Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Patriotic bike pin-ups ?

Retro bikes. Retro pin-ups.  What's not to like ?

Well actually this  latest campaign from Harley Davidson ...

Apparently the MoCo have declared this 'Military Appreciation Month'.

I know there's  a tradition in the US that's very different to the UK. Patriotism is a different thing there - no 'queen and country'  but instead 'a nation indivisible' and all that.

Back in the '60's the Hells Angels in California stomped the hippies  protesting the war and Sonny Barger volunteered his boys for 'special service' in Vietnam. But there was an equally strong class aspect  to that, a  resentment of privileged students who could evade the draft whilst working class kids hadn't that luxury of choice.

Nowadays the bikers' Patriot Guard finds common cause with gay activists to preserve the dignity of service-men's  funerals against  the protests of  some Christian 'mentalists who see the soldiers' deaths as god's punishment for sexual tolerance.

I know that it's possible to oppose the war whilst still  supporting the troops on the ground  - but even so I'm very uneasy about the automatic association of bikers with support for the military.

My favourite redneck radical, Steve Earle, puts it best when he says 'it's never, ever unpatriotic to question anything in a democracy, no matter what and no matter what's going on in the world'. Maybe we could work that slogan into some motorcycling eye-candy.

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