new-wave mccarthyism

March 11, 2009

Oh, for the opportunity to reach through the internet and have a hearty talk with the the chauvinism going around fixed gear blogs the last few days. I mean, could you have a more narrow-minded reaction to those bikes that you claim to love than bashing an attempted documentation of Long Beach’s local fixed gear scene? Overusing words like “poseur” and running a boat metaphor home (apparently, it navigated the Sludge-son before it came to the largest port in the country), the elitist East Coast riders at Prolly Is Not Probably and the redundantly-titled Bike Snob NYC blogs were so offended by a 30 second trailer for the UC Irvine student film that their headmasters declared an end to fixed gear identity-formation and their readers ridiculed the unsuspecting filmmaker into removing it with apologies to the burroughs’ bike gods.

Fuck that. As the fixed gear-riding girlfriend of the moustachiod mechanic interviewed for the documentary in question (TRAkTION), I have watched the popularity grow around his shop in the 5 short months that LBFG has been open. There is finally a store that sells what is needed and it has helped spawn rides, community activism and a shitload of after-hours hanging out in my living room. We desperately needed a bike store that didn’t sell just beach cruisers and when Eric started helping LBFG set up shop in the East Village Arts District last Summer, my thoughts were all about how we can use this store to help cultivate what’s going on and ever since their insanely over-attended opening party last November, that’s exactly what it’s been doing. And now that some Williamsburgers saw one video, what we’re doing is not okay?

Long Beach has as much right to a bike community as New York did when it first started and our identity is definitely new, albeit different than your pompous, cynical one. No one out here needs to be “grandfathered in” because there are no grandfathers here; everyone is discovering, learning, creating, collaborating, building (most importantly, accepting); and soon enough, our clothing lines and frame builders will be known for doing it with a Long Beach twist (not just the spokes–haha?).  Some of the kids might be young but they’re starting something just like you did and just like San Francisco did and just like Seattle did. And if anything, bike riders in larger cities should be pleased that the message of not being an asshole to the environment is prevailing in an area so centered on car culture because its popularity in Los Angeles is a hell of a lot more intriguing than in New York, where getting on a bike is a big huge “DUH.”

Moreover, maintaining an attitude that judgement must be passed in order for a burgeoning community to be “legitimized” in the eyes of the larger communities just perpetuates the same high and low culture distinctions held by the very society you’ve dedicated so much of your life proving to be separate from. And I’m aware that all of this stands in direct negation of my previous post about my scorn for the word “emo” (where I hate on the younger generation for exploiting themselves on Myspace and being lumped in with the tamer, less-depressed scene my friends and I were a part of in high school), but the main difference is that my guy, Marwin, Tanner, Congo, Spencer, Mike, JP, Jay, Evan, Steven, all the Chris’, all the girls and everyone I missed that rides in Long Beach (I’m horrible with names) aren’t trying to deface what Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and New York are doing. If anything, we’re trying to homage it and do those scenes justice in a place whose only cyclists that get attention are Russ Roca and his Bike Station brigade (who think that they’re saving orphan children in Uganda by not spending money on car insurance). At least the 18 year olds you so excitedly mock aren’t spandex-clad weekend warriors. They’re not butchering everything “street” that you stand for, they just got wind of it later. By your own admission, Macaframa and Long Beach Fixed Gear kids “are doing the exact same thing.” The only difference is that somehow, miraculously, as if it could be done, you have permanently disallowed their acceptance and put and end to national growth of an urban subculture at the exact moment that it is needed the most.

May be if you had done some more research into what’s going on out here instead of reading waaaaaay too much into a student film made by someone who admitted to being a non-rider, you’d find that we’re not all that different, just on a smaller scale. I know it’s hard to see from your dumpter-diver-high-horse, but we definitely have our own identity (ever had a ride end in the Queen Mary parking lot, bitches?) and our own flavor for going about fixed gears (we can ride in the winter, assholes!); one that might be a victim of pastiche, but is definitely not wrecking what you’ve built. Fear us not—we come in peace.

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7 Responses to “new-wave mccarthyism”

  1. Cusson said

    Great write up and thanks for the support.

  2. girl said

    this is rad.

  3. piechart said

    new york sux lol

  4. Conan said

    Rousseauian notions of idealized romanticism? Outright class differences and stereotypes of riders from a particular location? Capitalism, authenticity, the haves-and-have-nots, and the migration of trends?

    I first was discouraged when I realized what negative feedback we had received from Chris’s negligence in allowing that one comment to slip. Even I didn’t realize how loaded it would be until it got bashed on prolly’s blogsite. Then it got written up by bikesnob. Then hipsternascar. Then yours. And then it seemed like everyone with a fixed gear blog had read it. Not only that, they began such a lengthy discussion, not only on the video, but on the authors of the blog and what they had written as well. I’m amazed at such a line of communication.

    If anything, I could only relate this to Duchamp’s rejected toilet that spurred the development of surrealism in the ’20s. It wasn’t the video being rejected; it was the discussion that followed that was of interest. Traktion was the catalyst. I’m thinking.. this is getting kinda cool.

    • fakebadtaste said

      Yes, yes. I’m a cynical idealist who thinks that maybe if we’re all trying to take hold of this type of cultural production then we should probably do it together. There’s no purpose in warring within a subculture, it’s more stupid than black on black gang violence. And especially with the urban bike rider mentality because we stole fixed gears from the velodrome in the first place.

      But yes, opinions are like assholes…and we’re all willing to share

  5. […] that I’ve been having about this whole deal. Sweet!"  Same with Normandie at Fake Bad Taste – straight up backing it all […]

  6. […] at last…after a slew of response here, here, here and here upon its initial trailer […]

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