March 06, 2002

How a Bunch of Independent Skateboarders Unionized and Won.: "[T]his is the story of how skateboarders, with the help of pro football players and inspired by women golfers, have taken on a a couple of major networks and are winning." A fascinating article in this week's Village Voice dealing with the convergence of skateboarding culture and corporate culture.

posted by jacknose to extreme at 10:05 AM - 5 comments

Okay, maybe "fascinating" is too strong of a word. It is interesting, however. It is easy for skateboarders to complain that ESPN is making millions of dollars off of their "sport" being televised, without acknowledging that it is "the effect" of ESPN that has made the "sport" so lucrative. In other words, there was a time when the very idea of having skateboarding on national TV was considered a sweet deal for skateboarders. It is easy to villify TV networks without acknowledging their role in popularizing sports and making them so damn lucrative.

posted by jacknose at 03:35 PM on March 06, 2002

So they should sign away the rights to their images and likenesses out of gratitude? There's a lot of reasons for skateboarders to unionize besides just paltry prize money, for instance health insurance and safety conditions at events. If Disney wanted to make an IMAX movie about you without compensation, would you appreciate posts that implied you were just a wee bit ungrateful because Disney is chiefly responsible for the Jacknose phenomenon? I can't complain about labeling skateboarding a "sport" since I'm pretty sure I got all punctuational about figure skating at some point.

posted by pastepotpete at 06:40 PM on March 06, 2002

So they should sign away the rights to their images and likenesses out of gratitude? No, I see why they might want to cash in. But it is one thing to renegotiate or demand more rights or money; it is quite another to posit ESPN (or E$PN) as the villians--"ESPN does nothing but make money from this event. We don't get crap." Believe me, I'm not pro-corporation but, c'mon skateboarders, stop whining like you're some kind of poor victim. ESPN did not enslave you or force you to skateboard for them. It was a deal that you liked at first, until they started making a buttload of money that you now want to partake of. Fine. But just admit that that's the situation. Maybe you deserve it, but you're hardly being abused. Side note: I'm so tired of privileged people borrowing the language of victimization. I happen to be a Teaching Fellow/Grad Assistant at a University and recently the TF/GAs formed a union to demand more money, rights, etc. from our evil University. I'm not against unions, but I was uncomfortable with the idea that we doctoral students were claiming to be victims. Sure, we wanted to work less and get a higher stipend (most of us receive free tuition), but we are hardly victims. Epilogue: The union won. TF/GAs got more money (and privileges) for less work. Woohoo! Unions rock!

posted by jacknose at 07:12 PM on March 06, 2002

Well, now I see your point, and you're absolutely right. You are forgetting, however, that they're skateboarders. They couldn't possibly collectively bargain without adopting some sort of Corporate Skate Events Still Suck guise about the whole thing. Tony Hawk doesn't want you to know he has more in common with Tiger Woods than A. Phillip Randolph.

posted by pastepotpete at 07:47 PM on March 06, 2002

True. (a subtle advertisement for Budweiser)

posted by jacknose at 07:56 PM on March 06, 2002

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.