Things I Hate


I've never liked the men and women who practice what the Harley-Davidson Motor Company preaches. When a million people wear the same ponytail, cruise the same backroads, swill foam at the same roadhouses, spend billions on the same detritus and flaunt the same sense of entitlement and bad-boy attitude, the "individuality" those sheep flock to establish reminds me of the dragon that eats its own tail. Unfortunately, this is one living beast the wizards at Harley-Davidson will never allow to simply devour itself and go away.

Hence, The Motor Company Freedom Creed:

I spent the morning yesterday speaking with several hundred drinkers of Harley's punch. To a man, their brio and braggadocio was palpable. Do these festooned buffoons truly believe in the statement they and their lard-assed saddle tramps are making? And what, exactly, are they trying to say—that they're overeaters at a gay bondage bake sale? Hey Hacksaw, you're not fooling anyone with the "Loud Pipes Save Lives" sticker on your DOT-approved pudding bowl—everyone with a boil on his ass knows you're a proctologist from Reseda. Ditto the fuck head in the Fuck You t-shirt with the POW flag on his windshield. Viet Nam was 40 years ago. I acknowledge your sacrifice as much as the next guy, but when you pine for reparations this long, you sound like Kanye West bitching about his great-great-grandfather's 40 acres and a mule. Let it go, Lt. Kilgore.

Harley-Davidson knows the customers they keep are getting long in the tooth, and that the growing number of younger, equally affluent individuals out there want nothing to do with these leather-clad kooks. To keep the big wheels turning, The Motor Company is not so deftly coddling one sect even as it woos the other. This means weekend rallies with free hot dogs and bike washes for HOG members, and little black books with "secret handshakes" for the Gen X set. How is it working? If you're self-absorbed, pennywise, pound foolish, older than dirt and bigger than a bread truck, like a charm. If you're self-made, media-savvy, open-minded and world-wise, like shit perfume. 

Until 10 million aging skaters, BMXers, surfers and snowboarders park their "kid's toys" and kick start their middle ages aboard affordable motorcycles—not the bloated barges H-D's "Dark Custom" department is trying to foist upon them—America's highways will continue to be populated by the believers in Harley's fable. If the real believers don't do something about it, I just might shave my legs and climb back on my bicycle.