At first glance Gang Bang Girl 20 would seem unremarkable--you basic 90 minute body part fest as brought to you by LA's porn industry. Perhaps given your erotic tastes and mood (www.cavr.com gives it three stars), you may purchase or rent the 83 minute vehicle for Erika Bella, Mercedesz, Tyra Olson, and Missy (who uses a strap-on but doesn't engage in sex with the men--again that's sex as defined by cavr, and not say Ken Starr). Or you may not decide to view it. After all, its but one more VHS cassette in a sea of boxes labeled adult.
But the folks at Harley didn't see it that way. For when Gang Bang Girl 20 crossed their desks, a few seemingly harmless details jumped out at them from this description: "Sexy, Sizzling, Sperm slurping Sluts show us what it takes to be an Anabolic Gang Bang Girl! Incredible whore imports Erika Bella and Mercedez stop by a local motorcycle shop, where they get the rides of their lives by some very well hung bikers."
Local motorcycle shop? Oh no my friends, not just any bike shop, for if the video had been shot at an independent bike shop, Erica and Mercedesz could (presumably) have slurped away in peace, but alas the bike shop in question happened to be an official Harley Davidson dealer! Yes none other than the legendary Bartels of Marina del Rey had allowed Anabolic Video Productions of Venice, CA to use their shop for filming. And according to the letter Harley sent reprimanding Bill Bartel Sr., "this film prominently features your dealership, your dealership name, Harley-Davidson's trademarks and Harley Davidson motorcycles and other products in a manner which disparages our trademarks and severely tarnishes the image, reputation and good will of Harley-Davidson." The letter concluded with the warning that a repeat performance would lead Harley to strip Bartel's of its dealership.
That said, we must note that though the dealer may have violated the terms of his contract with Harley, Anabolic appears to have acted in good faith with Bartels, and their decision to cave may inspire other corporations to exercise increased image (that is trademark) control on art that features their products.
OK, I know what you are thinking, Harley's actions are bad, but if I wanted to use a bike in my movie that looked like a Harley, I could simply remove the logos before having the nude girl pose on the bike and espouse communism or do other things that demean Harley. And indeed there are after-market companies such as Titan and Big Dog who assemble Harleys using parts not made by Harley. The results, by the way, are often far superior to a stock Harley, though I doubt such quality was a factor when Playboy recently decided to ink a deal with Titan for a special 45th anniversary limited edition motorcycle featuring its well-known rabbit ears on the tank. That decision probably had more to do with Titan's willingness to swing the deal for less cash.
Many people have greeted the news that Harley seeks to own a sound as cause for laughter. But it is not really the sound that they are after, for if you read the patent in which Harley claims now to own the sound of any American made 45 degree V twin engine, the key phrase isn't really "sound"; it's "45 degree v-twin" because though Titan could claim that the sound is not identical, they can't get away from using parts that form an engine with 2 cylinders placed 45 degrees apart. And it is this specification of engine configuration (at least as I read the patent) that is the real bomb. But even that can be hurdled with some thought. OK, I'll make the som'bitch 44 degrees or 46 degrees; it will mean some serious machining, but I have no doubt it can be done.
Nevermind asking how Gang Bang Girl 20 would come to the attention of people who would conclude that Erica Bella tarnished Harley when she kneeled on a Harley rug. Actually Harley did provide a story to the court and it goes like this: The video came to their attention when an unidentified religious individual complained that he felt that he may not be able to buy a Harley because his church had expressed disapproval when they had learned of the video's existence. Uh-huh. And I often get confused between the Adult and Inspirational sections in my video store too. Frankly, the story sounds fabricated, but whatever.
Certainly the Harley core is letting the Company know that they feel betrayed (the word on the street among bikers is to "flip the patch," so when you see an upside down Harley patch now you know) and that feeling of betrayal has to seep in among the suits, and as we learned from the Bill and Monica saga, guilt seeps out in the strangest places. In the meantime, if you can get your hands on Gang Bang Girl 20 I suggest you do so. After all, you can tell yourself that you bought it just cause it'll make a good investment.
This piece originally appeared in Swang, a men's retro e-zine. A writer, publisher,
and avid rider, "Owl-Eyes" publishes often on motorcycling. E-mail him
via his good friend email@example.com
This piece originally appeared in Swang, a men's retro e-zine. A writer, publisher, and avid rider, "Owl-Eyes" publishes often on motorcycling. E-mail him via his good friend firstname.lastname@example.org