Gabrea Journal
The ongoing adventures of three Libertines in love!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Easy Rider wisdom...

If you haven't seen the movie Easy Rider lately, make a couple of hours and watch this document of a moment in time, told by those living in it. It reminds one of the need for freedom, and just how difficult it is to truly find it when others may see things differently than you.

In the famous "this used to be a helluva good country"
speech, George (played by Jack Nicholson) articulates the real reason for the hostility and resentment that they generate. Billy's (Dennis Hopper, also the director of the film) notion is that their non-conformist mode of dress and long hair spark intolerance. But lawyer George philosophizes that they represent something much deeper and more fearful - freedom, unconventionality, and experimentation in a
materialistic, capitalistic society:

George (Jack Nicholson): You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gonewrong with it.

Billy (Dennis Hopper): Huh. Man, everybody got chicken, that's what happened, man. Hey, we can't even get into like, uh, second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel. You dig? They think we're gonna cut their throat or something, man.
They're scared, man.

George: Oh, they're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.

Billy: Hey man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.

George: Oh no. What you represent to them is freedom.

Billy: What the hell's wrong with freedom, man? That's what it's all about.

George: Oh yeah, that's right, that's what it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it - that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. 'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom, but they see a free
individual, it's gonna scare 'em.

Billy: Mmmm, well, that don't make 'em runnin' scared.

George: No, it makes 'em dangerous.

George ends his confident words of wisdom with his trademark after-swig of bourbon flap of the arm and "nik, nik, nik, nik, nik, nik, nik - Swamp." After they settle down in their sleeping bags, unidentified men [presumably the redneck men from earlier in the film at the cafe] ambush and attack them and beat them with baseball bats in the dark. Billy and Wyatt (Captain American, played by Peter Fonda) are both bloodied and bruised, but George has been clubbed to death. [Ironically, George as a lawyer from a rich family shared more in common with his local assassins than either Billy or Wyatt, but he is the one who is murdered, as to be punished for being with the "outlaws".] Billy goes through George's wallet, wondering what to do "with his stuff." They find some money, his driver's license, and his card to a New Orleans brothel: "He ain't gonna be usin' that." As homage to their departed friend/companion, they immediately travel on to new orleans, where they had promised to take George...


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