SOTY splash zone | Simply Ranked

Plus: Mikey's ultimatum, hornypilled, a fire new gimmick, and more.

SOTY splash zone | Simply Ranked
Image via MidJourney
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.

Fine, I’ll be SOTY

Rank: 2022
Mood: 🏆

Here we are again. The slow trickle and occasional splash have turned into a downpour. In what is likely the last week before Thrasher’s imaginary but ever-important Skater of The Year award is announced, we are experiencing a deluge of high-level skateboarding. From Nyjah Huston’s laughably gnarly Need That part that was released on Monday to Tyshawn Jones’ part in Supreme’s latest video, Play Dead,” which dropped yesterday, and the follow-up to The General, KINGDOM COME TYSHAWN JONES, that debuted just a couple of hours ago. Plus, Louie Lopez’s As You Wish is going live any day now.

Of course, it does feel a bit contrived that all of skateboarding’s top professionals wait until this specific week—the week that’s been mathematically calculated to come before a SOTY crowning—to coordinate and release the final stages of what, realistically,  amounts to their campaigns to win this trophy. It makes it especially interesting that all of the work that the skaters and their sponsors put into this moment is for an award that no one has any real insight into how its winner is decided. That all said—and as I wrote about yesterday—isn’t it fun? The speculation, the shit-talking with your friends about who you think will win and why? How we get absolutely spoiled with so much great skateboarding in the span of a week?

Because in the end, it’s not even about who wins; it’s about all of the video parts we watched along the way. (But Tyshawn should win, c’mon.)

Pill me

Rank: 584k
Mood: 💊

An unspoken rule I’ve lived by for the last few years is that I try not to pay attention to or click on the “suggested” videos YouTube serves me. Mostly, this is due to pettiness. I don’t want to willingly help train their algorithm or give them any more insight into my viewing data and habits than I can realistically manage. Sometimes, I’ll go as far as to create a new tab and google search what YouTube is tempting me to click on—however futile an effort that is given that Google owns YouTube and can probably track wherever I’m going and whatever I’m doing. That said, my suggested videos are never terribly relevant to my interests, which I’d like to think is a sign that my efforts are working.

Recently, the algorithm has been working extra hard to catch my eye, compel me to click, and keep me trapped on its site. But with my lack of engagement, it doesn’t seem to understand what I want to see, so it’s been feeding me some wild bottom-of-the-barrel clickbait content.

Like my YouTube homepage, which has been desperately trying to hornypill me with suggestive-looking videos of women doing things loosely related to a variety of subjects that I’ve never searched for (you’ll have to take my word on that). Each video’s thumbnail clearly designed with the intent to make the viewer awooogahhh like a cartoon wolf and click. Of course, that’s on top of the uninvited barrage of Joe Rogan conspiracy theory clips and miscellaneous videos with titles like “2 Years in Barefoot Shoes… My Feet Aren’t The Same!” and “NEUROSCIENTIST: This HABIT Destroys MAN Brain.” Essentially, YouTube has been deploying chumbox ads against me.

Some videos YouTube has shown me that I absolutely did NOT click on.

There is one subject that I do regularly search for on the site, one that the machine should have a better understanding of what to show me but still struggles with—skateboarding. Sometimes the algorithm will get it right and suggest a new video that’s dropped or remind me of the selection of Andrew Allen parts that I regularly cycle through, but more often than not, this highly advanced procedure shows me shit like this.

Videos that reveal the “dark truths” and “the rise and falls” of various action sport-related entities, John Hill vlogs about “Why [His] Skateboard Company Failed,” and YouTubers from other corners of the social media platform finding a way to make content about skateboarding.

It’s a weird, generally offputting ecosystem of content and content creators whose target audience isn’t me, but that I’ve potentially forced myself into by not allowing the algorithm to take over, which leaves me with a decision to make. Do I give in, click on the relevant suggested videos, and hopefully allow a better-curated feed to flourish? Or do I continue to scroll past stuff like “The Millionaire Pro Skater Who Became A Broke Rapper” (584k views), “How To Spot A Sociopath” (5.1M views), and “What If Jason and the Argonauts Had Smoother Stop-Motion?” (4.6m views) for the rest of my online life, purely out of spite?

You WON’T Believe What He Decided To DO Next!

Mikey’s ultimatum

Rank: oof
Mood: 🥴 🤢 🤮

Incoming Thousand Oaks, California, city council member Mikey Taylor recently  posed the “Elon ultimatum” on his finance-bro influencer social media channel. In the wake of Elon Musk’s disastrous takeover of Twitter—which has seen the company incur billions in debt from Musk’s purchase, lose millions in advertising dollars as a direct result of Musk’s asinine decision-making and personal berating of CMOs, and the jettisoning of over two-thirds of the company's staff either via potentially illegal short-notice mass layoffs, unexplained firings after veteran engineers were subjected to vague “code reviews,” or the hundreds of employees who took severance packages instead of remaining with the company to be “hardcore” and work inhumane hours for no extra pay, forcing Musk to personally ask some staff back (before firing them again)—Taylor still asks, even after all of that, if you would “work your butt off and stay or leave Twitter.”

He contends, “If that were me, I would 1,000% stay. I think this is the opportunity of a lifetime. I would be able to work closely with Elon over the next two, three years. The amount of things that you would learn by doing so, I think, would be huge. And I think this is an example of focusing on money and not the skills and talents you’re going to learn that you’re going to be able to take and leverage in the future. I think all the people that stayed are going to  be incredibly successful five years from now.”

A recent poll of 400 remaining Twitter employees on the anonymous workplace-focused forum Blind showed that 89% believed the platform would fail under Musk, 63% believed that “‘steps could have been taken’ to avoid mass firings, including business restructures or leadership decisions… [just] 1% of respondents believed that employees had been treated ‘with dignity and empathy during the layoffs,’” and only “2% of staff would recommend Twitter as a workplace to their friends and family following the mistreatment [of] staff during mass layoffs.” If that wasn’t enough, some employees aren’t even getting paid on time.

It’s nauseating to watch Taylor try to paint cruelty and gross incompetence as the consequence of genius and something employees need to work harder at to get through. And it’s especially vile to see a person who’s been elected to local government pay drooling, uncritical deference to an unfeeling, egomaniacal billionaire with no concern for the people he’s responsible for leading when Taylor’s now tasked himself with serving the everyday people of his community. But, unfortunately, as we’ve seen from Taylor, this type of callousness is a feature.

Good luck with your new city council member, Thousand Oaks.

Send him a box, Spitfire (I hope everyone here is okay)

Rank: 911
Mood: 🔥🔥🔥

In last week’s newsletter, I tried to pin down the pieces that comprise a public-facing identity for the amateur and professional skateboarder. There are the tricks they do, the limited personality that gets showcased through interviews and videos, and some even have the elusive and mercurial “X factor.” But, there’s one piece that the skateboarders often overlook: having a straight-up gimmick. Simon Woodstock was a “wacky” guy who ollied a few of Wallenberg’s steps on a jimmy-rigged surfboard with wheels. We continue not to know how old Louie Barletta is. And remember when Brandon Biebel was really into dunking on basketball hoops?

A good gimmick is hard to conceive and implement, but it doesn’t mean folks aren’t trying. In a contemporary twist on an old classic, instead of just pool coping or a hoop you jump through that’s ablaze, say hello to guy-who-is-on-fire.

The little things

Rank: 1
Mood: 😌

Sometimes the best part of the session isn’t the clips you get but the bullshit game you and your friend make up while hanging out in the grass beside the ledge your other friend is trying to get a trick on.

Something to consider: Zooming out.

Really, just think about it: Long lens.

Messed up thing:

Good interview technique:

Good handle:

Very good boy:

Until next week… remember to refill your bird feeders. It’s getting cold out there, and those beautiful, feathery bastards are going to have a hard time finding food.