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Comments: Give us your tired, your poor!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Stab is closing its comments but there is a place for those yearning to talk shit!

Late yesterday evening you maybe read right here that Stab magazine principals purchased Stab back from failing online retailer Surfstitch and are once again captains of their own ship. The news thrilled me. Oh I know I know I poke at Stab regularly. I laugh and cajole and needle and elbow but I have never stopped loving. Derek Rielly, Stab’s co-founder, gave me my real start and I will always and forever remember standing outside my  mailbox in Los Angeles, waiting for the issues to come.

It was the greatest publication ever in my wide eyes.

Anyhow, Stab’s co-founder Sam McIntosh took a rare and much welcomed spin behind the keyboard explaining the decisions to both sell and repurchase and also to announce Ashton Goggans taking over as Editor-in-Chief.

A better man could not be found!

You most certainly remember Ashton’s turn here on BeachGrit and I am excited to see his imprint on Stab. He is smart, informed, fun and is my very favorite of our exes. Best of all, maybe, Ashton has a spine. A strong, straight spine. He is the sort you’d want in you corner during a bar fight.

Sam also wrote that Stab is putting their comments to death. Let’s read!

Among many things, Ashton is driven to lose our Disqus comments platform. And I think we’re now old enough to move on. A story’s true meritocracy isn’t reflected in anonymous comments. Ashton’s rationale is simple: It should be a pleasure when Stab calls. We all win when our subjects are candid and transparent. They don’t deserve to be anonymously torn to shreds by faceless commenters every time they post a new web edit, or open their mouths. And, it’s hard to argue with. The subjects of our voices are far less interesting than those of our subjects so we’ll be switching to Facebook comments by the end of the year (where we will encourage the same criticism, laconic wit and unique insight).

What do you think about this?

I think hmmmmmmmm. Of course Sam meant “A story’s true merit isn’t reflected in anonymous comments” instead of “A story’s true meritocracy…” but I have to disagree. The comments underneath are the purest and best reflection of worth. I’ve had so many stories torn apart down under and each deserved. Surfers and surf personalities should welcome the tune-up too. Iron sharpens iron etc.

“The subjects of our voices are far less interesting than those of our subjects…” I don’t know exactly what this means but if Sam is saying that the surfers are more interesting than the commenters then he is wildly wrong. The surfers, surf personalities, surf spots, surfboards, surf surf surf are, for the most part, blank slates. It is the endless discussion that gives form and life.

I know BeachGrit’s comment section is a different garden than Stab’s and all thanks to our dear Negatron. We don’t allow dumb or needlessly cruel and we never will. But I am as proud of our community as I am anything here.

The core of the core of the core… men and women who are unhealthily obsessed with surfing… have been ignored by the surf industry, competitive surfing and the surf media for as long as I’ve been around. Ignored or taken for granted. Well, the core of the core of the core is all I care about. So to the comment refugees I write:

Not like the brazen giant of Venice-adjacent fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A surf website whose flame is the imprisoned lightning,
and her name BeachGrit. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her addled eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that Bondi and Cardiff frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to talk shit,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the Disqus door!”