that you have to have it in your heart and your head to actually be cool to other people in return. Pay it forward. That’s all. It’s pretty simple, and easy to do. It’s so easy to do, in fact, that I openly wonder sometimes why the rest of the f’n world can’t seem to figure simple shit like this out.
If you can pull “legit cool” off, and you do it with style and gusto, then you’re in, kid. Welcome to the nicer, kinder, and cooler cool club. We’re so happy to have you on board, we’re actually giddy about it.
Bests, as always-
This essay is dedicated to the staffers, the contributors, and the advertisers that are making all of this possible. You guys and gals are the best of the best. Thankfully, you’re also the future. That means that the future is looking pretty f’n bright right about now. Cheers to each and every one of you.