PURE SKATEBOARDING issue 6
In the 1950′s, the psychologist Solomon Elliot Asch conducted an important experiment on social conformity. The grassroots hypothesis was that individuals of the same group are easily influenced by the opinions and the perceptions of other members of the group. The experiment was carried out as follows:a group of participants were shown a series of sheets. On the first sheet was drawn a black line. On the second sheet were drawn three black lines of varying lengths. The participants were asked in turn to indicate which of the three black lines was of the same length as the black line on the first sheet. The peculiarity of this experiment lay in the fact that of the eight participants, seven were actors who had been told to all give the same wrong answer. The sole unaware participant thus found himself in a situation where his perception and rationality were called into question. The experiment was so successful that it became of high relevance for social psychology. 75% of the participants conformed at least once to group pressure, meaning they consciously gave the wrong answer because it was the answer given by all the other members of the group. Thus the conclusion that the fear of disagreeing to the opinion of the majority pushes individuals to conform in order to avoid damaging their self-esteem.
Now we get to the heart of the matter. Skateboarding worldwide seems to have fallen prey to a widespread fit of conformity, being attacked from above, below, and the inside from superior forces that are trying everything possible to reduce its essence to mere money, and the skateboarder to a simple consumer of products, clothing, styles, and ways of thinking. It is constantly more difficult to be original and think outside of the box. Everything has been seen or done ad nauseam…turn off internet for a moment and think it over…
This is where the Friday Night Nightmare comes into the picture. A skate jam with no rules and whose only purpose is to invade the streets screaming and having fun, the only real ingredients of this free and open-minded culture of skateboarding.
Just like in the Asch experiment, the answer to this whole situation is right there, in front of our eyes and inside of us. Let us not allow others to impose their opinions and ideas on us.