My F*$#ing Bush!
November 10, 2010 3:15 AM   Subscribe

A dispute outside a shoe store in Livingston, New Jersey, between a skater and the store's owner is posted to YouTube. [NSFW language] Now the fight has spread to the store's Facebook page and Google listings.

Raw video of the desecration of the bush?
posted by Ljubljana (179 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is not good metafilter.

Business owner shouldn't have taken out his cumulative anger on one skater. Skater shouldn't have damaged business owner's property. Repeat ad infinitum.
posted by headnsouth at 3:33 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


When did Facebook commenters get the IQ of the average YouTuber?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:34 AM on November 10, 2010


Well I think it's good MetaFilter. The fact that the dispute moved from YouTube to Facebook to the store's Google listings is really, really interesting. I may be old and naive but I didn't see that one coming...

Business owner shouldn't have taken out his cumulative anger on one skater. Skater shouldn't have damaged business owner's property.

Also, that business owner was like coke-fuelled levels of angry and aggressive and abusive. I was pretty shocked. Nobody has ever spoken to me that way, nor have I ever watched an exchange of that kind. I don't think I knew that normal people did that.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:41 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Is this good metafilter?

Sounds like a potentially good Metatalk question, not a good Metafilter comment.
posted by Ljubljana at 3:49 AM on November 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


At least he runs pretty fast.
posted by WalterMitty at 3:57 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


We don't know what's going on. Some guy has had a moment I'm sure he would rather forget, and I don't know if I'm entirely comfortable in metafilter being complicit in his global humiliation.
posted by the noob at 3:58 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't see anything wrong with getting pissed off at little turds who destroy my property and can't even come up with a quality explanation for their behavior when called out on it. I say this as a skater, and as someone who doesn't own any property. If you get caught, take your licks. And it seems like this guy has been dealing with this for years. I'd be pissed too. Maybe not roid rage pissed like this guy, but I am failing to see how he's in the wrong in any way.

I don't think I knew that normal people did that.

I wish I lived your life.
posted by orville sash at 3:58 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I really sorta hope the kid counter-sues the owner for intimidation and assault. The poor kid was doing his best to placate this guy, and he's threatening to run down the kid if he so much as moves.

I'm pretty surprised he didn't threaten the kid's friend and tell him to turn off the camera. From the shadow, it looked like it wasn't a small, non-obvious one. I guess in his cracked-out little world, he had nothing to fear from screaming at a "punk kid."
posted by explosion at 4:00 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Post-preview:

but I am failing to see how he's in the wrong in any way.

The kid's being calm and completely reasonable, admitting he was wrong, and offers to pay to replace the bush. Store owner is screaming his head off, cornering and intimidating the kid, and threatening to chase the kid down if he so much as walks away. "I can run real fast" is not an invitation to a foot-race, after all.

What, does he have to go grab some shoelaces from inside his store and tie the kid up before it's obviously wrong?
posted by explosion at 4:06 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


If this turns into another one of those Cooks Source / Internet Mob Justice things, I'm going to be disappointed. One false move by anyone can lead to your life and livelihood being totally messed up.
posted by crunchland at 4:06 AM on November 10, 2010


It happens all the time. My two boys are skaters; our city is a very skater-friendly and, in general, skaters are respectful of other people's property and, in general, there are plenty of places for them to skate. So my kids & their friends have never had exchanges like this one with business owners or police or anything like that, but they've heard about others who have, and of course they comment with teenage bravado when they watch these crazy exchanges on youtube.

Like any other group of young people, skaters can be punks and idiots, but even when they're not, there's definitely a cumulative effect---so even if a business owner gets through to one kid or group of kids, there's always another group of kids who can't resist doing the same thing on those steps or that patch of concrete. So it adds up, and although there's a certain amount of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" (he could have started selling skate shoes and developed a relationship with them as consumers), it's not just a property damage issue, it's a liability issue.

But it's a reality --- once the sweet little skate spot in your parking lot has been discovered by one skater, it's going to be used by all the skaters in your town. Skate parks can be good but they're limited, and a concrete downtown is irresistible to kids who are pushing themselves physically, taking mental risks, etc. It's a great sport but to do well at it you really need new challenges all the time. It puts business owners in a tough spot, even when they're sympathetic.
posted by headnsouth at 4:11 AM on November 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


I think it's good Metafilter. It's a great example of a small dispute getting amplified by things (YouTube, Facebook, Google Local) that didn't exist seven years ago.
posted by DanCall at 4:15 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Explosion, im sure he's had kids run away on him a tons of times. That kid is only staying put because he's intimidated. I still fail to see what he did wrong.
posted by orville sash at 4:17 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't watch the whole video. Is the shoe store owner played by Will Ferrell?
posted by snofoam at 4:18 AM on November 10, 2010


judge wapner where are you when we need you the most
posted by Mikey-San at 4:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: is this good MetaFilter?
posted by bwg at 4:26 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I still fail to see what he did wrong.

The guy corners and harasses the kid, can't manage to keep a steady, level tone of voice, but you can't see what he did wrong?

Oh right, it's the kid's fault. Clearly he should have better asserted his rights, stating clearly, "I will pay the damages, I am leaving now," and walked away to get tackled by a guy who can run "real fast." But because he didn't want to risk injury or was just scared, he stay put, and you can't see what the owner did wrong.

I'll give you a hint: if you replaced the skater with a guy in a suit who knocked over the bush with his car's front bumper, and the owner was going on about "you damn drivers keep knocking over my bush," I don't think you'd continue to fail to see what he did wrong.
posted by explosion at 4:26 AM on November 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


Sadly, in my current and most recent career as a facility manager, first for a museum with a large campus full of steps and surfaces and little places that are perfect to launch your plank from, and now for a giant clock and a former public school turned art center, I completely sympathize with the rage, if not the epic scope of the rage, and I don't give a second's thought to the kid's patronizing, faux-conciliatory self defense.

"Skating's not a crime!" the kids would shout. To save myself the heartache, I usually sicced our most cranky old man on the kids, though I'd regret that sometimes as I saw him lumbering down the sidewalk with a shoe, huffing and puffing the whole way.

"You're not getting this shoe back until you come back and apologize!" he'd yell, apoplectic, and I'd regret handing off my own anger to someone else. It's just, well, I'd end up on Youtube, and not in a fun way.

There's this sort of rebellious esprit du corps among skaters, a presumption of real revolutionary status imposed on a hobby designed to sell expensive crap to bored teens with unlimited discretionary allowances, and, as a group, they always cry "fascist," even though it's them fuelling the fascist economy, and the distraction machine that keeps us busy with our little hobbies while Rome burns. Caught by the sleeve, while the rest flee, they become little mediation counselors, suddenly so earnest about defending the particular moment as a small infraction, and self-appointed therapists, trying to tell you you're wrong for being so angry when they've just steamrollered a walking stick tree that you inherited as a dry, nearly dead thing from the previous facility manager and lovingly revived over the next three years.

"What's the problem, dude? I'll pay for the fucking tree."

You just start to feel that rake materializing in your hand, the invisible metaphorical weapon of the pissed-off old guy, and everything modern in you wants to not be so angry, except these kids are disrespectful, arrogant, entitled little feral street rats who will not take any lesson whatsoever about how their actions impact others.

"No fucking grinding, okay? Skate all you want, but can you please just stop fucking grinding on this wall?"

They scatter and laugh, and you're stuck for another couple hours, cleaning off black board wax and trying to patch the broken edge of what was, at one time, an award-winning piece of elegant brutalist concrete architecture, a gentle curve curling up from the plaza like the cusp of a wind-blown wave on an otherwise calm sea. There's so much in that place that's beautiful and elegant and amazing, but it's all just a jungle of ramps and edges to these kids, who roll and clatter around for hours, being conspicuous in their cultivated, above-it-all boredom.

"You wanna go to jail?" one kid seethed, from a protective distance. "We'll tell them you touched us."

There it is, too--he indefensible perimeter, and the empowerment of kids these days.

Still, I'm just angry enough.

"That's only if you live long enough to tell anyone," I growl. "and if they ever find your bodies."

Of course, this is the era of video via phone and the flip cam, so now I'd just be stuck, surrendering to the greater force of middle class boredom and empty, media-sapped imaginations.

"You're a fag!"

Lovely.

"Yes, dear boy. Now move on, you bubble-headed booby."

In the face of the intolerable, and on the edge of the kind of rage that goes nowhere but down into desolation, you don't get much of a choice.

Me? I just switch it off, turn into a sort of Dr. Zachary Smith caught in a blender, and drown them in dada in lieu of the rage that's right there, roiling.

"What'd you say?" the kid screeched.

"I said, dear boy, that you and your malodorous band of pernicious vandals need to exeunt severally from these esteemed premises before I set the robots on you."

"Fag!" they scream, in unison, and roll off, laughing. They are not, I'm certain, laughing along with me, or enjoying my ability to string a pompous selection of sonorous adjectives into a torrent of limp abuse on the fly. They're just mean, stupid children, just like I remember from my youth.

I watch them disappear into the one point perspective of the sidewalk, silently cursing Don fucking Delillo and his future ruled by mobs.
posted by sonascope at 4:31 AM on November 10, 2010 [181 favorites]


False equivalency. This kid knowingly and maliciously destroyed his property. If someone, man or woman, suit or no, accidentally messed it up and the guy reacted the same way, I would absolutely think that he was in the wrong. Remind me to come over to your house and break a bunch of your shit and say "since you caught me, I'll pay for it, you have no reason to get mad."
posted by orville sash at 4:32 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


This happened in New Jersey? The store owner just needs to get Pauly Walnuts to whack the kid.
posted by crunchland at 4:32 AM on November 10, 2010


Just warning you that the store's Facebook page has an erect penis on it, and you may not work somewhere where one can look at meatspin.com without consequence.
posted by mippy at 4:34 AM on November 10, 2010


Thanks for saving the thread, sonascope.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:34 AM on November 10, 2010


Yeah, he's so intimidated he's got his buddy there with a camera and immediately posts it online.

When he says "I always put it back..." tells me he has been doing this repeatedly, has no respect for the guy's property, and is just a little jerk.

I don't get "skaters" or their culture, but if thats what you're into fine. However, that doesnt give you a free pass to destroy other people's stuff over and over. You want to roll around on a hunk of plywood with some plastic wheels...whatever, but when people get sick of you and your crap, stop thinking you're Rosa Parks or something.
posted by timsteil at 4:34 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


I went to the Livingston skatepark website, and it's a pretty below-average looking skatepark and probably the only one for a few miles. You need to "obtain a badge" to skate it for chrissake, and it closes at dusk. Teens don't want to skate that shit.

This is a majority of skateparks on the east coast - over-regulated, forms, registrations. They act like opening a city skatepark is the riskiest thing they've ever done. In California, they have concrete parks that were designed by people who skate or used to skate, and they sit there mostly unfenced just like a basketball court. Because why should people be able to play basketball or tennis on a well-lit court for free any time they want but skateboarders have to pay 5 bucks every time? Or get a "badge" from the senior center? Or have to leave when it gets dark? Or use crappy practice facilities?

If this place had a well-designed skatepark, and if more towns had a good place for kids to skate, it probably wouldn't completely stop skaters from ruining this guys bushes but there would definitely be less of them, and his anger probably wouldn't be nearly as out of proportion with the situation.
posted by windbox at 4:36 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


orville sash: This kid knowingly and maliciously destroyed his property. If someone, man or woman, suit or no, accidentally messed it up and the guy reacted the same way, I would absolutely think that he was in the wrong.

Wait, what? I missed that - where are you getting that this was malicious vandalism? I thought it was a (granted, careless and thoughtless) accident.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:44 AM on November 10, 2010


Wow, skating really pushes people's buttons. I'm kinda sorry now I never took it up.
posted by Ritchie at 4:49 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a (granted, careless and thoughtless) accident.

Again, first thing he says is. "I always put it back." Not an accident. Repeated vandalism.
posted by timsteil at 4:51 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I...I give up. Apparently I make false equivalencies, but moving a potted bush is the same as going into someone's home and wrecking up the place a bit.

I never said that kids aren't jerks, that skaters can't be jerks, or that this specific kid was entirely in the right. However, adults are supposed to be, you know, adults. We have laws for a reason, grab your damned camera and get a picture. Call the cops. Don't come across as a crazy, violent guy, and don't threaten.

It's possible, even likely, that the kids wouldn't understand if the owner tried to take the calm Mr. Rogers tactic and explained that the bush can't be uprooted like that or it will die. I'd still give him a lot of credit for trying, and I'd bet at least some of the kids would listen. Maybe they wouldn't get it, but they'd find somewhere else to skate because he asked politely and calmly. Kids can be jerks, but they tend to find more glee in pissing off the angry adults.
posted by explosion at 4:52 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, see the "Raw desecration of the bush?" video from the OP.

There's no way it was an accident. The kid is an asshole. (The man is also an asshole.)
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:54 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Again, first thing he says is. "I always put it back." Not an accident. Repeated vandalism.

Or a mistake/misunderstanding. Maybe the kid doesn't know anything about plants because the public schools suck? He probably thinks it's harmless to pick up the bush (that comes up in one neat, potted piece) and move it. In his mind, it's not an accident, but it's not vandalism. It's like moving a chair or a table to him.
posted by explosion at 4:54 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there some sort of law of conservation of assholism? Like, now everyone can be an asshole online, but there's an incentive to be less of an asshole in real life because it could get posted everywhere.
posted by snofoam at 4:56 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I may be old, but ripping out a bush is definitely worse than getting mad and yelling at someone.
posted by jb at 4:59 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this good metafilter?

Sounds like a potentially good Metatalk question, not a good Metafilter comment.


Buuurrrrrrnn!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:01 AM on November 10, 2010


Also, see the "Raw desecration of the bush?" video from the OP.

Wait, they're repeatedly pulling up the garden in front of the store so they can skate there? And then getting outraged when the owner gets outraged? Bleh.
posted by carter at 5:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, as much a right as the shop owner has to be angry, I think a line should be drawn at veiled threats of violence. By "I can run real fast", I'm pretty sure the shop owner did not mean, "... to catch up with you and rationally explain why it is important to respect the property of others." He's implying that he will physically chase the kid down and stop him by force if necessary. That's a bit beyond the pale to me.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I can run real fast!"

Is that a prerequisite for owning a shoe store?
posted by bwg at 5:05 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe the kid doesn't know anything about plants because the public schools suck?

He's 20 years old. He's not a kid.

He probably thinks it's harmless to pick up the bush (that comes up in one neat, potted piece) and move it. In his mind, it's not an accident, but it's not vandalism. It's like moving a chair or a table to him.

No, in your mind, it's like moving a chair or a table. In his mind he knows it's wrong. That's why he says he always puts it back when he's done skating, and that's why he and other skaters have always avoided being caught by the business owner in that location.
posted by headnsouth at 5:10 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


explosion, I guess that's possible, but it seems like kind of an odd interpretation of the situation to me. "20-year-old skater never learned how plants work" vs "20-year-old skater makes thoughtlessly destructive use of anonymous business owner's property, like millions before him"?
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:11 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thanks for saving the thread, sonascope.

He can type real fast.
posted by explosion at 5:12 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I never said that kids aren't jerks, that skaters can't be jerks, or that this specific kid was entirely in the right. However, adults are supposed to be, you know, adults.

The kid was 20. Not a kid anymore, shouldn't be treated like one.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:13 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the shop owner did not mean, "... to catch up with you and rationally explain why it is important to respect the property of others."

*Huff puff* Marisa, can you please explain to me *pant pant* exactly why you Stole the Precious Thing? *sigh*
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:14 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yea, I don't have much sympathy for the skater. You fuck up other people's stuff, and you're going to get yelled at. The guy goes over the top but it's probably the fiftieth time he's had some idiot kid do something like this.
posted by octothorpe at 5:16 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The kid was dumb and shouldn't have moved the bush. He should pay for the damages he caused. If there are other kids responsible, maybe he could get them to help deal with the consequences.

The shop owner was completely inappropriate in both the method and manner of his approach to the kid. What he did was definitely malicious and threatening. I'm pretty sure he hit the kid at least once. He overreacted VERY badly to a situation that, I'm sure, has caused him some mental and financial anguish. But there is no reason to physically and verbally assault someone who is conceding both fault and responsibility--WHILE waiting calmly for the police to arrive.

If the shopkeeper had not been so out of line with his actions, any anger he did have at the kid's vandalism would be completely understandable. As it stands, he comes across as a total asshole, and instead of losing a bush every now and then, he may have to close his shop if the publicity takes him where I think it will.
posted by Night_owl at 5:18 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Explosion, are you freakin kidding? That a 20 year old doesnt understand that ripping a bush out by its roots, throwing it aside, skateboarding over where it was planted over and over again is probably going to kill it, and that that is the problem of a bad school system?

Windbox, they have a skatepark, but it isnt designed well enough. and you have to fill out forms? You ever think the minute one of these little snots breaks as much as a fingernail , mommy and daddy rain lawsuits on the city?

This kid deserved way more than he got. If that was my son, I would not be a very proud parent.
posted by timsteil at 5:19 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the Facebook page, there's a user named Ramrod who's pimping a gay porn site. The profile pic is everything you'd expect it to be. That is the most amusing thing about all this.
posted by nomadicink at 5:28 AM on November 10, 2010


Physically blocking someone's exit from a confrontation is really dangerous. The store owner allowed rage to clear his better judgement, and fortunately, he got off luckily with no injuries. Seriously people, don't try to physically retrain someone you don't know, even if you're angry.

this has been a public service announcement...
posted by fuq at 5:35 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I feel bad for this guy. He went a little overboard with the yelling and stuff, but he doesn't deserve to have his business threatened by an internet mob.

I skated a lot when I was younger and this kind of thing happened all the time. Skaters would fuck up some property, people would be pissed, skaters couldn't give a shit.

On it goes.
posted by orme at 5:36 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


You space bastard! You killed a pine!
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:37 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Explosion, are you freakin kidding? That a 20 year old doesnt understand that ripping a bush out by its roots, throwing it aside, skateboarding over where it was planted over and over again is probably going to kill it, and that that is the problem of a bad school system?

If he didn't know this before, he probably knows it now.

The kid was 20. Not a kid anymore, shouldn't be treated like one.

I think the correct term is "boi".
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:38 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This kind of sucks from all angles. Kid acted like a jerk, Shop owner acted like a jerk - both instances of jerkitude being well within the realm of normal day-to-day human error and less-than-best-self. Then it gets thrown up all over the internet and poor shoe-store owner gets creamed. Kid who ripped up his shrubbery gets off scott free (because his violation is not on immediate display) - that's kind of unfair.

Nobody wins, shoe-store guy loses especially big.
This is all poop, no whistle.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:40 AM on November 10, 2010


poor maria, she acts like she's been putting up with hubby's shit far too long
posted by kitchenrat at 5:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wait, what? I missed that - where are you getting that this was malicious vandalism? I thought it was a (granted, careless and thoughtless) accident.

You did miss it -- look at the second video, and then look at the first video again and hear that one of the very first thing he says is "I always put it back." Being repeatedly pulled out of their dirt and stuck on the sidewalk with their roots in the air likely does kill the bushes, and it probably really costs the guy ~$50 every time one of them croaks. It seems like a completely stupid reason to slowly kill a plant.

Gino is 22, not 20, not a kid, and it is reasonable to expect him to know that it's bad for a bush to be pulled out by the roots, which of course he does.

Listen to his tone in the second video (the George W. titter followed by "now ollie it"), and tell me that he is offering to make it right because he's secretly a really awesome guy and not because the shop owner is giving him absolutely no other option.

Seriously, the older adult is being a psycho asshole despite being in the right, but the younger adult has been acting like an asshole on many occasions off-camera and the coup-de-grace is that he has footage of the older adult in his moment of prime dickitude and lots of young-ish adults who prefer to think of themselves as kids preferring to think of him as a kid.

I don't think I knew that normal people did that.

Normal as compared to what?
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 5:46 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Shop owner acted like a jerk

That was his second mistake. His first mistake was in replacing his previously skater-damaged bush with an ordinary, defenceless shrub rather than a rosebush or some kind of cactus with great big fuck-off thorns all over it. Or a land mine.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:47 AM on November 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


oh, put up a damn fence for the damn bush, already
posted by pyramid termite at 5:48 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I...I give up.

Probably wise.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:49 AM on November 10, 2010


The internet hate mob against the shop owner is considerably less edifying, in my opinion, than his rant.

This is one of those weird events brought into the public sphere where we're supposed to be taking sides for or against the skater and the shopkeeper, but the real villain is the hordes of anonymous dicks who think nothing of trashing a guy's livelihood.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:49 AM on November 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


Interests
Skateboarding, tattoos, hot bitches


Yes, Gino is a model citizen. I, too, am interested in hot bitches.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:51 AM on November 10, 2010


I think he meant "hot bushes."
posted by taz at 5:55 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm on team Shop Owner, for the record. Although I can't believe that there is a record for this kind of thing.
posted by Think_Long at 5:57 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm guessing it won't be long before you can buy My Fucking Bush and I Can Run Real Fast tee shirts.
posted by Sailormom at 5:57 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I skated a lot when I was younger and this kind of thing happened all the time. Skaters would fuck up some property, people would be pissed, skaters couldn't give a shit.

Sorta sums up the whole thing.
posted by timsteil at 6:01 AM on November 10, 2010


That was his second mistake. His first mistake was in replacing his previously skater-damaged bush with an ordinary, defenceless shrub rather than a rosebush or some kind of cactus with great big fuck-off thorns all over it. Or a land mine.

This is what I don't understand. I'd have the biggest, nastiest thorny tree in there before you could say 'let me google plants with inch-long spines for you'. And I'd put wire over the dirt so the little scumbags couldn't pull the trees out.
posted by winna at 6:01 AM on November 10, 2010


This is how Mr. Llama and I are going to start conducting our household conflicts: a series of escalating Twitter posts, a passive-aggressive Facebook comment, full-out shouting match, video upload to YouTube, trial in the court of the internet. Just like mom and dad used to do it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:02 AM on November 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


This is one time when I am PRO-BUSH.
posted by punkfloyd at 6:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


It would take a pretty amazing series of horrible responses and attacks to make me feel bad for the shoe store guy, but it appears that's exactly how it's going down...
posted by rollbiz at 6:06 AM on November 10, 2010


what depresses me most is that all i can think of is what could happen if all this rage and energy was directed against the people who are running things instead of it being aimed against one another

our lives suck and here we are, screaming at each other instead of those responsible

this, right here, is why our society sucks
posted by pyramid termite at 6:16 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Pro Shoe, Anti-twerp.
posted by timsteil at 6:17 AM on November 10, 2010


Physically blocking someone's exit from a confrontation is really dangerous. The store owner allowed rage to clear his better judgment, and fortunately, he got off luckily with no injuries.

Yeah, when the store owner had the skater more or less stuck up against the wall / doorway, I thought they were going to actually fight (and frankly, I was expecting the store owner to take the first swing). The store owner's behavior was pretty crappy, but having dealt repeatedly with smug teenagers / young adults who think they can do whatever the hell they want to do with absolutely no consequences, I can't say I really blame the store owner. If I would ever actually catch the punks who throw garbage in my front yard, I'd probably scream at them, too. Assholes.
posted by menschlich at 6:18 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


For some time now I've been seriously doubting that we will see a webmob that ends well. Every one I've seen has always had a large ration of righteous injustice getting dumped on the target of the majoritarian harassment. And a definite feeling that they majority is wrong.

There's something about these electronically-mediated hissy fits that completely squelches people's sense of empathy or fairness. Put yourself in both of their shoes, fer chrissake.

A lot of civility revolves around getting left alone. Maybe this social media thing needs some rethinking.
posted by warbaby at 6:18 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


"What if...somebody pulled your father or mother's bush out?"

I admit I would not be OK with that.


"I can run really fast!"

In those loafers? With no socks? You are one awesome dude!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:20 AM on November 10, 2010


Sure, the skateboarder (Who calls himself "Captain Shitass on myspace? really?) was, well, an ass.

But I just can't quite get past my visceral reaction to the guy shoving and blocking the little creep, which he had no right at all to do. Lots and lots of people would have snarled "get the fuck out of my way" shoved back, and it would have escalated from there. It's like road rage -- it doesn't matter that the kid was initially in the wrong. You just can't act that way and expect it to turn out well.

Alas for the storeowner, who is going to be paying for his lapse. I'm not sure how to feel about that, either. Is it mob justice? Or simply turning the clock back a bit as a "global village" allows the whole village to know what happened vs. allowing either or both of them to hide bad behavior behind urban anonymity?

Also, what pyramid termite said

Also, has no one linked this thread yet?
posted by tyllwin at 6:20 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just worry that this could spiral out of control. Few people know this, but the Great War started when Archduke Franz Ferdinand yelled at a Serbian nationalist for velocipeding over the shrubberies of a Hapsburg owned cobbler's shop.
posted by condour75 at 6:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [14 favorites]


Physically blocking someone's exit from a confrontation is really dangerous. The store owner allowed rage to clear his better judgement, and fortunately, he got off luckily with no injuries. Seriously people, don't try to physically retrain someone you don't know, even if you're angry.

I was expecting the owner to start swinging, and the skater to nail him with his skateboard. The store owner was definitely hyped up enough to go for it, and I think if the skater had done anything other than what he did (sitting there, talking fairly calmly, taking at least some responsibility) there would have been violence.

I guess because I was a skater as a teenager, my heart is with the skater here. If the store owner wants a different outcome, he needs to either get the police to start enforcing the law there (ie against vandalism, and against skating if that's illegal, too), plant some other kind of bush (lower, so the skaters don't need to pull it out, or big and thorny so they go somewhere else), or have a change made to the streetscape there so that it's no longer fun to skate. Going postal on a kid is a recipe for disaster.

They scatter and laugh, and you're stuck for another couple hours, cleaning off black board wax and trying to patch the broken edge of what was, at one time, an award-winning piece of elegant brutalist concrete architecture, a gentle curve curling up from the plaza like the cusp of a wind-blown wave on an otherwise calm sea.

That's just bad design, if it didn't take into account how people would actually use it, or bad management to not fund the staff to police the place adequately. I am as surprised today as I was as a teenager that so many people seem genuinely upset that not everyone interacts with the built environment like they are 80 years old and out for an afternoon stroll before a mushy dinner at 530. So while that was a cute rant (and guaranteed for hundreds of favorites), it's also a textbook example of a narrow vision of how public space is used and managed.
posted by Forktine at 6:31 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ritchie, it's not the skating, it's just the...lack of consideration of where to skate. sonascope gets it just right.

Here, an example: in Providence, there is a looong stretch of park surrounding the riverfront (on both sides) through downtown. Plenty of benches, tables, kneewalls, and railings -- and skaters use them all. There's also a small memorial to the Irish Famine, and recently they had to install these weird metal knobs on the edges of everything because the skaters couldn't leave one single place untouched by their grinding. All the benches are scratched and stained.

Really, kids? No respect for the dead, or recognition that it's probably your forefathers protrayed in the statues, or that someone might want to sit quietly for a minute and think about their family? There's a perfectly good wall a full ten feet away, and it's actually better because it's longer and steeper!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:31 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


The one big problem with defensive landscaping in an urban environment, and I have practiced it in the past, is that thorny plants (a) work like velcro for wind-blown garbage, so you're constantly picking plastic bags, Starbucks hand protectors, and Kit Kat wrappers out of the foliage, which brings me to (b) the sad reality that you, the gardener in question, will be lightheaded from blood loss every time you set foot in the garden, while the offending offenders seem to have a force-field that protects them. It was bad enough that I had to install and maintain the broken glass nightmare tree that sits in front of the museum, which was sort of like working on a blender while it's running. The American Visionary Art Museum causes severe cuts and bruising, alas, not that I don't still love the place.

If I'd stayed there a little longer, I'd have planted cockleburrs throughout the meditation garden, so my interlopers would leave with aggravating souvenirs, but I decided to move on to my clock tower, so it's all moot. I've got a little garden at the other facility I maintain, but it's going to be an homage to Park Güell in time, surrounded by nice mashable ground cover and no skate-friendly surfaces.
posted by sonascope at 6:38 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


If the store owner wants a different outcome...plant some other kind of bush (lower, so the skaters don't need to pull it out, or big and thorny so they go somewhere else), or have a change made to the streetscape there so that it's no longer fun to skate.

ah yes I see - its the owners fault.

BTW- I fall firmly in "You aren't wrong store owner, you're just an asshole" camp
posted by JPD at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's so much in that place that's beautiful and elegant and amazing, but it's all just a jungle of ramps and edges to these kids, who roll and clatter around for hours, being conspicuous in their cultivated, above-it-all boredom.

The trouble with Art, or really, anything you create, is that people will use it.

I like to say I would have the perfect network if it was not for the users.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:44 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


@Forktine - Frankly, there's nothing wrong with the design of the architectural structures at AVAM, which were put in place well before the most recent surge in skater self-empowerment. It's unlikely that any architect, no matter who gifted with foresight they might be, is going to be able to anticipate a change in local demographics and the rise of a particular faddish skate trick. Should we rebuild existing spaces to suit the uses of people who aren't remotely interested in the grounds and facilities they're so attracted to?

Of course now we're going to be stuck with a built environment where every detail that juts out, presents an edge, or otherwise serves as any sort of ramp or challenging feature is going to be ground flat, muted, and turned into a purely graphic exercise, but hey skaters are people and have rights, even when they're destroying private property. What were we thinking, trying to make beautiful spaces? It's like we're eighty year-olds who like mushy meals or something!
posted by sonascope at 6:52 AM on November 10, 2010 [17 favorites]


Forktine: "That's just bad design, if it didn't take into account how people would actually use it, or bad management to not fund the staff to police the place adequately."

Sonascopes current facility that he manages was built in 1911. Skateboarding did not become popular until the 1970s. But thanks for pointing out to people that their architectural and design endeavors should include better plans for how people interact with that landscape 60 years to 100 years int he future.
posted by I am the Walrus at 6:55 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


If the skater didn't think he'd caused damage, why did he offer to pay for the damage? Something about the potted roots, however, made me wonder if the shoe store owner could credibly claim righteous indignation. He should -- and I'm guessing -- tease the roots out a bit, and water them some more perhaps? Because vacu-formed plant roots might reasonably be seen as an emblem of "the man."

But, "I'll pay for it," looses all anti-the-man cred.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:55 AM on November 10, 2010


Running really fast is the new backtracing.
posted by emelenjr at 6:58 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


plant some other kind of bush (lower, so the skaters don't need to pull it out, or big and thorny so they go somewhere else)

Why shouldn't he be able to plant any kind of bush he wants on his own property?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:00 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really don't get people here giving the "only a lad" defense for this 20 year old man's actions. These guys not only filmed the confrontation, they posted it to youtube as well as posting a video that shows them pulling up this bush.

I think the store owner was right in being angry, and that there was no crime committed in him being angry. Maybe you are offended because it was recorded and posted and gawd, somehow that's just not **right** to be that angry at another person. But while he did imply that he'd chase them down if they ran, and he sure sounded like he was ready to slap them upside their damn fool heads, he didn't.

And that's not the story here. The story here is how we've adopted China's Human Flesh Search Engine technology. Way to go, outraged internet!
posted by Catblack at 7:00 AM on November 10, 2010


I think I hit the flag button on the third spammed Google listing review that accused the shoe shop owner of being a child molester before I just gave up on the faint, futile belief in trying to make the world less fucking stupid I initially thought I might have actually had here.

I don't support net neutrality anymore. Most people don't deserve internet.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:09 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The skater is an adult, and a vandal. The owner really shouldn't have reacted that way, but I can understand why he'd be royally pissed off.

That was his second mistake. His first mistake was in replacing his previously skater-damaged bush with an ordinary, defenceless shrub rather than a rosebush or some kind of cactus with great big fuck-off thorns all over it. Or a land mine.


And the moment some innocent bystander tripped over it, he'd no doubt be sued right out of business. A fence would be more appropriate, although one wouldn't necessarily prevent vandalism.
posted by zarq at 7:17 AM on November 10, 2010


Put me, reluctantly, in the pro-owner camp. Reluctantly because I anticipate that he will become a Rush Limbaugh cause celebre any minute now.
posted by condour75 at 7:19 AM on November 10, 2010


Obviously the owner isn't getting aggressively angry about an isolated incident. The videos clearly show the skaters damaging the property and according to the owner's rant, it happens time and again.

Skater=wrong=vandal=criminal. That doesn't mean that all skaters vandalize property but the ones that do need to not only pay the owner but must be run through the legal system and hopefully learn right from wrong.
posted by JJ86 at 7:19 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


>> I skated a lot when I was younger and this kind of thing happened all the time. Skaters would fuck up some property, people would be pissed, skaters couldn't give a shit.

> Sorta sums up the whole thing.

No, it misses the part about the psychopath who intimidates and practically assaults someone why they repeated try to pacify them. Over something worth $50. MeFi usually isn't this ok with physical intimidation and threats of assault.

> it's also a textbook example of a narrow vision of how public space is used and managed.

Exactly. People cut through parking lot landscaping all the time making short footpaths. Not many people would support physical intimidation and threats getting caught using one. If there is a good reason to completely prevent it, you simply put in something sturdier than ground-cover or a small bush.
posted by stp123 at 7:20 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


i quit reading after the child molester accusations - it's more than fucking stupid, it's fascist

it's one thing to blow one's cool like the store owner did - but this kind of deliberate calm degrading of someone's reputation really makes me wonder about the people who are doing it and what they might be capable of given sufficiently bad leadership
posted by pyramid termite at 7:21 AM on November 10, 2010


I went to a boarding school. One day, for reasons I forget a group of us had a game where we were throwing earth, over a high wooden fence that marked the school's perimeter, into the garden next door. The neighbour happened to see this and had an apoplectic shouting fit along the lines of mister shoe store owner. But the fence kept him separated from us and we could laugh and run away. And besides he did not know who were were...

The school had a daily service. That evening the head teacher read us the parable of the Good Samaritan - which ends:
"Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? ...And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."
At this point the teacher stopped the reading and launched into a sermon about how this was exactly how three particular boys - and he named us - had not been behaving today. After the service he hauled us away and beat us.

I'm about the same age as the shop owner now and my sympathies lie heavily with him. If you are the sort of person that gets that upset over a bush then having the reputation of your business ruined might give you a coronary. In my own defence I would say that I was 10 at the time - not 22.
posted by rongorongo at 7:22 AM on November 10, 2010


Having grown up in the 80's with a skateboard surgically attached to my feet all I can say is this was a daily occurrence. Didn't matter if I was minding my business or skating in a parking lot 100's of yards away from the rest of humanity - someone was going to fuck with me. Getting screamed at constantly for doing something I loved had the cumulative effect of making me despise anyone above the age of 30. And don't even get me started on my still dysfunctional relationship with cops.

I kept waiting for the kid to knock the guy the fuck out with his board. The fact he didn't showed an extreme amount of restraint. Had he done that to the crew I ran with back in the day he would have gotten stomped good.
posted by photoslob at 7:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


BTW, negative Google listings are almost impossible to erase.
posted by Catblack at 7:24 AM on November 10, 2010


Forktine: That's just bad design, if it didn't take into account how people would actually use it, or bad management to not fund the staff to police the place adequately. I am as surprised today as I was as a teenager that so many people seem genuinely upset that not everyone interacts with the built environment like they are 80 years old and out for an afternoon stroll before a mushy dinner at 530. So while that was a cute rant (and guaranteed for hundreds of favorites), it's also a textbook example of a narrow vision of how public space is used and managed.

I'm going to call BS on this. In many cases we're talking about public spaces that predate the popularity of skateboarding, often by as much as a century. And in skateboarding conflicts there's a sense of entitlement about their destructive relationships with public architecture. As a contrast, the spelunkers I know responded to the growing realization that their hobby was inherently destructive by pitching in and working with property owners to close the most threatened caves, especially during bat nesting season.

If skaters don't adopt a conservation ethos of leaving a space better than they found it, they'll get shut down by people who see those spaces in terms of 30-year investments. And that's going to require the realization that most of the building materials and methods of the last century are not up to the stresses imposed by the sport.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:26 AM on November 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


I remember when skaters were feared as violent brutes. Few adults dared speak above their breath when they spoke in condemnation of them. Oh America, how we have fallen!
posted by clarknova at 7:27 AM on November 10, 2010


MeFi usually isn't this ok with physical intimidation and threats of assault.

Just to clarify, I'm not at all okay with the way the owner acted. He was acting far too violently, and most of us see it that way. But we also see that he's probably got a reason to be pretty pissed off, even if his expression of said outrage is totally craptastic.

People cut through parking lot landscaping all the time making short footpaths. Not many people would support physical intimidation and threats getting caught using one.

I don't know about you, but if I walk through parking lot landscaping, I don't normally bend over, rip up a plant or two, set them aside, and then walk through. I just take care to not actually step on any plants (i.e., I step on the dirt, or the mulch, or whatever). If I did bend over and pull up a few plants to make way for myself, I wouldn't really be surprised if someone yelled at me about it.
posted by menschlich at 7:27 AM on November 10, 2010


I just flagged a bunch as inappropriate. I imagine if there's any silver lining to this, it's that there will be a corrective backlash of people doing the same. I hope, anyway.
posted by condour75 at 7:27 AM on November 10, 2010


I kept waiting for the kid to knock the guy the fuck out with his board. The fact he didn't showed an extreme amount of restraint. Had he done that to the crew I ran with back in the day he would have gotten stomped good.


ah so its restraint not to hit someone with a skateboard. The kid was wrong, at least he acknowledged that. Doesn't take anything away from the store owner handling the situation incredibly poorly, but let's not congratulate a punk on not being a psychopath. And hitting someone with a plank is psychopathic.

This reminds why we loved beating the shit out of the skateboarders when I was a kid. Pretty tough when in a pack with a wooden plank. No so much otherwise.
posted by JPD at 7:31 AM on November 10, 2010


There are so many better (sane) ways that this guy could've dealt with the situation. I kind of think he's pretty deserving of the backlash he's getting online.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:31 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


And for those of you who think he deserved it why not just call the cops and have the skateboarders trespassed without all the screaming and yelling?
posted by photoslob at 7:31 AM on November 10, 2010


It's really, really uncomfortable to watch the store owner crowding the skater against the wall, and his rage is over-the-top scary.

Still, his property was vandalized, repeatedly, and he is the responder, not the instigator in this. Skater dude actually starts out denying everything. It's only after the interrogation gets ugly that he offers to pay for the damages. Now, if the shop keeper then said, "Okay, go ahead," does anyone here really think he'd ever see any of that repayment money? Because I think the skater guy would have taken off in a heartbeat. And of course, shop owner guy does, too, hence the, "I can run real fast" preemptive warning.

Still, really scary to watch someone lose his cool like that.

What I'd REALLY like to see coming out of this whole situation is an anger management course for the owner and skater dude being sentenced to work off the cost of the bush in the shoe store, and then maybe community service tending to the bushes for a while, too. Poetic justice.
posted by misha at 7:32 AM on November 10, 2010


That's just bad design, if it didn't take into account how people would actually use it, or bad management to not fund the staff to police the place adequately.

Honestly, I don't know how long skating has been such a mainstream thing to do, but could the architect of a brutalist building, which might have been built like 60 years ago, really have anticipated this kind of use?

Anyway, it's kind of beside the point. As someone who's younger than the kid in the video, it annoys me that mindless destruction is something young people are just expected to do. Fucking things up is not like the tide or the sunrise. It's not inevitable. People are in charge of their actions and if those actions are dickish, other people are right to object. It's true that the people who design and maintain public spaces can't expect to control the people who inhabit them, and need to plan accordingly. But that doesn't make everything that that they can't or don't stop the public from doing right, or okay, or not worth being upset over. Breaking beautiful things and leaving messes for other people to clean up after you has nothing to do with whether you're 80 years old. Actually, it very often has to do with whether you're an asshole. And making this situation into some kind of opposition between youth and interestingness and age and bland dinners glosses over the fact that skaters are behaving like any jackass litterbug or polluting corporation - using public spaces in a way that diminishes and spoils them for other people, because they care so very much more about themselves.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:37 AM on November 10, 2010 [16 favorites]


I find it hard to sympathize with anyone in this sorry situation, but if the skater had had the pop-cultural literacy and panache to mutter, "Calmer 'n you are, dude," I would have been onside with him.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:38 AM on November 10, 2010


but let's not congratulate a punk on not being a psychopath. And hitting someone with a plank is psychopathic.

Not congratulating him - just saying after seeing enough of these kinds of run-ins they tended to end badly.

This reminds why we loved beating the shit out of the skateboarders when I was a kid. Pretty tough when in a pack with a wooden plank. No so much otherwise.

Not going to touch that other than to say you're admitted bullying isn't going to score you any points.
posted by photoslob at 7:41 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Both are wrong. The skater violated someone's property. The property owner was violent and menacing in public. Neither wrongs have anything to do with each other, and both deserve separate blame.
posted by koeselitz at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


What I do know is that the facebook comments are making me want to do the Ross Gellar scream of Y O U R E MEANS YOU ARE
posted by angrycat at 7:47 AM on November 10, 2010


What I do know is that the facebook comments are making me want to do the Ross Gellar scream of Y O U R E MEANS YOU ARE

Know it doesn't.
posted by menschlich at 7:48 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The owner sounds remarkably like Dondelinger in this Home Movies episode.
posted by interrobang at 7:48 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


They both seem like jerks to me.

I'm sort of amazed that if this had been happening for years the owner didn't try some sort of design change, like putting some micro-speedbumps on the sidewalk on either side of the planter, or hanging a sign over the spot, or just putting some short flowers in the planter. If the planter was put there to slow down skaters to begin with, then why wasn't it a foot higher and topped with cast iron fencing or something? Then again, maybe there are consequences that we don't realize for having design replace individual choices.

Also, I like to pretend that the shoe store owner is Henry Rollins in an alternate Fringe universe.
posted by craniac at 7:48 AM on November 10, 2010


Don't get mad, get even! A length of electrical wire woven through the shrubbery, broken glass glued to the leaves, a bear trap placed just so under the ground. There's all sorts of fun you can have with the young and stupid.
posted by fungible at 7:49 AM on November 10, 2010


Make that Pendlehurst. Whoops!
posted by interrobang at 7:49 AM on November 10, 2010


Not going to touch that other than to say you're admitted bullying isn't going to score you any points.

I love how you immediately interpret fighting skateboarders as bullying. Believe me we had nothing to gain from the situation. They were the ones who started everything. And I mean everything.
posted by JPD at 7:49 AM on November 10, 2010


Queue the autotune guys in 3, 2, 1....
posted by punkfloyd at 7:50 AM on November 10, 2010


I can't believe that shop owner didn't get smacked in the face with a skateboard. Justified or not, I would never stand there and let anybody talk to me that way, and when I was 20 I wouldn't have given a second thought to smashing that guy. The shop owner seems to think he's giving the skater a lesson in consequences, he might learn a lesson himself next time he tries to play tough guy.
posted by youthenrage at 7:53 AM on November 10, 2010


The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently, and solely and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this to happen.

The article is not a perfect example. But common spaces take a beating from individuals who have narrow self interest. Skateboarders make it surpassingly difficult for the elderly to use a common space in front of a library. Advertisers ruin public spaces with ads. Litter.

I respect the physical prowess of skateboarders, and their desire to use public spaces for play. As so often, the few fuck it up for the many.
posted by theora55 at 7:58 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The backlash may or may not be deserved, but I'd never patronize the store of a self-righteous lunatic like this.
posted by Scoo at 7:59 AM on November 10, 2010


I just checked the google ratings, he sells Uggs, fuck him.
posted by Scoo at 8:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


when I was 20 I wouldn't have given a second thought to smashing that guy

QFT. It wouldn't have been right of me, but at 20? You curse me, menace me, and try to physically restrain me in front of my friends? One of us would have ended up in the hospital.

And maybe a good bit of what annoys me here is that shop owner picked some "skater boi" he knew he could intimidate. He would have somehow restrained himself and been civilized with a 250-lb linebacker or a gangsta, I think.

The backlash may or may not be deserved, but I'd never patronize the store of a self-righteous lunatic like this.

This too.
posted by tyllwin at 8:06 AM on November 10, 2010


on preview - exactly what photoslob said. Is punching (or worse) the shop owner the correct response to have in a civilized society? Hell no. Am I blown away, based on my personal experiences skateboarding and being 20, that the situation was resolved without resorting to physical violence? Hell yes. Am I unsure that this represents progress, that maybe that fucking asshole shop owner who was so ready and willing to use threats and intimidation to hold that skater there while he called the police, maybe that guy might need to be reminded that the world isn't necessarily as safe and civilized as he thinks, a reminder that when you act like a fucking irrational crazy asshole, sometimes people punch you in the face? That, I can't really decide.
posted by youthenrage at 8:08 AM on November 10, 2010


Two things I'll never understand in this world: tagging, and property-damaging skaters. They're both the same thing, really -- an assumption of entitlement, leavened with a heaping dose of rebelliousness, salted with the dependent child's sense of 'everything is free or inexpensive', and topped off with the moral conviction of the true expressive artist.

Graffiti -- graffiti can be beautiful. Awe-inspiring, thoughtful, powerful. Even when draped around a train.

Tagging and skating, though -- just writing your pseudonym, over and over, all over every visible surface of your city, or scarring up other people's property as your playground, that's so fucking wasteful of the limited resource of beauty or serenity most cities have.

I'd react like the property owner. Probably worse.
posted by felix at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Catblack: BTW, negative Google listings are almost impossible to erase.

Yet as I've read this thread, I've gone from thinking "what a crazy motherfucker" to flagging each of them as inappropriate and explaining why (they obviously aren't true) - and pointing Google to this discussion. Yes, this is pointless, but there's one thing that makes me angrier than stupid skate punks ruining it for the ones I love and totally over-the-top angry assholes bringing their negative energy to the world and that's the Yelpification of the Internet.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


In defense of my opponents, I will say that AVAM was designed in '92-'93, built in '94-'95, and opened in late '95, so the architectural pieces I'm describing don't predate skateboarding as a hobby and a fashion statement. They do, however, predate the mainstreaming of grinding as a central tenet of skate culture, and I can say from experience that the scale and breadth of damage this trick does to "public" architecture has escalated wildly with the advent of Youtube and other means of promotion it as a mainstay of skating.

If you look at the plaza where the worst problems occurred (see an interactive panorama here to look around), you can see extensive board wax on the low wall under the Vollis Simpson Whirligig, as well as on the stair edges of the graceful arc of steps that manage the transition from the higher street level to the lower one so that the plaza can double as a stage. It's not clear in the image, but skateboard trucks have ground the edges down to ragged curves, and made huge, irreparable chips in the wall itself.

Before I left the museum, I was getting a budget together to install Skatestoppers, which are expensive and ruin the lines that the architect planned for that structure. Worse, talking with my compatriots in the local facility management scene, there's an undercurrent of serious skater liberationists (for want of a less glorious term) who will show up in the middle of the night with an angle grinder and quick-patch and will de-install your expensive protective pieces and usually leave graffiti to the effect that they have, in fact, circumvented your fascist anti-skating devices.

As a former utility skateboarder and a still-avid cycling, ursine scootician, lumpen motorcyclist, and semi-professional trespasser, I'm sympathetic to the notion of unrestricted access to space for people who are engaged and curious. That doesn't mean it's okay to destroy something that's not yours. Though I'm happy enough to play the role of a crank, it's irritating to me that this comes down to "you're old and clueless and the world is new and amazing and you can't see it because you're so old and clueless" so often.

If these kids were urban infiltrators, or long-haul bicyclists, or just nosy, curious, smart-assed little kids, that'd be a whole other story. Dragging a pair of metal trucks against something until it breaks isn't liberation, modernity, or radical rebellion against an unjust system--it's just being a spoiled little dickwad so focused on one's own perceived boredom-induced suffering that nothing matters except getting that grind just right, after trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying and trying it like a convict working out in the "yard" because there's nothing else to do, or at least because they lack sufficient imagination to know that there is, in fact, an almost infinite number of things to do.

I don't have a dislike for ALL skaters, and when I was on the job, if you didn't grind, you could roll around my plaza from dawn till dusk for all I cared, because it's not about not wanting to share the space--it's about basic respect for the space. There's a story I could add to this, but I'm a little short on time right now and I'm on the clock, so it'll have to wait.

BTW, if you looked at the panorama, that's me interviewing a little girl in a magnanimous hat with a dog in a tutu. See how not cranky I am? Also, if you pan up to the wall above the crowd with the giant mosaic, that was my project, and it was made by kids society has deemed incorrigible, so I don't believe that you have to just accept that boys will be boys and design your built environment to look half-melted and solely graphic.

There's a third way, as it happens.
posted by sonascope at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2010 [19 favorites]


"elegant brutalist"

Oxymoron
posted by HopperFan at 8:11 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Us? Descended from apes? Nahhh...
posted by Eideteker at 8:14 AM on November 10, 2010


> A lot of civility revolves around getting left alone. Maybe this social media thing needs some rethinking.

Whoops, too late! The usual chain of events when it comes to human beings and technology is:

1. Invent technology.
2. Profit!
3. Ponder repercussions.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:15 AM on November 10, 2010


That's just bad design, if it didn't take into account how people would actually use it, or bad management to not fund the staff to police the place adequately.

"You know, it's really your fault I kicked your windows in. You should have put bars over them."
posted by dirigibleman at 8:20 AM on November 10, 2010


The reason why defensive landscaping is better than confrontation, if you are hoping to change behavior, is because 'skaters' are not a monolithic entity. The kid you yell at today may never come back, but if whatever it is he saw as skateable in your environment is still there, the next skater will come along as see it too.

When I lived in Portland, I used to watch this one spot down below my apartment where every skater who went past always would stop to try and make a quick trick. You had a nice concrete ledge that led to a short staircase with a very grindable handrail. What made it tricky was that just a few feet before the ledge met the handrail, there was a metal grate covering some hole in the ledge. 99% of the kids who tried to skate it would try and make it around the grating on the slivers on concrete, which usually ended in them falling off the ledge and into the bushes. The did this because the grating ran perpendicular to their direction of travel, so riding over it just meant you'd come to a shuddering halt. It usually only took one or two crashes before they'd give up and move on to somewhere else. But there was one day when this one guy was smart enough to rotate the grating 90 degrees. no more chunka-chunka-stop, now it was shnick-shnick across and onto the real trick of the handrail. Smart kid, I think to myself. When he left, he left the grating rotated, and I thought to myself, so many less-smart kids are going to benefit from this guy's foresight.

The next morning, I noticed maintenance had already rotated the grating back. That's when I realized it's orientation was no accident.

Practical realism trumps righteous anger. It's better for your blood pressure and your soul.
posted by nomisxid at 8:20 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


I can't believe that shop owner didn't get smacked in the face with a skateboard.

Getting all aggro with a group of guys, all of whom are carrying 9-pound sticks, is really just gambling that one of them won't smack you in the head. It's not worth getting seriously injured (or dying!) over a bush.
posted by monkeymike at 8:27 AM on November 10, 2010


Hi, I am an old guy, who sadly enough sells Uggs and Crocs and deals with smelly feet all day to make a living. Not like I am proud of it really, but I flunked Chemistry and it puts food on the table OK?

You are an obnoxious little jerk, who has been vandalizing my shit over and over and over again. You think that hunk of wood with little plastic wheels on it amounts to some kind of culture, and that you are being unfairly targeted and victimized, and even though the city has built you a whole damned park to go indulge your sport, you think you have some right to come rip out my bushes repeatedly, skate over the hole and then have the fucking nerve to act put out when I finally bust your ass for it?

There's no fine that little twerp's parents wont pay, but I would sure like to see him spend every day of the next two years watering and tending that bush by way of community service.
posted by timsteil at 8:28 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


MCMikeNamara: Last year I had to do some SEO work for a company and we found that they'd had some negative reviews planted on google maps by someone that clearly weren't true. (Most likely by a competitor up the street hiring their own SEO people.) We never got them removed, and the google support forums were full of people who'd had the same problem. It seemed the only way to get google's attention is to call and email them daily. For weeks.
posted by Catblack at 8:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do I really have to pick sides on this?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:33 AM on November 10, 2010


Did save the "raw video" linked above that opens with them pulling the bush out? It's been removed by the user.
posted by Catblack at 8:47 AM on November 10, 2010


I lean toward the plague-on-both-their-houses camp -- until we come to the cowardly campaign of malicious libel against the shopkeeper on google. The conflict here is as old as the student riots in thirteenth-century Europe. The skater is a punk, and the shopkeeper is setting himself up for an aneurysm. Ho-hum.

But the organized effort to destroy the man's life while hiding behind internet anonymity -- that's fucking scary.
posted by steambadger at 8:55 AM on November 10, 2010


This is one of those weird events brought into the public sphere where we're supposed to be taking sides for or against the skater and the shopkeeper, but the real villain is the hordes of anonymous dicks who think nothing of trashing a guy's livelihood.

This is right on the money. The kid deserved more than being yelled at. And, for all those who think the owner's reaction was over the top, try running a small retail business where $50 can literally put you in the hole, on a slow day.

I co-owned a small retail shop some years ago and had to contend with immature brats thinking they could ruin my property. My partner in the business, a female, was shown obscene gestures by a high-school kid when she decided to hire someone else for a part-time job. I knew the kid, and complained to his mother; she defended him, saying that "he's disappointed", and will learn that that kind of thing is wrong, someday".

Bottom line: that "kid" is a spoiled brat, and deserves to have to take care of those bushes for a year, minimum. Either that, or the public pillory.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:56 AM on November 10, 2010


wow, people on the internet are assholes. "We get in a fight, so I ruin your business." Sounds like fairness to me. Fuck young people; fuck entitled pieces of shit; fuck idiots who think that their momentary whims are revolutionary.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 8:56 AM on November 10, 2010


Damn. That "raw video" link is totally crucial to seeing this from both sides. It's hard to defend the skaters after you watch them just laughingly desecrate the guy's property.

Also, AFAIK you can use reasonable force to make sure someone is arrested when they've caused criminal damage to your property. So it's not like this shop owner is going to get charged with assault or anything. I didn't like the way he did it, but he had a right to.
posted by naju at 8:59 AM on November 10, 2010


His first mistake was in replacing his previously skater-damaged bush with an ordinary, defenceless shrub rather than a rosebush or some kind of cactus with great big fuck-off thorns all over it.

I put a Ribes speciosum in this summer, up on a hillside away from paths. Who could resist this description:
We have one we planted in front of our kitchen window that a hummingbird lives in for two months each year. Defending his bush with his life gallantly. The density of the plant makes a perfect bird shelter from the neighbor cat. (The hummingbirds can use the bits of fur stuck on the spines for their nests.)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:01 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The most astounding thing to me are all the people who seem to have forgotten ever being young.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:01 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The most astounding thing to me are all the people who seem to have forgotten ever being young.

I don't forget, but I do realize that I was an inconsiderate, arrogant piece of shit.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 9:05 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


skater-friendly architecture

posted by craniac at 9:10 AM on November 10, 2010


Both videos have been removed by the user. I'm guessing that someone said the word "lawsuit" and the kids flinched.
posted by orville sash at 9:10 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sort of related.
posted by lordrunningclam at 9:15 AM on November 10, 2010


there's still this one?
posted by Avenger50 at 9:17 AM on November 10, 2010


Vibrissae: “This is right on the money. The kid deserved more than being yelled at. And, for all those who think the owner's reaction was over the top, try running a small retail business where $50 can literally put you in the hole, on a slow day.... Bottom line: that ‘kid’ is a spoiled brat, and deserves to have to take care of those bushes for a year, minimum. Either that, or the public pillory.”

That is not how justice works. Punishment isn't meted out based on the general hardships of the lifestyle of the victim of the crime, and guilt is not proportionate to the monetary damage incurred.

It is, and ought to be, illegal to willfully destroy someone else's property. It's a violation, and it should be punished.

It is, and ought to be, illegal for a private citizen to threaten violence and verbally assault another private citizen, no matter what the circumstances. It's a violation, and it should be punished.

Neither of these crimes has anything to do with each other. Again, both of them need to be punished.
posted by koeselitz at 9:44 AM on November 10, 2010


posted by explosion It's possible, even likely, that the kids wouldn't understand if the owner tried to take the calm Mr. Rogers tactic and explained that the bush can't be uprooted like that or it will die.

"Hey, man--this is our store policy, to preserve the integrity of the landscaping. It’s about the quality of the bushes, and tearing out the shrubbery is really not cool with us. So I mean, you’re going to skate where you’re going to skate, and I can’t stop you, but, what you’re about to do . . . that’s really, really Not Okay."
posted by mattdidthat at 10:11 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is there a site that collects vids of people flipping out? It's a guilty pleasure but there's something very satisfying about watching dangerous levels of rage from the comfort and safety of my chair in front of the computer.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:12 AM on November 10, 2010


It's a pretty simple setting to not allow people to post to your facebook page. Makes me wonder why the business owner didn't just turn that feature off once he realized what was happening.
posted by fatbaq at 10:12 AM on November 10, 2010


BTW, true or not, the comments on the Facebook page now say that they have the wrong "Jay's Shoes" and that the store with the FB page has a different owner. Not the guy in the video. It's certain that the address given on the FB page and the Google listings are not the same address.
posted by tyllwin at 10:28 AM on November 10, 2010


Oh, screw the facts. Justice must be served!
posted by crunchland at 10:34 AM on November 10, 2010


"That bush really tied the room together"
posted by travis08 at 12:57 PM on November 10, 2010


Is there a site that collects vids of people flipping out?

http://www.youtube.com/rnc
posted by squalor at 1:50 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


...the Facebook page now say that they have the wrong "Jay's Shoes" and that the store with the FB page has a different owner.

I'm not so sure.

The 50 year old business is a children's shoe store (Jay's Shoe Box) with locations in Livingstone, Marlboro, Morganville/Morgantown and Summit NJ. The logos, etc. are the same and hyperlinks lead one to other locales (e.g. Jay's Shoe Box/Marlboro: "Please visit our Livingston location at www.jaysshoeboxlivingstonnj.com, etc.)
posted by ericb at 2:26 PM on November 10, 2010


Those Google reviews are...yeeeeesh.
posted by everichon at 2:39 PM on November 10, 2010


The most astounding thing to me are all the people who seem to have forgotten ever being young.

I haven't forgotten it. I'm 42 and I still have my skateboard around here somewhere but we're not talking about a kid. The guy is 20 years old, maybe he should consider, you know, growing up a little. It's almost expected that kids are obnoxious in their teens but this snowflake is a goddamn adult.
posted by MikeMc at 2:54 PM on November 10, 2010


If skaters don't adopt a conservation ethos of leaving a space better than they found it, they'll get shut down by people who see those spaces in terms of 30-year investments.

See, this I just don't get. The environment is already fucked. Pulling out a bush can't fuck it up any more. If someone decides to pave over a perfectly good piece of natural terrain and erect a dingy shopping strip or even a factory with a clock tower, that's not a conservation ethos. To cop an attitude where that's okay but ripping out a bush isn't makes no sense.

Sure, pouring ten thousand tonnes of concrete on ten thousand years of our birthright is a prudent act engaged in by people who have the wisdom and insight to see Thirty Whole Years into the future, and now this little wanker has come along with his stupid skateboard and Ruined Everything. Sure. He's the problem. He has entitlement issues. He's a vandal.
posted by Ritchie at 2:56 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think a conservation ethos not in the sense of ecology but in the sense of maintaining the physical environment around you. Like picking up your campsite. Or not leaving the bathroom at your favorite pub a mess. That type of conservation ethos which usually just translates to "giving a damn about yours and other people's stuff".
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:15 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


He's 22, not 20.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 3:42 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure the store owner didn't pour concrete on anyones birthright but if you can direct me to the Forest Elves Volume Shoe Source in the Great Woods I'd be mightily appreciative.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 4:01 PM on November 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


That is not how justice works. Punishment isn't meted out based on the general hardships of the lifestyle of the victim of the crime, and guilt is not proportionate to the monetary damage incurred...

It is, and ought to be, illegal for a private citizen to threaten violence and verbally assault another private citizen, no matter what the circumstances. It's a violation, and it should be punished.


Oh, I see, so that's how justice works?? So, tell me, how ,does the real world work?
posted by Vibrissae at 6:08 PM on November 10, 2010


Any criminal lawyers in the house?

I see that and think "hm, assault & false imprisonment". He definitely touched the skater at least once, and he absolutely prevented him from leaving through physical intimidation. Hard to believe he has the right to do those things to restrain the perpetrator of petty criminal mischief or vandalism.

Also, what a complete asshole. The kid was being a little punk, granted, but that response was insane.
posted by facetious at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


huh. the videos are no longer up. that's kinda weird, isn't it?
posted by angrycat at 7:51 PM on November 10, 2010


i don't think it's weird that the videos were removed - they've inspired a campaign of online defamation against the store owner and if there are criminal charges pending, this campaign just could be considered witness intimidation - not to mention that the videos contain the act in question AND a confession

i'm sure after the online shit that's happened today, someone pointed this out to this kid that he was headed to the land of stupid FAIL
posted by pyramid termite at 8:49 PM on November 10, 2010


what happens to the videos
why does this always happen to me
posted by tehloki at 10:51 PM on November 10, 2010


The kid was being a little punk, granted

Just a reminder that the "kid" is an adult.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:13 AM on November 11, 2010


That's just bad design, if it didn't take into account how people would actually use it

No, it's just bad behavior. Any vertical wall on the planet is a potential urinal, but that doesn't give you the right to cover shared environments in a sheet of golden rain.

For example.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:26 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just a reminder that the "kid" is an adult.

You're right, thank you. I think I went to "kid" because his actions point to a selfish lack of perspective and responsibility, like a child would have, not to an adult's calculated malice. Also, the shopowner completely dominates him physically here, as he would a child. In this situation, this 22 year old is functioning like a teenager at best, and unfortunately I've gotten in the somewhat disrespectful habit of referring to teenagers/young adults as "kids". I've met plenty of young people who have better heads on their shoulders than I do, I need to knock that off :-)
posted by facetious at 6:01 AM on November 11, 2010


http://myfuckingbush.com/
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:32 AM on November 11, 2010


golden rain

Some stay dry while others feel the pain.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:43 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


>>That's just bad design, if it didn't take into account how people would actually use it

>No, it's just bad behavior. Any vertical wall on the planet is a potential urinal, but that doesn't give you the right to cover shared environments in a sheet of golden rain.


Nope. Peeing on a random wall, just for shits and giggles, is bad behavior. Having no public restrooms, so that people don't have an option other than peeing on the wall, is bad design. Skateboarding has been around for at least four decades in a fairly modern form. If at this point you can't understand how to design the urban streetscape to account for skateboarding, or how to alter your policing of those same streetscapes to prevent it, I don't have a lot of sympathy.

I'm not saying that the skater was A-ok, nor that he shouldn't be ticketed for vandalism (while perhaps watching the shop owner be handcuffed for being a threatening weirdo). Just that there are solutions to the problem that don't involve blowing a gasket and getting your video on YouTube.
posted by Forktine at 7:44 AM on November 11, 2010


I suspect where a person's sympathies lie might be determined by whether or not you own property. If you don't, you probably can't see why someone would be so unreasonably upset about a stupid plant. If you do, you can't understand why some 22-year-old peter pan, teenaged boi wannabe would feel like its ok to skate wherever you want, regardless of the destruction it causes.
posted by crunchland at 8:45 AM on November 11, 2010


Update: The Google reviews have been removed. So something good came from this poist at least.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:09 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't own property, and I understand why the owner is upset.

That's because I'm not 15 anymore, and also have a mother who tried to teach me respect for other people's things and spaces, whether they literally own them or not. (I also don't litter, partly because I've had so much garbage be thrown into my own rented yard.)
posted by jb at 9:20 AM on November 11, 2010


crunchland: I suspect where a person's sympathies lie might be determined by whether or not you own property.

Not really in this case. I grew up in limestone country with a deep awareness of the fact that they don't make em like they used to and the wonder of being able to sit down on a wall and trace my fingers over millions of years of deep time. Access to beautiful public buildings and parks is one of the things that make urban life worthwhile.

I'll grant that the owner went way over the line. But it would be nice to see a glimmer of recognition that just because that antique wall or bench is the perfect height for your awesome stunt, that maybe you shouldn't do it in the middle of a recession when maintenance dollars are stretched pretty darn thin.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:37 AM on November 11, 2010


Skateboarding has been around for at least four decades in a fairly modern form.

I respectfully disagree, based on my own experience and observation. I had the most killer-ass 'board in Scaggsville, thanks to the fact that I happened to have $23 in my piggy bank around the time that the area's most devoted skateboarder ran out of pot and was desperate for some scratch to get himself a quarter bag. I was not a classically-talented skater, being to the skater avant garde what Dutch people on utility bicycles are to BMX flatlanders, but my tricked-out superboard gave me access to the cool kids, and in 1982, they weren't grinding. They were working on Ollies, on killer 180s, building rudimentary ramps, but no trucks to the rail grinding, if for no better reason that no one could afford to fuck up their trucks back then.

Grinding wasn't the be-all-end-all in the nineties around here, either, not until the end of the century, well after the museum's supposedly defective wall was designed. Maybe that stuff was big in California, or in the Northwest, but not here, and not like it is now, where all they do, literally, is grind grind grind grind grind and almost nothing else.

The elements of "modern form" certainly existed in the vanguard forty years ago, but to say the sport is the same now as it was then, particularly in the region I'm talking about, is not accurate.
posted by sonascope at 9:53 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


oh yes, I 've found it :

you don't have to be a jerk to someone just because they deserve it.
posted by nicolin at 11:25 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Having no public restrooms, so that people don't have an option other than peeing on the wall

Skateboarding is not a biological necessity.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:52 PM on November 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


if this whole dust-up makes just one person think twice before they lose their temper and start shoving and threatening others because there may be a camera filming, i think it was all completely worthwhile.
posted by VulcanMike at 9:17 PM on November 11, 2010


Because the odds of a jackass skater boy learning something is completely impossible.
posted by crunchland at 4:09 AM on November 12, 2010


...if this whole dust-up makes just one person think twice before they lose their temper and start shoving and threatening others because there may be a camera filming, i think it was all completely worthwhile.

Yes. And this lady will soon realize that as these two videos of her assaulting (e.g. "f*cking ni**er thief," slappin him) a postman in Hingham, MA continue to spread across the Internet: 1, 2.*
posted by ericb at 6:50 AM on November 12, 2010


FWIW -- the now deleted FPP: Postal Worker Secretly Films Customer's Racist Rant.
posted by ericb at 8:54 AM on November 12, 2010


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