Radical! Consultancy is the New Counterculture

Rain. It's wet, it's cold, and increasingly, it's filled with flesh-burning acids. For centuries, cyclists have had only two choices when it rains: get wet, or take the bus. But not anymore! Because now, there's Überhood (forwarded by a reader):

No, "Überhood" isn't the new name for Williamsburg, Brookyn, nor is it a Klan-inspired "hoodie" for the fixie set. Überhood is actually the innovative new cockpit-mounted umbrella system with which I can find no design flaws whatsoever, and which not only protects you from driving rain, but also from the hated sun, which has the power turn your forearms to bacon and give you melanoma armwarmers in short order.

So how much would you pay for a bike-specific umbrella that will either poke out your eye during mounting or dismounting, turn inside out with the first gust of wind, or else just blow away entirely? No dollars? Negative six dollars? Go fuck yourself? Well, if you act now, you can have the Überbrella Eye Removal System for only $79!

Plus, for a limited time, we'll also throw in this Certificate of Idiocy!

That should look great on your wall, especially because it features a simple design you can still appreciate without any depth perception because you're now forced to wear an eyepatch.

Speaking of commuting by bicycle, if you use either the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridge, you've no doubt encountered the "Pedestrian Safety Managers," who the Department of Transportation has been forced to deploy because, unlike animals, human beings in New York are completely incapable of reading signage. Well, muckraking local news blog Gothamist has an interview with one of the safety managers, and the big revelation is that apparently bike messengers are jerks:

How do tourists respond to cyclists?

"The tourists are very polite, very kind. They listen to what we're out here to do—to help the public, help the pedestrians and the cyclists get along."

"Those messengers, they don't care. They're kicking tourists. I'm seeing it."

In case you don't know, a "bicycle messenger" is an artisanal delivery person who transports items and correspondence by bicycle. If it helps, think of him or her as sort of a "human email." Needless to say, there's no actual demand for bicycle delivery anymore (excluding food and marijuana of course), so any messenger companies that still exist serve only to "consult" for television shows and Hollywood films, or to else to model boutique cycling apparel. What this means is that, if you actually see an actual messenger delivering an actual package, he or she is probably just showing an actor how it was done in the 1980s, or else delivering marijuana. Or, it's also possible he's being filmed or photographed by someone on a scooter, so that the results can be uploaded onto the Internet as a form of "bicycle culture." (Which is simply a euphemism for any cycling-themed "viral advertising.")

This is not to say that messengers don't work hard--in fact I just noticed a video on Prolly's Purple Bikey Blog which shows just how arduous it is to be a rolling Zoolander:

Content: Fergus EP2 from cadence studios on Vimeo.

Now that nobody needs messengers to deliver packages, it would appear that they mostly just carry their extensive wardrobes.

And clearly they've hired a top-tier Fred consultant, because there's going to be some perfect Primal Wear product placement:

I can't wait to see it, since it promises to do for road cycling what "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" did for bicycle commuting:

I'm sure dorks crashing bikes never fails to score through the roof at Hollywood test screenings. "Ha ha, the guy on the bike fell down. Fail! Streets are for cars, silly."

Of course, if you're tired of Hollywood hegemony, consumer culture, corporate corpulence, and other forms of alliteration, you can always endeavor to unlatch yourself from the societal teet and live "off the grid." As it happens, I was perusing the Kickstarter recently looking for worthwhile projects not to fund when I came across a documentarian who wants to do just that:

Though the funding period has expired, it would appear he wanted $10,000 to document how to live for free:

Starting this summer I will leave from Washington, DC to zig-zag, largely unplanned, across the southern US. I hope to become largely integrated into these subcultures, as they exist separately and with much overlap, in different communities across the US and truly come to understand the meanings of both radical self-reliance (existing without any external means of support) and, on the other side of the spectrum, communal living.

To me, this is as American as it gets: making a movie about living outside of society and needing a bunch of money from strangers in order to explore the idea of radical self-reliance. The project is simply antithetical to its subject--it's like building an animatronic Lancaster County because you're interested in the Amish, or like constructing a synagogue out of pork by-products. Still, the fact is that not only is self-reliance expensive, but it also requires lots and lots of people:

Already producers, cameramen, editors and composers have expressed interest in-and begun to sign onto- the project, and now I need your help in keeping it moving. The approximate budget break down is $3,500 for video and audio equipment, $2,000 for gas so the crew can follow me, $3,000 for food expenses and $1,500 for shelter and other miscellaneous expenses of the crew. None of this money will be going to me (the subject) to assist with my survival, nor for anyone's profit.

This being 2011 you can pretty do the work of a film crew with a single smartphone now, but I suppose that's not technically being "off the grid" since you need a service plan. Maybe someone from the counterculture can start an underground telecom company and introduce a "Radical Self-Reliance" plan. I'm imagining three or four people with impressive beards riding bicycle generators with satellite dishes strapped to their heads.

Actually, it would probably look a lot like the Überhood.

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