A Fragmentary History of Skateboarding Videos – Chapter 4 - Jeff Grosso Revisited

Chapter 4 – Jeff Grosso Revisited

Fragment 20

“...and then I go see my mom, you know, I go: mom, check out my new style, my new fashion, I’m on the forefront of fashion. She’s all: Jeff, what are you doing? I go: mom, I don’t know but I’m at the forefront of it.”

Fragment 21

In the words of the immortal Allen from the intro to Animal Chin we addressed in chapter 2: “it’s that death, gore, dismemberment whole type of... go-for type of thing, I mean that’s hm, after all that is what skateboarding is all about.”

Fragment 22

Jeff Grosso’s famous “forefront” banter was included in Santa Cruz Speed Wheels’ Speed Freaks [1989] for its comedy value. Just like Allen’s interview at the beginning of Animal Chin. By revisting his part and letting us know the story behind it, Grosso is bringing the viewer closer to where he stands. Because from where he stands that shit isn’t funny. “Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” Apparently Mel Brooks said it, or something close to it.

Fragment 23

You can tell just by watching the shaving scene that even at the time Jeff wasn’t exactly happy with himself. No one who admits he doesn’t know what he’s doing is. It’s a bitter comment. Why would someone repeat it to him after all those years? I would say some people because they just repeat stuff, and others because they hear it as a clever, ironic remark that expresses something they also experience.

Fragment 24

“For one thing, in cultures that have a democratic ethos, relatively weak traditions, and a high receptivity to new technologies, everyone is inclined to be enthusiastic about technological change, believing that its benefits will eventually spread evenly among the entire population. Especially in the United States, where the lust for what is new has no bounds, do we find this childlike conviction most widely held.” Neil Postman wrote this in Technopoly, which was published in 1992. It’s safe to say that today, when it comes to “the lust for what is new”, we’re all living in America, like Rammstein put it.

Fragment 25

“The lust for what is new”. That’s the passion that fashion excites. We should follow because it is new. We shouldn’t ask whether it’s good or bad change. We’re encouraged to be enthusiastic about change and we’re told that “new=good”. This is the message behind each new fashion, each new fad, whether technological or not. And these days they are mostly technological, bringing a lot more change than a haircut and shaved eyebrows. Iphones, TikTok, cancel culture and #stayhome: we’re all at the forefront of it and no one has a clue about what’s going on in the back.

Fragment 26

A 21 year old skater on hard drugs in 1989 showed more sense than most normies do today. At least he expressed his anxiety about living fast and not knowing what he was doing. Jeff Grosso was a smart kid. He did some dumb shit but he outlived and outgrew it. Watching his Loveletters to Skateboarding you can tell he didn’t look at skateboarding’s new trends and fashions with an uncritical eye. Now turn this shit off and go skate.

By Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira

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