Broke and cry-baby pals, choking turtles to death…
Rory Parker’s new series What Would You Do coiled BeachGrit reader Travis Bible into action. In a recent email, he wrote: “It brings me back to my days at college talking about ethics, but with surfing. While we used to ask big questions, like, is it acceptable to allow the Warren Jeffs and his FLDS crew to run entire cities or is it ethical to keep large marine mammals in zoos, the topics were too abstract to really matter.
“The questions posed by BeachGrit are accessible to me. They are the kind of bar-room philosophizing my sunburned cohorts could comprehend. But I found that despite the realistic premises, I had never actually been in any of the circumstances. Maybe it’s my boring life, but I figured we could use more benign What Would You Do? scenarios.”
And which point, Bible surrended his own What Would You Do’s…
You’re driving to the next major surf spot over from yours (about an hour away) and want some company. The aspiring artist musician type tags along, but conveniently forgets his wallet. While a few bucks for gas would be good, it’s not too big of a deal. However, you find that after a marathon five-hour session you’re starving. With the long drive ahead, and knowing you’ll have to feed the penniless friend as well, what do you do?
It’s a top five day of the year at your local spot. The sun is out, the crowds aren’t bad, and the water is perfect. One of your buddies is going through a rough patch and is telling you all about the wife that is leaving him, his shaky job, his sick mom, when the set of the day pops up on the horizon. Do you listen contently and let perfection pass you by or paddle towards the set?
It’s a cold winter day and you have an hour to get your surf fix. You make it out into an empty line-up and find a clear plastic bag floating right next to you. You know turtles frequent your beach. Your wetsuit has no pockets and the bag is falling apart so you can’t tie it around yourself. There is a bit of a current so you have to choose: do you summon the eco warrior within or say fuck it let evolution sort out the wheat from the chaff?
Parody is such a fine form of comedy don’t you think? The most wonderful author of Lolita, Vlad Nabokov, sure did and once said, “Satire is a lesson, parody a game.” And who don’t want to play a game? The chuckles, the back slaps, the soaring spirits!
It is particularly great because we can laugh laugh laugh while winking at general truths. Donald Trump’s candidacy is a grand parody of American politics, for example, and ADS’s championship run a pitch perfect parody of the World Surf League’s judging criteria. Do you remember the Lunada Bay parody posted by Rory Parker just days ago? Of course you do! You loved the way it lampooned the aggressive/weird/silly brand of localism festering just outside of Los Angeles.
Apparently readers of all-inclusive mountain/beach website The Inertia did not love it though, nor did they understand it at all. They took it completely seriously and raged against the terrible form portrayed.
“Real tough standing on a cliff so this loser can run away to his mommy before these two guys busy him up. What a punk. I’m 6’4″ 230. Try me assholes.”
“This is rediculous hes lucky a real man doesnt come by and shut his mouth !”
“It’s KOOKS not COOKS …you kook.” (Because the title of the piece was COOKS GO HOME)
“Without cooks we’d all starve.”
“Inertia I am glad you have the anti localism attitude as well. We are all locals to the Earth!!!!”
Etc. You must do yourself a great favor and read the rest of the comments here!
Oh how funny! But also begs the question…does reading The Inertia regularly cause dementia or other major neurological malfunctions?
I like to read. If you’re here, then you must as well. Pretty text heavy, BeachGrit. Someone once called us “cerebral,”by which they meant they thought we had too many words. Keep it short and sweet, more photos, more videos. But I’m not a photographer, I have no interest in filming people. I’ve just got a laptop and a love for blathering on.
The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley
It was recommended by Matt Warshaw, and I adored Thank You For Smoking and Boomsday, how could I resist?
The Relic Master is a heist caper set at the dawn of Lutheranism, focusing on the sale of indulgences, the venality of the Roman Catholic Church, and an absurd reliquary based arms race. You wouldn’t necessarily expect concepts like simony and translation to lend themselves to a comedic romp, but in Buckley’s hands they do so, and well.
The Reformation reshaped the western world, led to widespread literacy, delivered a crushing strong blow to the might of the corrupt superstition that was the Holy Roman Empire.
An unexpected result of the novel is my new found appreciation of the importance the Reformation. I attended a Jesuit college, and whichever dimly remembered professor was tasked with beating the information into my mind did a piss poor job. The Reformation reshaped the western world, led to widespread literacy, delivered a crushing strong blow to the might of the corrupt superstition that was the Holy Roman Empire. I’ve always felt total contempt for theological scholars, seeing as how they waste their lives arguing the minutiae of bogus belief systems meant to control. But there’s something there, a relevance not based on some all seeing man in the sky, but in our modern reality and how we react to it.
So, yeah, buy it, read it. It is very good.
Carter & Lovecraft byJonathan L Howard
I was disappointed to learn that Howard didn’t plan to write any more novels about Johannes Cabal, his lovably evil anti-hero necromancer protagonist. Great books, the Cabal series, made better by their self contained nature. Howard’s decision to write stand alone novels that didn’t end in a cliff hanger and lead to years long waits between installments was a good one. It’s a terrible trend in the fantasy genre, no one wants to write stories that end between a single set of covers. It’s all grand world building and largely futile efforts to build a franchise.
I blame George Martin.
Howard’s decision to write stand alone novels that didn’t end in a cliff hanger and lead to years long waits between installments was a good one. It’s a terrible trend in the fantasy genre, no one wants to write stories that end between a single set of covers. It’s all grand world building and largely futile efforts to build a franchise.
Carter & Lovecraft is a treat. A self-aware noir horror in the world of Cthulhu, Howard spins gold from H.P. Lovecraft’s mythos, filled to the brim with the uncanny eldritch. Dealing, lightly, with the nature of reality, C&L follows a retired cop, now private dick, as he unwittingly unravels the sheer terror of an existence that lurks just beneath our own, voraciously waiting outside of time for an opportune moment to devour us all.
The Red Son Rising Trilogy byPierce Brown
A gross offender in the cliffhanger club, especially in book two, the trilogy is finished and it’s time to read. Yeah, the protagonist is a bit of a Mary Sue, and it deals in long standing tropes without much new to offer, but god damn is it fun. Violence and spaceships galore.
Humanity has moved beyond the shackles of Earth, picking up a dystopic caste system along the way. The planets are ruled by Golds, genetically engineered super human sociopaths created in the wake of an all out war that occurred centuries earlier. And now, finally, the masses have had enough.
For all the travails the protagonist suffers, the ending is never really in doubt. But Brown excels at engaging. Sure, you know it’ll work out somehow, especially when there’s a book or two left to go, but the fun’s in the voyage, not the destination.
Yeah, the protagonist is a bit of a Mary Sue, and it deals in long standing tropes without much new to offer, but god damn is it fun. Violence and spaceships galore.
If you prefer scifi of the hard variety, in the vein of Clarke, Asimov, Anderson, or Niven, it might not be for you. But if you’re looking for a fun read that never slows down, the kind that keeps you up well past your bedtime, you’ll love Red Son Rising.
Ironic racism is a comedy grenade. It’s maybe easiest to contain when coming from a racial/ethnic minority and delivered to a mixed crowd. Take Chris Rock’s turn hosting the Academy Awards, for example. He, a very famous very funny comedian, was able to poke and prod at the nasty racist tension embroiling Hollywood but even he got burned when joking about Asians. The Academy was forced to deliver an apology for the “pain it caused.”
It’s maybe most difficult when coming from a monochromatically white place and directed toward monochromatically white people because, generally, the already questionable “ironic” gets erased and “racism” is all that’s left.
Still, brave Caucasian humorists sally forth, undaunted! Take Stab‘s RIP (2004-2016) last remaining offspring, Stabstitch. Yesterday the appropriately named wordsmith, Morgan Williamson, wrote a piece for the site on the WSL jersey sales (remember how they are going to make $10,000,000.00?). Let’s read!
As the WSL continues to mainline the mainstream, the fanbase is growing serious. The World Surf League is currently sitting at 1.7 million followers on IG. And this is no AI Forever t-shirt, or Ke11y jazz. The adults and groms alike are dedicated to their fave surfers in a way where they’re willing to drop $65 for a polycotton soccer-jersey style shirt, with their number on it. Just as liquor during the Rodney King riots, they were torn from the shelves at Snapper.
I don’t understand the first sentence at all. Or the third one’s context. The fourth is grammatically dense but the sixth is the boom! “Just as liquor during the Rodney King riots, (Mick Fanning jerseys) were torn from the shelves at Snapper.”
Do you consider yourself a true turf fan? Guess what you love!
How good is it when Bloomberg gets its hands on the surfs? I think very good. The straight business reportage always reads amazingly surreal when rubbing up against our favorite lifestyle. One can guarantee metaphors like, “Riding a wave of…” “…salty…” and “…fiduciary wipeout.” But there is also great truth hidden in the financial folds.
Recently, the publication turned its eye toward SurfStitch. Of course you remember reading about it right here as a blood feud and what was not to love? A gorgeous blonde locked in vicious battle with a frumpy brunette!
If the surfwear business were a streaming soap opera, it would go like this.
Shares of Billabong and Quiksilver, the industry’s biggest labels, surge to records in 2007, then crash. Gone are the days when high schools were flooded with bright graphic tees and baggy pants, and Matthew McConaughey could be seen catching a wave at Malibu Beach in knee-length board shorts. In 2011, Cali-cool surf seller PacSun begins closing down 200 stores. In 2015, Quiksilver slides into bankruptcy court.
Enter a young, ambitious player with hopes of reviving the salty dream. Australian retailer SurfStitch goes public in 2014 and quietly sets out on a rad acquisition spree, snapping up online retailers Swell and Surfdome, gear manufacturer Surf Hardware International, surf magazine Stab, forecasting service Magicseaweed, and sports video studio Garage Entertainment and Production. Suddenly, SurfStitch has global reach, revenue of A$145 million (US$109 million) in its latest fiscal half, and a grand vision — a $1 billion surf empire united next year as Swell.
Etc. You’ve read the “grand visions” before. The best part, though, is when Bloomberg goes on to describe the pieces of SurfStitch’s surf empire. There is magicseaweed.com which, “…is for surfers who need to check the webcams to see if their local beach is pumping.” And Stab which, “… is geared to true fans interested in reading about an Australian who caught 152 waves in one seven-hour session.”
Does it get better than the true fans interested in reading about an Australian who caught 152 waves in one seven-hour session?