Good job at being good at your job | Simply Ranked

Plus: The Jacob Harris effect, Welcome to Morville, the big bang bang, and more.

Good job at being good at your job | Simply Ranked

The definitive weekly ranking and analysis of all the skateboarding and other things online that I cannot stop consuming and how it makes me feel, personally.

The Harris effect

Rank: 1
Mood: 🐚👟

It is remarkable that Jacob Harris, who is one of the most singular filmmakers working in skateboarding today, has exacted his particular and increasingly absurdist vision with almost all of the major sports shoe companies that have made their way into the industry. Nike, adidas, and New Balance have all paid Harris to get weird. Or, more accurately, they've paid for his brand of weird. That distinct British droll, marrying the visually and sonically stunning with the patently silly, like the Big Mouth Billy Bass that haunts his Atlantic Drift series like a flapping, flopping spectre.

Harris has recently been at the helm of ASICS' first video offerings, where he's been experimenting further, entering more bizarre realms. To see him realize this with a resume littered with blue-chip brand names is a testament to his work. Generally, a brand wants something on-brand or, at the very least, brand-safe, but Harris is very much his own brand. The logo of a shoe company pasted onto the bumpers of his films cannot overshadow that; it can only underwrite it.

If Next Vibrant Screentest is any indication, hopefully, his next efforts will continue to push how far and how much a company is willing to pay to accept his art in lieu of advertisement.

Good job at being good at your job

Rank: 1?
Mood: 🏆💼

Imagine being so skilled and uniquely talented at your job that you are judged using a hazy subjective rubric and deemed by your field's de facto governing body to be the best in the world at doing that job over the course of the last calendar year. If you win such a momentous title, you might expect a few things. Perhaps a commemorative statue or plaque, an award ceremony, a raise, or even some time off for all the tireless and clearly appreciated work you've done.

When you win Thrasher's Skater of The Year award, you get a few of those things. There's a surprise party, a party-party, and a big heavy statue to celebrate your dominion over the skateboarding world. It's unclear if SOTYs get a raise, but it's fair to assume it doesn't hurt to have that title the next time your contracts are up. However, in a stark departure from what one might expect after being anointed as the best person practicing in your field, you don't get to relax. In fact, you are sent somewhere in the world to do more work.

Sure, a SOTY trip may seem like a vacation, and maybe Miles Silvas getting shipped off to Mexico with all his pals looks vacation-y from the outside, but don't be mistaken: he's working. Remember all the flack Tyshawn Jones received after a delayed and lackluster SOTY trip video? He got Thrasher to fly him to Australia, and he used that time to relax after busting his ass in historic fashion, as he should have. The criticism he weathered shows that this is not a gift or vacation but an offsite. I mean, Silvas' SOTY trip video has a slam section, which does not seem relaxing or particularly work safe.

Personally, I'd prefer a cheese platter or some coupons for a deep tissue massage. I guess that's why Silvas is SOTY and I'm not — even if I was a contender.

A conscious decision

Rank: N/A

Last week, a beloved reader of the newsletter (which you all are, by the way) reached out to note that ShreddER News, a skateboarding news and gossip aggregator website with over 16k Instagram followers and 23k Facebook followers, appeared to have taken a headline for one of its articles almost verbatim from a poorly written, potentially AI-generated Deadline write-up that I'd touched on a few weeks back.

To ShreddER's credit, they swapped a few words around and added "his way," so kudos, I guess. It's weird, but it shouldn't be surprising that a TMZ-styled outlet would cut, paste, and tweak other's content to use it as its own. Content always needs to be created, no matter how. That's the way the internet works now. What did catch my eye after scrolling through ShreddER's site was the not-insignificant number of obsequious Tim Pool-related posts.

I've gone into detail before about Pool, who is a virulently bigoted far-right podcaster-cum-grifter whose latest side-grift is his "fight" against what he calls the "wokeification of skateboarding." So far, that fight has consisted of starting a Berrics-inspired indoor skatepark/content mill/board company called The Boonies with Richie Jackson and career transphobe Taylor Silverman. Popular SkateTuber Ricky Glazer also appears as a regular feature in their videos.

It's all pretty uninspired. The Boonies' whole effort boils down to a handful of personality-averse dorks filming park clips and recording podcasts, which would be fine if it weren't for the gross political agenda underpinning the project. That's what makes ShreddER's consistent coverage all the more curious, as they are going out of their way to promote genuinely garbage content and carry water for the ghouls making it.

After Pool gave himself a "pro model" board, ShreddER wrote, "Fans cannot wait to get their hands on the limited edition deck, and skaters are also waiting for Pool's video part since he is now a pro." There may be some slight editorializing/trolling there, as evidenced by the "poll" ShreddER subsequently ran asking if "gatekeeping is essential" in skateboarding after Pool was predictably criticized online for putting his name on a board.

Once again, the skateboarders have spoken. The Boonies' professional skateboarder and head honcho Tim Pool has been receiving backlash from the gatekeeping community, but the Timcast Media CEO allies have been very supportive.

Last time, we did a poll to find out if gatekeeping is essential in skateboarding since everyone is turning pro without much effort.

The haters tried their very best to shut down the skater journalist, calling him names and such.

Despite this, the result shows that Pool, Richie Jackson, and Taylor Silverman are generating more support than ever among the skateboarding community.
The name-calling and such didn't work, sir 🫡

With most of ShreddER's slobbering Pool-related posts coming in the wake of his public attempt to carve out a niche in skateboarding (there have been at least 15 articles this year alone) and with Pool often in the comments of ShreddER Instagram posts and even sharing their articles on Twitter, it's not a stretch to assume there could be some connection between the two, whether directly or with Pool just keen on the friendly attention which begets more attention. I sent ShreddER an email asking if they had any relationship to Pool, personal or paid, that would explain the fawning coverage, but didn't hear back.

At the very least, Pool and his reactionary audience is one that ShreddER is actively courting with its ingratiating posts and engagement farming on social media that sprinkles banal skateboarding news with ideological bile like Andrew Tate coverage, pieces that frame Pool giving Silverman a "pro model" as some victory achieved "despite all the backlash from the LGBTQIA+ community," and a raft of targeted transphobic articles.

But all of that still doesn't answer the question of why. Why go to all of the work of creating and updating a website up to five times per day, and then all of its social channels on top of that, just to share awfully (and potentially AI) written articles and rage bait? When their social accounts started gaining traction, did they decide to keep pushing for growth no matter what? That would explain why they posted eight Aaron Kyro-related articles so far in April; they know the polarizing YouTuber has a big audience and people will click through. Or maybe ShreddER just gets a kick out of the hateful comment sections it foments whenever it posts about a queer or trans skateboarder, something they must know they're doing as they do no moderation in the slightest.

Each of ShreddER's social media posts implores you to visit the website, which is absolutely plastered with Google Ads. So the easy answer would be that this is all a foul ploy to funnel traffic to their site and generate Google Ad revenue, which is essentially just a minor version of what Pool himself does. He gets his audience all frothed up on bigoted bullshit and then sells them garbage. It's an easily replicable grift.

Of course, you've got to be a bigot to try and run it yourself, and an especially cynical one since it's unclear if those ads bring ShreddER much, if any, money. So, who is behind ShreddER? There's no information on their website, but before it was ShreddER, the site previously went by Shred Everything Radio, which had a music-focused podcast hosted by someone who goes by Efron, who either lives in or is from the Philippines. If this Efron is the person running the site and its social accounts, it's unfortunate they've stooped to this level. ShreddER had a substantial audience before it started employing this odious engagement strategy, one they seemed to clumsily work through in real-time after Silverman first started whining about losing to a trans athlete in a local Red Bull-affiliated contest back in 2022.

The hateful and ignorant are easy marks. For all of the work ShreddER puts in, they could undoubtedly build and maintain their click-baited audience without appealing to the worst of us. It's a conscious decision to be an asshole.

The big bang bang

Rank: 1
Mood: 💥💥

Desire, grief, expectation, reality — these are all threads that, when wound together like fibres of some heaving emotional muscle, form the Great Sports Moment. That Moment is only possible when tension pulls those threads tight, like in a tie game with seconds left on the clock, haymakers thrown with abandon as a fight comes to a close, or a trick of unimaginable difficulty that needs to be landed to take home the gold. These Moments cause us to tense, too. Backs straighten, seats gripped, breath held or released in a strained supportive howl.

We react this way because we desire a particular outcome, which may or may not be contrary to our expectation of how events will unfold. Grief is always at the door, but encroaching reality keeps us glued to the scene because desire, often whitewashed as hope, is an engine that demands attention. It's in this fuzzy space where language blurs and metaphors mix. How do you speak to the kaleidoscope of emotion that exists in the atoms of a second? Those feelings saturate, hover like a ghost in the hall. The direction they take is determined by that tension.

When it finally releases and reality in the shape of an outcome is determined, you are launched into a new order of being: elated and eternal or the Praetorian Guard of despair. You occupy this form until the next game/match/contest or you hold onto it; its shrapnel lodged inside your person until the end of days.

That's what the Great Sports Moment creates: a universe to live in for seconds or eternity — a big bang. Or, in the case of Monday's NBA playoff matchup between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers, a big bang bang.

Welcome to Morville

Rank: 1!
Mood: 🌇

Almost in opposition to Jacob Harris' vision as a filmmaker is that of Limosine Skateboards. Limo trades in something closer to an anti-aesthetic, a slap-it-together-and-send-it-off style of video editing and production that feels as honest as it does invigorating. Part of that is obviously due to the skateboarding, which is often just as raw and chaotic. Their latest offering, 8, is chock-full of quality clips from the whole Limo team, along with full sections from the galaxy-brained Max Palmer and the Tasmanian Devil that is Nelly Morville.

Every subsequent Morville video part has been better than the last. They slam and slide and flip and drop-in and find spots that are not spots but make them so with such verve and conviction. Morville's progression and recklessness get turned up a notch in each appearance as if there's some genius out there with their hands on the dials who knows exactly the type of skateboarding I like to watch.

I'd like to say that 2024 is the year of Morville, but I'm pretty sure that was last year, too. So perhaps we can't place their rise in a window of time, but a place we all occupy — it's already in their name. So, if you weren't here already, please come in. Welcome to Morville.

Something to consider:


Via @sunraysunray on Twitter

Good thing: Cindy Lee performing in Vancouver earlier this month while touring their amazing new double album Diamond Jubilee.

Another good Morville thing: Farran Golding's interview with Nelly Morville from Closer #3 is now up on their site. #WelcomeToMorville

“Have You Met Nelly Morville?” An Interview with Limosine’s Breakout Star
Nelly Morville talks growing up in San Clemente, getting sponsored by Limosine, ‘Paymaster’ and more in her interview from Closer #3.

That's right, another good thing:

Brandy Jensen: “The Polycrisis”
A review of Molly Roden Winter’s More: A Memoir of Open Marriage and Christopher Gleason’s American Poly: A History.

Mhm, one more good thing:

“I’m sure I could have kept my career going for a while, and it was tempting to do that because I was making really good money, but I felt strongly I needed to do something else.”

Bumping a thing from earlier this week thing:

Building momentum
Everything is moving in the right direction for TJ Rogers.

Until next week… you can find inspiration anywhere. The way a tree sways in the wind, a song leaking out the window of a passing car, students and teachers risking their livelihoods for what's right. When you find that inspiration, take it and make it your own.

Laser Quit Smoking Massage

NEWEST PRESS, available April 1, 2024


My new collection of essays is available now. I think you might like it. The Edmonton Journal thinks it's a "local book set to make a mark in 2024." The CBC called it "quirky yet insightful." lol.

Book cover by Hiller Goodspeed.

Order the thing

Right, Down + Circle



I wrote a book about the history and cultural impact of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater that you can find at your local bookshop or order online now. I think you might like this one, too.

Here’s what Michael Christie, Giller Prize-nominated author of the novels Greenwood and If I Fall, If I Die, had to say about the thing.

“With incisive and heartfelt writing, Cole Nowicki unlocks the source code of the massively influential cultural phenomenon that is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and finds wonderful Easter-eggs of meaning within. Even non-skaters will be wowed by this examination of youth, community, risk, and authenticity and gain a new appreciation of skateboarding’s massive influence upon our larger culture. This is my new favorite book about skateboarding, which isn’t really about skateboarding — it’s about everything.”

Photo via The Palomino.

Order the thing