Quartersnacks caught a little flack last week for posting an image of the magazine cover celebrating Ishod Wair winning Thrasher Magazine “skater of the year”. The caption posted along side the photo stated: “This cover is awesome. Has a Ray Barbee vibe to it”. Now the accusations of racism may have been slightly tongue in cheek and both that and the surrounding Ray Barbee comparisons are expertly outlined by Quartersnacks themselves in one of the best special updates yet.
What I did think was interesting that seems to have gone largely unmentioned is that if you look below the surface, the cover may in fact be an expertly constructed series of clues giving certain nods towards racial inequality, ancient aliens, and even the Illuminati. Rumours have been circulating for years that Jake Phelps had been replaced by a replicant, but could this cover be the key to undoing some greater master plan.
- Lets start with the trick itself, sure it was popularised by another famously cheerful African-American skateboarder “back in the day”, but in recent years it has become an even more polarizing trick. The no-comply when done correctly is often representative of an alternative way or skating an obstacle, someone thinking outside of the box. However with its recent burst in popularity has led to a slew of imitators looking to come across as more inventive than they are. In choosing this photo, this trick, for the cover it goes against the grain of what might ordinarily be deemed as acceptable. But when Ishod makes this very literal statement of “non compliance”, it is impossible to deny (unless you feel like arguing whether or not the barrier was of “regulation” height) that it is a powerful display of defiance.
- Secondly, this magazine wont come out until April, which at the time of the cover being leaked was over a month and a half away. This is not necessarily unusual in itself, but it did leak during black history month, and if tinfoil has a place in your preferred styles of headgear this fact my suggest more to you than the ever-widening gap between new and traditional media. And if you sit in the dark drooling on yourself for long enough you may just come to the same conclusion that I did, that its early “leak” was controlled and paid for by Nike to coincide with the advertising and launch of the completely non-ironic, in no way connected to slave labour, and always in the best possible taste, Black History Month colorway series.
- Those two guys in the background, what are they up to? Just a couple of regular Joes out for a stroll? Why didn’t he wait the few seconds it would have taken for them to be out of the shot? Is it yet another nod to previous generations, is he saying “look at me old timers, I’m on another level”? Or it could be something more sinister, have you asked yourself what contraption that old man appears to be carrying? The uninitiated amongst you may simply say that it not in fact a complex radio satellite array used for relaying information back to the mothership, and is more likely a fishing rod resting on an old man’s walker but isn’t that exactly what the lizard people would want you to think?
- There has been some online discussion about the concrete barrier that he is skating in the shot, most of it surrounding its height which has been ascertained to be somewhere between 10 inches and 4 feet. But the real mystery here are the curious markings on the side. These markings have been seen before, in prehistoric cave paintings discovered in a cavern deep underneath the Berrics proving that all that we are seeing today was foretold by our ancient alien creators. Other paintings in the cave appear to take the form of a rudimentary SLAP message board foretelling that Ishod was “on” Nike millennia before it he was added to the team page!
- Finally a conspiracy, wrapped in a secret, shrouded in a…shroud. Ishod’s board, and more specifically its underside, is clearly visible in the photo and if you look closely it is not to difficult to work out what board he is riding. The reissue of Jim Thiebaud’s “hanging klansman” graphic is both infamous and iconic, a powerful statement against racial hatred and a somewhat fitting choice for the first black SOTY. But if this was intended to be a statement then why would the graphic itself be so obscured by scratch marks. The trick shown would not cause such markings, and despite the board being limited edition I am sure they have a few extras lying around at DLX headquarters. So then could it be that the graphic was altered in post production? Photoshoped out because its statement was deemed to be too provocative. If so what whoever, or whatever, was behind it did not notice was that someone the knowledge to leave behind just enough of the graphic to allow it to be picked out by those who were looking for it, although not by a mere passer-by. Perhaps there is a little life left in the replicant Jake Phelps after all.