The show is supposed to give viewers a look into the lives of members of a group of San Diego bikers, The Laffing Devils. I expected the strange and terrible saga of an outlaw motorcycle gang, but I got General Hospital.
If you don’t read any further than this, take my advice and don’t bother watching this soap opera. Heed this warning and that alone will be worth the time you spent on my site today. That’s probably redemption enough, your benefit from my self-inflicted suffering, but let me take a stab at more.
First, why did I keep watching after episode one? I’d like to blame it on booze, but the truth is I was stone cold sober and I’m a sucker for melodrama. I punched the tar baby and couldn’t get free. I just had to find out if Gypsy and Billy the Kid were really broken up for good.
Onward toward redemption.
This show is full of talk about being a brotherhood of real men, but there’s very little that’s real about The Devils Ride.
The program is “story-boarded-but-not-scripted” and the founder of The Laffing Devils, Tommy “Gypsy” Quinn, apparently sold them out to the Discovery Channel after being booted from the club for marrying a cop. The Laffing Devils have since disbanded and Gypsy “was arrested on August 29, 2012 regarding allegations of lewd acts on a minor child. San Diego television news station and Fox affiliate KSWB-TV reported that Tommy Quinn was arrested on suspicion of having his minor step-daughter perform oral sex on him at least six times.” So, there’s your “brotherhood” and the “real man” who founded it.
None of that is in the show. In fact, Gypsy unceremoniously disappeared from the program after his 2012 arrest.
Instead, the program follows a bunch of mostly middle-aged men (ostensibly The Laffing Devils) as they look for male affirmation and turf… a place to belong. It’s basically a bunch of guys looking for friends and behaving like bitches at every perceived slight.
Now, while not much of what you see on the show is real, the behavior exhibited by the bikers is all too familiar. I’ve seen it in churches and among business partners, hell, it’s probably what’s behind the conflict in the Middle East. Everyone is building their little kingdoms and looking for respect.
Sociologist Micheal Kimmel writes:
“Men commit suicide three times as often as women. Psychiatrist Willard Gaylin (1992) explains that it is ‘invariably because of perceived social humiliation,’ most often tied to failure in business:
Men become depressed because of loss of status and power in the world of men. It is not the loss of money, or the material advantages that money could buy, which produces the despair that leads to self-destruction. It is the ‘shame,’ the ‘humiliation,’ the sense of personal ‘failure.’ … A man despairs when he has ceased being a man among men. (p.32)
In one survey, women and men were asked what they were most afraid of. Women responded that they were most afraid of being raped and murdered. Men responded that they were most afraid of being laughed at (Noble, 1992, pp. 105-106).”
Laughing devils indeed. While The Laffing Devils in The Devils Ride aren’t very scary, the demons of shame and humiliation are.
I’ve sold my soul to these devils more times than I’d like to admit. But, as I get older, they’re losing their power over me.
I don’t need other men to tell me I’m a real man (and you don’t either). As my dad always says, assume the quality and it’s yours. You wanna be a man, act like it. Take responsibility for your actions. Take care of your wife and kids… and don’t be a douche bag.
We will, of course, all fail. We can be self-centered, self-medicating, turf-trodding bastards at times. Even if you think you’re better than that, you will experience powerlessness one day. We all get old and die. One way or the other, our manliness will be threatened.
When I don’t act like a man, the praise of men is hollow. I lean hard on my faith and have to constantly choose to believe the words of the Father in scripture, “This is my beloved son in who I am well pleased.”
Assume the redemption and it’s yours.
Laugh all you want, devils. Your curse is broken. I’m a son of God and nobody can take that away from me. However, 4.5 hours of my life can easily be stolen by a crappy TV show.