In light of recent events, I felt compelled to write the following, “Claes Oldenburg Does a 180” – a topical statement addressing skateboarding in the city of Philadelphia. I hope you enjoy and encourage you to forward it to anyone who you think would be interested or could help support.
Update: Philebrity picked up the link. The comments are not surprising.
9 thoughts on “Claes Oldenburg Does a 180 *Updated”
Yeah, sorry, not feeling you. When urban designers build soul sucking concrete warrens that dehumanize the landscape I’m all for skating that shit and bringing vitality to an urban desert. When you put a hole in someone’s art (ie. their attemp to enliven the landscape) or shralp up a 200 year old church, etc., you’re a dick.
I tentatively agree with commentor Andy. We should be smart enough to police ourselves. Is it wrong to shred the ledges at Love? No, who cares? Those things are perfect and it hurts/offends no one. That shit is ridiculous. But, is it ok to skate the ledges at the Vietnam Vet memorial? No, that’s probably not cool. Is there anything covered in this law that is truly ridiculous and a bummer? Honestly what spots are lost to a legit fine with this? Let’s choose our battles a little more wisely. I think it would benefit us all in the long run. We really aren’t entitled to just skate whatever we want whenever we want. If you don’t agree, run faster.
I think the real issue is the degree of the punishment. Sure there should be some legislation on things like this, but $2,000 and 90 days in jail is a little egregious. People die in jail, lives are destroyed by jail, and people do not come back the same from jail. I’m not saying let’s skate anything and everything and have a free-for-all, but let’s tone down the punishment a little bit. Right now, if you get caught downtown they can fine you $300, which is a lot. They can even legally detain you for 72 hours and that would really suck, but….90 days in prison? Trust me, if you have that on your record you are not getting a job when you get out; not to mention the fact that you will probably lose whatever job you currently have when you get arrested. People think skateboarders want to do whatever they want, but that is not true. We just think it is a little crazy that this potential legislation makes skateboarding more of a crime then real crimes. Throwing around jail sentences like it isn’t that serious is wrong, because it is very serious and to me this law was simply created to attack and hurt one demographic of our city. Also, people should realize that this potential legislation is actually more encompassing then they may first realize. If it includes monuments, historic sites, and public art then take a step back and realize we live in Philadelphia. Almost every park is technically “historic” or some kind of monument/remembrance of someone or something. There is also a ton of public art here so the question with that is will someone get punished for skating a park that has public art installations even if they are not skating the art installation itself? A lot of this law could be up to the discretion of the arresting officer and judging by the past relationship between skaters and police officers it isn’t going to go well for us skateboarders. When I say skateboarders let’s also include BMXers and Inliners into the equation, because they too are affected by this law. That means there are thousands upon thousands of kids and adults that could have major problems on their hands for the rest of their lives if this law gets passed. It gets voted on in the Fall so please contact your local councilman or councilwoman and express your concern. I’m not suggesting the city eliminate legislation on skating completely so we can skate whatever we want whenever we want. I understand there needs to be some law and order in the world; however, currently the outrageous punishment does not fit the “crime.”
Don’t get me wrong: I think this and any skate specific fine is bullshit. The law itself is questionable because how do they even prove that you caused any damage? (answer: they don’t, they just give you a ticket for being in the vicinity and hope you don’t bother to fight it) I think the city is trying to drum up cash from low hanging fruit. They figure skaters are otherwise law abiding and will dutifully pay their fines. You know, why stand on north Broad, Grays Ferry, etc. for 20 minutes and pull over a pack of mad max ATV youths endangering and harrassing people when they won’t bother to pay their fines anyway? Skaters are easier pickins.
My point was putting a hole in someone’s brand new sculpture makes us all look like assholes and makes people hate us. Don’t do shit like that.
Andy, I couldn’t agree with you more. I seriously think they are doing it in an attempt to make money, because the city is strapped for cash. For years the cops have gone after skaters to make it seem like they are doing work, because it is way easier to go after skaters then say drug dealers or those ATV crews. I can understand it in a way, but they signed up for a job to serve and protect with the understanding that you have to be in harms way. So they should at least try to go after real criminals, not skateboarders. I’m glad you mentioned this fine in relation to earning money, because I’m sure they have created other stupid laws effecting other demographics all in an attempt to make up lost $$$$. They know laws like this don’t improve society, so the only motivation I can see is either monetary or it is fueled by hate from someone higher-up in the city government that has a grudge against skateboarders. City officials are terrible at effectively spending money. What they are good at apparently is taxing their own citizens into the ground and making laws that keep this city from being progressive and on the forefront of modern society.
You have the word “mindless” in quotes. Where are you quoting from?
I think we need to state our case in a nice, neat package, which can be easily presented to the public and to city officials. I don’t know much about this sort of thing, but I do know that organization is essential. We did it with SOPA, and we can do it with this, too!
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