It’s easy to forget, but America can be a pretty great place sometimes. I mean, it’s the birthplace of skateboarding and rap music. But for all the great things about the United States of America, there are an equal if not extravagant amount of things that make this dear land damn near a hell hole: racism, sexism (and all the other bad -ism’s) are deeply ingrained in our systems, we incarcerate more of our citizens than any other country on Earth, and we have the most uneven distribution of wealth in all the industrialized world. All this coupled with the false assumption of American exceptionalism – that totally unfounded feeling that we’re the best country on Earth – makes for a complicated national identity.
Disillusionment is a natural outcome for the inquisitive American – something Scott Bourne knows all too well. Bourne, the former Consolidated pro that retired from the game in the early aughts, has been living the lifestyle of an expatriate in Paris for the past few years, following in the footsteps of Hemingway and Steinbeck, writing from abroad in the hopes of making some sense out of what he’s left behind. Bourne has a particularly hermetic approach to life, consuming no media and only taking in information from his local community. So how did we get an interview with such a closed-off dude, you ask? Easy, get one of his longtime homies to crack open that shell to reveal the gooey pearls of wisdom within.
Chris Nieratko, primo skate-journalist of “Big Brother” infamy, called up his longtime friend the other day and then sent over this enlightening interview with the mandate that it be published before Election Day. So, here we have it, check out the admirable Scott Bourne’s thoughts on the US presidential election, life in Paris after the recent terrorist attacks, and about what America – and the World – needs to do in order to get their shit together (as well as a personal screed from Nieratko to start it all off)… -Jenkem
I don’t write about politics. I despise politics. Always have. I write about sex and skateboarding. And although my old friend, Scott Bourne, is a skateboarder, this conversation is not about skateboarding at all. It is solely about politics and I kind of hate that I volunteered to have my name attached to a piece having anything to do with the farce that is the 2016 Presidential Election, to be honest. But as a father I have been feeling as if I’m on the verge of an emotional breakdown ever since Trump got the nominee. Coming from the colorblind community of skateboarding the idea of raising children in the hateful world Trump is promoting is giving me panic attacks and I very much needed to speak to a friend about it. Someone with kids, who loves the idea of America as much as I do, but who also realizes our system is broken, possibly irrevocably. I needed, for myself, to speak to Scott who threw his hands up, said, “Enough!” And waved goodbye to the “Land of the free.”
For the past year, I’ve contemplated following him down that road each time I’d hear Trump speak or watch the violence his supporters incited. Finally, on July 20, 2016, the day after he received the GOP nomination, I scheduled an appointment at the Portuguese Consulate in Newark, NJ to file for dual-citizenship for me and my family. I’ve had enough as well. In the next two weeks our I.D. cards will arrive and my family will have a very real escape strategy lined up along with the promise of free universal health care and higher education.
People can say whatever they want about Hillary Clinton, but she’s just another crooked politician like everyone before her. I’m not much of a fan of hers, but Trump is a different breed of evil that can not be allowed to gain control of our nation. My vote for Hillary is a vote against Trump more than anything. But regardless of who wins, the damage has been done. We’ve seen the ugliness of upwards of 43% of our fellow Americans, and that can never be unseen. Perhaps that’s the only good thing, in my eyes, about this election: We are now fully aware who the brazenly racist pieces of shit are. I have an entire file of screen shots of every hate-filled, Pro-Trump post a “friend” on Facebook has made so that I can make sure never forget where they stand. I’ve gone so far as to make a map of my immediate neighborhood with photos detailing which homes were vocal Trump supporters so that my kids can avoid trick-or-treating at their racist homes in the future. (My kids love chocolate and if you’re pro-Trump you’re co-signing on being anti-chocolate. And let’s not bullshit ourselves… white chocolate isn’t really chocolate.)
I pray that Trump doesn’t somehow become the next President of the United States, but at this point, after RE-ELECTING George W. Bush and sandbagging the one person who sounded like a human being in this race (Bernie Sanders), along with all the stupidity we’ve seen over the course of this campaign, nothing would surprise me. And if by some chance the mouth-breathers win then I just want to say it’s been a pleasure. “I haven’t loved you all, but I’ve love as many of you as I could.”
Scott, I believe you to be a patriot. In this video interview by David Couliau you say America has failed. I completely agree and I think many others would as well. But I’d like to know your take on how so. Can you elaborate on how America has failed?
I think it’s crazy how America has the world brainwashed into believing it is the almighty doer of good. When I speak to people around the world about the U.S. government I am immediately called a Conspiracy Theorist and often laughed at. On the flip side when we speak of Russia, China, the Middle East or Korea, it’s basically accepted that their governments are corrupt and controlled by money. What the hell makes people think that the U.S. is any different?
It’s a mindblower to me that the rest of the world is a cheat, but not the good ole U.S. of A, the country with the biggest computers and the biggest military. Most of those flag waving fools have never even left The States. You can’t be an apple patriot if you’ve never had an orange! I mean look at your current candidates for president! Does that look like a working democracy, or am I to believe that, that is exactly what you get when you put the power in the hands of the people? What happened to Abe Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address?
“—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
When I interviewed you three years ago you weren’t ready to discuss your feelings on America’s failings in depth. But now, with the reincarnation of Hitler one day and few percentage points away from possibly becoming the President of the United States, I think it’s time we had this talk. As a patriot watching from Paris, what is your take on the current state of things in America?
It’s hard to say. Part of my commitment to living abroad is that I don’t partake in any media. Which means I don’t have a TV, read magazines, or use the internet for such purposes, and to a large extent, I have held to that. So any and all ideas I now have about the coming presidential elections in the U.S. are completely based on what I get from friends and people directly around me.
With that said, I can tell you that most of what people here feel they are seeing is just a show for ratings. No one really thinks these characters are real, they just can’t and America has become one big joke to them. To most of France and Europe, the election is a reality TV show and everyone knows reality shows are rigged. But as we have neared the countdown all that laughter has turned to fear. No one wants Trump and most don’t want Clinton either, and there is your great flaw in the system. Somehow there is no candidate that the people want but evidently they chose these candidates.
”To most of France and Europe, the election is a reality TV show and everyone knows reality shows are rigged.”
How does staying disconnected from media in general affect your life?
It puts me in direct contact with my community. I have no phone, no Internet in my pocket. When I need directions I ask a guy sitting at a café or someone I pass on the street. When I need help of any sort I ask someone around me, and this lets him or her know they can ask me as well. The simple act of engaging people breaks down a wall.
As a result, I know everyone in our neighborhood and many people all over Paris. I am not asking a community in the distance, I am asking the one I live in. I am not staring into a gadget I am staring into the faces of human beings. I am not feeding the statistical discharge of Google. I am feeding the community I live in. I am participating in a real exchange. People know me, stop me on the street, say hi or simply wave from a café window. I am engaged. I walk with my head up so that I can see the people I share my community with and they respond to that. I am not constantly obsessed with something in the distance. The think globally, act locally mentality.
You moved to Paris in January of 2014, what prompted that move and how has your life/beliefs changed since the relocation?
I would like to hit you with some grand political manifesto but I just don’t have one. Yeah I was sick of a lot of things I was seeing and feeling in the U.S. and more so fed up with not being able to express them to people around me that had never left The States and had the experiences I was having, but in all honesty I really wanted to try to live somewhere else and I had the means to attempt that at the time. Now the reality is that there is no way I could actually live there again, but I didn’t know that would happen to me and happen in a relatively short period of time.
You were well traveled throughout your skate career but what did your first days living in a foreign place feel like?
I kept very much to myself. I was actually pretty worn out on being recognized and always having people think that they knew me or what I was about. It took me a long time to become part of a community again, but that’s what I wanted at the time and Paris is a city where anyone can hide in plain sight. I wrote tons of letters, I worked on my novel. It was a really great time in my life. A sort of shedding of skin was happening and I just let it.
What are the pros and cons of living in Europe vs. America?
It’s like this: I lived in America for 30 years, so of course I know all the backward, fucked-up shit about the country, and in 30 years I will probably be able to identify the problems with France, but for now I do not care. I say give me my 30 years of ignorance and then let’s talk.
What were the things you hated most about America when you lived here?
It’s just the idea that the majority of Americans are raised believing that they are number one and the rest of the world is somehow a lesser place to be, which is plain and simply ignorant elitism. I very much had the same perspective and I grew up in a predominately poor mill/farming community in the South and was sure that I lived in the best country in the world! It was travel and experience that gave me my worldview, but growing up with this sort of perception of self doesn’t make you want to travel!
Many people are threatening to leave America if Trump wins. Myself included. Most are empty threats. But I have gone ahead and gotten my Portuguese dual-citizenship set up for my family. So for those that will actually pack up and leave what advice would you give them?
The horrible truth is that it’s almost impossible to do what I have done without a lot of money, citizenship to another country, or a job that will pay your way in, and who throws their entire life and work away because of a guy like Trump? The only thing I see as a possibility is a real revolution, but I am not so sure America is capable of that anymore.
Why do you think America isn’t capable of a revolution anymore?
There is this Machiavellian theory that basically says that countries that go through bad dictators, which create horrible times, basically need to go through such things in order to incite revolution. Without such things, revolution is not possible. Many countries live on the fringe never crossing that line, so of course revolution never happens. Maybe America needs a Trump to push them over that line. In some strange subconscious way maybe that is what the people are enacting?
What was your reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris last year and how do you view the French handling of the situation?
We live directly behind the Bataclan. Everyone that actually escaped the initial shooting came out of the alleyway that runs beside the club and exits just below our kitchen window. An emergency hospital was set up in the cafe across the street from our living room windows. When we went to bed the entire neighborhood had come to a complete stop and the boulevards that surround us were lined by men with machine guns. If you know where I live, this is an incredible scenario.
I got up at 3 in the morning and they were hauling bodies in and out of that cafe. In the morning when it was all over, the boulevard below the window was literally scattered with bloody rags, medical debris and there were several military stretchers left on the sidewalk and not a soul on the streets. We saw the events first hand, but didn’t know what had actually happened until the morning. Unlike the rest of the world that seemed to know before us, we were not on the internet, we were looking out our windows. When I opened our computer in the morning I literally had hundreds of emails from people the world over. That’s how I found out what had happened.
How has the political climate shifted in France since the attacks? Are French people becoming as/more xenophobic than Americans post-9/11? What do you think can be done to ease these situations?
It has definitely changed Paris, but the French do not care. You go to any one of those cafes today, where people were executed, and they are full to the brim, people on the terraces with wine or coffee consciously saying to the world “Fuck Terrorism!” You will not take their tiny pleasures away. And I admire that! But for me, life has changed in a way I never thought possible. I cannot cross the street without viewing every car as a battering ram. In the parks my son is never so far away from me that I cannot grab him and his sister and run like hell.
Do you have any solutions for America?
Yes, I do! But it’s not America’s answer it’s one for the world-over, and it’s simple. The answer is community and community is not The World. Cut off your gadgets. Cellphones and the Internet have stolen your community, the bonds with your neighbors and the people you pass everyday on the street or the bus. You no longer greet, meet or discuss anything with the people directly around you. Stop looking to people in the distance, for answers in your immediate world.
The information age has taken your community and your ability to think for yourself and exchange ideas with real people. The information age is merely that, a time of available information, which lacks the journey, which is essential to knowledge. We no longer learn things, we merely access them — skip directly to the destination — always accepting the answer, never questioning the computers, never questioning Google. We have lost the desire and ability to think. We have lost our community!
People are so addicted to our phones/technology, do you actually think your solution is realistic?
Everyone knows addictions make us into slaves, and as long as you give your every statistic to the corporations and governments you claim to want independence from, they will keep you strung out—enslaved. You want to know how to bake cookies? Don’t ask Google, ask your grandmother, go spend the afternoon with her. There ya have it—community.
Any last words?
Now more than ever, Follow No One!
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November 7, 2016 7:07 pm
I think we also lose that community sense when we buy a car and start to use it to do everything. You lose eye contact with people in buses, you stop paying attention to the scenario around you because you’re paying attention to traffic, you don’t talk to people anymore unless you have passengers… and now you don’t even need to ask for directions, you just google maps it ou use waze… it isn’t just about cellphones, it’s about technology itself.
November 8, 2016 7:52 am
November 8, 2016 4:05 pm
For real. The driving life is isolationist (though perhaps not intentional).
November 7, 2016 7:41 pm
your best yet, jenkem
November 7, 2016 9:07 pm
Having grown up both overseas in a third-world country and in the States, I find it a little difficult to empathize with anyone who calls the U.S. a “straight up hell hole”, in any sense. There are countless problems here, some quite serious, but given a global perspective, we also have quite a few gifts that we take for granted: a standard of living that bottoms out at first-world poverty (not even comparable to the lowest billion of the global population), transfer of power that doesn’t lead to ethnic cleansing, a social system that lets women leave the house – the list goes on. We have a lot to be grateful for.
Yes, we need to improve. But those sorts of claims strike me as reckless. As for this election, yes, it’s embarrassing and scary, but to claim that everyone voting for Trump is a racist is intellectually lazy. Does he appeal to that subset? Yes. He also appeals to poor working class white people who, justifiably, feel like they have been left behind. He also appeals to people who find like their party has forgotten to give them a voice. I can’t condone him, but I also think that it’s dangerous to label 43% of the country as racist, and I call it bigotry – to claim that every single member of a people group feels the exact same way. 43% are voting for him, yes – but the other option is Hillary Clinton. It’s not like they have an alternative left.
I’m not voting for the guy either, but I definitely don’t feel that the sort of rhetoric offered by Nieratko (as much as I generally like his work) is constructive. Insofar as I can see, it doesn’t seek to understand or build bridges; it only seeks to make everyone angrier.
November 8, 2016 12:12 am
getting up on a stage, grabbing a microphone and saying things about
Mexicans, Muslims, and immigrants to incite anger is not acceptable. Even if as you say Trump is speaking for the disenfranchised (which is quite silly given that he hasn’t given a fuck about poor people his whole 70 years on this planet), even if I give you that, decent people would have disowned him the moment he made those comments. There’s a clear reason why the KKK has endorsed him and all this talk about “speaking for the forgotten” or “saving jobs” or whatever horse shit you’d prefer to eat up is just a way of saying “sure he says some bad , maybe racists things but he means well”…..and please don’t fall back on the “whataboutism” Hillary thing if you want to reply without justifying his words first….:)
November 8, 2016 1:49 pm
I’m not saying I agree with either party this year, but I do agree with the bigotry claim made by the above comment. It could be very well be that some of the percentage in that 43 are voting against Hillary- just like people are voting against Trump. To say they’re all racist is like saying the democratic party are all socialists.
November 8, 2016 5:40 pm
November 11, 2016 9:02 am
the rest of the world isn`t a third world country !so your example based on personal experience means jack shit!You should try Sweden or Monaco ,Norway…..Switzerland!!
November 13, 2016 5:27 pm
February 27, 2018 10:18 pm
This whole “Trump is Hitler” movement really shows how uninformed people are in this country. I don’t like either (or any ever) candidate, politics is nothing but a huge deliberate distraction to keep people blind to what is really going on. Hillary Clinton is one of the most evil, greedy, lying pieces of shit to ever walk the earth but because someone threw the racist word on Trump nothing she could do would be worse than him. The left are evil, violent thugs but because they are not racist (except towards whites) it’s all good. Leftists are all for free speech unless you disagree with them, in that case not only are you not allowed to talk, you should be shot as well. Gutless sheep make up probably 75% of the right and the left. Do your own research (both sides), read, and live a good life. Throw your TV’s, newspapers, and magazines in the trash.
TRUTH IS NOT RACISM, PRIDE IS NOT HATE!
January 6, 2021 11:41 am
Sir, you are a supreme idiot, congrats!
November 7, 2016 11:00 pm
Honestly, I’d really like to know how Donald Trump is a “different breed of evil”? What is it with skateboarders all being suckers and falling for the spin, I thought we were smarter than this? Does Donald Trump have the blood on his hands from the perpetual wars in the Middle East? The death of inocebt women and children who’ve been killed in drone attacks or starved to death because of sanctions? Did he support a drug war and a minimum sentencing that unfairly incarcerated African Americans stripping fatherhood away from sons and daughters within the inner cities forcing dependence on the state and keeping them down? Did he pose as a public servant whilst amassing a fortune from Wall Street banks in exchange for corrupt deals and bailouts? What actual blood does he have on his hands really? Is he really a racist? Do you really believe that? Do you have proof of that aside from some quote taken out of context? Why is it that he’d never been called a racist before he ran for president? He’s a New Yorker for gods sake not some redneck from the boonies. Hell Jesse Jackson praised him for his commitment to diversity just 15 years ago. He had shows on TV they aren’t giving shows to rascists, come on. Are we that gullible? Evil really? An egotistical douche bag sure I couldn’t argue that. Really though I’m sick and so disappointed in my culture falling into this trap and becoming sheep. Skateboarders have street smarts and common sense we aren’t easily conned or manipulated or at least I didn’t think so but this election cycle has proven otherwise. I’ve been following geo politics religiously since 2007, I’m a libertarian so Trump is far from ideal. However everything I’ve learned has proven the Clinton’s namely Hillary and the Bush’s to have been the faces of the roots of true evil in this country. Working together those two families have had their hands in everything corrupt my entire life. They’ve sold this country out every chance they’ve had. Guess what? They both hate Donald Trump…why? Because he’s not controlled and even though not ideal he represents a real change from the status quo and their stranglehold of corruption. Hillary and Trump for those who follow politics closely who are objective there isn’t even a comparison between the two, Hillary has been on the wrong side of everything just look at her record. Trump has no real record so certainly there’s risk associated but with Hillary the risk is a certainty. She cheated Bernie Sanders along with the DNC then blackmailed him for his support. The entire media even the controlled opposition Fox has played into the bias, spin and outright lies about Trump…why? Because they’re owned by the same interests that own the politicians like Hillary. She is as filthy as they come and has thousands if not millions of lives on her hands all while acting like she’s been serving us and making herself rich in the process. Which I have no problem with someone doing well financially in fact I welcome it but not when you do it under the guise of being a public servant. It’ll be hard to admit you’ve been conditioned but after reading the first couple paragraphs it’s clear you have been. I’m not telling you to support Trump or even speak highly of him but don’t contribute to the machine that’s attempted to destroy the only real choice this country has had in the past 30 years. Every other election has been two sides of the same coin. Trump albeit far from perfect represents an escape from that, not saying it’ll be rosy on the other side just saying it’s a chance. You should’ve known when the Republican Party tried to destroy him themselves, and most of the higher ups in that party still bash him and will support Hillary. So if you wanna sign your name next to George Bush 1 & 2, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, John McCain go right ahead it’s exactly what them and their handlers who also own Hillary want. You’re guaranteed the same thing you’ve been getting too and if you’re too blind or manipulated to see it then I suppose it’s deserved. I absolutely loath the Republican and democratic parties and that’s why I’ll gladly piss them off and throw and attempt to halt their evil deeds of the past 30 years. This time around I’m not voting for a third party…not when there’s a chance like this to really stir things up. Be objective, do your own research into what I’m saying and if you do you’ll see where I’m coming from even though right now I bet you’re fuming with hate for me. The feeling is quite opposite on my end I really enjoy this site but I’m done sitting back and being quiet when I see this kind of political ignorance and novice, especially when it’s directly influencing the culture I love.
November 7, 2016 11:09 pm
wow shut up you bigot
November 7, 2016 11:32 pm
I’ve never been called a bigot before, but I suppose name calling is easier than an intellectual response. If you’re too lazy to research and rebut any of my comments why bother at all?
November 8, 2016 7:17 am
moe: please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
November 8, 2016 5:43 pm
LOL! @ Logical Fallacies 101
February 27, 2018 10:26 pm
Truth hurts doesn’t it antifa scum.
November 8, 2016 1:02 am
Most Skateboarders haven’t been thinking for themselves for a long time. The skate industry brews a mean kool-aid and we all drink up and listen and follow. Great response Kevin as I felt the same while reading this article. Also, good article Jenkem and nieratko, we need this type of stuff.
November 8, 2016 3:30 am
How is that different than any other industry/subculture etc?
November 8, 2016 2:57 am
Thousands and thousands of minority group member’s hearts just broke a little bit more knowing there is one extra supporter of Donald Trump.
Go ‘shake things up’ little buddy.
November 9, 2016 6:58 am
just wait til the clintons bushes and the rest is in prison…then start to use your brain again
November 8, 2016 4:15 am
November 8, 2016 5:01 am
Somethin’ like: Trump isn’t racist etc..Clinton is part of the machine etc.. all politicians are in cahoots etc.. do your research etc.. Trump will shake things up I want to shake things up etc.. I am holier than thou because I understand this etc.. do your research something something.
November 8, 2016 5:46 am
Brilliant post Kevin. I agree. Trump has courage. He is standing against so many powerful forces. Most skaters pretend to be rebels.
November 8, 2016 2:24 pm
Brilliant, Kevin. Was thinking the same thing. The grievence industry is getting beyond annoying. Fuck all the whiney bitches. This is why trump will win.
November 8, 2016 9:08 pm
You said, “He had shows on TV they aren’t giving shows to rascists, come on.” You misspelled racists, and this is also a ridiculous point considering what you think about the media: “The entire media even the controlled opposition Fox has played into the bias, spin and outright lies about Trump…why? Because they’re owned by the same interests that own the politicians like Hillary.”
Then you said: “Why is it that he’d never been called a racist before he ran for president?” You followed that up by telling us “to do our research”, but you obviously haven’t done yours: http://fortune.com/2016/06/07/donald-trump-racism-quotes/
I’m going to go ahead and guess some other shit about you like you guessed about me (“I bet you’re fuming with hate for me”). I bet you are a 9/11 truther, I bet you believe in a conspiracy related to chemtrails, I bet you are white. I also bet the “research” you do is mostly done on/via websites and media outlets that are echo chambers for your own fucked up views.
You also might have an infowars bumper sticker on your car.
November 9, 2016 11:52 am
Please form some paragraphs and separate them. Reading this was about as painful as hearing Trump speak.
November 9, 2016 2:38 pm
I won you commie faggots! HAHAHAHAHA!!! Why are skaters so brainwashed by cultural Marxist/SJW tactics? Most ill-informed group of pussy cucks.
USA! USA! USA!
November 13, 2016 11:28 pm
“Trump has no real record”
This was the limit on bullshit statements for me and the point I stopped reading. Trump doesn’t have a political record, no. But he has a pretty lengthy record of other misdeeds that should be enough for anyone to judge if he is fit to be POTUS. You are pretty goddamn selective with the facts you include and it makes your argument a waste of time.
“Why is it that he’d never been called a racist before he ran for president? He’s a New Yorker for gods sake not some redneck from the boonies.”
I don’t know how you can sit there and think you are making informed points with logic like this. What does this even mean? Only rednecks from the boonies are racist? Give me a fucking break.
November 15, 2016 9:37 am
Kevin, thanks for paying attention, and thanks for your well written comments. Having folks like you not only as part of the skate community but also as a part of this Country makes me hopeful.
November 15, 2016 9:56 pm
When trumpets overlook (for whatever reason) trump’s contempt for minorities, women and the LBTQ community they’re essentially saying; my individual prosperity, rights and freedoms are more important than others’. Yeah… Freedom. That’s ‘Merica I guess. Thank fucking God I live in Canada.
February 27, 2018 10:25 pm
Excellent post my friend you hit it spot on. Hillary Clinton could sacrifice a baby on the white house lawn and leftists would think Trump is more evil because he’s “Racist”. They have been using that word to shut down arguments since the 60s. The left fully supports Freedom of Speech…unless you disagree with them, in that case you should be silenced and shot for being a Nazi. It would be funny if it weren’t so scary. PRIDE IS NOT HATE, TRUTH IS NOT RACISM!