There is nothing cooler than a dude on a motorcycle. Wind in your hair, the purr between your legs accompanied by the essential leather jacket, Frye boots, dark denim, and aviator sunglasses. Whether it's a nostalgia for the rock-n-roll lifestyle or a mid-life-crisis derived from a movie. The truth is that Tom Cruise never looked better than Top Gun. He peaked here, thus better explain his need of personal affirmation found in Scientology. Either way, riding a motorcycle is the tits, in one moment you've never been so close to fully living or fully dying.
This past weekend I witnessed a man drive his motorcycle onto a populated sidewalk and into the back of a parked car. It happened so quickly that with the bat of an eyes, I went from idolizing this guy to rejecting him. My experience with motorcycles has been somewhat limited, beside the fact my mother and father actual owned an rode them in their youth, I've only ridden passionately with some guys I've dated.
This nostalgia is nonexistent when referring to the minibike. Similar to children's jet skis, snowmobiles, and go-karts, minibikes were brought into this world by bike enthusiasts experimenting with spare parts. Because these bikes maneuver tight pit roads so easily it was only a mater of time before a mini-powersports field was created in the 1950's.
Although uncommon, these crotchrockets have been known to make an appearance in Brooklyn where just recently I saw one speeding through Williamsburg. Ironically the minibike has a long history with Brooklyn, where the son to John Gotti, godfather of the Gambino crime family, Frank Gotti was killed while while minibiking in Howard Beach. He was only 12 years old, however the murderer John Favara was found not guilty. Allegedly the mob took maters into their own hand where Favara's disappearance and death, where thought to be apart of The Hole a mafia dumping ground excavated on Ruby Street on the border of Brooklyn and Queens. And although bodies were found, his remains remain missing. Lore has it that he was dismembered with a chainsaw and fed to the fishes, dissolved in acid, and stuffed into a barrel and sank at Sheepshead Bay.
Aside from the menacing mafia, minibikes pose their own risk to life and limb. And although minibikes are not allowed on most public streets, they are still prevalent in Brooklyn where it seems like anything goes; you mopeds, electric bicycles, ATVs, Golf Carts, motorized unicycles, 3 Wheel Cars and motorcycles called. Spydrs. Only 19 of the US states require riders to wear a helmet, not to mention overall motorcycles account for 14% of all auto fatalities in 2012. Luckily
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100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.