by guest columnist Crash Casey
Hey, Crash Casey here. I’m going to be on assignment this month. I asked my brother, Trash, to put something together for a column. I asked that he do some kind of feel-good fluff piece. I hope you enjoy whatever it is he puts together.
I’ve been sitting back all summer seething at all the bullshit I’ve been subject to while reading M.M.M. Some of it written by the M.M.M. staff, but I’m also addressing all the crybaby crap written by some of the hipper-than-thou, First Amendment -hating, don’t-express-opinion-that-doesn’t-coincide-with-my-view, self proclaimed experts on the state of motorcycling .
I’ve been motorcycling for over twenty years. I’ve ridden most of the major brands and many years ago settled on Harley as my ride of choice. I’ve been wearing black tee-shirts and leather jackets since I was twelve. I started getting tattooed twenty years ago, before the birth of these eighteen year old dolphine-tattoed-on-my-ass hardbodies were even born. What does this make me? Some hard ass poser? A follower of trends? No. All it makes me is myself. An individual.
Before I get down to spitting nails on the specific snivelings of above mentioned weepers, let me give you a little history lesson. Before the much blathered about invasion of yuppies were thrown into the mix, in about ’94, there was still such a thing as brotherhood. And like all glue that binds, this brotherhood was based on common experiences. Back when an expensive bike was around $8000, we all sacrificed to afford that AFM beauty. Most of us were working stiffs that drove twenty year old beaters to be able to afford that little piece of freedom. Every spare cent I had went into my bike or road trips.
Brotherhood. When you pulled up next to a fellow Harley rider, there was that bond. You knew that he had sacrificed, like yourself. In the friendly nod that the two of you exchanged, there was that understanding that you were both dedicated to the Lifestyle.
Ten years ago the symbols of the biker had meaning. Black tee-shirts, long hair, tattoos, leather jackets, et all. It wasn’t an image that was purchased. It was a statement that said, I reject your values and live by the values of a brotherhood. A brotherhood that believes in freedom and individuality. Back then you paid a price for choosing the Lifestyle. Motels suddenly had no vacancies, restaurants didn’t want to seat you, and idiots wanted to test your machismo.
As the craze has taken over the Harley scene, brotherhood and the original spirit and values have been lost. A meeting at a stoplight has no value. The guy next to you is probably wearing a costume donned for the day.
The changes have had some positive aspects. We no longer suffer the prejudices of the past from the general public. Now we only have to deal with the prejudices of our fellow motorcyclists.
M.M.M. has tried to cater to all types of riders. Sport riders, crotch rocket guys, the Euro crowd, cruiser enthusiasts, etc. But human nature being what it is, people need to claim the superiority of their perspective. Because I ride this, because I do this, because I don’t do this, I am a true motorcyclists.
Back in the July issue Dan wrote a From the Hip editorial regarding his thoughts on the wearing of helmets. This is always a hot issue among motorcyclists. All of a sudden the paper gets an avalanche of reader mail. How dare you write an article expousing the use of helmets. Nowhere in the article did I see a call to arms to change the current legislation. He was stating a personal opinion. Facts are facts–sometimes helmets do save lives. Sometimes they can cause damage–pieces of fiberglass in the head and broken necks. All factors to take into account when making a personal CHOICE. That’s the heart of the issue that so many have fought for, CHOICE. In September, Dan Coleman attacked the paper for stating the case for CHOOSING to wear helmets. Sharon Beaman wanted the right to choose and the paper should leave her alone. In the August issue Gary Charpentier caused a flap by stating his case for wearing protective gear. Listen this is a guy that rides year-round. He has earned the right to give readers information that might influence their CHOICES.
Then there were the guest articles and letters spewing grotesque generalizations. Tom the Tailor saying that so many of the bikes found their way to Sturgis on trailers. That the only true individuality was to be found in older Jap bikes. In September, Carrie Rogers wondered where all the real motorcyclists have gone. Everyone was trailering their bikes. All these twisted views support gross generalizations. Well hell, let me throw in some other generalization.
Your guys on crotch rockets, when not riding, are a bunch of drunken frat guys intent on date rape. Chicks that ride are dykes with penis envy. Euro-sport riders, with their slick leathers, are latent homos who only wish they had the balls to join the leather scene at the Gay Nineties, and cruiser riders are all conformist middle aged wannabes with small penises, therefore the need to ride large bikes.
Some of you will look at these generalizations and laugh. Some of you will get pissed off and take it as a personal attack. Some of you will be shocked and find them an affront to your politically correct sensibilities. The fact of the matter is that we should all be outraged when we encounter any generalization that tries to fit any motorcyclist into some neat little derogatory category. Let’s stop with the gross generalizations and get back to celebrating our individuality as motorcyclists and the inalienable right to choose what we do and who we are.
Last time I checked this is still the U.S. of f-in A and there is still such a thing as the First Amendment. That means that M.M.M. is entitled to express any opinion they choose to. That means the readers have the right to express any opinion they want to. The purpose of art and the media is to hold up a mirror to our society. And as always when we look into mirrors we don’t always like what we see. Our flaws exposed, we attack others in some effort at self reconciliation.
I picked up a matchbook the other day and on the front was a grizzled old biker type staring into the camera. On the front it said, “Judge me all you want” and on the back it said, “Just keep the verdict to yourself.” Let’s respect each others right to choose and the right to be who we want to be.
The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of this publication. We print this only because we needed to fill the space. The only other excuse we can offer is that we all know how all those old bikers have drug and booze addled minds.