I can’t remember the names of the last four Ghostface albums and I can’t remember the names of the last four Transworld videos. I haven’t been waiting for either to live up to some expectation that waned well over a decade ago, either. The last dozen-plus Transworld videos have come and gone. There were some good parts, but they’re no less immune to one-and-done Instagratification wormhole that gets talked about by anyone giving a skate interview in 2017.
It seemed like we all agreed on this. Except people have had a lot of, um, not the nicest things to say about Riddles in Mathematics. First, The Bunt went in on it, then the comments on the Ben Gore part that was live for twenty-four hours — fidgety filming, GX and/or Colin Read envy, the soundtrack — skateboarders complain about everything, but apparently this one rubbed people in some way that the last five didn’t.
In the time since Transworld lost the website wars to more Biblical and Scientological outlets, it has been easy to forget that the magazine’s video program was once an eminent of a tastemaker in skateboarding. Transworld packaged Stevie/Kalis and Dill/A.V.E. better than even their sponsors. It prolonged the legend of Cardiel into a generation that was a decade removed from his S.O.T.Y. win. In Bloom predicated Tony T’s 2002 S.O.T.Y. trophy, and punctuated the release of Street Cinema. Heath Kirchart never got S.O.T.Y, but he had the Sight Unseen part. But that space where a Transworld video was an unmissable cultural event can’t co-exist with the internet.
Since beginning the Five Favorite Parts series, I’m constantly reminded of something: skate videos are for kids. With a few exceptions, everybody’s picks are timed alongside the age they would have been most ripe for figuring out how they skateboard, and to some extent, who they’re going to be as a person. Everyone has old friends from high school who haven’t listened to, let alone approved of, any music that has been released since they graduated. Adult skate video viewers are the more annoying version of that. You’re going to have a tough time finding something as good as the first twenty-five skate videos you watched.
I rewatched Anthology yesterday not because it’s better than the new generation of Transworld videos, but to appreciate how silly this Make Transworld Videos Great Again way of thinking is. In 2017, Penny’s session into the chain-to-bank would’ve been some dude’s IG clip, dozens of pros could replicate The Muska Day™ on their way to Street League practice, and well — fair, you win, nothing will ever be done that’s better than Carroll’s S.F. Library line ;)
It’s also the first video I bought, and asking any new video to compete with it for the place it holds in my heart is obviously pointless.
Making a full-length skate video in 2017 is like playing for a participation award. However, Riddles — or any new skate video, really — will always mean more to the kid watching it as his second, sixth or tenth video than to anyone who grew up on Jon Holland and Ty Evans.