Thursday, April 28, 2016

Propaganda Gandering

Recently I experienced a parental rite of passage when I discovered an obscene publication in my child's bedroom:


I can only assume he found this smut at school, which concerns me, because learning about traffic safety from the City of New York is like learning about sex in the playground from the kid who saw a porno once.  Indeed, it's not a stretch to call this sort of material "safety porn," for as with regular porn it simultaneously idealizes and degrades its subject--wide-eyed characters smiling as cars (or phalluses as the case may be) attack them from every direction.

Anyway, I almost couldn't bear to open it and was about to consign it straight to the shredder, but despite my better impulses I turned the page and saw this:


Okay, obviously the "correct" answer in the context of the booklet is the helmet, and when I confronted my son and tested him that's what he chose.  I don't know where the hell he even picked that up, he sure as shit didn't learn it from me.  Such is the power of cultural osmosis.  Honestly, any good parent knows that the real correct answer is the banana:

(A banana.)

Why?  Think about it: kids get hungry.  Really hungry.  This is especially true when they're riding bikes.  Kids bonk just like full-grown Freds do.  So what are you going to do when yours is melting down miles from the nearest deli?  Feed them their own helmet?

I don't think so.

Yet this is where we are now: when engaging in physical activity, a hunk of styrofoam is considered more important than a source of fuel.

In fact, in considering those choices, I'd put the helmet at the very bottom of the list and prioritize them thusly:

1) Banana: 'Cause you gotta eat;
2) Smartphone: In case of emergency, plus if you don't Instagram the ride it didn't happen;
3) The doll: emotional support;
4) The helmet: to put on the doll.

And yes, I admit that a large part of me is moved by the earnestness of this booklet, what with its adorable cartoon animals all doing the "right" thing.  Still, as an adult steeped in cynicism and beaten down by experience, I can't help but find it infuriating that no matter how "safely" kids behave in this city the biggest danger they face every day is from maniacal motorists and the police who do everything they can to defend them.  Consider this:


The driver, a 41-year-old, got out of her red Fiat and, according to Ballantine, screamed, "She ran a light!" Ballantine said that Davis did not run a light. (Davis, at this point, "wasn’t talking coherently," according to Ballantine. "She was trying to get up but she couldn’t.") Shortly thereafter, Ballantine said, a black car pulled up and men who she assumed were police got out with walkie-talkies, and she continued on her way to work.

The day of the crash, the NYPD told reporters that Davis was riding against traffic when the driver hit her, and the driver was not ticketed or charged. A department representative said this morning that investigators have amended their report to indicate that Davis was riding with traffic, and that they are in conversation with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office about possible charges.

So basically the driver killed a cyclist, lied about what happened, and the police were like, "Well, that's good enough for us!"  And that's how it works--which is why my booklet for children would look more like this:


By the way, as the person who coined the word salmon, I'm very annoyed to see it used in a headline like that.  The whole point of the word was to mock the irritating fixie people riding towards me all the time, not as a technical term to use in connection with the victims of horrible deaths, regardless of which way they were riding.  It's pretty distasteful to use a stupid slang bike blog term in this context.  They might as well have added IMO FWIW while they were at it.

Still, I suppose I should be grateful that at least our propaganda doesn't try to scare kids away from bikes altogether, which is what they're attempting to do in Phoenix:


In the edition “Don’t Get Doored,” for example, a lad on the way to see his brother in the hospital (who was put there by not wearing a helmet, natch) smashes through a car window, lands on his head, and winds up with a weeping belly wound and a hand that looks like a broken rake. And that’s a tame scene compared to other stuff in the novels, which accompany each fracture and body-blow with Batmanesque noises like “KA-CHAM!,” “KA-SNAP!,” and “GA-GUSH!”

This has been making the rounds lately, but let the record show I mentioned it back in 2015, which I feel compelled to mention for the same reason I gratuitously remind you on a regular basis that I invented the term "bike salmon."  Anyway, with images like these, which mode of transportation do you think the teenagers of Phoenix will choose once they reach driving age?


"I think I'm gonna be sick" indeed.  They might as well skip the comics and go "Full Clockwork:"


Here's what he's watching:



Speaking of Amsterdam, they're now hiring a "Bike Mayor:"



The bike mayor will be a public representative, but not strictly a politician in the classic sense. Since they’ll technically be an employee of CycleSpace, an independent NGO, they won’t be elected by an entirely democratic process. The benefit of this system, however, is that they won’t be as constrained by the political system as elected officials are, and as such will be better able to represent a diversity of interests.

The bike mayor will be selected by a combination of public vote and an expert jury. Candidates who express their interest (via a short video) by May 1st will be put forward for the public vote. The public is able to weigh in until June 24, and while their opinion will hold influence, the final selection will ultimately be up to a jury of relevant parties including Amsterdam’s mayor and representatives from the city’s transit authorities and cycling groups.

"They won't be elected by an entirely democratic process," huh?  Interesting.  That's pretty much exactly how our president is elected, except the "diversity of interests" is basically the Fortune 500.

Maybe New York City should elect a bike mayor.  I'd love to see a no-holds-barred campaign between this guy:



And this guy:


Spoil alert: Bill Cunningham wins after it's revealed that David Byrne owns a Dodge Charger that's registered in New Jersey under an assumed name.

Lastly, meet VELOSCHMITT:



It's got unhooked v-brakes just like the Walmart bike that almost knocked you over on the sidewalk:


It's also looks like a hot tub crossed with a coffin:


Though when in motion it looks kind of like a cartoon sperm:


I'm sure it will be a resounding success.

75 comments:

Two Claws said...

Two Claws UP!

JuanOffhue said...

Well, Snobby! Nice of you to drop in!

Serial Retrogrouch said...

panderist

Brooks said...

Oh My, Snob - I also just posted on the Phoenix "safety" propaganda just minutes ago. Thought you'd enjoy it: http://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.com/2016/04/bike-safety-101-never-ride-bike.html

Anonymous said...

I was just tugging on this banana

ken e. said...

comedy, tragedy, gore and stupidity. that's biking.

Anything to Please the Wife said...

Man, first top of the heap because I was busy chopping up some organic pineapple.

Seesred said...

Top tense!

weasel said...

rolling

Please the Wife said...

Should say "Missed"

dnk said...

Kid in the Vision Zero coloring book, about to ride his bike: needs to remove the dog head mask (or is that a bear mask) before going for a spin.

It's obvious. He can't eat the banana with the mask on.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...fuc the NYPD. The cop that issued me a summons for salmoning this weekend tested me on why Lauren Davis was killed... he waited for me to answer that it was because she was salmoning... at the time I did not know that the fuckin NYPD had lied about it.

...man this shit is infuriating... Lauren worked for my alma mater. A police precinct is very near where she was murdered... and it's the police parked cars that cause most of the hazard... plus, Classon Ave is the high-speed gateway to the BQE in that vicinity.

...RIP Lauren.

The Technology May Change, But Some Things Never Change said...

Long ago, before digital cameras were full of homemade, a guy told me he opened the drawer, to a nightstand next to his parents bed, and found a draw full of Polaroid pictures of Mom servicing Dad's Banana.

Does Pineapple really work? I'm sure Babble will weigh in with an opinion.

ride on the sidewalk said...

Hey kids!

Stay away from that bike, unless you want to die a painful and bloody death! Stay inside and watch other people play video games on YouTube!


Yours affectionately,

'Merica

Always Get a Second Opinion said...

Possibly Devon will weigh in with an opinion too.

Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

I plan to make America great again by chomping the ass out of that cartoon sperm.

Yes I am talking bout T-Rump.

janinedm said...

Depends on the doll. Barbies are lightweight and can fit in your pocket. Pumpkin headed Doras are not aero.

Dan said...

Lots of possible ideas for bike Kickstarters here:

http://www.gianlucagimini.it/prototypes/velocipedia.html

Great Inventions in History said...

"Polaroid pictures of Mom servicing Dad's Banana." Oral Sex isn't a recent invention, who knew?

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

I agree, the banana is most important. Everyone should have a last meal before being executed by a 4000 pound bullet.

wle said...

that kickstarter thing is funded for 20 euros, goal is 45,000

only 56 days to go!

you can get a card or a t shirt but not one of the actual monstrosities..

wle

P. Bateman said...

@technology - pineapple is 150% more effective than asparagus.

although, some people do prefer savory to sweet.

its been like a damn horror movie here lately - dudes stopping dick breaks with their hands and scaring the life out of me (really thought it was just gonna be a bloodbath) and that comic book is certainly putting the graphic in graphic novel.

good lord. at least that sperm cycle thing has a smiley face.

Vote Early and Vote Often said...

"Bill Cunningham wins after it's revealed that David Byrne owns a Dodge Charger that's registered in New Jersey under an assumed name." Not so sure about that, The Donald would say David is a real man with his muscle car, could make the voters go all macho, with thoughts of "if he can take on Bill Cunningham, he can take on Vlad Putin any day" Could be a landslide.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Wow, Phoenix could be NYC West. All the gruesome injuries are direct result of stupid shit the cyclists do. At least they're getting what they deserve. Bikes are no way to have fun, Fuckoes.

Jon Webb said...

Head injuries killed over 60 percent of children in bicycle fatalities (2000). So, that's why it's a good idea for kids to wear helmets while riding their bikes. This is also the law in New York.
As much as we like to embrace cyclist freedom etc., kids often do stupid things on bikes, like pulling out into traffic without looking. Wearing a helmet is one way to keep them from getting killed when they or a motorist does something dumb.
I agree that there are lots of other ways, such as enforcing the traffic laws, prosecuting motorists who kill, building cycling infrastructure, and so on. We need to do all these things. And there are adults who overdo the helmet thing, requiring their kids to wear a helmet while riding a push bike on a playground. But getting more kids to wear helmets while riding bikes would save lives.

Bob Patterson said...

+The really depressing thing is that you seem to have no problem telling of the death of a bicyclist, every week.

Anonymous said...

depressing story about the woman killed by the motorist. I love the part where immediately the motorist starts blaming the cyclists rather than seeing if she is okay and then just simply leaves her there to die. Fucking asshole.

Justice is Blind Alright said...

"So basically the driver killed a cyclist, lied about what happened, and the police were like, "Well, that's good enough for us!"

And the driver drove away to work, probably all pissed off that the time taken to pull over to the curb cost her being able to stop at Starbucks on the way into work.

If the cyclist had been killed by a bullet the block would have been closed and it would have been full of uniformed, detectives and CSI types.

Even money the driver was talking on her cell when the "accident" happened.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

On my snail pace commute home last night (the Strava message read, "No, I'm not clogging up the free internet with this worthless crap". I should just set it to "hiking" next time),
I was proceeding east along turd street heading towards turd avenue (this is Brooklyn by the way, not the artisANALy crafted distressed recalimed wood and gold leaf Brooklyn, but real I was friggin born here not like all you posers Brooklyn), near the Whole Foods mecca (really, there's an Islamic school across the street).

A guy was headed south along turd avenue when an "old lady" left turned in front of him almost hitting him. I hung out with him for 2 second commiserating in the near death experience. I didn't have the heart to mention about putting a light on the bike. I may have forgotten due to the seizure I was fighting with my own epileptic strobe light.

Anyway, we are basically all doomed. We should really travel in packs with weapons in a quiet Mad Max type of scenario defending ourselves against the ever present 2 ton weapons pointed at us. Maybe the ride to the B.R.A. will be like that.

vsk

Pineapple Farm said...

"organic pineapple" at 12:45 Why can't babe's be satisfied with a can of Dole?

P. Bateman said...

they can be satisfied with a can of dole, but only if you use the large size, not the small half cans.

also, make sure it hasn't been opened - that could expose some very sharp edges.


CommieCanuck said...

Wrong order...
1. Smartphone to message strangers on the interweb.
2. Banana for first date
3. Doll to show prosecutors where Junior got bad touches from the internet man, with "banana".
4. Helmet for the fragile psyche from here on in.

JLRB said...

Death and dying and despair, etc.

Babble and other Lynskey riders - I was surprised to open a Nashbar catalogue (well first I was surprised they still print and mail catalogues) - but where was I - surprised to see Lynskey frames for sale. I love my Lynskey - curious if the Nashbar product will be shit or the usual level of quality...

Freddy Murcks said...

I will admit that helment propaganda is a weensy bit out of control. If you get plowed by a car, chances are good that a foam hat isn't going to do shit. But if you are, for instance, just riding along and you hit a pothole and go ass over teacups, a foam hat is likely to help protect you from injury when your head slams into the pavement (assuming that you don't subsequently get plowed by a car). A similar argument could be made about seatbelts: They aren't worth a tinker's damn in certain kinds of car crashes, but they are generally effective safety equipment and wearing one is a good idea. And like seatbelts, the inconvenience and discomfort associated with wearing a helment does not really justify not using it.

So, I think that kids should get into the habit of wearing a helment. Especially since they are less experienced and more likely to crash.

N/A said...

Once my kids were old enough to walk, I started duct-taping foam pool noodles around their bodies.

Don't even get me started on bananas...

bieks said...

Holy Veloschmitt! Bib-shorts guy has a brother!

Matt said...

Geez Snob...I watched that ENTIRE video waiting for some kind of payback (you know...blood & guts). NOT-A! All those people peacefully and SAFELY riding bikes...it's a friggin NIGHTMARE! Thankfully I woke up and realized that I'm right here in the good ol' USofA where cyclists are hunted and mowed down like rabid dogs. Reminds me of a good western..."yep Officer...he needed killin".

Anonymous said...

Check out the Veloschmitt video at 4:05 - 4:10. The guy looks like Trump mocking the handicapped or something.

1904 Cadardi said...

Well that settles it, I'm moving to Copenhagen, because that looks nice. Except all those bikes have fenders which means it must rain there a lot. Is there a cycling paradise somewhere with more than 200 days of sunshine a year?

(robotest: Identify all the palm trees. Rub it in why dontcha!)

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...just finished my lunch and had a customary coffee while standing on a busy corner watching people go by and observed two things:

Thing 1: an NYPD van with Vision Zero was blaring on loud speakers something incoherent about pedestrians while driving by.

Thing 2: a father was 'walking' three girls on the sidewalk. The girls were in two different plastic SUVs with motors. A pair were twins and they were sharing an SUV with a stereo blaring music, while the father was walking behind both toy mobiles with a remote control for the stereo. The three girls looked to be about 6 years old, and they looked miserable as hell. Oh, and they did not have plastic foam hats.

...it can get really depressing out there sometimes.

leroy said...

My dog reminds me that "The Safety Dance" was performed by Men Without Hats.

I reminded him they were Canadian.

Roille Figners said...

Imagine if you will. Racism is way out of control and white people are killing 35,000 black people a year. A group of "well-meaning" white people thinks "We've got to do something about black-people safety!" But instead of being all, hey white people, stop beating up black people, you fuckin criminals! they're like, "Hey watch out black children, being black isn't safe! Take precautions!" So they publish a comic book full of gory images of black people having their brains bashed in for not taking said precautions. How does that play? Are we grateful for their heroic efforts?

The parallels are:
(1) The group giving out advice is a majority group and enjoys proportionately or maybe disproportionately favorable representation, including in the ability to publish comic books.
(2) Members of that group are the ones mostly responsible for the carnage.
(3) Members of that group have zero or insufficient experience or credentials to qualify them to give advice to the other group.
(4) In the communication, this same group (motives already suspect) depicts the carnage a bit too enthusiastically.
(1a) Meanwhile the group whom they're advising on how to stop the carnage, is a minority group, whose members...
(2a) ...are (mostly) not responsible for the carnage, and...
(3a) ...already know quite a bit of what there is to know about being in that group.

This is without even getting into how effective helmets are/aren't. It doesn't get any further than this because, SHUT THE FUCK UP, is why. It's about talking loud and saying nothing. Don't tell me how to do my thing when you can't do your own. Don't tell me how to be a boy when you know I'm grown.

JLRB said...



So the video lacked upskirt, etc., but it does show BeikCyclists in Denmark shoal.

P. Bateman said...

my new russian secretary starts monday. i know she bikes everywhere. TBD on the hoodwinking...

crosspalms said...

In Veloschmitt, helmet wear you.

Dooth said...

Are you veloschitting me?

janinedm said...

@Roille Figners, I get the spirit of the metaphor, but there are several things about being Black in America that are going to make that comparison dicey. First, Black people are often blamed their own deaths. Look at the comments section of any article where a black person is killed by the police under any circumstances. You will see this confirmed quickly. Just as any article about a cyclist death with bring out the trolls to say some nonsense about "they run red lights," an article about Black person being killed by police will bring out the "Black on Black criiiimmmmeee!!!" crew. Second, Google the words "Black parents" and "the talk" and you'll find that "Hey watch out black children, being black isn't safe! Take precautions!" is in fact a talk parent have with their kids, especially their sons. I've often seen the relative lack of legal protection, presumption of guilt, and general indifference to your safety as ways that biking makes anyone temporarily Black. I usually keep the notion to myself, because it's a delicate subject and life is too short to be flamed to death as a SJW witch.

Also, that's hilarious, crosspalms.

JLRB said...

"The bike rider isn't ready yet. What does he need?"

If this were a B*cyl*ng Ragazene produced coloring book the list of what he needs would be much longer than 4 items, far more expensive,and would depend on whether he plans to ride on pavement, dirt or gravel.

And the most obvious answer is the id needs a clown folding bike with a hidden motor to ride the book signing this weekend (sadly I can't make it - hope you have better weather there than forecast here)

Once you eat one, you just can't stop, the advertisement said...

Did you say sex in the playground from the kid who saw a porno once or was I seeing things? If the kid is over 18, then I'm interested!

ubercurmudgeon said...

Regarding helmet propaganda, it is heartening to know that so many government agencies, advocacy groups, newspapers and broadcasters, commercial vehicle operators representatives, and just individual drivers yelling from their vehicles, all care so deeply about us cyclists. Those comics and educational booklets aren't cheap to produce. Nowhere near as much effort is put into trying to get people using other forms of transport, or participating in other sports, to wear protective equipment, even though in most cases that equipment has much better evidence of efficacy. Everyone must admire us so much that they wish whatever tiny safety benefit that cycle helmets afford, in however limited a set of scenarios and speeds of collisions, to be bestowed upon us, whether by advertising, societal pressure or, as in the case of Australia, $319 fines. I'm sure it is purely coincidental that those other forms of transport and sports don't "impede traffic" the way cyclists are widely perceived as doing: http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/04/news/road/legally-speaking-impeding-traffic-case_403646

wishiwasmerckx said...

Uber, those of whom you speak's heads would explode if they saw the Copenhagen morning commute video with nary a helmet in sight.

Or, as the esteemed author of this blog would say, they would plotz.

leroy said...

janinedem -- one of cycling's many health benefits is that it affords privileged folks a window into what it is like not to be privileged. It is a small and temporary window, but it's a start. Roille's metaphor is dicey because, as you suggest, the subject of race in America is dicey, fraught, and too often generates more heat than light.

Roille -- chapeau.

Crosspalms -- Agree with janinedm. Hilarious.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Bike Like Me by John Howard Griffin?

So, Australia, a former prisoner colony, hates cyclists. But they hate refugees even more, and have their own Gitmo on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to keep them out. How does that saying go about nothing being worse than a reformed drunk?

Tea Leaves said...

On the cover of Zero Tolerance, or what ever it's called, the cop is an Elephant. Is the mayor calling the election for Trump?

Anonymous said...

Turns out Pineapple is available as "Chia Surge Energy Gel" in all natural Orange Pineapple flavor is the first Chia Seed superfood sport performance product..."

Don't know if it's legal as a performance enhancement; but if it has the effect commenters were contemplating using it for, it would be very convenient to use from a gel pac.

One assumes Cipo has tested it on his team for functionality.

Blog Drafter said...

Everyone in America should fast for a week, all at the same time. From experience, I know that nothing is for certain when you're hungry. It's a great way to get outside the ordinary and comfortable. At the end of the fast, when we're all preoccupied with our mutual and shared experience, we can have a nice, rational, caring, and humane conversation with each other for like, 30 seconds. Then everyone will start eating again and turn into assholes, quite certain about their own exclusive, and obvious, truths.

chris parks said...

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/02/05/article-2096903-11987592000005DC-546_634x373.jpg

sperm bike

Grump said...

Science has proven that a few ounces of foam can protect you from injury from a speeding locomotive. In 30+ years of being road fodder, I've only landed on my head just once.(out of 35+ crashes) I have to say that that foam kept me from getting my bell rung. I probably could have got up and continued riding, but who knows.
As for other people wearing helments, Meh. I don't care.

My Point Is Indisputable So I Win said...

If I were going to strike you upon the head with a bottle of beer, would you prefer to have donned a helmet, or not have donned a helmet?
If you were to fall from your bike and strike your head upon the asphalt, would you not have the same preference?
It seems like a no-brainer.

Low Hanging Fruit said...

I think most people would go with the banana, because it has apeel.

Mr Cheerful said...

IMO FWIW I would have chosen the doll.
It would give me something to hang onto for comfort as I lay crushed and broken on the roadway, my helment splintered, and my smartphone rendered useless.
My last hope would be the victim blaming motorist would slip on the banana and break their neck.
Have a nice night.

Some guy from upstate said...

So this morning on my way to work, a semi passed me with about a 3 foot margin at about 40 mph. I braced for the "sucking wind force" but it never materialized. Go figure.

ken e. said...

and you can type the words, so it must be true. subjective truth is not objective truth.
helments help when you fall down, that's you, your noggin and something stationary. add a motor vehicle at a speed of 35 mph, your chance of survival is 10% or less. full stop. that's the science. cars kill people, not a lack of safety equipment.
same thing with vehicle draft, add a bit more speed... you will be sucked towards the underside of bigger vehicles. that's one subjective test i've almost failed a couple of times...

Holy Roller said...

There is no mention in the Holy Scriptures of bananas, but I think that helmets are included somewhere or other, therefore anyone that wants to enter into the kingdom of heaven should be wearing a helmet. Amen

Head Case said...

Wrong, Holy Roller. Jesus wore a crown of thorns and not a Mips Giro Savant.

Fuck this shit said...

Comic book Arizona PJ's helmet didn't save his head when he smashed his arm, legs, face while asking for it by salmoning, unless he has one of those magic helmets with built in self protection so it doesn't suffer a scratch when the wearer gets smashed to shit and then proclaims "a helmet saved my life". Or maybe it's one of those helmets like Jon Webb is promoting that save little kiddies lives by protecting them from errant motorists.

Burn the straw men said...

Dear Mr Indisputable Point, ever heard of unintended consequences? If you were going to hit me on the head with a beer bottle then I am going to smack your stupid face in whether or not I'm wearing a plastic hat - that hardly seems like a win. Sort of like why your twee nonsense doesn't translate to real world outcomes - Australia is NOT a safe place to ride a bicycle and everyone wearing helmets has not made it safer - in fact the converse is true.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Indisputable,

You've successfully proved people should wear helmets when drinking in bars, nicely done.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

bad boy of the north said...

i'll be picking up someone's new book very shortly.unfortunately,i won't be picking it up at basketball city this weekend and asking for said someone's autograph.i guess i'll have to forge it.seriously,have a safe ride and happy time at the expo to all who are going.

Some guy from upstate said...

Ken e. - I fully understand the effect of speed on vehicle draft. My point was that at the sort of speeds a semi will be traveling on a narrow side street in Brooklyn and even a fair amount faster, being sucked under the wheels by the "wind force" is not remotely plausible. This is in reference to last Thursday's post. Sorry it was a bit out of place.

My Point Is Indistputable So I Win said...

Your pigheadedness doesn't make you right, but I win because I get the last word!

Webb Rowan said...

Everyone has his own interpretation of safety procedures I guess and you have your very own unique means as well. Regardless of your personal analysis on which is the most accurate set of instructions, hopefully you and family have a safe cycling journey always away from accidents with a car or a person and any other objects too.

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