Brazilian Eye for the Rad Side, Vol. 1

Revista Trip – Skate clássico.

The editors and contributors at Revista Trip have an uncanny knack for pinpointing the what is most awesome about… us. In this blog piece, Luiz Filipe Tavares compiles some epic YouTube footage from the golden days of skateboarding’s late 80’s renaissance – a time when Orange County and the South Bay still had some legitimate punk rock street cred. Middle class, no doubt. But with just enough edge to keep outsiders humble and just enough grit to keep living at the beach an affordable reality. Vision Skateboards and Epitaph records were the outlets for the last authentic screams of post-Reagan Era angst. When junkies and biker gangs were a far greater threat to suburban bliss than today’s steady stream of sloppy drunk frat dicks in Pier Plaza. Classic footage of Hosoi, Gonzo, and a ton of others. And big ups to Luiz for garnishing this collection with an older gem like 1978’s Skateboard Kings – a foundational film that includes absolutely brilliant faux-anthropological voice over work by Peter Malinker who manages to inject a little James Fennimore Cooper into the post pubescent porn-stache antics of a young Tony Alva and Co.

“You’re young male and live in the city. How do you prove yourself in the most materially comfortable country on earth? How do you show courage, daring, skill, strength? How do you prove you’re a man? If you’re a Massai tribesman in Africa you kill a lion. If you’re an aborigine boy you go on walkabout. If you live in Dogtown Los Angeles …you ride a skateboard!”

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Juan Nagel on Tiaras and the Venezuelan Work Ethic

Another Casualty of Venezuela’s Revolution: Work Ethic | Transitions is a somewhat bizarre stream of consciousness piece by Juan Nagel for Foreign Policy Magazine. The argument is that Chavismo put a ceiling on the benefits that could be reaped from a strong work ethic by stifling competition through a series of government interventions into the economy. Nothing new. Really. Nothing at all. Except perhaps for the mental gymnastics and metaphorical pilates necessary to frame the Miss Venezuela pageant as the country’s last bastion of free market competition and merit based rewards. Interesting to note that Nagel is not calling his compatriots lazy – just saying they lack incentive or legitimate outlets for competition. Nagel suggests that the lack of opportunity in Venezuela has actually had the effect of re-channeling  any residual work ethic into criminal, corrupt, or grossly manipulative exploitation of the various black market opportunities that have emerged as a result of Venezuela’s socialist policies. There’s plenty of free-market enterprise, it’s just that most of it is criminal. There are certainly far more coherent critiques of Chavismo but leveraging the uncanny dominance of Venezuelans on the world beauty pageant circuit was a nice gimmick to boost web traffic (almost as shameless as me reblogging the link …with photo). While I generally agree that Chavismo is a highly unstable house of cards built more on empty rhetoric than effective policy, I find the most worthwhile part of Nagel’s blog post to be the revelation that the Miss Venezuela pageant is sponsored by none other than Diet Bimbo …er, “Bimbo Diet”.

Actually, if we’re gonna sell out, let’s go the distance and throw in another shot of  Irene Esser: a beacon of hope for neoliberal values in Venezuela.

Esser