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"Has Johnny really nothing to satorially rebel against?", or "Is 'the look' dead?"

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^^^^^
5078C036-D480-4AEA-9D62-E46D59A7E908.jpeg
I wore a big ol’ cowboy hat to a Thanksgiving gathering last week. I joked that I needed to don a duster and some pointy-toed boots and an elaborately embroidered shirt with snaps and a string tie and then hit the international arrivals section at the airport and sign autographs.
 
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EngProf

Practically Family
Messages
597
As someone who was a teenager during the heart of the '60's this whole topic and various sub-topics are a gold mine of interesting ideas and recollections. (I turned 20 in 1968.)
Jimmy Hoffa: I have a totally unique view on a part of the Hoffa saga - particularly his crimes and later trial and conviction. Part of that comes just from living in Nashville, where the crimes were committed, but even more because the father of my best friend at the time was one of Hoffa's co-defendants. He was president of the Teamster's Local 327 and they were our near neighbors. (We could see their house from our house.)
Some background: The Nashville Teamster's Local was apparently one of the most corrupt and violent in the country. This tendency and reputation was compounded by the fact that the publisher of the local paper, John Siegenthaler, was a friend and former employee in the Justice Department of Bobby Kennedy. (I guess everyone knows about the Hoffa-Kennedy feud.)
Any union tire-slashing or windshield-breaking by 327 members was reported on the front page of the paper, so most of the public had a less-than-positive feeling about the Teamsters and Hoffa.
Hoffa and the local people were originally being prosecuted on some relatively minor labor-law misdemeanors, but the defendants involved couldn't just let it go at that.
To make a long story short, Hoffa and the the defendants engaged in various acts of bribery and jury-tampering, which were Federal felonies.
The Nashville area had been saturated with anti-Hoffa/Teamsters coverage, so the trial was given a change of venue to Chattanooga.
One "truth-is-stranger-than fiction" item: In the middle of the trial, what we would now call a "mentally-challenged" person decided to assassinate Hoffa, so he walked right into the courtroom and tried to shoot Hoffa with a pellet gun. Hoffa and one of his henchmen jumped up and beat the h___ out of him right there in the courtroom.
Hoffa was found guilty, as was my best-friend's father. About that time the whole family disappeared overnight -*poof* . In the decades since, I have wondered if he turned sides and they went into the witness-protection program.

"American Graffiti": George Lucas has said that the movie was autobiographical for him and the car-culture in Northern California. I believe him on that, and can say for sure that it was biographical for me and my car-guy pals (and girls) in Nashville, except that it took two/four years for that culture to arrive here, so we were doing the same things in 1964-66, instead of '62.
Even with a few years difference in timing, I remember thinking when I first saw it "that's us!".
With few exceptions you could have taken one of those "AG" characters (male or female) and transported them to our high school and they wouldn't have stood out at all.
One slight difference in our high school was that the characters were somewhat "mingled". Our "smart-kids" (scholarship winners - Kurt/Richard Dreyfuss character) were future engineers, not poets, so a number of us were combinations of Kurt and John Milner (hot-rod builder).
It made for an interesting social structure, since due to the shared car-culture the would-be hoodlums were completely a part of the same group who were winning National Merit Scholarships. (One benefit was that it completely eliminated bullying.)
Whereas Kurt accidentally fell into the "Pharaohs" clutches, we had no such car clubs here, so we just worked on cars and socialized with each other as part of our normal life.
It took me several viewings of the movie to fully grasp the unreality of it - all the "adventures" that these teenagers were having were happening in one night - ALL-NIGHT - in 1962(!). A whole school full of teenagers running around all night with no questions asked was 100% implausible. I finally reconciled it by accepting that it was the compressed story of all the adventures that had happened to George Lucas and his friends over a full four years of high school.
Taken that way it makes sense, and fits well with our four years of teen-age high-school adventures - automotive and other.
Hair/Greasers/Clothes:
At least around here the '50's and '60's were very different eras when it comes to hair and other styles. When this topic came up before I looked through my 1961-1966 high school annuals and even by 1961 the number of people with front-curl. slicked-back, duck-tail styles was fairly few. Within the years 1961-1963 the style became almost extinct.
As for style of dress, referring to AG, most people looked like the Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams characters.
There was one guy who persisted with the leather jacket look into the '60's but we thought he was weird and made sarcastic cracks about him.
Modern kids/style:
I have a lot of first-year to senior undergrads in my classes and see no particular style for any of them.
 

Edward

Bartender
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I was last in Northern Ireland in '96 and it definitely did not appear prosperous. We had no accommodation booked and showed up and the door of a B&B in Eglington and the host was not sure how to respond to our request. He appeared more flustered than anything else. We wandered about Londonderry for 4 days and I think we were the only tourists in the whole damn place. Certainly overdue for a return.

Huge change since then. I know the area you mean well.... 96/97 was my final undergrad year; a couple of the girls I studied and socialised with were living in Eglantine Avenue at the time - then one of the nicer areas (some) students lived in, though a year or so later students were pretty much all priced out by young, working professionals.

Big changes since 96. Back then we still had the brief 1997 breach of the casefires to go, and the peace process was still all "talks about talks". Clinton's visit had been a big deal, but nobody could forsee that in a mere decade things would be very significantly different. You still have to be careful what you say - especially in "mixed company", the old tribal realities and the poverty are still there, but the booming tourists economy has made huge change. You can see it in the brands on the high street - in 96 you probably saw the tail end of the era of many uniquely Northern Ireland brands before the big British and other internationals moved in as the peace process took root. The area near the University, round Dublin Road and Botanic Avenue especially is now so chi-chi compared to my student days, though Great Victoria Street with its many empty shop fronts tells a cautionary tale of what happens when boom meets a crash.

Derry I have no real experience of; I think I only ever went there once, a stop off for food on the way to Donegal. NI has changed a lot, but many natives still live in a three-mile universe.

^^^^
I get several notices daily from a Facebook group devoted to photos of drinking establishments, so I’ve seen hundreds of period photos of late-19th and early-20th century saloons. The shots of bars out in the rural West show that what we generally think of as cowboy attire isn’t entirely a creation of the costumers at the movie studios. There really were wide-brimmed hats back then and collarless shirts and vests and boots and of that. But you’re as likely to see a derby and a three-piece suit in those photos as that full-on cowboy drag. And the boots and hats you’d find at your local Western wear retailer find few true matches in those old photos.

Much like if you look at photos of the 30s today, you will see folks in spearpoint collars, but they certainly aren't the only option, contrary to what you'd think looking at the vintage scene today.

I don't know if Rockabilly will continue here. I don't see younger kids coming into it. They come out and dance, absolutely, and they might wear the odd bowling shirt or Aloha shirt; but by and large the hard core followers are in their 50s now, the teenagers of the 80s who first revived the music and style here. The overarching culture has changed so much. Organic music, played on real instruments, is at the margins, while electronic doof doof computer noise and rap seem to dominate everywhere. In the 80s, we had the Stray Cats and Shakin' Stevens on the charts to lead the way. I don't think any of the Rockabilly bands around today, talented though they be, would be able to accomplish that again because the market, the culture, the social media influence, it's all so different now. 20 years ago, we'd do gigs in public outdoor spaces and we'd have the crowd 15 rows deep around the stage, aged from 15-40 entranced by the rhythm, demanding to know what music it was, why isn't it on the radio? We'd sell 50 CDs straight off the bat. Now, people wander by at those sort of gigs, stop to see if you were on some reality TV show like The Voice or X-Factor or whatever, and then just walk off without stopping to let the music speak to them; they're just looking for their own 15 seconds of fame or what they can post on Instagram: "Oh look, such-and-such from The Voice were playing here, and here I am in a selfie in front of them."

Like most scenes, I think it will last as long as there are enough people keep it going til it comes back round again. That said, a lot depends on how sociable the 'new breed' is, and how they interact. My beloved Rocky Horror subculture would never be able to happen now, and a lot of the traditional fan-casting is dying out because we have now a generation of fandom who don't want to put the work in to do a show and set up the cinema side of it - their norm is to create costumes to wear to sci-fi cons and competitions, and to consume the film at home on DVD. Sad - but maybe that's evolution? At least it's still alive in some form until somebody really 'gets' it again.


Modern kids/style:
I have a lot of first-year to senior undergrads in my classes and see no particular style for any of them.

Interesting. I thought it was may be my subject area forced them to cut their hair and conform, but maybe not...
 
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Beautiful hat Tony! Did you make it? The beaded band looks vintage. Kudos!

Thanks.

No, I didn’t really make it. A few weeks ago we sold a wheelchair-accessible van to a fellow who was intrigued by my hat shop. (We gave him a very good deal on the van, which seemed the cosmically correct thing to do, seeing how we got its newer replacement for a real bargain [we families living with disabilities have this way of watching out for one another]. He wanted the van to shuttle his disabled grandson around, seeing how the boy is getting too big and Grandpa is getting too old for lifting him in and out of cars.) The next day he stopped by to present me with a crumpled and slightly moth-bitten cowboy hat. I just reblocked it and ironed it (to take out the wrinkles and the taper) and sanded out most of the moth nibbles, and put on the band, which is antique bohemian glass beads on doeskin.

The band was a gift from my good friend Tom Gomez of the Gomez Hat Co., who made it several years ago, when we were both still kinda new to the hatting thing. Tom’s area of academic expertise is Native American material culture, so I’m confident the design conforms to authentic stylistic conventions. That hat band is among my more treasured possessions. It has moved from hat to hat over the years.
 
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Messages
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vancouver, canada
Derry I have no real experience of; I think I only ever went there once, a stop off for food on the way to Donegal. NI has changed a lot, but many natives still live in a three-mile universe.
We stayed at an inn near the uni and Botanic Ave. I looked it up and the inn is no longer there, probably condominiums now. We almost cancelled the trip as the 'peace agreement/cease fire' had broken down but I convinced my wife to go anyway and that if we were not comfortable the safety of London was just a short hop away. My brother who had visited a few years earlier passed on info that he was given by the locals...."when out drinking and not sure what denomination pub you were in when asked about religion...the safest most effective answer was to reply that you were Jehova's Witness.....they advised if you answered in that way no one would f**k with you.
 
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The Equity Bar in Old Tascosa, Texas, 1907

FB5AA65B-9749-46AC-A9DD-3AF477EA199C.jpeg

^^^^
I get several notices daily from a Facebook group devoted to photos of drinking establishments, so I’ve seen hundreds of period photos of late-19th and early-20th century saloons. The shots of bars out in the rural West show that what we generally think of as cowboy attire isn’t entirely a creation of the costumers at the movie studios. There really were wide-brimmed hats back then and collarless shirts and vests and boots and of that. But you’re as likely to see a derby and a three-piece suit in those photos as that full-on cowboy drag. And the boots and hats you’d find at your local Western wear retailer find few true matches in those old photos.

I haven’t researched the matter in recent years, but I suspect it is still the case that cowboy hats outsell “city” lids (fedoras and homburgs, mostly) by a wide margin. A person doesn’t have to drive more than a half hour or so from where I sit at present to see people wearing cowboy hats as everyday attire. And not just a few people, either. I won’t be here to see it, but I’d bet that 50 years from now cowboy hats and boots will still find their market.
 

Edward

Bartender
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24,779
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London, UK
We stayed at an inn near the uni and Botanic Ave. I looked it up and the inn is no longer there, probably condominiums now. We almost cancelled the trip as the 'peace agreement/cease fire' had broken down but I convinced my wife to go anyway and that if we were not comfortable the safety of London was just a short hop away. My brother who had visited a few years earlier passed on info that he was given by the locals...."when out drinking and not sure what denomination pub you were in when asked about religion...the safest most effective answer was to reply that you were Jehova's Witness.....they advised if you answered in that way no one would f**k with you.


Ah, yes - I remember a B&B and some its; Duke's Hotel, too... think that's changed hands now. Renshaws is gone (not sure if they had rooms or no). It was a slightly boho bit of town back then - much prettified now. You'd still recognise the Empire and the main area, but it's come well up in the world.
 
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I think the "greaser" thing has become so abstracted from any connection to the actual, historical 1950s that it's taken on a significance like that of the popular image of "the cowboy," another cultural trope that has little to do with actual, historical 19th Century Western ranch hands. "The Cowboy" became what he is due to mass merchandising of the image in the early years of the 20th Century thru cheap fiction, "Wild West" shows, then movies, pulps, radio, and so on, just as "The Greaser" became what he is by marketing of the image from the 1970s onward.

"The Cowboy" is nowhere near as pervasive a figure as he was fifty years ago, but he's still recognizable -- and likely "The Greaser" will remain a cultural figure even after nobody who actually remembers the actual, historical 1950s is left alive. Figures like these become convenient vessels for whatever cultural product the Boys want to pour into them. That doesn't mean, though, that future generations will build "lifestyles" around the Greaser image, any more than kids today play "Cowboys".

It’s worth exploring why certain cultural phenomena find a rebirth (albeit in altered form, but still ... ) and some don’t, despite the best efforts of those hoping to profit from it.

I don’t dismiss the notion that there is such a thing as an innate human aesthetic sensibility, that what appeals to our eyes and ears isn’t all “learned” or peculiar to a particular time and place. For evidence of that I look no further than the images on the walls of the caves beneath Lascaux, created by human hands tens of thousands of years ago. Or to that vast collection of pre-Colombian stuff at the Denver Art Museum, created thousands of miles and thousands of years removed from those ancient Europeans.

I’m not suggesting that The Fonz or Buffalo Bill Cody would have such a universal appeal, but I’m not dismissing it out of hand, either. Maybe the how and why of it is unknowable, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I’m looking to neurology to cast some light.
 
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Ah, yes - I remember a B&B and some its; Duke's Hotel, too... think that's changed hands now. Renshaws is gone (not sure if they had rooms or no). It was a slightly boho bit of town back then - much prettified now. You'd still recognise the Empire and the main area, but it's come well up in the world.
We would walk home from citycentre through Sandy Row singing "Madame George"
 

LizzieMaine

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It’s worth exploring why certain cultural phenomena find a rebirth (albeit in altered form, but still ... ) and some don’t, despite the best efforts of those hoping to profit from it.

I don’t dismiss the notion that there is such a thing as an innate human aesthetic sensibility, that what appeals to our eyes and ears isn’t all “learned” or peculiar to a particular time and place. For evidence of that I look no further than the images on the walls of the caves beneath Lascaux, created by human hands tens of thousands of years ago. Or to that vast collection of pre-Colombian stuff at the Denver Art Museum, created thousands of miles and thousands of years removed from those ancient Europeans.

I’m not suggesting that The Fonz or Buffalo Bill Cody would have such a universal appeal, but I’m not dismissing it out of hand, either. Maybe the how and why of it is unknowable, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I’m looking to neurology to cast some light.

I think a lot of the "outsider" figures in popular culture over the last 120 years or so got popular specifically because so few people -- and so few *men* to be specific -- were able to be actual "outsiders" during that time. The rise of the pop-culture cowboy in the early 20th century coincided with the rise of the white-collar worker -- the image of the beaten-down slope-shouldered spindle-shanked strap-hanging little nebbish whose life was defined by a time clock and who lived under the oppressive thumb of his boss on the one hand, and his Gorgon-like battle-ax of a wife on the other was sort of the counter-image to the cowboy in the mass media of the first decades of the century, and while both characters were extreme sorts of stereotypes, it's likely that Joe Q. Middleclass saw more of himself in the latter than in the former -- which made him envy and dream of being like the former even more. There's a reason why cowboy pulps were shoved into a lot of office desk drawers in the 1910s and 1920s.

You could say the same thing about the Greaser, really -- which caught on as a pop-culture image in the 70s, a time when a lot of men didn't know what to make of the cultural changes going on in the world, and preferred to think of a day when don't-give-a-damn hot-rodding rebels did as they pleased instead of puttering along in traffic in a rusty Pinto on their way to the Shop 'n' Drop to get a box of Pampers.

The current popularity of the jacked-up CGI-muscled superhero might also fit this same paradigm, as does the popularity of the iron-jawed gritty film-noir private eye in the postwar era. Mike Hammer is pretty much what every bored and confused member of the 52-20 Club imagined himself to be in 1946 before he let that salesman talk him to taking a no-money-down loan on a house in Levittown.
 
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I think a lot of the "outsider" figures in popular culture over the last 120 years or so got popular specifically because so few people -- and so few *men* to be specific -- were able to be actual "outsiders" during that time. The rise of the pop-culture cowboy in the early 20th century coincided with the rise of the white-collar worker -- the image of the beaten-down slope-shouldered spindle-shanked strap-hanging little nebbish whose life was defined by a time clock and who lived under the oppressive thumb of his boss on the one hand, and his Gorgon-like battle-ax of a wife on the other was sort of the counter-image to the cowboy in the mass media of the first decades of the century, and while both characters were extreme sorts of stereotypes, it's likely that Joe Q. Middleclass saw more of himself in the latter than in the former -- which made him envy and dream of being like the former even more. There's a reason why cowboy pulps were shoved into a lot of office desk drawers in the 1910s and 1920s.

You could say the same thing about the Greaser, really -- which caught on as a pop-culture image in the 70s, a time when a lot of men didn't know what to make of the cultural changes going on in the world, and preferred to think of a day when don't-give-a-damn hot-rodding rebels did as they pleased instead of puttering along in traffic in a rusty Pinto on their way to the Shop 'n' Drop to get a box of Pampers.

In the early 1960's I worked in a factory with 2 older guys active in a motorcycle gang. 1950's revival bands performing at community centre dances were popular. My 2 co-workers, (George and Rick) their girls and the rest of the gang would attend with all the 'dressed up' would be greasers. I was invited as a tag along with them even though I was exiting my '60's radical political days....George and I got along really well and I think he thought me quaint! They played a game where their girlfriends would bang into a guy on the dance floor and feign injury at which point her biker boy friend would jump in and lay the guy out. Sometimes small brawls would break out as the melee escalated. They shut down more than one dance. I enjoyed it much as an anthropologist enjoys studying the natives in their natural habitat. I escaped any beatings as …"Leave him alone, he came with George and Dolly"

The current popularity of the jacked-up CGI-muscled superhero might also fit this same paradigm, as does the popularity of the iron-jawed gritty film-noir private eye in the postwar era. Mike Hammer is pretty much what every bored and confused member of the 52-20 Club imagined himself to be in 1946 before he let that salesman talk him to taking a no-money-down loan on a house in Levittown.
 
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^^^^

An old girlfriend’s sister once said to that old girlfriend that she thought I affected a bad-boy persona in her presence.

It angered me that she would suppose that I would be so concerned with her opinion of me as to make of myself something I am not. Sure, I caroused some, but I knew many a real bad boy and I had little interest in joining the club.

Sister didn’t know what a bad boy is. They end up dead or in prison, typically. Neither outcome held much appeal.

On a bookshelf I have a paperback Louis L’Amour, left by a bad-boy friend of mine whom I allowed to crash at my place between his stays at whichever girlfriend’s house he might have rather been. I’ve never gotten more than a few pages into that story. But that friend, who had grown up mostly in the much more rural eastern parts of the state, found something in it. He hunted and fished and camped out and all of that. We talked about him taking me duck hunting someday.

That paperback is all I have of him. He died (OD’ed on black tar in the cab of his pickup) not long after he left my place for a new girlfriend’s. It was sad but not surprising. He was a good kid in many ways. Excellent cook and a good housekeeper. We used to joke that if only he was better in the sack he would’ve made a great wife.
 
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Tiki Tom

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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I think a lot of the "outsider" figures in popular culture over the last 120 years or so got popular specifically because so few people -- and so few *men* to be specific -- were able to be actual "outsiders" during that time. The rise of the pop-culture cowboy in the early 20th century coincided with the rise of the white-collar worker -- the image of the beaten-down slope-shouldered spindle-shanked strap-hanging little nebbish whose life was defined by a time clock and who lived under the oppressive thumb of his boss on the one hand, and his Gorgon-like battle-ax of a wife on the other was sort of the counter-image to the cowboy in the mass media of the first decades of the century, and while both characters were extreme sorts of stereotypes, it's likely that Joe Q. Middleclass saw more of himself in the latter than in the former -- which made him envy and dream of being like the former even more. There's a reason why cowboy pulps were shoved into a lot of office desk drawers in the 1910s and 1920s.

You could say the same thing about the Greaser, really -- which caught on as a pop-culture image in the 70s, a time when a lot of men didn't know what to make of the cultural changes going on in the world, and preferred to think of a day when don't-give-a-damn hot-rodding rebels did as they pleased instead of puttering along in traffic in a rusty Pinto on their way to the Shop 'n' Drop to get a box of Pampers.

The current popularity of the jacked-up CGI-muscled superhero might also fit this same paradigm, as does the popularity of the iron-jawed gritty film-noir private eye in the postwar era. Mike Hammer is pretty much what every bored and confused member of the 52-20 Club imagined himself to be in 1946 before he let that salesman talk him to taking a no-money-down loan on a house in Levittown.

Ouch! That analysis hits a little too close to home!
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
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Note that I'm not saying that there are no actual cowboys anymore -- what I'm saying is that the figure of "The Cowboy" has nowhere near the cultural omnipresence that it had during the first two-thirds of the 20th Century. How many western movies were made this year, compared to 1939? How many western TV shows are there this year compared to 1959? How many kids -- not living in ranch country -- have any particularly awareness of cowboys? The answers to those questions are why I think "The Cowboy" as an escape-figure is fading into insignificance compared to, say, "The Superhero" or "The Video Game Warrior."

There have always been "escape figures" in popular culture of one kind or another as a safety valve against the pressures and hostilities that tend to build up, especially in industrial/post-industrial societies. And I think "escape figures" have a lot to do with subcultures. It may even be that the rise of "virtual" subcultures and the construction of virtual escape figures such as you find in online communities are in the process of eliminating the need for real-world subcultures and the cultural markers that identify them.
 
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^^^^^
At times it seems that pickups and Harley-Davidsons are as much cultural signifiers as modes of transportation.

Lest anyone get rubbed the wrong way, please know that I’ve been wanting an old Ford pickup myself (the body style that ran from ’61 to ’66), and I may buy one should the right deal come along. And I suspect that most people buying new F150s and Silverados or whatever actually have practical use for that pickup bed in the back.

But there’s no denying that the vehicles we choose make a statement, and for a guy (or gal) wishing to project a certain machismo, a truck beats the hell out of a Corolla.

To that end a Harley is even better. As it turns out, that’s become something of a problem for H-D. The Hog-buying demographic is aging and dying off, and the “1 percenter” is now more commonly seen as a clownish loser than a free spirit. So H-D has introduced smaller models more suited to urban use, and more appealing (it is hoped) to would-be buyers who would identify with just about anyone but a Hell’s Angel.

I like Hogs. I’ve had good friends who have owned the things. My recently retired (and recently widowed) accountant packs up his Hog and motors off with no particular destination in mind. Good for him.

Going back more than 30 years my then job had me in frequent contact with members of a biker club. It’s fair to say that we were on friendly terms.

This particular club had some affiliation with one of the larger biker clubs (don’t call ’em “gangs,” they’d be quick to tell you) — the Angels or the Gypsy Jokers or whoever. So we aren’t talking retired accountants here. I never found these guys unusually menacing. They drank and indulged in illicit drugs and wore bandanas and the club colors on the backs of their sleeveless denim jackets and had “old ladies” and all that other stuff we associate with bikers. But I saw few weapons and heard of no homicides or even serious assaults.

But the more I got to know them the more I recognized how racism was almost central to their group identity.

These three or four decades down the road we have come to identify such people as “the left behind,” the working class who have watched their economic prospects diminish along with their comfortable majority status.
 
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Messages
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vancouver, canada
^^^^^
At times it seems that pickups and Harley-Davidsons are as much cultural signifiers as modes of transportation.

Lest anyone get rubbed the wrong way, please know that I’ve been wanting an old Ford pickup myself (the body style that ran from ’61 to ’66), and I may buy one should the right deal come along. And I suspect that most people buying new F150s and Silverados or whatever actually have practical use for that pickup bed in the back.

But there’s no denying that the vehicles we choose make a statement, and for a guy (or gal) wishing to project a certain machismo, a truck beats the hell out of a Corolla.

To that end a Harley is even better. As it turns out, that’s become something of a problem for H-D. The Hog-buying demographic is aging and dying off, and the “1 percenter” is now more commonly seen as a clownish loser than a free spirit. So H-D has introduced smaller models more suited to urban use, and more appealing (it is hoped) to would-be buyers who would identify with just about anyone but a Hell’s Angel.

I like Hogs. I’ve had good friends who have owned the things. My recently retired (and recently widowed) accountant packs up his Hog and motors off with no particular destination in mind. Good for him.

Going back more than 30 years my then job had me in frequent contact with members of a biker club. It’s fair to say that we were on friendly terms.

This particular club had some affiliation with one of the larger biker clubs (don’t call ’em “gangs,” they’d be quick to tell you) — the Angels or the Gypsy Jokers or whoever. So we aren’t talking retired accountants here. I never found these guys unusually menacing. They drank and indulged in illicit drugs and wore bandanas and the club colors on the backs of their sleeveless denim jackets and had “old ladies” and all that other stuff we associate with bikers. But I saw few weapons and heard of no homicides or even serious assaults.

But the more I got to know them the more I recognized how racism was almost central to their group identity.

These three or four decades down the road we have come to identify such people as “the left behind,” the working class who have watched their economic prospects diminish along with their comfortable majority status.
A few years back South Park did a devastatingly funny episode on aging HD riders. My boss who rides a big BMW mocks HD owners as guys that ride them to the Starbucks and back, park and admire them .... but only on sunny days.
 

thundurchasur

Familiar Face
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A few years back South Park did a devastatingly funny episode on aging HD riders. My boss who rides a big BMW mocks HD owners as guys that ride them to the Starbucks and back, park and admire them .... but only on sunny days.

I started riding at 14 on a Rupp mini-bike, graduated to a Yamaha 60CC and went on to own, and ride daily, several Hondas, Triumphs and a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Nostalgia. None of them turned heads like my Harley did.

We had our share of fun with the BMW owners and their Singer sewing machines. lol

Photo is the last farewell as her new owner trailered her off.
IMG_1635-25.jpg
 
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