I received a very interesting email from "Tina." Since I like Tina, I didn't repost her email address as I feel sorry for her as well. Her email shows that she is clearly in the grip of advanced brainwashing but perhaps there is hope because despite the brainwashing, she writes eloquently enough that one can safely assume that she has a brain. It is up to me to jump start the neural process and show her the error of her ways. I try to be as gentle as I can in doing so, since Tina is a lady and hasn't given me any good reason to tear her head off. I rather like this email in particular, because it shows some of the other mentality of owning a Harley, that is, that you would own a Harley and not know why you owned a Harley.
Subject: HARLEY JUNK
Sent: Sat, 20 Dec 2003
Well I guess freedom of speech and your opinion rules this site. I just happen to stumble upon it, wish that I hadn't.
What the hell do you ride a Goldwing? I guess you are one of the people that "don't understand". It is more than a brand name with a high price tag (and yes, everything HD is pricey). It's about a company that struggled its first several years and stands behind their products and their people.
My husband and I ride and we do not smoke or are we rednecks or boozers or drugies and we do not pour this onto our children. It is about the freedom and that wonderful rumble as you go down the road, and to know that you've always got a friend just a few miles away.
Haven't you ever had a passion for something, besides bashing HD, that was so strong that you could not explain it? Ride one just once and maybe you would or it might not be for you. Please do not categorize me because of what I like. Millions of people can't be that wrong, can they?
Thanks for you time.
which I have replied...
Well I guess freedom of speech and your opinion rules this site.
The clichéd “freedom of speech” rhetoric is based on the “you don’t like Harley therefore you aren’t a real American and it’s only because America has freedom of speech that stupid communists like you can say what you do about Harley Davidson and get away with it” argument. Yawn. If you truly think Harley Davidson represents America in any way, shape or form, then you don’t understand the first thing about what it means to be an American. Harley has rewritten what it means to be an American to their own profit advantage. Harley Davidson redefines the term "spin" when it comes to telling the truth. They've turned noise into power, fat into strong, heavy into fast, and broken a lot of other basic rules of physics and common sense. Now, Tina, you aren’t starting off this line of communication very well if you open it with a retarded cliché taken straight from the Harley Davidson Owners Manual. Since the site is owned and maintained by me, yes, my opinion matters more than yours does when it comes to the content of the site.
I just happen to stumble upon it, wish that I hadn't.
Ah, but do you take the red pill, or the blue pill?
Waking up from the dream is always the hardest part, especially if it is a rude awakening. The old saying of "ignorance is bliss" was never more true than for most Harley owners. Once your eyes are open, however, once one little bit of doubt is placed in your mind, then I'm afraid that you can’t ever go back to the way that it was. In that regard, you have my apologies. Truth is never pretty, but it is a necessary facet of life. Some of us live in the real world, some of us do not. I think it is time that you woke up from the fantasy, Tina.
What the hell do you ride a Goldwing?
I find it humorous that so many Harley owners have such disdain for the Goldwing and that a Goldwing seems to be the de-facto unit of instinctual comparison between makes and models. No, Tina, I do not ride a Goldwing, I doubt I could lift one of those monsters by myself. I have a personal philosophy that I ride by; never ride or own a bike you can't pick up by yourself when it falls over, and never ride anything that is going to be so comfortable that you are lulled into a sense of false security on the road. If I wanted a windshield, CD player, AM-FM stereo, cup holder, CB radio and a reverse gear, I'd buy a car, not a motorcycle.
I ride REAL motorcycles, Tina, like the kinds that weigh less than 450 pounds and have over a hundred and fifty horsepower at the rear wheel, factory stock. I do not ride seven hundred pound outdated designs struggling with fifty something horsepower, vintage WW2 air cooled engines, the grace of a pregnant yak, and all the acceleration and maneuverability of a herd of snails. I do not ride bikes that generate more noise pollution than a pack of constipated hippos at a Metallica concert. I ride motorcycles who have their heritage born on the racetrack, thoroughbreds which can trace their lineage back to champions and world class winners.
The motorcycles which I choose to ride are contemporary designs, not copies of decades old designs. They use materials in their construction that you would probably have a hard time pronouncing. They are close tolerance, high performance pieces of art in motion. While they do provide incredible amounts of performance, they are comparably quiet, and they are far safer than anything produced by Milwaukee.
The types of motorcycles which I choose to ride are born from the race track, bred from competition, and draw their designs from victory; three things that Harley Davidson is unfamiliar with and never will be. Three things which I consider to be classic American strengths that are strangely absent in their entirety from any product in the Harley lineup.
I guess you are one of the people that "don't understand".
Yes, you are correct in that assumption.
I simply do not understand the incessant need to base my entire existence on a pay as you go subscription of rampant ignorance and sheep-like gullibility which does nothing more than line the wallets of fetid old troglodytes with my hard earned money. I can be an American without owning a Harley. The ridiculous notion that anyone who owns a Harley is somehow more of an American than someone who doesn't really chafes my educated ass. Citizenship in this country does not require me to purchase or ride any particular make or model of car, truck, or motorcycle, at least not the last time I checked. I do not fall for companies that drape their lackluster products in the American flag and pour on the guilt in an effort to sell more units. I do not understand paying four times the price for one quarter the product, that doesn't make much sense.
I guess I'm a different kind of American. In a nation of hyphenated Americans, I'm an American-American, not a flag slathered lemming.
I chastise you for using yet another tired old cliché from the one page Harley Owners Manual and I hope that you will think twice before using it ever again around anyone with more than a junior high school education. Others might not be as nice to you as I am trying to be.
I will hence forth reply to anyone who uses the “don’t understand” line of reasoning by saying that you could interchange “don’t understand” with “just isn’t dumb enough to own a Harley” and it works perfectly. Here, let me show you by interchanging the cliché in your sentence.
“ I guess you are one of the people that "just isn’t dumb enough to own a Harley." ”
My, my. That does work rather fluidly, now doesn’t it and it looks positively spiffy to boot! Yes, I rather like it and will hence forth use this reply to this tired old piece of scoggin logic whenever it is submitted to me. You all have been warned.
It is more than a brand name with a high price tag (and yes, everything HD is pricey). It's about a company that struggled its first several years and stands behind their products and their people.
It is easy to understand why Harley stands behind their products and their people. Everyone knows that when your Harley won't crank, it's far easier to push it than pull it, hence standing behind a Harley provides the most amount of leverage for the least amount of work. When Harley stands behind their product, they're just leading by example.
Yes, Tina, Harley Davidson is much more than a name brand with a high price tag. It is a pagan religion disguised as a corporate entity. Why else can you explain the fervent devotion of its many followers, the secular worship of its lackluster offerings, and the zealous nature of its converts? When you have customers who ritualistically scarify their bodies with the symbol of the religion, when they permanently maim their flesh with your emblem, when they not only name their first born child "Harley" but also go as far as to make sure that all three initials of the child's name match the letters in the name Harley Davidson Motorcycles, then you don't have a business, you have a religion. You aren't selling motorcycles, you're selling salvation to weak minded fools. Not since Jim Jones and Jonestown, Guiana have I seen so many people so easily brainwashed that they would blindly follow one particular icon without questioning, without thinking.
When you pay a high price for low technology, educated people don't think too highly of you. After all, would you buy a black and white vacuum tube technology TV and pay large screen plasma TV prices for it? No? That's what you're doing when you buy a Harley. Next time you think you are buying some made in America lifestyle accessory, look at the tag. Chances are, most of the officially licensed and endorsed products you choose to give your hard earned American dollars for are actually made in Mexico or China and not in the good old USA. Yes, Harley struggled, but you have to understand the foundation of the struggle. Harley made their bed, and now they have to sleep in it.
Harley once stood alone, over all of its domestic competition. Harley outlasted them all and was the American motorcycle. It had no competition left, or so it thought. As such, it became complacent. The British and Japanese invasion almost forty years ago should have galvanized Harley to competition on a world class basis. The imports should have been Harley's call to battle where it matched their technology with aggressive research and development.
But Harley didn't.
Like a deer fatally caught on the rail road track in the headlights of a speeding train, Harley just sat there and lost. And lost. And even when they had the rules of competition changed in their favor, they lost. So, after getting their asses kicked enough times, did Harley overcome their setbacks, did they rise to the challenge or did they turn tail and run?
They turned tail and ran, as fast as they could, which if you know anything about Harleys, isn't really that fast.
That's not very American in my book. Your view on what it means to be an American may differ.
Instead of defending these beautiful shores from the dastardly foreign invaders, as should have been its solemn patriotic duty, Harley quit. They quit, gave up, surrendered, and then ran with their tails tucked between their legs. I'm surprised Harley Davidson didn't move their corporate operations to Canada in the process since at that time Canada was the haven for all the quitters and service dodgers of this great country. I’m also surprised that Harley has the gall to paint its bikes black, unless that is for their shame and represents their mourning for the many lost opportunities and their myriad past sins. I think yellow or pink would be more appropriate colors for their cowardly history. As fortune favors the brave, and cowardice is its own reward, Harley, reaping the benefits of its choices, went on to make many bad business decisions, then there were the AMF years which everyone wishes had never happened. Harley should have become extinct, and if it had, I would at least have some piddling respect for them today, but like a ugly tumor, Harley hung in there, and slowly it grew. When Harley was at its lowest, it was mercifully bought out by some of its more upright walking employees who immediately began to build a new Motor Company using all the begging, pleading, knee walking and sobbing they could to dear old Uncle Sam.
Harley ran once again, but this time it stood cowering behind the legs of its big old Uncle Sam and Harley cried rivers of crocodile tears that it wasn’t fair that the big, bad imports were beating it up daily on the street and in the market place, that so many Americans were buying quality bikes when all it could produce was the same tired old junk it had for decades. So, Uncle Sam, in his short sightedness, stepped in and slapped the mean old imports with heavy tariffs that punished them resolutely and gave Harley a huge advantage, albeit a temporary one. The US government actually set about laws and restrictions that punished its money smart citizens for wanting to buy better products, we legally taxed smart consumer choices beyond the reach of those who wanted to purchase them and we made it legally easier to purchase inferior goods. We rewarded bad business behavior, and reinforced poor fiscal sense, all because we didn't want to see Harley, our dear American motorcycle company fail. Boo effing hoo.
What did they do with the help that they received? Nothing. Well, nothing of any lasting importance or worth.
Did Harley Davidson use this time and this advantage to learn from its almost two decades of making mistake after mistake? Did Harley Davidson use this time to build up its technology base and throw effort and money into R&D in order to bring its standards up to the rest of the world and compete honestly with other makes and brands? Did it throw American champions and new American motorcycle designs into races and competition to establish the fact that it was not only back, but back with a vengeance? Did Harley Davidson go from an also-ran to world class? Did Harley Davidson come screaming up from behind in a huge tidal wave of American ingenuity and patriotic inertia to take the checkered finish in true American style?
What do you think?
I know what you have been led to believe, I know what you have been told to think, but I'm interested in what you really, honestly think. You would be surprised to find out that if you try, you can see through the propaganda and all the marketing spin with relative ease. Harley spins the truth, because if they didn't, they couldn't claim to be what they claim to be, and that is that they have the market cornered on what it is like to be American. Harley's first half of its corporate history is admirable, rising from humble roots to a success story, but from the early sixties to present day it is a shameful record of cowardice, political begging, and the complete fabrication of a myth to ensure both their continued existence and profitability.
Harley knew that they could never compete in the world market on technology, build quality, or contemporary design. They were just too far behind and didn't have the brains or desire to catch up so they took the only thing left to them; package the cheap junk that they did know how to build, sell it at a high premium, wrap it in a heavy dose of patriotic bravo sierra, spin it out of control through marketing, and offer it all as a lifestyle choice to people who were too lazy and unoriginal to create a lifestyle of their very own. Follow that up with Harley slathering their emblem on everything under the sun, from cookie jars to coffee to cigarettes to computer games (i.e. stuff that has nothing to do with building or selling motorcycles) matched with marketing their product to dullards who can't tell the difference between obsolete technology and contemporary designs and voila! Watch the money roll in as Harley laughs all the way to the bank. Harley Davidson is one of the only companies in the world to market so many products which have absolutely no relation at all to their core product other than the easily recognized logo.
There is an old saying; “a fool and his money are soon parted.”
I believe that is the core logic of the Harley Davidson mission statement, and if it isn't, it very well should be. Harley Davidson made sure that they found a lot of fools with a lot of money that they didn’t mind giving up in order to feel patriotic, to belong to a larger group that claimed they were all individuals, yet acted more like a flock. Harley isn’t stupid but its customer base definitely is. Gullible people can also be profitable; Harley's made a financial empire out of that business fact alone.
Harley Davidson does not sell technology. Harley Davidson does not sell power. Harley Davidson does not sell performance. Harley Davidson does not sell contemporary designs. Harley Davidson does not sell anything that is even remotely related to competition, victory, or being an American, unless you believe that being an American means that you are fat, heavy, loud, dumb, outdated, overrated, expensive, farcical, slow, that when the chips are down you resort to begging for your life rather than fighting to the last breath and that losing consistently in any competition you enter is all part and parcel of the American way. That's not how I see Americans, and that's not how I see a true American product, but that is what Harley Davidson is therefore Harley Davidson can in no way be described as being "American" in any way, shape, or form.
My husband and I ride and we do not smoke or are we rednecks or boozers or drugies and we do not pour this onto our children.
Those are very admirable qualities you aspire to, yet you enthusiastically choose to cater your lives to a make believe fantasy. Remember, Tina, you are judged by the company that you keep more than what you do. I’m sure that as your children grow older and start asking questions about your two motorcycles that you will spin the tale that Harley Davidson is “American made” and that you somehow helped your country by buying Harleys over imports. You will feel that you need to justify your choice by explaining that it was important to buy an American product over a foreign product, which is a philosophy designed and propagated by Milwaukee to ease your sense of stupidity for spending way too much for domestic made junk. I'm sure that you will tell your children verbatim all the other nonsense that the Motor Company spouts as truth. After all, if you, a grown adult with years of experience, fell for it completely, then what chance does the underdeveloped mind of a child have when presented with all of that make-believe propaganda?
I truly believe that Harley is a combination of all things that are inherently wrong with motorcycles. If you were to take a motorcycle, and try to build the worst motorcycle in the world by ignoring all conventional wisdom and all the lessons learned in the last sixty years of two wheeled motorized transportation, it would be easy to build such a product. Heck, Milwaukee builds them all year long. You wouldn't have to build one so much as you could just go out and buy one.
It is about the freedom and that wonderful rumble as you go down the road, and to know that you've always got a friend just a few miles away.
I’m glad that the purchase of your Harley also brought you some friends as part of the deal. Truth be known, I’ve been making friends ever since my mother let me out of the house to play with other children for the first time and I never, ever needed a $24,000 piece of chromed out, slapped together, obnoxiously loud junk to do so. I stand on my own, my personality and my charisma attract people to me regardless of what I'm riding or driving or where I choose to be. I make people like me, they are drawn to me, not to my motorcycle or what car / truck that I drive or what clothes that I wear. People who are drawn to the surface appearances aren't worth having around anyway.
Did you have any friends before you bought your Harley? I bet you did, yet you don't mention those. What happened to them? Did you neglect them for your new friends? I truly find it sad that you feel that you need an inanimate object just to make friends, because when you review the flip side of this logic, you must realize that these are fair weather friends at best if they only like you because you own a Harley. If you ever get rid of your Harley, most of your “Harley friends” will go away as well, trust me. It's not friendship, it's flock behavior because there is strength in numbers, as well as blanketing, soothing comfort for the dullard mind. You really don't want to think that you were snookered into paying a whole lot of money for a piece of junk, just so you could be like everyone else, even when your common sense is screaming at you from deep inside that you were an idiot. You want to feel that you made a smart decision, you want to feel that your money was well spent, that you're riding an investment, that you contributed to freedom, to the American common wealth, that you helped stop the spread of communism, but you didn't. The nice thing about being able to ride with large groups of other Harley owners is that when you are there, the fantasy is reinforced tremendously and you can lose yourself in the make-believe atmosphere, forgetting your lack of common sense and your fiscal impotence.
You are not an individual.
You are a member of a flock of indolent sheep.
You are not individuals.
Together, you are a flock, all lackadaisically grazing in the pasture of mediocrity and conformity.
What the hell do you know about freedom, Tina? Obviously not very much if you think you can buy it at some dealership or that it's an option only on certain makes and models of motorcycles. Do you really think that you somehow actually bought any freedom? How much freedom did you get? Five pounds? Two liters? Perhaps you got the Real American Family size serving of freedom? Does your freedom have an expiration date on it? How long is the shelf life on this freedom which you bought, do you have to worry about it going stale?
You can’t buy freedom, Tina. To even think so really, really cheapens the lives and sacrifices of all those Americans who have died defending this great country, it really cheapens the accomplishments of every single American who has given up what they had, given up their lives so that you can enjoy the freedom that you were born with in this great country. Freedom isn't something you get out of a vending machine and it's not something you buy over the counter or didn’t you learn that in junior high government class? Hell, if you could buy freedom, then we would never have had to go to Vietnam or to Grenada, or Panama or Kuwait! We could have just sent them CARE packages lovingly bundled with little individual sized servings of freedom, fun size servings of freedom! We could have just taken those huge fire fighting planes which you see dropping thousands of gallons of water on forest fires in the west and we could have saturated the Ho Chi Minh trail with a deluge of freedom. We could have gotten the fire hoses of freedom after the communists and washed them down with American goodness.
It boggles the educated mind that people actually believe that some product that they own, let alone such a laughable piece of crap, can actually represent such a noble concept as freedom. If you actually thought you were buying some kind of freedom that you never had before when you took possession of your Harley, then I’m afraid that you still have a lot to learn about life in general and about being an American in particular. bnnnnnnnnh
jmmmmmmmmmmmmmkjhhhhhhhhhh Here's some shocking news; I can buy a brand new Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, or Kawasaki motorcycle and get the exact same “freedom” that you describe, and I can get it for thousands and thousands of dollars less. If you thought that you actually bought some kind of freedom with your bike, or that it came with any kind of extra freedom that you didn't have before, some kind of extra freedom that other Americans who don't own Harleys don't or can't enjoy, then I'm afraid that you got schinoozled.
I would also like to point out that the “wonderful rumble” you so love and admire is simply noise to the rest of us. A locomotive sounds a lot different depending on if you're driving it or if you're living next to the tracks. Noise is not power or as I frequently tell the inbred rednecks, there is a big difference between being fast and powerful or just loud and annoying. You probably also think that your Harley is powerful, simply because it is big and loud, or perhaps because it is American made. You fail to realize the ludicrous nature of owning a motorcycle that costs so much, weighs so much, is built on outdated technology, and has so little real world power in comparison to other makes and models. The fantasy that you subscribe to, Tina, doesn't stand up to even the simplest of mathematical examinations. Harleys have to be loud, that's the only way you would ever notice them. They say that a Harley's exhaust sounds like "potato-potato" but I think it sounds more like "look-at-me! look-at-me!"
“Haven't you ever had a passion for something, besides bashing HD, that was so strong that you could not explain it?”
I try not to let any of my passions override my common sense or bypass my education, Tina.
Ride one just once and maybe you would or it might not be for you.
I’ve ridden many Harleys, Tina, all makes and models, well, those that I could lift by myself. The heavier bikes I didn't even want to try to ride. None of the Harleys that I have ridden (both new and used) were ever more than lackluster pieces of overpriced, underpowered junk and were as obnoxiously loud as they were slow. I feel confident that my college education also had something to do with my decision not to own or ride a Harley Davidson. Perhaps if you were a stronger person in character, personality, and charisma, with a higher education to tie all of that together, you could have gotten by without the expensive crutch that is marketed and sold by Milwaukee.
Please do not categorize me because of what I like. Millions of people can't be that wrong, can they?
Tina, I categorize you not for what you like, but for the decisions which you make and the company which you choose to keep. You are a grown human being yet you are making decisions like you were still a child. You have chosen to spend your money very foolishly without thinking your purchases through and without using very much common sense. I can tell this because you have used cliché after cliché to try to make me see your side of the argument. This clearly indicates that not only do you believe what other people tell you, but that you are not a very deep thinker on your own. You have a clear and sheepish unwillingness to question the status quo. I won't insult you further than that as it is my wish to jump start your mind rather than brow beat you senseless.
I want you to think, Tina.
Think, just once, on your own.
God gave you a brain, please use it from time to time as I find your current choice of logic to be delightfully childish in nature. Your decision making process seems to revolve around validating your choices on what other people are doing, similar to poll based politics, rather than on what you feel that you should be doing or what is right for you. Using your own proprietary form of curious logic, we could apply just about anything into your sentence to validate it. Thus:
Millions of people (who abuse their children) can't be that wrong, can they?
Millions of people (who snort cocaine) can't be that wrong, can they?
Millions of people (who drop out of high school) can't be that wrong, can they?
Now do you see how fallible your logic is?
Do try to think outside the pasture every now and then, Tina. Be one from the flock, not one with the flock. If ever there was truly a Zen of motorcycling, that would be its creed.
Thanks for you time.
Thank you for the email and for the chance to debate. I wish you well. God bless you and yours, always, especially when you ride!