Take back the golf courses
They have clubs, but you've got hiking boots
There’s a wonderful new film in theaters this week. Jackass Forever finds Johnny Knoxville and the original crew of MTV’s Jackass reality TV series reuniting at the apex of middle age to perform some of the stupidest and most disgusting pranks and stunts you’ll witness. Cast members are catapulted into furniture store ceilings, locked in a dark room full of mouse traps, subjected to swarms of bees from the waist down, shot out of 30 foot cannons, and at one point, soaked with a choice fluid that comes from a pig and rhymes with “demon.”
There’s an unlikely purity to Jackass that’s been noted lately, especially in this VICE piece from Jesse Miller-Gordon. I grew up watching the show and the earlier films, but these days, what I love about Jackass (besides laughing to the point of bladder failure) is the egalitarianism of the whole operation. Every member of the cast, no matter how famous, is subjected to the worst of the pranks and stunts. There’s a wealth of friendship behind all the bruises and bodily fluids, which actually moved me. And better yet, the Jackass crew will often stage their pranks in posh, snooty environments that are the opposite of friendly and egalitarian. Like golf courses.
You really need to watch the above clip. It’s a beautifully simple invasion of the golf course: a plush, often privatized green space for America’s bourgeoisie, guzzling up water and occupying valuable real estate. There are enormous membership-based golf courses and country clubs in expensive cities that can’t find the political will to build affordable housing or expand their public parks system. If you’ve tried walking on a golf course during spring, summer or fall, you were most likely shooed away by a belabored groundskeeper, and not without reason. An airborne golf ball could dent your dome, chip a tooth, or make it harder to have children. But each winter, in the regions of the U.S. that experience snow and ice, something beautiful happens…
America’s golf courses are temporarily abandoned, and hikers can take them back.