I chugged my pint of 2016 a few days ago but I’m still looking for 2017’s heartbeat. Even the ocean is still on break. But we’re not. We’re currently putting the final touches on a new issue (holy shit it’s number 17!) and have inched ourselves even closer to announcing some very exciting new projects, trips and ripping for the year. Turns out all that hiatus with friends and family did was make everything feel more urgent. More necessary. Reminded us that we can’t go idle, otherwise people actually believe that this was the best surf video of last year (it wasn’t) and that will not do. We have to do away with all the shit in our lives. I moved myself into an even smaller house recently and continue to throw shit away. I savor the good (My Dylan Rieder issue, some books, a few records and my boards) and chuck the garbage. And it’s time we all do the same. Don’t settle dammit! Not this year.
Genius marketer Seth Godin recently wrote this bit of gold that went perfectly with my morning coffee and daily dose of headphone punk today:
Give your kid a tablet, a game, and some chicken fingers for dinner. It’s easier than talking to him.
Read the short articles, the ones with pictures, it’s simpler than digging deep.
Clickbait works for a reason. Because people click on it.
The thing about clickbait, though, is that it exists to catch prey, not to inform them. It’s bait, after all.
The good news: We don’t need many people to demand more from the media before the media responds. The Beverly Hillbillies were a popular show, but that didn’t stop Star Trek from having a shot at improving the culture.
The media has always bounced between pandering to make a buck and upping the intellectual ante of what they present. Now that this balance has been ceded to an algorithm, we’re on the edge of a breakneck race to the bottom, with no brakes and no break in sight.
Vote with your clicks, with your sponsorship, with your bookstore dollars. Vote with your conversations, with your letters to the editor, by changing the channel…
Even if only a few people use precise words, employ thoughtful reasoning and ask difficult questions, it still forces those around them to catch up. It’s easy to imagine a slippery slope down, but there’s also the cultural ratchet, a positive function in which people race to learn more and understand more so they can keep up with those around them.
Turn the ratchet. We can lead our way back to curiosity, inquiry and discovery if we (just a few for now) measure the right things and refuse the easy option in favor of insisting on better.
Hope that makes your day better. We refuse to pander. We want to inspire, not just please. Challenge yourself to be more enriched, more curious, more inspired. Stay tuned, we’re taking it upon ourselves to wake 2017 up. —Travis