~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Manadatory Words

Doug Savage is my kind of cartoonist. Below is one of my favorites from his website:

Speaking of lacking originality, did you ever notice that when any non-motorcycle publication does an article about motorcycles or motorcycle riders that there are certain key words that are apparently mandatory for the author to use in the copy? Where ever it is that non-motorcyclists writing for major publications learned to write, in addition to teaching budding authors how to slant a news article left or right depending on their politics, they also teach students that when writing anything about motorcycles, be it a charity fund raiser ride, 80 year old grannies who still ride, or even scooters, they must work in one or more of the following words:

roar (see also, "roaring")
black leather
Hells Angels

A composite of the last one hundred motorcycle related articles from major and minor newspapers and magazines would read something like this: "The roar of the engines, a flash of chrome, and speed spelled danger and maybe a trip to the hospital for the riders as they felt the rush of the wind and the freedom of the asphalt before them. The roaring engines tipped police off that a biker gang was coming this way, not the Hells Angels though, but a gang of 80 year old men who are rediscovering their youth by riding not Harleys but 50cc scooters for charity."

When writing about politics I can see where it is essential to include words like graft, corruption, sex, bribe, sell-out, or idiot. Politics today does not amount to much more than those things if we believe the mainstream media and opposing politicians.

There is a great deal more substance to the world of motorcycles than clich├ęs left over from the 1960s Saturday Evening Post so it would be nice to see someone in the mainstream media do a motorcycle oriented article and leave out trite metaphors and imagery. Otherwise they can just copy my paragraph above, add a name, a location, and maybe grainy picture and send me a small fee for the work I've saved them. Adding the words "It was a dark and stormy night" is optional for those really struggling to be original.

(One more Savage Chicken that you other bloggers will appreciate: Poetry Blog )

1 comment:

Lucky said...

Hi Doug,

Your observations about media coverage of anything that has to do with motorcycles is spot on. And of course, this simply taints our image in the eyes of the general public (i.e. cagers).

Ever had a co-worker or distant cousin surprised to learn that you ride a motorcycle yet you:
a) are not a member of any gangs?
b) don't wear leather with fringe and spikes?
c) ride a motorcycle with minimum chrome?

Most of the guys at work don't know what to make of me when I pull-up in the parking lot on my V-Strom (what is that thing?) wearing my hi-viz yellow one-piece suit. But you know what? That makes it all the more fun!


p.s. The suspense is killing me... What's the new Yamaha?

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