Monday, October 17, 2005

The American Dream

I see this from time to time in my neighborhood- a Black Man riding a Harley. To my mind, this captures something essential and is worthy of notice. That the descendents of slaves would have enough leisure time, disposable income, and cultural freedom to buy and wear an outlaw identity is, what? Unique? At least... where but in America could this happen? Perhaps the only other country with the cash to support that kind of flash is Japan- and in fact, I have seen in Japan a man riding a PERFECT replica of "Electra Glide in Blue", uniform too. But that gentleman came from privilege- you won't see any recent Korean immigrants terrorizing the Land of the Rising Sun on a chopper, you won't see any Filipinos there rumbling away on a Wide Glide. Nor an Indonesian on an Indian. So it occurred to me that the particular combination of African-American and Milwaukee iron might signify something unique to the United States. Maybe of equal importance is the notion that liquidity of identity can be a precursor of freedom- most "hip" types decry this, protesting that democratizing a cultural symbol robs it of import. Bullshit- if someone wants to buy it, it is important enough to them! More, buying an identity means that anyone can be anyone. That's democracy.


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