Apparently Women Love This 13-Year-Old Skateboarder Named Baby Scumbag
Steven Fernandez, aka Baby Scumbag, is just a normal 13-year-old skater from a bad neighborhood in LA. A normal 13-year-old skater who’s sponsored by a bunch of companies, has 38,000 subscribers onFacebook and 140,000 followers onInstagram, and gets photographed with guns and sexy (adult) women. He’s been skating since he was nine (here’s a video of him at 11), but unlike other absurdly talented kids likeRene Serrano and Evan Doherty, he’s developed a whole persona that revolves around trying to get girls and eating junk food (again: typical 13-year-old). It’s hard to tell how much of that is him putting on an act and how much of that is real, but either way, young Stephen knows more about what people on the internet like than all the “social media gurus” two and three times his age put together. I called him to ask what he wants to be when he grows up.
VICE: Hey, Steven how’s it going? I didn’t force you to miss school, right?
Baby Scumbag: Hey, VICE lady. Just chillin’. Just got home from school. Got out a little early.
You like school, or what?
Yeah, school is cool, but it’s kind of tough out here in poverty. You see a lot bad stuff around here, like gang-related stuff, drugs. I live in Compton, California. The border of South Central.
So, you’re super popular at school, right?
Nah, I’m just a normal kid going to school. An average teenager.
How did you get start getting sponsored?
Well it all started when I had posted a video of skateboarding, and people actually enjoyed watching the video. As I started making more videos, I started getting more sponsors as well.
What’s a typical day in the life of Baby Scumbag?
Hang out at school, homework, skateboarding, maybe even go film. And a little masturbation.
I Don’t ‘Get’ Instagram
Hey, you know what’s not actually a new thing and that people can all stop going crazy about? Having a phone on your camera. I mean, my phone cost £11.99 and it’s got a fucking camera on it. Getting excited about having a camera on your phone is a bit like getting excited about having a takeaway coffee or playing a song off your laptop. It ain’t no thing.
Still, half the adverts I see on TV are for cameras and phones with cameras on them. There’s usually a smiling mum photographing her snowboarding child in the ultra zoom and capturing their soul in a Twitpic forever, and we’re all being told we should be doing this. We’re told that life is passing us by and that if we don’t take pictures of every banal moment in our lives – like Guy Pearce in Memento – these moments will be lost to us forever. It’s like we’re being told not to trust our own memories.
We’re not just being encouraged to be the official club photographers of our own existences, either – we’re also being told that we should be documenting every meal as if we were preparing for a retrospective at the Saatchi gallery. This idea finds its epitome and is perpetuated most fervently by something called Instagram. You might have heard of it.
I don’t know what it was about the turn of the century – maybe we all got carried away and thought we were the “chosen ones” because our lives spanned two different millennia? – but something in the atmosphere at that time seemed to make us fall in love with ourselves. Our inflated sense of self-esteem is probably why we were complacent enough to allow Travis and jeans that looked like tents to pass as youth culture and why we all bought into the myth that there was an artist in residence within all of us. No longer did we have to be constructive members of society to survive its wilderness, we could all make a living designing logos for juice bars and running our own coffee shops/galleries/grime labels. Don’t have the requisite money, talent, intelligence or motivation to do that? It’s cool, just get a bank loan or win a competition, or something – we got you, B.
Think I’m generalising? Well, in 2001, I rode my micro scooter into school one day to be told by my art teacher that I’d been commissioned by the council to design a mural for a local underpass. This confused me, partly because I was 12 and partly because I was old enough to realise that I was a shitty artist. I declined, went on to achieve a G-grade at GCSE, killed my art teacher’s dream that I had my own suburban version of Guernicaburied within me and spent the rest of my adolescence telling posh girls that I wasn’t appreciated by the heathens at the exam board and that Van Gogh never sold a painting either.
In the cold light of the dole queue, most of us now realise that this was a complete crock of shit, and it’s probably the reason why anyone under the age of 30 is an insufferable bastard with a sense of entitlement equal to that of an exiled Nepalese prince (myself included). The age of Blair begat the culture of rampant self-obsession and bullshit aspiration that brought us Olly Riley and Emmanuel Frimpong rather than the next Issac Newton.
Then there was Banksy, who proved that all you really needed to make it as an artist was a series of ill-informed, left of centre, political metaphors and a rudimentrary understanding of graphic design to get Alan Yentob and Alain De Botton calling you “The Shoreditch Goya” or some shit.
Of course, this has been going on for a while and you only need to go to any South London art college’s graduate private view to see that the vast majority of modern creatives should’ve just taken that job at Snappy Snaps. Recently, though, this ludicrous idea that anybody can be a doyenne of self-expression has found its cruddy conclusion in the unlikely guise of a free smartphone app.
Girl News - Everything Is the Best
Not “the best stuff about being a girl” or whatever because ewwwwwissaboring! And doesn’t that depend on basically everything? And probably that would amount to the list equivalent of a sad pile of empty candy wrappers. I have a little, sad pile of crumply and crumbly candy wrappers right here and it’s just really tragic, like, they might as well stop-motion-style reorganize themselves into a frownyface. Fuck Halloween. Anyway, even though I do want to engage in an endless—literally endless—amount of offensive and incorrectly specific cataloguing of the girlsperience, because it’s fun, I think instead this could just be about what stuff is the best stuff right now. It’s more, just, like, aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh maybe we can take five fucking minutes to revel in the post-Tuesday-ness of this week and be IT’S THE BEST!-ish about it? Also maybe I was hecka situationally depressed for a year and now I’m NOT ANYMORE and maybe it feels like so many millions of undemanding, vacant-poolside oral sexes so I am in the mood.
DON’T FUCKING TELL ME WHAT TO DO A.K.A. THE OBVIOUS
So did you also wake up after that electoral confirmation that nobody is interested in being legally mansplained about sex and bodies, all crying and sleep-smiling, smiling so big that your skin turned into hard, clear plastic and we could see your muscles and organs inside all lit up neon purple and green? I did, totallys.
Have you noticed how pouty and jealous boys are about Clueless being decidedly un-theirs? They want in on it so bad. So bad!
Yesterday I watched Camille Paglia (go-go Google fingers!) do a talk about art and the best thing she said is that there hasn’t been a legit avant-garde artist since
Robert Mapplethorpe was photographing downtown/New York/gay/S&M shit. She said that artists who aren’t risking something really real—like their careers or livelihoods or communities—aren’t avant-garde, and since the avant-garde was folded into the official art world (which is fine, it just was) there isn’t any existing or even possible (???) risk available, making “avant-garde” not… avant. Real risk, real alienation, real struggle is so crucial and minus Frank Ocean puhhhhretty absent in mainstream or mainstreamish culture. Which is exhausting when you consider how post-irony-invested you are in your hugely corny iTunes, you know? Anyway this all just emphasized the incredible value and possibilities of high stakes, and of trying, and of how much can happen if you’re just willing.
My current obsession is the side of men’s tongues, which you can only see when they specifically show you, because when you are actually using it you are busy. HALLO, why aren’t we fetishizing the thickness and animal texture of this area already?
GIRL POP CULT BESTS I: BEYONCE’S TUMBLR
Beyoncé is problematic on her own. It’s too easy to get excited about her (and I mean ex-ci-ted) because she is so many different ways of perfect, when in fact she is a stalwart representative of the white-beauty industrial complex, and she seems to be weird about men, and probably other stuff, but of course mostly I love her. Her Tumblr, though? Her Tumblr. Can we just start up with the Year in Review shit right now so I can make, like, “Marfa photoset” the first thing on the Everything list?