Flobots Handlebars Video Meaning

January 16th, 2009 by Rupert Buffett Leave a reply »


Students, the Flobots Handlebars Video is excellent and full of symbolism. Of course people will interpret it in their own way, but after reading on many sites what other people have to say about it, I feel a lot are giving the “poor guy” way too much credit as being “good”.


 Short Version: The video is about how a leader’s actions/indifference can affect those around them.


Long Version:


Power is not just about wealth that is only a piece of the puzzle. The other pieces are Connections, and Force. Each can cancel one out (wealth buys force, force neutralizes connections, connections overcomes wealth.) You are not truly powerful in a practical sense unless you have all three pieces. If you understand the triangle of power you will understand this video a lot better


The video starts out with two young men enjoying the view, a rebel (dirty clothes) and a kid who follows the rules (well dressed). The rebel starts the race; he takes off and leaves the other kid behind. (he is on the left the side of competition)  He then breaks the rules of riding by not using handle bars. The well dressed kid wants to be like his friend, so he follows suit.  The rebel wins the race but well dressed is not far behind. (but he is on the right side which is Passive) Well dressed catches on quick, he observes the rebel is the “winner” and may have been by breaking the rules. They come to a fork in the road, competition (aggressive) and peace (passive) and say goodbye. Well dressed decides to now go left on  road of competition and goes to make his mark in the big city (aggressive), the rebel is happy he won goes on the right and returns  to their home area. (Passive) Immediately the well dressed kid gets ahead in the race as we see him walk at a faster pace.


At home we find the rebel actually holds a piece of power, “connections” he is popular, well known in town, (everyone watches him walk by, he has tons of birds that can fly, and people waving to him) these people, like the well dressed kid, are his followers. And he acknowledges them with a salute, but does NOTHING with this power, In fact he is complacent and does not want things to change. This is seen by him placing the dirty fruit back in with the rest, and thinking of old times of beating his friend (the sidewalk picture) (the American flag symbolizes that this is how most of us are acting today)

  . At this time he has the POWER to influence the younger generation (girls jump roping) but he just walks by. He rather check up on his friend who follows the rules, he salutes him like he salutes the others, checking to make sure that he is still popular with him.


But The Well dressed kid is a little to overwhelmed to pay much attention to his friend right now. (They are walking the paths of a V, drifting further apart) He is in the rough seas (first billboard) and trying to swim. He is very alone (single hawk.)  In the big city there are younger kids who are even more aggressive then him (little kid with gun) and people here seem to be very materialistic. (Some thing he actually could fit in with being well dressed and all). It is possible at this point that he realizes his rebel friend was just a big fish in a small pond back home and out in the big city he would be more disadvantaged then himself.  It is the well dressed kid’s new found competitiveness and rule following (ability to integrate into the system) that is going to give him his start. And it does, he accumulates wealth, a well known form of power and success. But he has seemed to learn about being a little bit of a rebel and the power of connections himself from his friend. (This is shown by the fact that he never wears a tie, the guy who gives him money has one and his ability to communicate) He then uses his wealth, and what his friend taught him to build connections ( more media microphones so everyone can hear what he has to say and maybe be successful to) and these connections are more powerful then what the rebel ever had.


The rebel is still continuing his walk of complacency and he see’s his friend on the TV, he is not happy for him, in fact he gives the shake of the head I have seen the popular jock give to the dorky kid at my high school reunion because the dorky kid now drives a BMW and has a model wife, the jock has his old football jacket and broken dreams. He does NOTHING and continues his walk.

By now the well dressed kid’s power is complete, he has added force to his resources (f16 fighter jet) and has completed the triangle of power.(wealth, connections, force) The rebel’s power has diminished, instead of a flock of birds (single white bird) he only really has himself and connections are no match for force, just like passive people are not a match for the competitive (dove getting killed by hawk).

The rebel’s home is now threatened, (passive peace wall getting smashed by aggressive competition wreaking ball) and he finally decides to act. The problem is too much time has passed and the only people who will follow him when is asks are the weak who have no where to go (old woman, obese kid, stressed out women) and the elderly who might have remembered him when he was popular (old man). Fanatics ( Masked man who hates the well dressed man) follow him as well but he did not ask them to, does not pay attention to. In fact he is walking way ahead of everyone and is in his own mind alone.

When they (the rebel’s connections) come to protest the establishment they are met with force (because using force is how you deal with people with connections) , and a special ops soldier fires on the fanatic, this fire has collateral damage (maybe because he was far away in a helicopter, mostly likely because he doesn’t care, or it was his mission to kill the fanatic and any of those around him “guild by association”), “innocent protestors” who where “close” to the fanatic get killed. At this point the rebel, has a chance to stop the protest, but he doesn’t, in fact he eggs the protestors on. (This most likely is because he didn’t know he had fanatics in his own group and in his eyes the authorities are killing innocents.) The cop/soldier who is on the ground level see’s that innocent people have gotten killed, and can not believe that the crowd has not dispersed; in fact they are even more of a threat now. The well dressed man sees the crowd and sees the situation and feels if he can use his own connections (talking on the microphone) he can solve this problem. Before he can, the officers take out their guns and neutralize the threat. Once again force will overwhelm connections. The only thing that can overwhelm force is wealth, and the rebel and protestors never had that from the get go.

This shocks the well dressed kid, he never knew anything he did was wrong, and why where these people against him? And If they were against him why would they fight without wealth or without force of their own like he was taught. Don’t they know they system? Of course not because they are rebels. If you watch the video he never really did anything “wrong”, he was well dressed, he went and got a job, he made a lot of money, he/his corporation made a lot of things, they expanded, and he became a leader. He competed with his friend, Any/ and all of these things we are taught by birth to do, now his friend, the one he would most enjoy his success with, or show him he made it is dead and he realizes even in power he is still alone.

The rebel never used his power until it was too late, and when he did all he did was stubbornly lead a bunch of innocent people to their deaths. He is not good, in fact the last emotion he has is anger, anger that he is so helpless, or maybe that his well dressed friend is more powerful then he and he has no clue why. He was never part of the system by choice, so how could he know it? How could he ever hope to fight it. Most of the video he was indifferent, indifferent to his poor neighborhood ( no change until it is overtaken by the big city), indifferent to his followers (never looks back during the march, ignores youth, doesn’t acknowledge the fanatics, ignores his friend’s success), and indifferent to himself (poorly dressed, dirty)

Sadly there is a lot the rebel in us if you really look. And that’s why in all these comments I see him as portrayed as “good”

“And I am reminded, on this holy day, of the sad story of Kitty Genovese. As you all may remember, a long time ago, almost thirty years ago, this poor soul cried out for help time and time again, but no person answered her calls. Though many saw, no one so much as called the police. They all just watched as Kitty was being stabbed to death in broad daylight. They watched as her assailant walked away. Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.” A quote from the Boondock Saints movie that sums this video up.




1 comment

  1. Johnny B says:

    Wow pretty Insightful article. Please write about more cool videos!

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