TJ Rogers' ender is lost to the algorithm | Simply Ranked

Plus: Jennifer Coolidge, MTV presents: societal collapse, why did Bradley Sheppard do this? and more.

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

Why did Bradley do this?

Rank: 1
Mood: ❤️

Like ballet on a derailing train, there’s beauty among the chaos in this line from Bradley Sheppard in Baby Steps (Rob Butterfield, 2005). We watch as the man from White Rock, BC, switch kickflips a bench, pivots to his regular stance on the back foot, kickflips, pivots on the back foot again in order to set up a tall switch backside tailslide, stutters on the landing, kickturns around, and throws out a varial kickflip — a sentence that makes as little sense to the layperson as the action itself does to the initiated.

Why did Bradley do this? I remember asking myself after the first watch sixteen years ago. These were a sequence of stylistic choices so far outside the norm of the time, or time in itself even now, that they’re still stuck in my mind. I watch this teenaged part every few months. With regularity, I will return to Sheppard’s entire oeuvre. The frantic technicality of his movements. Trick selection that’s as much guffaw-inducing as it is awe-inspiring, all of it somehow becoming only more refined with age.

You see, we’ve been trained to see tic-tacs and rocketed flip tricks as imperfections. Mark Suciu will redo a maneuver as many times as it takes until a settled-upon definition of perfection is reached. But now when I watch Sheppard’s angular body shake and rattle and pivot and foot drag and off-balance push his skateboard through the frame, only one word comes to mind: flawless.

The ball reads: Long and Soft

Rank: 110 yds
Mood: 🏌️‍♀️ 🏌️ 🏌️‍♂️

Last Friday I stood on the small aquamarine square of turf in the bottom left corner of this photo and hit a golf ball with a pitching wedge. It careened through the air, past the crunchy brown stretches of fairway, before bouncing and rolling onto the green. It moved with a determination I couldn’t imagine I had inspired in it — myself an inexperienced and otherwise shit golfer (or in this case, pitch and putter).

But it kept going. Carving a steady path through the green towards the flagstick. From the tee my eyes strained to follow, and as soon as I locked onto it, it was gone. Down the hole. My brother and I linked arms and spun in a circle like dorks do. An unexpected achievement whose adrenaline was potent for exactly five minutes, as I had sixteen more holes to eat shit on before the game was done.

This was a familiar feeling, though; an accomplishment that can’t be replicated. I’ll regularly log hours and hours into the landing of a single trick on my skateboard only to ever do it once and never sniff close to it again. It’s an understanding you have to make with yourself — if you let the ball stay in the hole and walk away, the glory remains. If you keep playing, the game starts over again.

Copenhagen, whoa

Rank: 3
Mood: 😟

I mean, man, the way Jamie Foy can hold onto a front crook is something else. To stay so composed as little more than an inch of your truck guides you along a kinked rail that’s just as slim and magnitudes longer. How we’ve reached a point in skateboarding where this sort of feat is “normal” is astounding.

But Jesus Christ, inviting skateboarders from all over the planet to pack into your indoor skatepark to watch it happen just doesn’t seem advisable during a global pandemic. There are plenty of kinked rails in Florida for Foy.

Posting through it

Rank: N/A
Mood: 🤕

This is, in fact, the worst type of bail. When your inaccuracy sends you to another destination you similarly did not see.

Unrelated, I wonder if there’s any deeper societal meaning to Thrasher’s Hall of Meat Instagram account having two million followers or Rob Dyrdek’s Ridiculousness seemingly being the only show on the once pop culture-defining MTV. A warning, perhaps.

Engagement over enjoyment

Rank: 4
Mood: 📱 💻 🖥

TJ Rogers is having a moment. It’s understated but it’s happening. He’s moving away from the skater defined by shirt-spanning Blind Skateboards logos who switch 180s twenty stairs and switch 360s sixteens, to one who films full VX video parts with noted auteur Christopher Thiessen. It’s an interesting pairing, this one. We get to witness Rogers’ technical prowess play out on a more restrained and aesthetically pleasing selection of spots. His power still translates but now there’s an added layer of finesse. Even his fits are more refined. Shaved head, chain resting on a tank top that’s tucked into a pair of baggies.

There is no soundtrack, just the sound of Rogers’ board reacting to the city around him. B-roll is spare, flashing only glimpses of the skateboarder in stasis. It’s a great video part that also serves to welcome him to the relaunched éS team. A shoe company that’s lived, thrived, died, been resurrected and died again, only to punch up through the topsoil once more.

But if there’s one thing they should learn in this new life, it’s to avoid doing this:

Don’t do this, please.

Their YouTube channel undermines the quality work they’ve put out by forcing more content on the audience before the current offering is even done. Am I to watch Rogers’ ender or click on the “Shmatty VX part”? These “suggested video” and “channel” buttons cover the last four tricks in the part when watch on YouTube dot com.

Engagement is always the end goal now. The algorithms demand it at any cost. And I’m not sure how we pull ourselves out of that ridiculousness, but we can at least start small. Let me enjoy this one video part in peace and silence.

Best in the show

Rank: 5
Mood: 🧩

Jennifer Coolidge is an icon. From Best in Show to The White Lotus. Every sigh, each strained and whispered “hey”, are painfully, brilliantly funny. She devours any scene she’s in. Which is exactly why I wanted to buy my girlfriend, as a birthday gift, a custom 1056 piece puzzle featuring an image of Coolidge emptying her mother’s ashes into the ocean — a dream sequence featured in the new HBO miniseries.

Unfortunately, I assumed the dimensions of the puzzle on the number of pieces included, not the size of them. Coolidge’s twirling visage turned out to have the proportions of an area rug. Still, it was very much worth it. For me. Who thinks it’s funny.

The puzz also came with this nice to-scale puzz mat.

Something to consider:

The apocalyptic world of the paranoid, De Martino suggested, is characterized by an “excess of meaning,” a significance overload that makes everything not quite what it seems to be.

An interesting read on conspiracy theories as a social failure rather than one of the individual, from Nicolas Guilhot in the Boston Review. Perhaps explains why we were all primed to believe Sheckler landed that backside flip

Good things: Stephen Ostrowski going pro for Glue, nollie fs flips, Arthur Russell

Until next week… try and smell three different flowers.