Three men in Lincoln, Nebraska were charged yesterday with stealing another man’s “motorcycle club jacket.” At precisely 11:38 Tuesday night, according to the Lincoln Journal Star, they demanded he give them his “jacket” and “when he refused, they punched him in the head, kicked him in the groin, choked him and took his jacket.”
It is probably an incomprehensible crime to some readers. It is certainly incomprehensible to the management of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. It might be reasonable to speculate that the victim was wearing what seemed to be motorcycle club insignia and members of motorcycle club who thought that the display of that insignia was insulting took it away from him.
It is a not unheard of crime. In a story published here in September 2008 a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable named Stephen MacQueen warned novice bikers that club members often “discourage the use of any patch that resembles theirs.” He also warned that the letters “MC” stand for motorcycle club and should not be used by people who do not actually belong to a motorcycle club. Of course that was before Sons Of Anarchy taught millions of Walter Mittys to nurture and grow their outlaws within.
Still some readers were surprised to see this in their local dealerships – a cutoff denim vest with what seems to be a club patch featuring a crude skull and an MC cube.
Harley calls it a “Men’s Vintage Denim Vest.” Harley says, “Frayed armholes and heavy distressing give our Vintage Denim Vest an authentic aged look. Embroidered graphics and a distressed back appliqué give more of a throwback vibe. If you’re looking for the classic men’s denim vest that captures our style and spirit, you found it.”
And you can get one either by going into a Harley dealer with six twenty dollar bills, plus tax where applicable, or by waiting outside to punch someone wearing one in the head and then kicking him in the groin. Your call.
Harley further explains that this “100 percent cotton denim” item of clothing “is heavily distressed, torn, and tinted for a lived-in look.” It also features a “button front, snap-down collar, and button waist tabs, two button flap chest pockets and two snap hand-warmer pockets, hex rivets on the shoulders and chest pockets, embroidered graphics on the front right hem and right chest, a metal badge on the left chest and printed, embroidered, and distressed raw-edge appliqué graphics on back.”
The Aging Rebel emailed Harley-Davidson’s media relations department Tuesday and asked, among other things, “if someone at the Motor Company would explain the thinking, if any, behind this consumer product. Do you understand why some people might find it offensive? Do you understand why it might be dangerous for some of your customers to wear this ersatz insignia?”
Harley ignored the email.