Re: Motorcycle Emptiness

#32
Yes, that was it exactly. But am I right in thinking Pussy is tailing them and crashes his car causing some cyclist to fall from his bike? I'm nearly sure that happens but I may be confusing two separate incidents.
Regardless, there are enough motorbike and bicycle crashes to make the point worth discussing. There is definitely something to it but it's hard to nail down specifically what it is. Is it possibly to do with the relative vulnerability of cyclists as opposed to drivers? With cyclists symbolising us, the general public and our vulnerability to the violence out there? I mention in another post the instances of "civilian" characters who unfortunately brush against the mobsters in Tony's world and often end up murdered or beaten senseless or having their lives ruined (Davey,the gambler). Think say of J.T. Not only is he an addict but he has the double misfortune to go to the same AA meeting as one Chris Moltisanti. He ends up dead on his apartment floor.
It's a bit of a reach I know but I feel these cyclists meeting tragic ends or suffering terrible violence could symbolise how vulnerable society in general is to the organised crime in our midst.

Re: Motorcycle Emptiness

#33
Oh shit! I'm a cyclist (That reminds me I need a helmet!).

But am I right in thinking Pussy is tailing them and crashes his car causing some cyclist to fall from his bike? I'm nearly sure that happens but I may be confusing two separate incidents.
Regardless, there are enough motorbike and bicycle crashes to make the point worth discussing.


From what I remember a cyclist did fall off his bike, but I don't remember Pussy been too concerned about it.

Re: Motorcycle Emptiness

#34
yes dsweeney- i think your assessment of the theme is accurate- and at the same time, to expand on it- i think it really ties more specifically into the helmet aspect of it. i say that mainly because of the scene where Tony smashes the helmet into the windshield of the car when he takes on AJ's sullen soporific attitude ( i and others have many posts on this scene). Tony makes a very important point with that action- and fully gets AJ's attention, imo, in a good way. The helmet is to protect the head. To smash the helmet is to de facto decapitate the head. It got Aj's attention, big time. Woke him up; caused cognition. Possibly saved AJ's own head.

From a combined lens of your oracle-prophetic/karmic return method of analysis, maybe some of the scenes were meant to inform our understanding of the windshield-smashing event, which in turn informs us of later helmet-related scenes. This would be interpreting events in a linear fashion from beginning to end. But i think it also applies to our interpretations looking back thru the show in time, and upon re-watch.

Since we all have so much more insight now, even a re-watch could never be from the innocent naive beginning we all once had. We will gain so much more enlightened perspective the next time around. It really is like reading a Shakespeare play again as an older, more experienced adult with real-life experiences, compared to when i first had to read them in college when i was younger and could not possibly grasp some of the underlying concepts.

Truly the mark of a great classic work. While we can never step into the same river twice, who would want to? (maybe a sentimentalist- which i can be, and that's okay, too).

I am starting to understand more why Chase has repeatedly said he does not ever re-watch a whole episode or the whole series at all since it was originally created. He instinctively knows his own ability to handle a re-visit to what he must realize deep in his heart is truly one of the world's great artistic achievements. It is so awesome, and it has the potential for even futher life-revelation for the creator of the show itself, that it for now, might be just too much to take on.

Maybe in a few months or years, Chase will have gotten far enough away from it, that he can re-watch/experience it "anew" for the very "first" time. :smile:

Re: Motorcycle Emptiness

#35
If we can agree then that the vulnerable cyclist/ biker represents us, the general public, defenceless in the face of random violence, then who or what do the drivers or the cars represent? I was assuming they stood for the mob, organised crime and it's unseen power all around us. But then I was reminded of one of my favourite lines in the whole show, from Meadow: "The State CAN CRUSH the individual". I don't know anything of David Chase's politics but think about it, who is "AT THE WHEEL of control"? I, like Tony, may be over-reaching but I really like the symmetry of looking at the analogy in this light. The power of the State mowing down the unprotected individual.
Running with this idea there is also the constant references, usually by AJ, to the use of oil and destruction of the environment and SUV's etc. Now while AJ clearly sometimes is all over the place there are times when he seems totally lucid and IMO correct in his assertions. It may just be me but there are times when it seems to me he is acting as a mouthpiece for Chase's own political views. This is in keeping with a very old tradition in literature going way back where pearls of wisdom are often spoken by the clown, or village idiot. "We have to break our dependency on foreign oil".
Just my musings on this thread but it might be interesting to discuss where we think the mouthings of various characters are clearly just their own opinions and when, if at all, they may be the personal views of Mr. Chase himself. as I believe they are from time to time.

Re: Motorcycle Emptiness

#36
great post. There are some exchanges way back where we discussed this very topic. VIllage idiot, LOL! i used to loathe AJ, then came to really like him as he grew up. i definitely agree Chase uses him as his political mouthpiece sometimes. Shots from the hip are often the most accurate...

Re: Motorcycle Emptiness

#37
Another instance of this I believe is when Agent Harris's side-kick says "nobody ever went broke under-estimating the taste of the American public". For a while I had trouble understanding what this sentence meant but now I believe it's a comment by Mr. Chase on the state of TV, or in fact TV. Period. His loathing for the medium is well documented in countless interviews. What he's saying I think is that lots of people have made a lot of money serving up garbage when the American public, and by extension the rest of us, are starved of quality material. But I'm straying from the cyclists/bikers theme.
I can't help thinking that you are all correct in that helmets/ protective clothing must symbolise something as well but I can't quite put my finger on it. What protects us from random violence or protects our Civil liberties? Remember Meadow saying how Bush has used the fear of 9/11 to erode our (your) rights? Maybe the headgear is just to warn us to be vigilant and not LET the State crush the individual.

Re: Motorcycle Emptiness

#38
dsweeney wrote:...What protects us from random violence ....


Well- nothing can really. Excersizing the choice to wear a helmet shows at least an effort to protect one's self from random accidents. Could that be part of his point- that helmet's can't really protect you in the end from truly random or truly on-purpose acts of violence?

But violence- purposefully inflicted harm- you'd have to pack heat all the time to be prepared for that, and most of the time it wouldn't necessarily help you defend yourself; like if you got shot in the back in a drive-by random violence act.

When they went to pass a law here in CAlifornia to force all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, you would be amazed at how aggressively and passionately the riders fought it. They wanted to have their own choice in the matter- and i absolutely don't blame them. But the law passed and so they came up with a sort of silly little thin plastic helmet they could wear and be just barely qualified under the law.

Like when they forced seatbelts to be worn here, i didn't like it- but i always follow the law and do it- even though it wrinkles my blouses and hurts certain body parts uncomfortably, so i "mis-wear" it around and under my shoulder. A cop actually stopped me once and told me to wear it right. i was really offended. If i want to lessen my personal protection levels in my own car, the State thinks they can legislate that? That really is too far.

So - i guess its nice of the State to attempt to protect us from harm, and protect us from ourselves, and our poor choices. I just wish they'd spend more time flagging down the people who don't use their turn signal! :icon_confused:

Re: Motorcycle Emptiness

#39
Another instance of, I believe, David Chase using characters to voice his own opinion is another line from Meadow. "I guess you don't identify with black people clinging to logs" she spits at Carmela. This is a reference to the disaster of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the lack of response by the Bush Administration. Springsteen has a fantastic song touching on this on his "Seeger sessions" album, "How can a poor man stand such times and live?", if anybody's interested.
Now of course I have know way of knowing whether or not these are the feelings of the writers or just something Meadow would say, which she most certainly would. But I can't help feeling it's such an insightful and succinct turn of phrase that it is indeed the sentiments of the writer. I've strayed again I know. I might start a separate thread on this if I think of a few more instances of social commentary by Chase as opposed to simple character dialogue.

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