Romantic Fantasy And Grim Reality

August 8, 2018

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Romantic Fantasy And Grim Reality

A month before it appears on cable FX’s new biker shoot ‘em up, Mayans MC already looks like a hit.

A hit is a show that can sell a lot of commercials and charge a lot of money for allowing them to appear in the show.

The weekly trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable announced today, in case you hadn’t already noticed, that Mayans MC was the fifth most successfully promoted show for the fall. The research is intended to be read by both production executives and ad buyers. The data was collected by an enterprise called iSpot.tv. Most of it is statistically arcane. At the risk of oversimplification, the research calculated several categories of data including “impressions,” “attention” and the value to the network of each show’s promotional ads. “Impressions” is a measure of how many times a promo for a show has been seen and “attention” measures how many times viewers have watched the promo all the way through.

Number Five Right Now

Overall, Mayans MC came in fifth. It probably would have been higher but its ad campaign is just getting started. In this statistical race it finished behind 90 Day Fiancé on TLC; The Sinner on USA; The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network; and Yellowstone Live on National Geographic. According to Broadcasting & Cable, 160,026,315 viewers have watched promos for Mayans MC, about 92 percent of them paid attention and the value of the airtime to show those commercials, virtually all of it on FX, was $1,529,001.

These numbers are intended to reassure ad buyers and corporate suits that Mayans MC will be a hit. Producer Kurt Sutter’s previous biker drama, Sons of Anarchy, was a hit. Working against the show is Harley-Davidson’s recent conclusion that far fewer people are interested in playing outlaw biker now than a decade ago. Much of Sons of Anarchy’s initial success was built on Sutter’s insistence than that show was more truth than fantasy.

Just A Motorcycle Club

Mayans MC’s truth seems to be that the members of this predominantly Chicano club in Southern California is an organized crime cartel masquerading as a rough and tumble group of public-spirited motorcycle enthusiasts. In the show’s most recent promo, below, a jackass in a bar remarks to a Mayans prospect “That’s a fancy vest you got there. That your badass gang?”

The prospect pauses while the audience gets a look at what goes through his head. The audience sees many quick scenes of Mayans being an astoundingly badass gang. Finally, the prospect humbly and ironically replies, “Just a motorcycle club man.” No doubt, that promo is meant to make its future audience tingle.

Of course the Mayans will be the most violent pack of beasts ever.

Which raises the question of how far out on a limb are Kurt Sutter and FX going to hang the Mongols Motorcycle Club. Sutter’s biker operas are intended to be seen by the general public as romans à clef – true stories with thinly disguised real characters. At least for the first three or four years, until it became a chick show, and when it wasn’t being described as a brilliant reimagining of Hamlet, Sons of Anarchy was a roman à clef about the Hells Angels. The show was intended to give viewers the vicarious experience of being a Hells Angel.

Authenticity

Sutter bragged on it. At the Television Critics Association press tour two months before Sons of Anarchy premiered Sutter said, “I didn’t want to get involved with anything that I felt I could not do authentically and, you know, I can’t mention any organizations, but one of these organizations sort of opened their doors to me, and I got to see it firsthand.” The “organization,” wink, wink, was of course the Angels.

Everybody got that Sons of Anarchy was supposed to be an inside look at the Hells Angels – even federal appeals court judges. In 2014, Ed Carnes who was chief judge of the Eleventh Circuit described a local gang called the Guardians as “a case of life imitating art imitating life.” The Guardians Carnes said, were “inspired by the fictional motorcycle gang in Sons of Anarchy, itself modeled on the real life Hells Angels.”

The very night Sons of Anarchy premiered, on September 3, 2008, at virtually the same moment, the president of the San Francisco charter of the Hells Angeles and, reportedly, an advisor to the show, Mark “Papa” Guardado, died in a street fight with a Mongol named Christopher “Stoney” Ablett. Almost immediately the Sons had a dramatic antagonist “ripped from the headlines.” Sutter called them the Mayans and they were a thinly disguised interpretation of the Mongols.

Reality

Now Sutter and FX are going to do an entire series about the Mayans and it seems logical to wonder what impact this fantastical television program will have on at least three criminal cases pending against the Mongols club or individual members. The cases all accuse the Mongols of being the Mayans in disguise – which in fact is exactly what the network just spent $1,529,001 in one week trying to do.

The first of these cases will be United States v. Mongol Nation. It is now scheduled to begin on October 30, the day Mayans MC’s eighth episode will air. The government’s case against the Mongols, in a nutshell, is that they are really the Mayans.

The second case will be State of California v. David Martinez. That trial is now scheduled for February 2019. Martinez is accused of killing a Pomona, California Swat officer named Shaun Diamond as a Swat team broke into Martinez’ home at four in the morning. The raid was to serve a search warrant. It was, essentially an indicia search. Police, knowing that Martinez was a Mongol, searched his home for evidence that he was a Mongol. Which is to say, the police used their powers to serve a search at four in the morning as a form of punishment. Prosecutors will undoubtedly try to present his membership in his motorcycle club as proof of his guilt.

And, 23 members and alleged associates of the Mongols are facing numerous charges including murder in a federal case in Clarksville, Tennessee. None of those cases have yet been scheduled for trial. But chances are good that Mayans MC will still be alive when there finally are trials.

Jury Tampering Or Art

The romantic fantasy FX is about to present to the world is going to influence all these cases in favor of the prosecution. FX probably won’t address this problem because they will not see it as a problem. Sutter and his fellow conspirators will see the conflation and confusion they create as artistic virtue. Maybe Hollywood will, too. Maybe Sutter will finally win an Emmy.

Maybe after he does somebody will be able to ask him why he decided to make a fantasy set in the grim now instead of a show set in the romantic long ago – when a collection of disprized combat veterans, calloused to violence, not afraid of much except possibly cobras and none of whom expected to live much longer anyway, found each other after Vietnam and decided to start a motorcycle club.

That one wouldn’t confuse jurors about anything that has happened recently. Sutter has talked about making a show something like that.

That’s the one I would have made, And that’s probably just another example of why Sutter makes the big bucks. Instead of you or  me.

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69 Responses to “Romantic Fantasy And Grim Reality”

  1. Here we go again Says:

    Another MC show that is just going to put street gang banging punks on motorcycles thinking they are 1%ers!!! More clubs will pop up out of nowhere thinking murder and mayhem is the way!
    Couldn’t be more wrong and misconstrued, they are clueless to the meaning of loyalty and by far any respect to real brotherhood and true 1%ers. it’s a lifestyle of having passion for the roads they travel and the sense of freedom with the wind in their faces. Family, loyalty and respect!!
    Stay off the motorcycles punk boys and leave it to the real men!!!

  2. One Eye Says:

    I’ve often wondered about the phenomenon of club members who work as consultants for these shows that are used by LE and DAs to torpedo them in court hearings. They worry about the skewed image that these shows portray, yet they contribute to the show itself. It’s difficult to fight a fire while you’re feeding the flame. I once read that when “Wino” Wilie Forkner was approached to be a consultant on the “The Wild Ones” he told Kramer to kick rocks; he reasoned that the Boozefighters had received enough heat vis-a-vis the “Hollister Riots,” and he didn’t want any part of it.

  3. Phuquehed Says:

    I still think I have it better than anyone else, because I threw my teevee out 6 years ago.

  4. Mark Says:

    @ tj
    I get your point and respect your opinion but lets look at the big picture. The human mind has 2 side to it, not so much right and left but the walking state and the sleeping state. The conscience state which is your walking state and the sub-conscience state is your sleeping state. Believe it or not but the, Conscience/walking state are with in the Sub-Conscience state. There is a lot of good science that backs this and it’s been around for a long time.
    The jury can’t shake their interfeeling regardless if they bring them to their forethoughts or not but it’s like the brain’s DNA of thinking and reasoning. That’s why people have different personalities, different ways of interself thoughts. The CIA has been digging into this stuff for a long, long time. There is a book that is a mind blower and it’s called, “The CIA, LSD and the 60’s Rebellion” a must read. Remember the republicans flashed on TV, “democRATS” and the democrats had a cow. Get it, the Sub-Conscience is what they are going after. I’m fully convinced that the CIA had a huge hand in SOA for public preception which government does all the time, fucks with people’s minds to get them thinking in a path that has the road paved by government. Baaaa.

  5. tj Says:

    im with jrino and white witch on this..have a very close friend (ive emailed rebel on him when he wrote the piece on his case) fighting for his life, both he and his lawyers (who i know too well) feel that stupid television shows have zero influence with jury or judge..now, im sure there are cases where maybe it wormed its way into a juries head etc…im not in the bike world..my world is of a different genre..but ill say this, i dont think the sopranos, or good fellas, or godfather, had much affect on trial ive been through or around..your defense lawyer should be able to hand that arguement…the rats, or the tapes, thats a different story..i see the point that rebel, shovelhead, etal are making, jurors, or general public, have an idea of what an MC is (1% or not) and it worms into their head, i get that…there are lots of tv ideas, and the sheep in america defintely feel they are real, i do get that principal. BUT, i just feel that when you are in court fighting for your life, that most people listen to whats put in front of him, they are not looking at the defendent as jax teller..or tony soprano..unless the rats and tape paint them as such…my 2 cents…

  6. Gordo Says:

    Seems FX is running SOA episodes again with their new ads promoting The Mayans TV series

    Marketing money and BS

  7. Rebel Says:

    Dear Only 1 BW,

    Actually the top three posts, which are the three latest posts, are about Sutter’s new TV show, the attempted murder of a Mongol in Oklahoma — and he was already having a bad month, and a story about Waco.

    Thank you for reading.

    Rebel

  8. Only 1 BW Says:

    Wonder if it’s just a coincidence or what but why is it that the 3 top posts, the 3 topics that always get the most attention and drama are 1.SOA/Mayans 2.Iron Order and 3. The Mongols! Guess the three of them have a lot in common or are made up of the same people, fans , supporters.

  9. Shovelhead Says:

    white witch,
    Except, not all Motorcycle Clubs are 1%ers. There’s actually more that are not. Just regular Mom & pop clubs being treated like outlaws because Joe Q Public thinks SOA is a real assessment of All motorcycle clubs.
    Does the average person on the street know the difference between a 1%er and a regular club? Look at Waco, there was only a couple of 1%er clubs there, but all were arrested.
    People get their education from TV now a day’s. So if all they see is Kurt Sutters version of what motorcycle clubs are, Then that’s what the Public is going to go by, what else do they have?
    just like back in the mid sixties with all those crazy Drive-in-Movies about psychotic Bikers raping & pillaging.
    I personally thought it was a cool, but I can imagine what my parents thought!

  10. The 906 Says:

    @ Jus Sayin

    That’s Mr. The 906 to you!

    Are you not allowed to talk at home? Is that why you are such a chatty fucker here?

    The 906

  11. white witch Says:

    white witch
    @jrino I 2nd that. mc’s have more to worry about with their own than a tv show.
    The tv show is not writing books,snitching,consulting on said tv show,shooting other mc members. That is clubs and patch holders doing that shit. Blaming a tv show is just a cop out and ignoring the reason some of these mc’s are in the mess their in.
    Clean up your own backyard first.

    @ ff (fuck face)
    stop it you are scaring the shit out of me.

  12. I.J Says:

    I wonder if the S.O.A supporters will start a war with the Mayan supporters for control of California?

  13. jrino Says:

    I think I would worry more about people like Ruben “Doc” Cavazos and the dozens of of snitches,and turncoats in the MC’s for the demise of MC’s. Seems like that’s as bad as anything on tv. There’s no shortage of ex patch holders writing books on the subject. And every time you see patch holders like Sonny Barger working for “Sons of anarchy” TV, ya gotta wonder don’t ya?

  14. FF Says:

    @white witch

    I told you to shut it, now shut it!

    I SAID SHUT IT!!!!

  15. white witch Says:

    white witch
    @ ff what does ff stand for—-fuck face
    I said something intelligent to much to ask i guess
    you seem to have a thing for dude’s asses
    you are on the wrong site i think
    call upsatairs.
    if you really want to throw insults around go spend the evening with your family

    ride free
    white witch

  16. I.J Says:

    @ sohn…… it was a rhetorical question

  17. New England Rider Says:

    @Jus Sayin’

    OK you sincerely made me laugh so I have a tendency to cut people or things that make me laugh a break.
    I know why you were posting that video and that was why I said what I did. His friend’s didn’t step in because that dude is a genuine bad-ass. If you ride enough in New England, specifically in the Eastern CT / Western RI area, you know who he is. Again I won’t put him on blast but you can find out who he is. It is not like his friends thought they were dealing with some b*tch, everyone knows who he is and that he was a former professional boxer. He also typically carries 3 or 4 knives in plain view on his belt. He is NOT a man to be f*cked with.
    Having said that the guy with the jean jacket with the HA Support Patch probably never got past the “hang-around” stage after this video came out!!

    LL&R,
    New England Rider

  18. obfvscated Says:

    Sutter likely skipped a prequel series because of audience demographics and marketing. IMO a blessing as it would be another “crazy Nam vet” stereotype clusterfuck. It couldn’t be used to sell new model HDs and Boomers have bought most of our motorcycles already. We’ll be dead soon along with out disposable income and the used market is flooded with low mileage machines.

    Young white folks don’t give a much of a fuck about “old man” non-performance motorcycles a bike half the displacement can destroy in a race, let alone twisty roads. HD was an “aspirational brand”. For it to be one again requires a YOUNG aspirational market with time and money ahead of them, bonus if concentrated in States with good riding weather. No doubt Sutter talked with MoCo suits on the down low. It’s about the money.

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