Some recent posts here about a couple of television shows, Sons of Anarchy and The Devils Ride, have attracted new visitors to this site so a little background might encourage them to keep coming back. At least 80 percent of the content on this site is mostly hidden. Since September 2008 – with a long break from June 2010 until September 2011 – I have written 580 posts and the readers and I have written – at this moment – about 15,500 comments.
There are far many more words here than are in Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Most casual visitors who are not federal policemen ignore the comments but they are really the best part of The Aging Rebel. New readers might find some bunches of comments interesting: Like a running debate with ATF Agent John Ciccone (writing as T-Dogg) or the war of words between the Association of Recovering Motorcyclists and the Sober Riders Motorcycle Club after a double murder in Phoenix that I called, too flippantly, “The Sober Murders.”
Unfortunately, at this time, it is difficult for readers to search through all these comments. This morning one reader suggested that I make one of them easier for new readers to find. I know that sometimes the light does not go on about any story until I comment on it or answer a question about it. So here are three comments casual readers probably missed including, where helpful, a comment from a reader.
New readers may find this background helpful. Or, maybe even interesting. This sampling of back page words may give new readers insight into what this site is really about.
From June 16, 2012
From Erudite Hillbilly,
Hey Rebel, you should put the bulk of your “June 16th, 2012 at 9:04 am” comments as a note in the main post. For anyone who hits the stories but doesn’t go through all the comments it ties it all together nicely. The light-bulb didn’t really turn on (or go past dim) for me until reading that comment. But, maybe my light-bulb is just cold from not being on much this weekend.
Rebel Commenting to a reader named pretjah about the Story More Hollywood Crap
As I was looking at this story for about a day before I actually wrote it, I had to ask myself if there was any real news here. After all, during the Davy Crockett craze of the 1950s lots of little boys bought coon skin caps so they could dress up and pretend to be their hero. So what is the difference between coon skin hats and SOA cuts and underwear? I think the difference is that grown men, not little boys, will be buying the SOA stuff. I don’t think the news in this story is that Fox has found new revenue streams to maximize their profit from this television show. I don’t care that Bartels gets to sell an extra 100 bikes this year. I like Bartels. I am a long time Bartels customer and I want that dealership to survive. Terrific service department. I think the news in this story is that Fox expects grown men to buy this stuff. That’s what I think people should know about.
I think this news points to a couple of social trends. One is the infantilization of American men — or at least the American men who count. I think the other trend is that pretending to be motorcycle outlaws makes these men feel less out of control of their fates in an increasingly despotic, crazed and failing nation. This is an example of how bad America is getting. People don’t believe in America anymore. They believe in Sons of Anarchy.
You know, if these pieces I write here were worthy of The Atlantic or New York Times Magazine or something, I probably would have played the story more like that. But they are not. Instead this is just The Aging Rebel. So I just let everybody know about this so they could draw their own conclusions.
From May 15, 2012
Rebel commenting to a reader named Junkyard about the story Ride Devils Ride
Ahh! Gila Bend! What a desolate stretch of road. I once spent a night at the rocket ship motel there.
The Laffing Devils strike me as a real motorcycle club that was made to look more foolish than they are by the conventions of reality TV. Even the New York Times authority at large Neil Genzlinger heaped scorn on them and also, I suspect, on many people who read this page.
“The Laffing Devils, in contrast,” Genslinger wrote the other day, “seem to have no founding grievance, no formative caldron (though some are military veterans). They are just a bunch of guys — mostly white, mostly middle aged, from what we see on ‘The Devils Ride’ — with loud bikes and an excess of belligerence who spout platitudes about brotherhood and bonding that are more appropriate to soldiers in a foxhole.
“’We have the mentality of knowing that I know he’s going to be there beside me, and I’m going to be there beside him,’ a founder known as Danny Boy says. Be there for what? Mostly for support in trouble of their own making, it appears.
“Club members, still thinking it’s the 1950s and motorcycles are a symbol of something other than eardrum damage, ride around seemingly waiting for anyone to look crosswise at them. At one point a member in training punches and kicks someone who he decided was taking too many photographs near a table full of club members’ female companions.
“Guns, testosterone, an aggressive posture toward the world and a chip on the collective shoulder. What could go wrong?”
I suspect that the “founding grievance” of this club is smugly fatuous guys like Genzlinger. I don’t know what relationship the Laffing Devils have to other clubs in Dago. I don’t need to know. I notice they are all alive and seem unafraid. All I know is that if I ever run into any of these guys, if this club survive this show, I expect them to treat me with respect. So, I am going to give them their respect. Sutter and SOA and so on is just unabashedly Hollywood, so that show is fair game because nobody real is involved.
Reply From Square Verbose Doc,
“I suspect that the “founding grievance” of this club is smugly fatuous guys like Genzlinger.”
Reading Genzlinger’s review and then this statement was a sort of crystallizing moment.
From April 14, 2012
Rebel commenting to a reader named Dan the Man about the book Out Bad
It is a grand dream to be an outlaw. To be an outlaw is to wander as Ulysses wandered; to search for one’s moment as Beowulf searched; to be, all at once, Cain the murderer, Sigurd the Dragon Slayer, Robin Hood, John Hawkwood, Francis Drake, Daniel Boone, Wild Bill Hickok, John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde.
Outlaws do not live without law but by their own code. In English Common Law, a Writ of Outlawry concluded with the prescription caput gerat lupinum which means “when you see him see a wolf.” The sentence once meant more than it now seems to mean. Wolves were not exterminated in Britain until they no longer had places to hide, until late in the reign of Henry VII, about the same time most of the English forests were cut down and new forests and new wolves were discovered in a new world. The seminal act of outlawry has always been to evade the grasp of the law, usually by flight: Into the deepest dark of the forest, or off to the forests beyond a distant shore, into the wilderness beyond that or off to the frontier. The essence of outlawry has never been criminality. The essence has always been to run away to begin again and the predation on and exploitation of the others – the farmers, the gentry, the law, the rich, the Italians, the Spanish, the Indians, the British, the French, the Yankees or whoever the others happened to be – has always been secondary.
In this millennium the wolves you are most likely to see ride motorcycles.
And now a brief word from the responsible opposing viewpoint. Give it up for and watch the video of New York Times Best Selling wordsmith Agent Jay!