Lies, Drugs, Heroes and Lance Armstrong

My Wednesday column begins like so:

Americans are good at a lot of things. We've defeated Nazis and ended a Holocaust. We've created a universe of technological advancements that have connected the world. We've discovered many of the vast secrets of space. We've created groundbreaking art and entertainment. You know the list.

We're also experts at rapidly canonizing our heroes, and then, when we discover that our heroes are flawed human beings just like everyone us, we mercilessly slam them back down to Earth. Actually, the word "slam" understates what we do. We pulverize them, sometimes unfairly and always with vengeful brutality. It's almost as if we build these ten-story-tall marble superhumans and then, when we're finished, we're suddenly embarrassed by the grandiosity of this thing we've sculpted and because of its enormity and visibility the flaws become exaggerated -- so we ferociously smash it into a million pieces and absolve ourselves of responsibility and accountability. The internet and social media has served to amplify it all, given the fierce online competition to be the most hip, hilarious and cynical commentator ever.

Simply put: our American heroes are too often disposable. Such is the case with Lance Armstrong. [continue reading]

  • muselet

    Cycling barely enjoys a miniscule fraction of the popularity and finances of football and baseball, but the scrutiny is utterly disproportional.

    It’s precisely because of cycling’s relative obscurity in the US that outraged people feel free to be so very outraged about Lance Armstrong. It’s safer to go after a cyclist than a football or baseball player.

    Thanks for the clear-eyed view, Bob.


  • Mark Cleary

    Lance Armstrong is a piece of shit, and has been known to be a piece of shit ever since he left the wife who stood by him during the cancer, to sleep with Sheryl Crow and her horse teeth. Nice of the rest of the world to catch up to reality.

  • mrbrink

    It is not mathematically possible for me to agree with you more, Bob.

    Every single word spoke volumes from beginning to end.

    It’s comforting to know that there’s still a grown up on this fucking island.

    This one’s going on the fridge.