"A kind of saintly, adorable ET whose sole purpose is to remind us only about tolerance and our prejudices…"
Transformed is a documentary series from WSL Studios, currently into its second season, that tells “stories of surf ambassadors whose lives were transformed through surfing, and who are now transforming their communities through the power of surfing.”
The first series “sparked an emotional response from surf fans and resonated with a broader audience,” said the WSL’s CEO Erik Logan.
It’s a good spin.
The YouTube numbers were terrible, between four thousand and six thousand views an episode, a handful of comments.
The second series, between three thousand and thirteen thousand.
On a medium where Jamie O’Brien gets two-and-a-half million views for riding softboards down a sewer drain’s steep incline, the numbers are catastrophic.
Why the lack of engagement?
These are pretty, well-made films with every emotional button pushed: brave women fighting patriarchies, a legless Colombian, cruel Taliban overlords in Afghanistan and a focus on People of Colour.
Of series two’s four eps, the first three feature,
India’s First Female Surfer,
How Women In Surfing Are Changing the World, with Senegal’s Khadjou Sambe
And, A Surfer From South Central,
All gorgeous stories, break out the tissues etc.
I watch ‘em all over and over, big fan, especially chubby LA guy gets out of gangsta lifestyle via surfing, a real weepy.
Yesterday, this IG post appeared.
I hadn’t noticed, too busy sniffling and jazz-handing, although it did make me wonder,
Is the sentiment of Transformed the same as the media’s canonisation of the Gay Man as Magical Elf, a theory held by superstar eighties author Bret Easton Ellis.
“The sweet and smiley and sexually unthreatening elf with liberal values and a positive attitude is supposed to transform everyone into noble gay-loving protectors… a kind of saintly, adorable ET whose sole purpose is to remind us only about tolerance and our prejudices,” he writes.
Is the WSL festishising people of colour and is it this patronising approach masquerading as progressive values that has its potential audience staying away in droves?