Just because he regularly and proudly co-opts Nazi insignia for his own corporate logos, stands accused of stealing a union's logo for his own (anti-employee, anti-union) purposes, was fined $275,000 by the California Air Resources Board for selling motorcycles with engines not approved by the state and has to go 2,000 miles from his home in So Cal to find a group which might listen to him, all that doesn't make motorcycle customizer "Jesse James" a bad person. No, because now he's an environmentalist, too.
Speaking (or whatever it is he does) to a so-called "design forum" sponsored by Autoweek magazine in Detroit, James said, according to news accounts, "Ten years ago, I didn't care about the environment, now I'm wondering, am I turning soft or is it real?"
Whether James was speaking about the environment or some aspect of his personal life "turning soft", we don't know, but someone should tell James that most of the people in the world who know about these things say that yes, "it", meaning global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions, among other problems, is indeed very real. We'd recommend that the next time James and his wife are at a show business awards event of some kind, he might want to ask some of the many celebrities pulling-up in alternative-fueled or alternative-engined vehicles just why they are doing so. Most of them can afford any vehicle they'd want. Bike-riding, car-loving celebs like George Clooney and Jay Leno might be able to clue him in on what's going on outside that hamburger stand he owns in Long Beach, CA.
"I see Al Gore --- he's a dork. I see these people on the Internet, and it's like they just want to take away all the Camaros. Is it just hype or is it real and there will be no gas? I know I don't want to go to an electric Formula One race," James said. "At the track it would be like, 'I think they're coming, but I can't hear them.' "
Now, who can argue with that? When James gets his own Nobel Prize, I'm sure Al Gore will send him a note of congratulations.
Speaking about the $275,000 fine levied on his company, James said, "Someone has got to get the EPA and CARB under control so it's really about the environment and not just about collecting money."
Maybe James should run for office. Or his wife could; Californians have some strange predilection for voting for actors.
"I think Japan is whipping our ass with small, basic cars. Cars try to do too much these days. We should just make basic cars and let people do what they want to them."
Now, there's enlightened thinking ... for 1974. Just what Japanese "small, basic cars" is he referring to? The $80,000 480-horsepower Nissan GT-R? Any Lexus, Acura or Infiniti models included in his thinking? Subarus? Mazdas?
James might be surprised to find out that the vast majority of car-buyers (and motorcycle-buyers) do very little, if any, customization to their vehicles. The aftermarket is indeed huge (some $30 billion annually, worldwide), but fewer than 10% of car-buyers 'customize' their rides to any major degree. (Photo --- The "Sheet Metal Workers" union logo on the left, and James' co-opted version of it on the right).
Hmmm ... Maybe if people like James, instead of joking about the future he's leaving his kids, would take the time and whatever brains they have to develop products which save fuel, cut emissions and increase horsepower, all at the same time ... like Ford's EcoBoost engines ... people like him could afford to pay their fines, stay in business, design their own logos and not need to cozy-up with Nazi and White Supremacist types to make their money ... Just a thought! James might even get, dare we say it, respect! And we'd like nothing better than to see James develop some of these kinds of products. We could not care less about him personally... But the world needs these products, and if someone like James can build them, that's fine with us.
Don't get us wrong ... James is an easy target ... And we do think it's great that he is "talking the talk," but next he needs to walk the walk ... Perhaps at next year's Detroit Auto Show (or maybe he'll even be invited to speak at his local auto show, the Los Angeles Auto Show), "Jesse James" will roll-out some great, environmentally-oriented engine products which will make him more money than he's ever dreamed of. We doubt it, but maybe ... just maybe ... he'll prove us wrong. And if he does, we'll be the first in line to invest in the products and encourage others to do the same.