America, in the midst of paranoia, bigotry and violence. Released in the year of the Woodstock concert, and made in a year of two tragic assassinations (Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King), the Vietnam War buildup and Nixon's election, the tone of this 'alternative' film is remarkably downbeat and bleak, reflecting the collapse of the idealistic 60s. Easy Rider, one of the first films of its kind, was a ritualistic experience and viewed (often repeatedly) by youthful audiences in the late 1960s as a reflection of their realistic hopes of liberation and fears of the Establishment.
The iconographic, 'buddy' film, actually minimal in terms of its artistic merit and plot, is both memorialized as an image of the popular and historical culture of the time and a story of a contemporary but apocalyptic journey by two self-righteous, drug-fueled, anti-hero (or outlaw) bikers eastward through the American Southwest. Their trip to, but also through areas where local residents are increasingly narrow-minded and hateful of their long-haired freedom and use of drugs. The film's title refers to their rootlessness and ride to make "easy" money; it is also slang for a pimp who makes his livelihood off the earnings of a prostitute. However, the film's original title was The Loners.
The names of the two main characters, Wyatt and Billy, suggest the two memorable Western outlaws Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid - or 'Wild Bill' Hickcock. Rather than traveling westward on horses as the frontiersmen did, the two modern-day cowboys travel eastward from Los Angeles - the end of the traditional frontier - on decorated Harley-Davidson choppers on an epic journey into the unknown for the 'American dream'.
A man went looking for America and couldn't find it anywhere.
Their costumes combine traditional patriotic symbols with emblems of loneliness, criminality and alienation - the American flag, cowboy decorations, long-hair, and drugs.
Scared of Highway Riding
Blue_FairySeptember 12, 2006
I am scared of Highway riding, and still, daily street riding in Traffic. I have taken the MSF Rider Safety Course, and have only 212 miles on my new 800cc motorcycle.
I got on the highway last night at 3:30 A.M., and stayed to the right for awhile as I felt scared and then promptly exited. I couldn't get the bike to go faster than 50 MPH because of the fear I felt when the vibration and the wind took hold of me ...this at 50 mph, only, lol. I learned to lean into the wind, which helps, but the vibration and the whine of the bike and wind....everything seems so crazy fast and unstable kindof.....at 50mph, only....am I nuts? I have a death grip on the handle bars and am fearful of blowing away!
We Go Way Too Fast
A few motorcyclists just read that heading and thought something like "Fuck yeah, we go too fast! We're daredevils, bro. You suckers can keep your cages, we're ." (Yes, some bikers refer to cars as "cages," because literally everything has its embarrassing elitist jerks.) But I'm not talking about the reckless velocity of dudes without enough brain cells to comprehend mortality. I meant exactly what I said: "We go way too fast."