A Letter from a “Real” Extreme JournalistPosted by in Old stuff
It’s been an interesting couple of days in my internet world, thanks to an awesome hate thread from some people who clearly don’t get it, but don’t worry about me. I’m tough and I can take it. In fact, I’ve been getting hate mail for years. Ten years later, this one is still my favorite.
Original Publication Date: August 2000
One of my favorite parts about this website, is the quality letters I receive from day to day. I get some good ones, but this might take the cake. I would explain farther, but I don’t think it’s even nessecary, so I put some of the highlights in bold. If your not sure what he’s talking about, read this first: X Games: Fear and Loathing in Mt. Snow
To whom it may concern, (Please forward to Brooke Geery and her editor)
I usually do not enjoy voicing displeasure at others’ journalism, but I figured that such a poor reporting job could be the exception to my rule. I know that it took place a long time ago, but I just recently read your article on the X-Games titled “Fear and Loathing in Mount Snow.” I was at first pissed off by the unoriginal name, but decided to read on for a possible journalistic interest, as I myself am a writer for an online extreme sports new source. “They didn’t come for the fame and glory, or because an X Games gold medal brings so much pride to your country and family, everyone who showed up was there because first place in every discipline received $10,000.” This is the first crock of absolute slander and ignorant journalism I encountered. Let it be known to the writer of this trash that many of the athletes are competing for the enjoyment and for the glory of knowing that they are the best there is, and the 10K purse is only a side order to the larger prize. The Author, Brooke Geery, is obviously lying about the quality of the parties, as they were only open to the athletes and not to the press. Do not question me on this because I personally was at the X-games with a press pass and was not allowed to attend the apres-ski parties.
Another source of displeasure, “The judges have the winners all picked out long before anyone drops in. If someone unexpected does well, they will receive fourth, as ESPN failed to create a profile on them to show before their run. If one of the pre-decided winners does poorly, the judges are forced to give them a high score anyway. Case in point, Peter Line. In Thursday’s slopestyle, he managed to pull off a bronze medal for a run that shouldn’t have even gotten him into the top ten.” This is an absolutely opinionistic paragraph with no physical evidence to back up the slander of ESPN and its appointed judges. It seems as if the author is making the BS up as she goes along. Please advise Ms. Geery to stop this practice or to remove this paragraph from the eyes of the online public, or I personally will inform ESPN of the slander imposed upon them and YoBeat magazine might have a lawsuit on its hands. “Tara Dakides, the undisputed best all around female snowboarder in the world took home the gold.” Once again we see opinionized journalism that is improper in the professional world. Tara Dakides is a very stock-trick snowboarder, as her perfected backflip is almost always her competition trick. The title of “undisputed best all around female snowboarder in the world” is completely invented by Ms. Geery, as the ISF does not rank Tara Dakides first in any female snowboarding genre.
Upon Ms. Geery’s analysis of the Sno-Cross event, “It managed to attract every ski-doo jacket-clad redneck family in Southern Vermont, which is quite a few. Although alcohol was ‘not allowed at the X Games,’ the Budweiser cans littering the slopes after that event greatly out numbered the inches of natural snow Mt. Snow has received, ever.” Not only is this an attempt at humor by outright lying about the amount of snow Mount Snow receives, it is also poor sentence construction and a mockery of the people of Southern Vermont. The author uses offensive stereotypes to describe the fans of snowmobile racing. Maybe we should ask the potential readers of YoBeat Magazine of southern Vermont what they think of this line.
If I have not convinced the readers of this email of the poor quality of Brooke Geery’s reporting, then please ask me to continue, because I only cited a few of the major problems I noticed in the article. As an accomplished journalist, I highly recommend, in the best interest of YoBeat magazine, that Ms. Brooke Geery be re-evaluated as a writer, and her position as a writer for the magazine be compromised. As well as that of her editor, if there is such a person at yobeat.com. If the receiver of this e-mail has decided to read on to this point in the criticism, consider yourself lucky, for if I do not receive a reply and a explanation or justification for the offensive terms used in the article, I will personally write an article for the web site I am employed by critiquing the quality of service provided by YoBeat Magazine. I will read all the articles available online, and I will make a fair judgment and critique, but I am not expecting to sway my readers in the favor of your service. Once again, please respond, for your own good.
The Red Guardian
Okay, that was great, but there’s more. Upon my three to four sentence responses (I didn’t feel this was worth any more of my time than this), this guy actually wrote me two more letters, each one brimming with more comedy. In case you’re wondering, he’s not joking. Better yet, I did some research and figured out which “online extreme sports new source” he writes for. It’s a little gem called Teenvoice.com. Enough about that though, let’s get to the rest of those letters.
I would like for you to be informed that it was not only I who read and was displeased with this one article, but also many of my journalism-interested friends, my snowboarding friends, as well as some of those who were with me at the X-Games. Realize that we are all 16 years of age, and therefore our opinion of your journalism is important. Judging from the age of the writers of “Letters to the Editor,” “Angry Interns,” and “Babble On,” my age is a target audience of the magazines you write for, as well as yobeat.com. If I am wrong about the age of your target audience, that it is not the 14-18 year old population, please inform me. But since I am believing that a large percentage of readers of the magazines you contribute to are my age, I ask you to understand that my opinion of your journalism should not be taken as an insult, but as a critique and an influence to improve. Think of it this way, If I didn’t like it when I read it, and a bunch of my friends I showed the article to didn’t like it either, you can guess that a whole lot of your readers aren’t going to jump for joy when reading Brooke Geery’s article “Fear and Loathing at Mount Snow.”
On to another, more personal point. Trying to intimidate me by listing your various positions and asking me which online magazine I am affiliated with was completely unsuccessful, and in fact made me laugh. I know that as a reader of many of the magazines you contribute to, my opinion matters and is not to be taken as a single case, but to be taken as the opinion of many of your readers, and adapted to. Also, Ms. Geery, using a comedic insult would work if you were trying to make your readers laugh in an article for YoBeat! However, using the attempted insult in your response only shows me your immaturity as well as your lack of respect for other people. Get off your high horse and realize that as a professional journalist you should learn to take criticisms with grace, instead of being offended by them and trying to retaliate with an insult. Ms. Geery, understand that I respect your position, but I will not be intimidated by your titles. Just because I am not as credited as you in the field of journalism doesn’t mean that I don’t know excellent or poor journalism when I see it. If your writing style has changed since the X-Games article, please send me a link to some of your new articles, for I would like to see how someone can progress in a short period of time, if your articles have improved. Please respond, and next time try to respect me as an informed journalist, as well as a consumer of some magazines you contribute to, as I respect you as a credited writer.
-The Red Guardian
All this because I told him it sounded like he was bitter because he couldn’t get into the parties. And there’s one more, this one when I asked him if he was serious.
From that last intelligent message I received from the Professional, Editor-in-Chief of a Highly Respected Snowboard Zine, I can see that it is not worth my time to try to comment on your magazine. The fact that in your two responsive emails you have not said one comment that justifies anything I asked for, I can see that you have no people skills, you care nothing for the opinions of your readers, and thus, you do not deserve the position of Editor-in-Chief, even if you are the founder. Thank you Ms. Geery for showing me the high caliber of personnel on the staff of Yo Beat! If you can’t tell, I am being sarcastic. Maybe you should stop going to your parties (that I wasn’t invited to, very funny) and take a class on proper management techniques. You have honestly disgusted me as to the quality of your character and that of your magazine, and I only ask that your well thought, intelligent comments be directed at people weak enough to take offense to them. Good luck in making money off of the uneducated idiots of society who think just like yourself. You can be sure that you have lost not just me, but also the readers of my online web service.
Thank you for wasting my time,
The Red Guardian
I don’t know if Yo Beat will be able to continue without the readers of Ecrush’s support, but I’m going to forge ahead. Now I was far too lazy to really lay into the kid in my responses (that’s why they’re not included here), but I had some help from my huge public. Here are some of the letters that have been flowing into this guy’s inbox.
Don’t Question The Great Oz!!!
I’m a snowboard geek, there is no sense in hiding it. I snowboard more than your average joe, I have been doing it for a long time, all of my friends are snowboarders, my roommate is a snowboarder, my employers are both part of the snowboard industry, in fact my employers for the past six years have been part of the snowboard industry. So I’ll be the first one to admit I’m kind of a geek when it comes to snowboarding. I’d like to think I know a lot about it. Now normally I wouldn’t respond to some weirdo’s remarks about a story on the internet, usually at best, my roommate and I would have a good laugh about it and perhaps I’d mention it to some friends but that would be about it. This time I felt different. This letter by “The Red Guardian” (by the way what kind of name is that? what’s he trying to be the Green Hornet or some sort of communist protector?) represents just about everything I hate about snowboarding today. I felt that this clown needed to be addressed and that a response from YoBeat other than that of Brooke’s was warranted.
First of all let me point out to the PINK GUARDIAN that other than writing a couple of stories for Brooke I have absolutely nothing to do with YoBeat. Hell, I’ve only met Brooke once and it was at the Waterville Quarter Pipe contest so you can bet neither of us remember what was said to one another “Mumble Mumble Mumble I gotta go get another beer nice to have met ya.” From what I’ve seen Brooke tells it like it is. She speaks what’s on her mind and most of the time it’s what most people are thinking but just lacking the balls to say. I can say for sure there have been a few things that Brooke has written that I haven’t agreed with, even a couple things that have pissed me off, but that’s what makes this site rad. Yo Beat is a snowboard website for snowboarders by snowboarders and is done for free. Yes Pinky it’s FREE. No one is bling blinging off of this site, Brooke isn’t sporting gold fronts and she sure as hell isn’t driving a Lex. But wait I digress you probably don’t understand any of this mumbo jumbo. Before I go any further maybe I should say this: I sincerely hope that your letter was a well crafted joke made for the enjoyment of YoBeat’s readers. If it was in fact a joke I apologize for the any of the off base remarks I directed at your name and congratulate you for pulling a fast one on all of us. I don’t really get off on that type of humor, usually I like to write about painted dancing bears drinking wicked elixirs while frolicking naked in the forest chasing little singing nymphs, or occasionally I’ll pen an entire sonnet regarding Drunken Viking orgies around huge redwood stocked Bonfires. But that’s just me and I’m getting off track here.
Congratulations Pinky, you’ve reached paragraph number three or “the body” according to you English majors. The interesting thing about paragraph number three is that it is located directly beneath paragraph number two and maybe if I continue on with this pointless drivel it will be followed by paragraph number four. Personally I don’t think your little rant was a joke, I think you were serious. Now for a little while I’m going to turn geek and analyze some of the completely ridiculous and asinine remarks you made about Brooke’s story. Let’s start with the title “Fear and Loathing at the X-games” Sure the damn title has been used before and I’m sure you ass-ummed that Brooke was commenting on the whole drugs and snowboarding thing that you “journalists” love to write about. But wait could there actually have been something clever there? Could she have been commenting on how the east coast snowboard community was fearing and loathing the X-games, the influx of every “extreme” dude from Canada to Virginia, maybe the giant traffic jams, our favorite bars being closed by bumbling idiots from New York who only came to see Tony Hawk and Biker Sherlock? Perhaps this was an alright time to slip the widely used book title in. But hey what do we know we’re just snowboarders right? You wouldn’t give us the benefit of the doubt for actually crafting something of literary merit. To be honest, this was the only point in your entire worthless debauchery of the English language that I even considered for a moment because I too was a little bummed on the title until I thought about it for a while.
In your letter when you threatened to sue, it clued me in right away that something was in fact fishy with your story. You’re probably the type of person who if he fell skating a backyard pool would probably try to sue. You’re not who you claim to be, buddy, because anyone who actually snowboards knows threatening to sue is not something you go waving around aimlessly in our community. You’re not one of us. The next clue came when you burped out the fact that you were “an accomplished journalist.” I have never (that’s right I’m using the strong word never here), never met anyone who has said they were “accomplished” at something and then had that person turn out to be legit. It’s type of egotistical bragging that someone who really is what you claim to be would never do.
The third clue, and in all honesty this is the clue that made me fall out of my chair and damn near piss myself was where you said something like “DON’T EVEN TRY TO ARGUE ME ON THIS POINT. I WAS THERE, I HAD A MEDIA PASS.” This was in response to Brooke explaining the party scene at the games. Listen Jack Ass it’s not our fault if you’ve got no friends and sat in your hotel room watching “Spice” all night by yourself. I guess if we can’t argue with you than I’m sure all of the damage done to my liver was purely imagined, and Brooke must have been dreaming all of that stuff up, and the fireballs I saw being blown by several well known “athletes” didn’t happen either, or the Silo wasn’t shut down because half of the X Games tried to squeeze in there. Nope, none of this happened. Maybe you should stop and smell the roses and realize you may have been trying to cover something journalistically that you had no business covering. Snowboarding has no rules. That’s what the sport was founded on and that goes for journalistic jackasses that try to cover it as well. Brooke, like all of the other legitimate snowboard media, hung out and covered what their friends were doing. Oh yeah, their friends happen to be most of the podium riders from the games. This leads me to one more reason why perhaps that title really bothers you. Hunter S. Thompson was famous for not playing by the rules of journalism. He took the accepted system and turned it upside down. Snowboarding is much the same way, and to cover it properly you have to be willing to do just that. Perhaps you are just bitter because you played by the rules and came up flat. Don’t take it out on Brooke, her story of the games was probably one of the most honest and accurate depictions. More importantly to snowboarders, which again is what this site is aimed at my friend, her story echoed the opinions of most of us there.
All the other crap you raised is just that…crap. I mean really, Do you think these athletes who left some of the best snow on earth wanted to come to Mt. No Snow to prove to each other who was the best? Hell no they came for the paycheck. All that other stuff about Peter Line and Tara Dakides, well your comments just show your ignorance, and I guarantee (yes I am guaranteeing you, and yes I am well aware of the power and emphasis of certain words when used in a journalistic sense) that if you call either of these athletes and show them the story and what Brooke wrote they would agree with what she said.
In closing, it’s people like you that are poisoning our sport. Now that snowboarding is officially cool and making money you come to these events waving your credentials around like you expect us to start throwing palms in your path. On top of that you go ahead almost a year later questioning the skills and threatening to sue a young writer/rider who is doing what she loves and doing a damn fine job at it. (Again do I sense jealousy here). Brooke stepped up and for better or worse she’s doing what a lot of people only talk about. She covers a sport and a scene that a lot of people around here feel pretty strongly about. Watch what you go writing about because with every stroke of the key pad you made directed at her you were inserting your foot deeper and deeper into your mouth. A little piece of advice my friend, in this rapidly growing information age perhaps you should slow down and think a little before you hit the send key.
This was all typed out in one foul and furious stream of consciousness so forgive me if there are any mistakes regarding punctuation, spelling, or there happens to be any “poor sentence structure.” I feel as though I can speak for Brooke as well as the entire YoBeat readership that in no way did we mean anything negative towards the X games. They have been an extremely positive and driving force in both the sports of skateboarding and snowboarding. The X-games are great. Christ, part of my rent check from my roommate came from the X-games so I love them. Yay X-games! So go ahead send this to them, I’m sure you’re gonna anyway. What I will say to the X-games directly however is that if The Pink Guardian’s letter is true than the X games should seriously take a long hard look at who they give press credentials to and figure out a way to weed bozos like that out.
So Pinky if you liked Brooke’s article as much as you say you did I’m sure you’ll love this one almost as much. I hope I brightened your day a little and maybe if I didn’t make myself clear enough this “final thought” will do it for you. We don’t need anymore bumbling idiots roaming around our sport, we have enough already so keep you’re freaking A.P. Stylus manual, all of your precious credentials, and threats of lawsuits out of our sport. You should stick to covering rollerblading, skysurfing, and passive aggressive boccie for whatever website it is you work for. And oh, while I’m on the topic of your web site be sure to pass this along to your editor. I can see by your skills that there may be some job openings there. It’s been a real pleasure chatting with you. You really have no idea what it means to me to speak with a writer of your caliber.
Puzzled by your ignorance,
P.S. I can’t believe I just wasted a half hour of my time talking about a snowboard contest that happened almost a year ago. Do you know you just made me miss the Christina Agiulera making the video? I’m really turning into a geek.
P.P.S. NOTE: I found out after the fact that I was responding to a 16 year old pimple popping computer geek who works for Teenvoice.com. Now this colossal waste of my time not only makes me feel even more like a geek but also all dirty and violated as well. I mean I thought I had hit the big time. I thought I was corresponding with a real honest to goodness journalistic titan, but now I am crushed. I can only sit here and think about what might have been and hope that someday If I’m lucky maybe I can talk to a real extreme journalist.
I’d just like to inform you, before you have YoBeat Magazine sued for slander, libel and all that other good stuff, that Brooke’s editor will not reprimand her at all for ridiculous online stunts. Brooke Geery is the editor of YoBeat. Why didn’t you check the staff listing before you pleaded with Brooke herself to stop Brooke from writing with such reckless abandon and disrespect for good journalism? A good journalist knows the facts before he or she reports them in some manner. Brooke sometimes makes fun of the facts with her journalism, but she knows what she’s talking about. In an industry that is profoundly style based, you should know, being an “extreme sports” journalist and all, that people have their own styles and they are to be respected. If Brooke’s style revolves around being somewhat sarcastic then so be it. A lot of people find it hilarious on occasion, myself included. if you don’t like her style than don’t read her articles anymore, dude. Don’t say you’re going to march over to Bellingham, Washington and take YoBeat down for good. I’m not sure you’re aware of the money and sponsor support that is behind Brooke’s little outfit. The ramifications of your actions may just lead to your demise as a “extreme” journalist.
Kevin R. Susienka
“Extreme Sports” Enthusiast
and YoBeat subscription holder since 1998
I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of the extreme journalist. I have often wondered why Ms. Geery hasn’t been fired or reprimanded by those who run YoBeat. Often times I find that her stories are poorly researched, rarely spell checked and never refer to the ISF rankings. In effect she brings the rest of us trying to make a buck off of these “rad shredders” down. Hell I didn’t spend half a year in college to join a career with illiterate, half witted snowboarders as my peers. They throw around their opinions like it was a hacky sack at a reggae festival and for what? They don’t use traditional motivations like money or fame. Writers like Geery do their task under the guise of “keeping it real.” This makes them rather unpredictable and makes it hard to keep them in line and buy them off. It is this free thought from within the sport of snowboarding that is the biggest obstacle that opportunists like myself have in manipulating the sport for mainstream consumption. I wish writers like Ms. Geery would follow the stereotypes that they would start living the stereotypes and start smoking more weed and producing less words. This might not help snowboarding much but it would certainly help the rest of us who are trying to make a buck off of the sport.
“Trying to keep it real” profitible.