****all words and opinions by Jon Hanks****
There's alot of wild stuff going on out there in the Big Bad World today. There are ever-changing shifts in culture, politics and technology. Sometimes we as skateboarders are living in our own little bubble--sometimes we are immune to these wild forces of the outside world, and other times our bubble is burst open and we are breathing the same shitty air as everyone else.
Well we at Skidmark felt it would be appropriate to address a few of these weird bubble breaches, and let our readers know what we do about the current atmosphere. With that, I give you WHEELBITE, hopefully a column that will be less frequent and less painful than its namesake.
OG Boston skaterat, esteemed Powell Peralta pro and all around nice guy Charlie Wilkins was the victim of a bizarre and disturbing case of mistaken identity where an antifa protestor who has since been identified as Steve Wilson was mistaken for being the Portland, Oregon based pro in a video where he told an apparent right wing supporter that her deceased husband "should fucking rot in the grave", among other antagonistic comments. Unfortunately Wilson was talking his bullshit in downtown Portland, where Charlie is based, and there is a resemblance between the two men. Word quickly spread amongst the skateboarding community, social media and beyond that Wilkins was the antagonizer saying the shitty things. Charlie Wilkins had to fight to clear his name amongst a maelstrom of harassment, commentary and even death threats. Wilkins had to go so far as to appear for an interview on Portland based news outlet KGW8 to help to clear his good name. Steven Wilson has been fired from his job at a nonprofit. Charlie Wilkins has kept his job as a professional skateboarder.
Like an unsolicited CCS subscription in your mama's mailbox, Jonah Hill's Mid90s has hit theaters across the globe, portraying its namesake through the familiar filter of a young lad entering the world of skateratdom. Despite skeptical speculation on the writer/director's skaterat status himself, Jonah Hill pretty much nailed it. The movie hits home and resonates true to even the most cynical lifer's memories of that era, and without getting too Jay Sherman on your ass, Hill did a great job of directing real skateboarders as actors and using rudimentary and effective storytelling techniques to create an authentic vibe and an interesting, relatable story. The question I found myself wondering though was, how relatable is it to the non-skateboarding audience?--ticket sales and Thrasher t-shirt sightings will tell.
No matter how you as a skateboarder may feel about the 2020 Olympics, and skateboarding's inclusion thereof, you knew it was only a matter of time before the first Olympic Skate Scandal would hit. If you're like me though, you probably figured it'd be about weed or some shit, not something as deplorable as sexual misconduct allegations involving a minor. Mid-90's vert innovator Neal Hendrix has been accused by early 00's contest powerhouse Julie "Julz Lynn" Kindstrand Nelson of sexual abuse during a time when Hendrix was her mentor and skoach, he being in his mid 30's and she being just 14. Hendrix, who has been a longtime advocate of Olympic skateboarding, has been suspended from his position on the USA Skateboarding Olympic Executive Committee. Hendrix was merely SUSPENDED. Can't imagine what they would have done if he had said he smoked weed.