Friday, March 13, 2009

From Up High to Far Out

I think one of the coolest things I learned from Rick speaking to us about the 60’s was when he said that pilots first started motorcycle gangs. I had never thought about how motorcycle gangs got started, but now I can definitely see the correlation between the two groups. This is depicting a time before the pilots of motorcycle gangs flew, but the movie, Flyboys, really shows what kind of people signed up for the job of pilot. During World War I, flight was the riskiest position; the life expectancy of a pilot was six weeks. These men were crazy, daredevils, and braver than most. They were of a different quality.

Flight also changed these men, and I believe it still changes whomever are in the cockpit. When you are flying, there are no boundaries, no roads to follow, no limits. When you are flying, you are free. You realize how silly the worries of the world are when you have the wind swirling around you and the ground running below you. As one of the pilots describe in the trailer of Flyboys, up there, no one cared who or what you were.

So, imagine taking these changed men and grounding them back into society. They can no longer soar over different countries without the politics of boarders or walk around town as an equal. They were stuck back into society’s slow, silly problems. I can understand them missing the freedom and speed of flying and the companionship of their fellow pilots. Thus, motorcycle gangs seem completely logical and bound to be created. As Rick said, motorcycles allowed pilots to feel the fight of the wind and the speed of an advanced machine. The gangs allowed these changed men to feel a part of something and able to relate to a group.

On the flip side, I can now see why the tension between society and motorcycle gangs rose, as is shown in Easy Rider. We all hear the prejudice against motorcycles from our parents, if they are “good, upstanding members of society”. However, the movie didn’t seem to have a problem with the motorcycles themselves; it was the people on the bikes. This just takes us back to how flight changed the pilots. Society didn’t seem as appealing to the pilots, and the pilots seemed like villains to society because of their disregard of society’s priorities. I can definitely see this attitude being contagious to youth, but I will discuss the coolness of the attitude later.

1 comment:

  1. You're just going to leave me hanging!??!?!

    I hope you can figure out something today that might be an analog to this motorcycle culture. I have been looking for this for the last few weeks and need some ideas.