Monday, May 30, 2005

Lords of Dogtown

Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta, and Craig Stecyk. Do you know those names? You should. The very survival of your civilization may depend upon it.

I told a friend the other day that I am planning to see the movie Lords of Dogtown (on opening day, and probably a couple more times in the theater). He asked me if I was kidding.

When I was about 13, word of the new world of skateboarding finally reached my dismal suburban hellhole. I was too chickenshit to actually buy the magazines, but I occasionally caught articles or little snippets of television coverage. I wanted to have the talent and grace (and sexy savoir-faire) of a Jay Adams. The complication, of course, was that I also wanted to be Jay Adams' bestest friend-with-benefits. (At the time, I didn't have words for that sort of thing, and I didn't let myself think about it much.) Of course, as life progressions go, I would've been fantasizing more of a Stacy Peralta thing, because Stacy has been and continues to be such a major player in spreading the gospel of skateboarding. Without Stacy Peralta and the Z-Boys, Bart Simpson himself would be impossible. Unfortunately, I lacked only three things for becoming a great skateboarder myself: ability, grace, and commitment. I had the whole secret skateboarder wannabe thing down real good, though. That just leaves me with Craig Stecyk. Without Craig Stecyk, maybe no one would ever have heard of Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom, Shogo Kubo, Bob Biniak, Nathan Pratt, Jim Muir, Allen Sarlo, Chris Cahill, Paul Constantineau, Peggy Oki, or Wentzle Ruml.

My objective in this blog is to be a Z-boy of American politics, and also in the Costa Gavras sense. I want to help radically shift the STYLE and SUBSTANCE of the political discourse of this nation. Join my team, or let me join yours, or don't, but don't stand in my way. Maybe you have a blog that's way bigger than mine, or maybe you just want to contribute one link. Maybe you're one of the names listed above, or maybe you have no idea why I'm talking about skateboarding. Maybe you're even a sane, sensible, rational conservative, although such seem to be in even shorter supply than realistic, grounded, functional liberals.

I voted for John Kerry in 2004 because I honestly believed that a wooden robot would be better than a loose cannon. I want a better choice on both sides. Even if I vote Democrat, I want to be able to respect the Republican -- or vice-versa. But most of all I want somebody that I can not only vote for, but actually respect. The question in 2004 wasn't in what direction should we steer the ship of state, but rather whether to let the deranged chimpanzee blow up the rudder. Apparently, America's answer was "Bring it on!"

George W. Bush is all the corruption of LBJ mixed with the unbridled megalomania of Nixon and the economic sense of Herbert Hoover -- with the personal affability of Ronald Reagan and all the class of Jacque Kennedy's fingernail clippings. John Kerry was a legitimate war hero, but about as effective a communicator as Marcel Marceau in a darkroom. He would've been a placeholder, a kind of a Gerald Ford figure in more ways than one, but I'd far rather that than Dubya. Let's find a President with the vision of freedom symbolized by Lincoln and the understanding of the checks and balances necessary to a democracy represented by Madison. Don't worry, though: I'm not running for office in this lifetime. I solemnly affirm that I am absolutely unelectable.

(Blog-wide disclaimer: I disclaim in favor of the owners and distributors of the film Lords of Dogtown any rights to anything herein that might be considered as an advertising slogan therefor. In particular, I expect and hope that Matt Groening and company would appreciate the homage. On the flipside, neither The Simpsons nor Lords of Dogtown nor much of anyone so far has in any way endorsed the contents of this blog. If any lawyer types need me to add to this or any similarly situated disclaimer [assd], please let me know. [subliminal]Go see the Lords of Dogtown at a theatre near you, starting June 3, 2005. Go see it in a theatre several times, and buy lots of popcorn each time. Buy the DVD as soon as it comes out. Then rent it anyway, several times.[/subliminal] Other unsolicited invitations to contact the blog: anyone linked from any of my postings, most nearly anyone who's been a guest on Daily Show, Real Time, Crossballs, or Graham Norton -- or Penn & Teller unless they laughed at you. Anyone who can translate the last line of "Grammar as a Secret Handshake" from May 28th. Anyone who teaches trapeze. Any member of the original Apple Macintosh team. Disclaimer to the Secret Service: calling the President a "deranged chimpanzee" is in no way a threat, but rather a simple statement of fact legitimate political satire. So mote it be.)