Most of the articles that come out of SIA are about new products, weird shit people think is a good idea, free stuff and how drunk people got, so we decided to take a different approach.
Armed with a camera and an iPhone, Jack Hessler and I loitered around the convention center and interviewed people occasionally to see how up to date the snowboarding world was on current events. So here it is: world news according to the snowboard industry.
Amid shouts and the smell of waffles wafting from the Vans booth, I asked Daniel Clancy and Ben McKee of Homeschool what they thought was the best policy to come out of the Obama administration and they both agreed, hands down, that the answer was ObamaCare because without it, healthcare is expensive as hell.
Justin Hostynek, one of the biggest bosses in snowboarding and owner of Absinthe Films, told me that since moving to Canada half a decade ago he has tried to not pay attention to happenings south of the border, so he really had no opinion on the matter.
Along those lines, when I asked the same question to legend Mike Ranquet he said, “I didn’t vote. Can’t blame me! That’s your problem.” I then asked Ranquet how scared he was of ISIS and I received probably the best, or worst response, depending on how you look at it:
“I’m pretty gripped that they’re gonna recruit me pretty soon because being an American non-voter, I’m ripe to be swooped right in on.” He went on to say, “…all of those English guys who apparently joined didn’t vote either. So, I’m really fucking scared.”
Questions about ISIS were my way of gauging how much people were actually listening to the fear-mongering happening in the mainstream media. I mentioned that the media was targeting and demonizing ISIS out of thousands of militant Islamic groups and founder of Homeschool, Daniel Clancy, had a great response:
“America needs an enemy at all times, you know? America needs to have an enemy because what else are we going to be afraid of? That is what’s critical to every political party: maintaining fear. This really started in 2000 with George Bush, you know the whole red alert. Fucking red alert, yellow alert, who gives a shit? Basically, it’s just a way to freak people out so they’ll get behind whatever you’re trying to ram down their throat.”
He continued by saying, “I’ve never bought into the whole superiority of Americanism, like that we’re superior. Fuck no, dude. Exceptionalism? American Exceptionalism? The only people who believe that are the people who’ve never been anywhere else… I love this country, obviously, but at the same time there are a lot of people who are doing it better than we are and we’re on the fast track to fucking no-where-ville right now. We’re getting passed up by every other civilized country in the world and they’re looking at us like we’re assholes.”
Maybe, well probably, most Americans are assholes.
Interviewing people definitely shed light on the wide array of folks within the snowboard industry: some are very conscious and aware and others, a little more kooky.
As the day went on and the beer started flowing, the answers started getting more ridiculous.
Each time I asked someone how they felt about drones, they gave me a run down on how drones are going to get blown out super quick, how they’re ruining filmer’s jobs and taking the art out of filming. I then had to make the disclaimer, “No, the other kinds of drones.”
On this question I got an array of responses:
Danny Kern of Strangebrew asked, “Like fucking Star Wars drones?” to which I responded, “No, like the drones that kill people.” On that note, he proceeded to give me what should be America’s shining beacon of foreign policy:
“Robots are gonna take over the world, seriously. We should fight wars back like we did in the Stone Age with swords and shields and spears and shit. Guns are stupid, bombs are stupid. Real man power is the most natural thing to me, it’s really raw.”
Ranquet, on the other hand, when I asked him his opinion on the (killing) drone program, he responded, “Oh! That’s cool. I’m cool with that.”
I also asked my interviewees if they thought the hacking of Sony and all that bullshit surrounding the movie “The Interview” was a publicity stunt, which I believe it was.
Mike Ranquet agreed and said, “Yeah, that’s such bullshit. There’s something fishy about that. Like Kim, that motherfucker doesn’t give a fuck about some movie. He hangs out with Dennis Rodman. You know, if he really cared about his image he wouldn’t hangout with Dennis Rodman.”
That Dennis Rodman…
Hostynek also thought it was a publicity stunt and said that “to start a war with a movie seems so far-fetched, especially a comedy.”
According to Daniel Clancy the supposed hack “was some great guerrilla marketing for that mediocre movie. It probably got a lot of people to check out the movie who wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Clancy and I discussed the agenda setting by major news corporations and how they control what we even think we should be listening to and he went on to say:
“The politicization of everything is disturbing, very disturbing because once you go down that road, and we’re pretty far down that road, it’s hard to go back. Stuff becomes entrenched, it already is. Then when you throw money into the political mix, you’re fucked. That’s the death of a democratic society as far as I’m concerned. It’s frightening. But I don’t know, I’m still researching what other countries I can move to and do business in…”
In general, everyone was pretty fucking hyped on recreational weed. In the words of Danny Kern, “Fuck yeah, marijuana’s tight. Weed is tight. Keeps people mellow.”
Daniel Clancy, who no longer smokes weed, said, “Finally… throwing people in jail for getting high is ridiculous. And as soon as a lot of these governmental organizations realize how much revenue is to be made off of regulating and taxing weed they’re gonna be on it like a fly on shit.”
He continued by saying, “It would be better for society because people in general are gonna be a lot mellower and happier, and that’s a good thing. And hungry. All the time.”
Hostynek was on board with weed, too, saying, “I can’t believe it took them so long to figure it out. But I hope it keeps growing and spreading.”
My final question for the kind folks at SIA was what they thought was the biggest threat to humanity. The consensus was that overpopulation is the largest problem we face globally.
This is obviously the most sensible, and most likely correct, answer, but Mike Ranquet had some other thoughts…
“The biggest problem for me is that everybody thinks they’re going to save the fucking world. I think that’s bullshit, you can’t save the world. The world will take you fucking down. You know when there’s a tornado, does Earth come back and say ‘sorry!’? No, they don’t fucking care. It’s us or the Earth, okay. So, I think Earth is our biggest fucking problem, we should take it down. That’s it.”
And that’s all.