Called Out: The Mystery is Gone, consequences of a digital culture

Called Out is a column by Nate Deschenes where he addresses some of the various trends that he sees happening in snowboarding. All opinions expressed are his own.


Yes, the mystery is gone.

We wait for nothing, and if we don’t know the answer to something, fuck intellectual pontication, we bust out our phone and access the accumulated knowledge of an entire global civilization. And with the mystery so went a measure of intrigue and excitement. Call me crazy, but I feel that life is about discovery and when we let this driving force get hijacked by the idea that mechanical advancement is the ultimate progress, I am certain we have lost our way.

That said, here are some things that I question. (sorry nerds)

Editor’s note: We realize the irony of posting this online, deal with it.

galleo-called-out-FLAT
Imagine if there wasn’t any mystery left for Galileo. Illustration by Mark Kowalchuk.

Digital photos.
The majority of photos are taken by pointing a computer at a moment in time and coding it amongst a matrix of ones and zeros. This image, or should I say, information, is then further manipulated to make it even more aesthetically pleasing by introducing more contrast to the colors, removing unwanted imperfections and the like before being presented as capturing the moment. I think that’s funny. That would be like me doing an interview with Gigi Rüf and translating it into King’s English to make him sound like an Oxford professor who has a remarkable understanding of String Theory. Just because something is pretty doesn’t mean it’s the truth.

Insta-footy-review.
I’m not sure if mouth breathing down the camera guy’s neck to check out your footage after pulling a trick is more of an ego thing, impatience or a quest for perfection. Either way, it’s annoying. Do you not trust yourself that you got it? Do you not trust the guy with the camera? Where is the period of anticipation and subsequent excitement when you nally get to see an amazing shot or perhaps some surprise later that night with your buddies? Mystery gone.

Hold it close to your heart… and don’t forget the password.

Intangible Digital Content.
When we are inevitably wiped out by the next planetary disaster like an asteroid impact or super volcano, all information will be lost. Slowly but surely, our entire legacy as a distinct subculture of the human race is being transferred to computer servers. Supposing science re-evolves in 20,000 years, do you think they are going to have a USB cord? On a more realistic time scale, suppose in 50 years you want to gift a part of your legacy to your little granddaughter. Time to bust out the hard drive, or wait there won’t be hard drives, it will be in a Cloud. “Here it is sweetie, Pop Pop’s most cherished possession, photos and footy from the winter of 2016. Hold it close to your heart… and don’t forget the password.”

Unlimited Access.
I actually miss a time when I didn’t have all the facts. It gave me something to think about, it allowed my imagination to go wild and more than anything it kept me interested. When I heard the rumor of Terje winning the Baker Banked Slalom on acid riding switch, I thought that was a mystery for the ages. Now I bet you can access some forum on the topic online and trace back the amount of micrograms in the tab he dropped — if, in fact, the story is true. We don’t wait all summer in anticipation, wondering what our favorite rider got into last season. We check it out hours later on his Instagram. When you can see something every day, access all parts of it, and are generally saturated with content, you naturally become a little complacent and less excited about stuff. After all, you’ve already seen everything — ever.

Maybe this resonates with you, maybe not. Maybe picking up an actual paper magazine gives you hives and perhaps your blood pressure rises without an hourly digital update on the snow conditions — we’re all different and I can’t tell you which color to like or what food tastes good. All we can do is follow what feels natural and allow that to guide us in the right direction, while at the same time being awake enough to acknowledge the often deceiving, yet polarizing effects of that which may not be serving our greatest potential. Then again, maybe I’m irrelevant. Maybe my inability to adapt will leave me living in a cabin in the woods without an internet connection, left only with my imagination to navigate through my remaining days with little more than a snowboard and a disturbing number of cats — wait, all that sounds a bit appealing.

Feel like calling us out? Leave a message below.

Read also: Called Out: Defenders of the Faith keep snowboarding real

Originally featured in Snowboard Magazine 12.2: The Intrinsic Issue

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