I'm not a cynic, I'm a skeptic. Ever since 9-11 I wake up every morning an ask, what blew up while I was asleep. It's not because of any poison nature I have; in fact I have a song in my head every morning when I wake up. If nothing blows up, I can generally remember what that song is. Something blew up today, but yesterday's song was the ILGWU "Look for the Union Label" song. Hand to God.
However when I moved to NYC in 1991, I was fairly accomplished as a road cyclist. The roads in New York suck. So I was forced to ride in Prospect and Central Parks, which at the time were choked to the gills with that human offal known as rollerbladers. We have since gotten rid of them much to our credit, but while they were still a scourge and a blight on civilization I took immense pleasure in watching their blooper videos.
This is now a skeptical sport amongst most of us. America's Funniest Home Videos has been replaced by YouTube in delivering this lovely dish of schadenfruede. We can watch skaters, boarders, skier, moto jockeys and four wheeling Darwin Awards candidates all damned day. Add to that video from Russian dashboard cams and it's 24/7 slapstick. Who could ask for more?
We could, so we did. And the agency of deliverance is Red Bull.
My wife is trying to cure my addition to Red Bull, and for the moment that means she is fixing me tea in the morning instead of chilling my cans. I must say, Constant Comment is the bomb and I've always loved it. So perhaps this Formula 1 season I might even get over Seb Vettel and all things Red Bull. Nah. But still, I think I am getting my fill of extreme stunts filmed in HD with those ubiquitous GoPro cameras.
It (cynically) occurs to me that the best thing about being a cameraman is that you actually do get to see the extreme sports dudes kill themselves. And since they have adrenaline addictions you will get plenty opportunities to see them try and fail over and over again. You understand that my theory about this phenomenon is that only upper middle class Westerners go in for this sort of mania. People from the ghetto don't go looking for death defying sport, they rather wait until it's intimate and then they invite it in the front door. It's funny now that I think about it, I can remember Chris Brown's name, but not the name of the chick he beat up. Either way, the point stands. Young people who are light in the brains department seek to find ways to cheat death by inches at high speed. Some by making friends with hoodlums and its barbarian culture, others by making friends with cameramen who are willing to film them as they jump off cliffs. Thrillsville, dude!
There is nothing quite so painful as watching some scruffy mook attempt and attempt and attempt a reverse transfer 540 double air against some snow covered wall in Helsinki. But this is what YouTube brings our boredom. And to put yourself (because there is plenty of room) inside the head of such a mook is to realize that ulitmately they are going to pull off the trick or die trying. I believe the philsophy goes something like this:
"I am not afraid to die, I am afraid not to live."
Where 'life' in this case is not the responsibility to one's fellow man, but proving oneself to be a singularly fearless daredevil. It sounds rather excitingly brave and admirable until you consider the question of wheter or not they'd continue such feats without cameras and rock & roll soundtracks. C'mon. You know none of these mooks are fugly.
Since I have disengaged from the public square, I won't bother to reiterate my old interest in seeing them be good cannon fodder in some nationalist enterprise. I don't suppose I care quite enough. In fact, I am rather feeling good to think that we have so very many such mooks and that their audience is so large. In terms of survival and running from the bear, I console myself with the very existence of such surplus population. Now *that* is being cynical.
But then why do we watch?