Easy Rider and Chopperguy

Thoughts on Easy Rider, biker cinema, and riding and working on a vintage chopper.

Monday, May 23, 2005


That's some yankee queers. Check the flag on that bike.

Reportedly when Peter Fonda was riding around Los Angeles on Captain America in his costume, trying to break in the gear and give the bike a more 'used' look, he would get pulled over a lot. Part of it probably had something to do with a long haired guy riding around in the middle of the night on a chopper. But it was also partially due to the American flag motif. You see, it's just not proper etiquette to use the American flag in that manner. While it wasn't (and still isn't) against the law, it sure as hell pissed off 'patriotic' Americans.

Of course now the flag gets recklessly plastered on all sorts of crap. A lot of misuse comes from people's ignorance. Don't be ignorant! You can read up on etiquette at sites like this one.

The sudden proliferation of flags in and on motor vehicles is one of the most striking problems (don't even get me started on flag use in advertising). It's sad to see a battered, faded, wind shredded flag fluttering along on some person's car. Even more troubling are the stickers. Just to make it nice and sparkling clear for everyone, when a flag is displayed on something that moves such as cars, busses, little red wagons, or the sleeves of your jacket, it should be applied in such a way that it will appear to be flowing in the wind. In other words, the stars should always be forward with the bars flowing towards the rear.

Which brings me to a truly sad thing I spotted. The local motorcycle police ride Kawasakis. That in and of itself churns my stomach. Police are paid through the taxation of Americans who presumably work in America for American companies. A perfectly suitable American motorcycle manufacturer (who shall remain nameless) provides law enforcement models for purchase by police and sheriff's departments. There is no need to be buying foreign made bikes for the job no matter what the savings. (Yes, that's a personal opinion and I'm standing by it!) But far worse than that, the flag decals on the right hand sides of their motorcycles are facing the wrong way! The bars are forward.

All of this shouldn't bother me as much as it does. I'd be more likely to join in a chorus of The Pledge of Defiance than that of allegiance. I have my reasons. But damn it, if you want to show your patriotism by flying an American flag you should take the time to do it right! I own two flags, myself. The first one I received was draped across the coffin of my uncle/godfather who served in Korea in the Navy. I later received my grandfather's coffin flag. He had served in the Army during WWII. On a few occasions I have displayed either of these flags. Each time I have done so with full observance of all recommended protocols.

I have seen people burn flags in protest and later asked them if they were familiar with the proper etiquette. They always have been. I have seen the flag flown upside down and asked the individuals if they knew what it meant. They do. So to see a bunch of so called 'good American patriots' fucking around with the symbol, oblivious to their desecration, is really sickening. Your ilk are right up there with those who willingly followed the blind patriotism of Nazi Germany. That's right, just go along with the crowd and you'll be fine. Don't talk to me about patriotism and respect. Don't go shoving your flag in my face unless you want me to dip it in kerosene and stick it up your ass and light it.

Was that a bit harsh? Tough shit.

While I agree with most of your sentiment, I would add that one should also know how to refer properly to the flag and its parts. The American flag has “stripes,” never “bars.” Bars are what was on the first flag of the Confederacy, aka the (in)famous “Stars and Bars.” Note that this is NOT the same flag most people think of as the Conferdate flag, which was actually the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, although the design of the latter was incorporated into the canton of the second and third Confederate flags. But, anyway… the American flag should always be referred to as having stripes and not bars.
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