The importance of being wild
This is a highly entertaining, if breezy, collection of anecdotes that amounts to a teary-eyed bit of hero worship. Hayes loves his superlatives and never misses a chance to point out that some things, like American lager, will never be improved on.
Hayes seems stuck between two agendas. It’s imperative to paint the Boozefighters MC in as admirable and harmless a light possible, so that no one could doubt that «the media» wrongfully exaggerated the events in Hollister in 1947 and forever maligned the face of motorcycling. As result, no matter how many times Hayes refers to the Boozefighters as «the real wild ones» (at least five times per chapter) they just never come off as all that wild.
I find myself wishing that Hayes would let the stories stand on their own. They’re amusing, but the combination of Hayes’ constant reminders of how wild the Boozefighters were and are with the boyish «aw, shucks» nature of the stories make the stories and the men seem diminished. The Boozefighters deserve the respect that comes from the truth of their stories, not the reverence that comes from mythologizing and overinflation.
«Scarface» aka «Flesh» will probably want to kick my ass for criticizing the book. I havent been riding long enough to say shit about the BFMC. That’s true and I’ll gladly buy a round of beverages for the boys in Green and White. I have however been reading for almost thirty-three years so I hope I’m entitled to my opinions about the book.
7 Replies to “The importance of being wild”
I just picked this book up
I just picked this book up last night. I have a different reason for reading it though.
The BFMC was labeled an “outlaw” motorcycle club because they did not follow the AMA rules for competition, not because they were always breaking the law. The general public has twisted the AMA definition of “outlaw” motorcycle club. Other “outlaw” clubs (i.e. Hells Angels) have perpetuate this twist.
I’m sure most of the stories in this book have been embellished upon over the years.
If you’re looking for some good motorcycle related reading material, might I suggest Monkey Butt by Rick Sieman: http://www.superhunky.com/Monkey.htm
Another one that may be of interest is Steve McQueen 40 Summers Ago: http://shop.robertaugust.com/accessories/books/40summers.html
As being one of the people
As being one of the people who researched information the book, I can assure you that the stories were cross-referenced.
Also, you need to remember, that these were the guys that started everything. Don’t think in terms now. think in terms of just after the war.
What kind of mettle do you think it takes to ride in the middle of winter to Chicago, after all?
As Thom Stark likes to say,
As Thom Stark likes to say, “orthogonal.”
The stories were cross-referenced. Um. Thanks for sharing. So what? So they’re likely to be true? Well, I already believed them all. What’s your point?
And no, they didn’t fucking start everything. Before them were hundreds of generations of wild ones. Hayes goes on and on to point out that the original wild ones were just looking to have some fun. I can look to stories from my father’s youth and from my grandfather’s youth that are just as “wild.” Hell, when the ABCCit group went up to Lost Coast to meet The Survivors up there, Saddletramp fell off the back of Turnsignal Tim’s bike and everyone laughed. Why should I read a book of stories like that when I could be out living them?
What kind of mettle it takes to ride in the middle of winter to Chicago? Yeah, some kind. I respect that. But it certainly doesn’t make anyone mythical. Shit, I know people that have done that solo on a bicycle in the wintertime, and I know people who have walked from the Pacific to the Atlantic, one who has done it six times since he was released from prison at age 50. That’s a symbol of freedom that nothing in that book compares to.
Ultimately, it came down to this. I loved the sections where the Boozefighters were telling stories of what happened. I wasn’t that thrilled with Hayes’ editorializing about them. All that “there’s a brotherhood of class, the true originals” hero-worship crap just watered down the impressive stuff that came from the mouths of the Boozefighters.
I liked the section you were credited with. You didn’t editorialize, or if you did it didn’t make it into the book. You gathered up what Dago, Jim Cameron, and Earl Carlos said and it stood on its own. Imagine how much better it would have been without being introduced as “the purest gold from an era of goldâbiker gold.”
The book would have been better with more Boozefighters and less drooling over the Boozefighters.
“The stories were
“The stories were cross-referenced. Um. Thanks for sharing. So what? So they’re likely to be true? Well, I already believed them all. What’s your point?”
I wasn’t refering to you, defensive boy.
“And no, they didn’t fucking start everything. Before them were hundreds of generations of wild ones.”
I didn’t say they start everything. They started the motorcycle culture as it exists today.
“Shit, I know people that have done that solo on a bicycle in the wintertime”
As you’ll soon find out, riding in winter weather on a motorcycle is not anything comparable to riding a bicycle in the winter. A ride up to Truckee should illustrate this in about three weeks.
“I liked the section you were credited with”
I did a lot more with ther book than that. Lots of research, and 3/4 of the photos are mine.
I’m six chapters into the
I’m six chapters into the book and, so far, find the stories amusing and humorous. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve been involved with motorcycle clubs for a few years. The old guys always have some great stories from some by-gone era.
In my, short, 21 years on two-wheels I’ve got some amusing stories as well. Oh sure, at the time they didn’t seem all that funny. Now, looking back, they’re hilarious.
The stories? great. The
The stories? great. The editorializing and sensationalizing of the stories is what I can do without. With his “pure biker gold” and “stuff of legends” and constant references to the Boozefighters as “the original wild ones” (as opposed to “the original Wild Ones”) he’s done exactly the same thing that the reporters did about Hollister in 1947.
I definitely enjoyed the book and I hope not to ruin your enjoyment of it. I think that it’s a worthwhile read, I just didn’t like what I thought was an overly romantacized treatment of some great, otherwise matter-of-fact stories.
“he’s done exactly the same
“he’s done exactly the same thing that the reporters did about Hollister in 1947.”
The reporters showed up a day late, and made shit up, with no truth to what happened whatsoever. None
How is that the same thing?