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Outlaw Mystique

Hello. It’s Tuesday morning at Owl Farm and outside are what we call "Fields of Gold.” I’ve never seen so many dandelions. The heavy rain the last few days has caused a symphony of yellow in the lawns.  My German Shepherd, Athena and I have to take several tennis balls out on our walks because they get lost among the flowers.  The missing balls will either be rescued when the dandelions loose their blooms and their bright yellow color shows up against the green, or they’ll be shredded by the massive John Deer tractor mower (yes, the one with the bullet hole in the side).  We shall see.  
Anyway, today’s HST wisdom is from Hell’s Angels – I was thinking about the Outlaw Mystique this morning and thought I would post this clip from chapter 6. It’s about the human need, particularly the outlaw need, to belong:

Like converts to Communism or Catholicism, Hell’s Angels who were once AMA [American Motorcycle Association] members take their role more seriously than the others.

The Angels are too personally disorganized to have any clear perspective on the world, but they admire intelligence, and some of their leaders are surprisingly articulate. Chapter presidents have no set term in office, and a strong one, like Barger, will remain unchallenged until he goes to jail, gets killed or finds his own reasons for hanging up the colors.  The outlaws are very respectful of power, even if they have to create their own image of it.  Despite the anarchic possibilities of the machines they ride and worship, they insist that their main concern in life is to be “a righteous Angel,” which requires a loud obedience to the party line.  They are intensely aware of belonging, of being able to depend on each other.  Because of this, they look down on independents, who usually feel so wretched – once they’ve adopted the outlaw frame of reference – that they will do almost anything to get in a club.

“I don’t know why,” said an ex-Angel, “but you almost have to join a club. If you don’t, you’ll never be accepted anywhere.  If you don’t wear any colors, you’re sort of in between – and you’re nothing.”

This desperate sense of unity is crucial to the outlaw mystique.  If the Hell’s Angel’s are outcasts from society, as they freely admit, then it is all the more necessary that they defend each other from attack by “the others” – mean squares, enemy gangs or armed argents of the Main Cop.  When somebody punches a lone Angel every one of them feels threatened.  They are so wrapped up in their own image that they can’t conceive of anybody challenging the colors without being fully prepared to take on the whole army.
–Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels

Until next time, your friend,
Anita Thompson

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