It is high time we put the "war" back in "media war."
I love war very much and a pitched media battle most of all. The two sides, safe at offices or homes or business class flights to Montreal, haranguing each other in print. Oh the vindictive put downs. Oh the slings and arrows of outrageous adjectives. I’ve fomented one or two, in my day, but my favorite will always be Chas Smith vs. The Inertia.
Founded in 2010 by ex-Surfer editor Zach Weisberg, The Inertia set out to be the place where “thinking surfers” congregate. The idea grew from a trip Zach took to New York. There he saw Arianna Huffington speak and, “I listened to her talk and her vision at the moment; I felt that it could work perfectly in the world of surf and action sports. I decided to give it a shot, to try and build that.” It seemed so ripe for unprovoked aggression that I quickly mobilized, penning the now classic Open for Daddy, which included these choice darts…
“…Thinking surfers are socialists. Thinking surfers like you, if you are a thinking surfer. Thinking surfers don’t like you, if you make money and/or disagree. Thinking surfers are Trotskyites. Thinking surfers hate fruity cocktails. Thinking surfers love bad, thick coffee. Thinking surfers don’t know how to synch their fundamental belief in the poor working class with their desire to have a home on the beach. Thinking surfers drink beer at a party. Thinking surfers complain if the beer at a party is not from a small batch brewery. Thinking surfers never bring beer to a party. Thinking surfers are Marxists. Thinking surfers would be social Darwinists if they were fit. Thinking surfers are the exact sorts of people that flourish underneath the fluorescent lighting and prepared bedside meal deliveries and incontinence and visiting hours of nursing homes…”
Zach responded with an actually thoughtful projectile (here) but how grand! We were at war and it felt as right as it did good. Years passed and I tired to drop a bomb or two on my sworn enemy’s head when I remembered but then one morning I woke up and realized, that son of a bitch has actually created something both good and interesting and valuable. And I click on it from time to time and learn and chuckle. And I like him as a person. And I like many of his staff as people. Coals upon my head. But that isn’t fun, is it? This love? So I have decided to muster the troops once again and march back to battle. To hell with you, The Inertia! Your tribute to Doc Paskowitz was as informative as it was warm! Wait, no. Your wipeout compilation is well-curated! No. Your position on shark culling is very nuanced! Shit. The average height of your staff is 5’2! That’s the one. Suck it, Oompa Loompas.