Stab Magazine | The World according to Stab commenters: Michael Newman

The World according to Stab commenters: Michael Newman

We welcomingly open ourselves to scrutiny from the most pious group of nit-pickers known to man (theStab commentators!) on a regular basis. But among all the smack talk, sometimes, some real talk penetrates. Or at the very least, someone says enough of the right things, in the right way, that they become known entities. Lesser commenters wait […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

We welcomingly open ourselves to scrutiny from the most pious group of nit-pickers known to man (theStab commentators!) on a regular basis. But among all the smack talk, sometimes, some real talk penetrates. Or at the very least, someone says enough of the right things, in the right way, that they become known entities. Lesser commenters wait for them to weigh in. And more often than not they’re at the top of the threads, with the most upvotes. These are the commenters the world needs, and the ones we jam with here.

Michael Newman is a relatively new commenter to Stab, but he’s made an exceptional impact during his short tenure, and like all the personalities we feature in this department, his comment to up-vote ratio speaks in volumes. Unlike Negatron, Mr Newman chose to remain anonymous, which we can absolutely understand. His articulately-delivered points are a welcome bolt through the often nonsensical forums we harvest (but we wouldn’t change a thing). Here, we get an extended play of his greatest hits…

Comments: 493
Upvotes: 1299
Joined Disqus: March 12, 2015

newman-downvoteStab: What’s wrong with surfing right now?
Michael Newman: You guys know I usually just say stupid shit, right? Ah well, I’ll give it a go. In my salad days I’d have a moan about the sport news only showing footy and never any surfing. Now I cringe when I see surfing under any kind of public spotlight. The recent Air NZ safety video and Paul Speaker Fox interview rubbed this raw. Reading the comments on these two posts I could hear a little of the testosterone-addled, grommet me, and also the older, what-happened-to-my-life me. There’s the side going: “shit, this is gonna get me hella laid. They’ll be all like; ‘you do that? Wow! Touch me. No, not there… here.'” Then there’s the: “hooooly shit, how many more kooks are going to flood in now.” Seeing surfing pushed so heavily is jarring to me. She’s at capacity out there in the water and in your average session, the stoke is getting pretty diluted. Surfing is just so dang special and needs no promotion. It needs protection. Not like Da Hui style protection. Protection, as in treading carefully and encouraging others to do so too. Then maybe choking them out if they don’t. OK, I see what just happened there. Maybe protection is the wrong word. Conservation. Surfing needs conservation, not development.
On the competitive side; who was the sadistic prick that came up with the QS structure? Travelling halfway around the world to potentially only surf a single 30-minute heat. And those 30 minutes might run in a lully period, in already shitty conditions. That would break anyone’s spirit. These guys have to stay so positive and I’m in awe of them for doing so. But bottling up all that frustration is a mental health explosion waiting to happen. If we followed-up on these guys in 10 years time, it wouldn’t surprise me to find 50 percent are in jail for uncharacteristically violent crimes. Stu Kennedy was walking down a street one day and a bubbly volunteer tried to stop him about sponsoring a Dolphin and got his head slammed through a shop window.

What’s right with surfing right now? Board volume shifting back forwards. Wait, that didn’t make sense. Board volume shifting forwards, like it was back before the 2 1/4 Dark Ages.

Who’s the best surfer in the world? Who cares? Bah, alright; I grew up on Kelly. They will write scriptures of Kelly. “And on day three of the Great Swell, a mighty wave rose up and Kelly said unto the crowd: ‘This one’s mine, get the fuck out.'” I have a dream where I meet Kelly at a remote local break and he’s all meek and trying to get away from it all. We hit it off immediately, because I get him. And I make him laugh and him me. We become lifelong buddies and he quotes me in interviews: “I have this good friend who always says…” I love that dream. It beats the one where Malia has some kind of body hair bikini and a conjoined Gabs/Charlie are shaving her.

Mr Slater, the subject of Michael Newman's dreams. Photo: Laserwolf

Mr Slater, the subject of Michael Newman’s dreams. Photo: Laserwolf

Who’s the best World Tour commentator? Pottz (tentative). I like his neutral accent. And when someone does something sick, I’m always holding out for one of his grunts/growls to confirm that it was truly sick. And… well, I’m tired of hiding; I love it when he says ‘WOW.’ Pottz (firm). Ronnie though; I like how he sneaks a bit of cheek in there. They could do with more of that. Tough job though. You only need to tune-in to a QS event to realise how polished’a job they do.

What’s wrong with surf media? The same thing that’s wrong with all media – social media. Fucking social media. What a waste of life. Let’s pause here and note that Stab comments are more ‘anti-social’ media and… well, they’re probably still a waste of life, sure, but… yeah, alright, I’ve kinda contradicted myself again.
The days when all the indy magazines got gobbled up by the big conglomerates; that was a bit grim. There must have been some great benefits for those involved, with the massive increase in resources, but surfing media had a good thing going on. The formula was simple; photographers captured the sick and/or beautiful and magazines ran the sickest and/or most beautiful. Mixed with some interesting ideas and opinions = stoke sustained. Now there’s the pressure for growth. Heavy pushing of John. Jay junkies. Whole generations strung out on Dane.

Is there anything right with it? There’s still some grit to it. Fools aren’t suffered. The humour has kept a foot in the shade. Also, that you guys leave this comment section open blows my mind. Thank you. Can you close it for this though. Fucking close it. Close it!

“This one’s a studio shot I got done a while back, which unfortunately coincided with getting quite badly sunburnt,” says Mr Newman.

Who’s the best Stab commenter? I’ve been reading for years now, but only recently dipped my toes into commenting and many of the heavyweight commenters had moved on by then. There’s a comment from Zbah that I recall actually made me leak slightly under my flashing. Uncle Negs, of course. Love that guy’s observations. And who can argue with those stats? On stats, during an intensely narcissistic period of trying to maintain a high upvote to comment ratio, I was bowled over by Omar’s numbers. But became suspicious after he complained about the end of guest upvotes. When I’m trying to sell the appeal of the comment section to sceptical civilians, I use a Chodefish comment as an example. The one about sitting on his grapes. Classic. Alf Stewart – gold. Particularly now we’ve cleared up that little misunderstanding over the ‘Logies.’ And I couldn’t not mention James B. Unparalleled resilience, our Jim. All that abuse is like a liquid substance off Duck’s back. And his ability to seed threads. Eww, mental picture of Jim ‘seeding’ threads. Wanker, Channy, Bitter, Mammary, Badger, Hugh G, Wavo F; it’s a weighty sack full of characters. It wouldn’t be the same without the tools either. Bless. Get fucked though. All of you. Apart from you Leo. You were my first upvote. You never forget your first upvote.

The most underrated surfer in the world is? No opinion. Wait; Billy Stairmand.

The most overrated surfer in the world is? Guess. Speaking of, if you’re still short a cover, I can supply any of these photos in high resolution.


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