Melissa Green's "Easy Rider" Reflections
I saw "Easy Rider" for the first in class on Wednesday. I had some fuzzy notion of the film being about two dudes riding around on motorcycles, but I had no idea that it had anything to do with some notion of being part of the counterculture movement. Although the film's main characters seem to be a part of and involved with this movement, it seems that they were only tangentially related to the ideals of hippyism. Certainly Captain America and Billy had "dropped out" of society, and their excessive drug use indicates that they are not part of the mainstream. They don't appear to have any form of employment, and they spend their days stoned and on the road. This, however, does not a hippie make. The symbolism of their cocaine pay dirt being hidden inside the American clad gas tank of a character nick-named "Captain America" suggests that, for all of their drug use and connections to the counterculture movement, they have still bought into the idea of the American Dream. Towards the end of the film, when Billy notes how he and Wyatt are rich now and ready to retire to Florida, Wyatt states that they "blew it." Wyatt understands at this point that in their quest to continue living their "free" life, they have instead gotten rich and therefore have done what is expected of individuals in a capitalistic society. Money and retirement are two things that will time them down.