"Think 'steamhammer and walnut'.... om mani padme hum..." There was me thinking that maybe we'd get to the glorious final stage of the Tour de France without someone in the media pissing me off. I hope Alex Massie goes after this jackass again, but George Vecsey has it coming.
(Happily for my blood-pressure I don't have an on-line subscription to the New York Times. I discovered that George has been peddling misanthrope all week, not just rolling it out for Sundays. On July 26th, he did this -- "Whole World Is Watching as Wheels Come Off the Tour" -- which be begins with, "How much longer will the public put up with juiced cyclists dropping out of what used to be the world’s greatest cycling race?")
His print piece in today's NYT is "Cycling Fans Retain Passion in Face of Scandal". In the op-ed piece, he claims that he gets e-mail and that he reads it -- but just uses trite deflection techniques to continue dribbling.
Enigma #1: When was the Tour de France 'the world's greatest cycling race'? Was this before, during, after Tom Simpson exploded and died on the Mont Ventoux? Or before Jacques Anquetil or Fausto Coppi died 'prematurely'? George and Dick Pound (who I think I have to refer to just as 'Meat' from now on) have this fantasy that cycling was clean at some mythic time. I would love to have the comfort of knowing that cycling was clean, but I can also settle with knowing that a race result was potentially obtained by those clever enough to pass a drug test or two.
Enigma #2: As uncovered here at the Regal Vizsla, George, of all people, should be upset at the cheating journalists at the IHT who give his journalistic victories away to others. And so, when he includes a paragraph allegedly drawn from his correspondents' e-mails, about how if business executives, politicians, "maybe even the odd journalist" (p.8), were held to the same standards of honesty, they would also find themselves being fired. His response, and he has reason to be upset with journalists' lack of integrity, is to dismiss it with the patronising remark, "This loyalty to cycling is touching." George is clearly such a sanguine shit that I am reminded of the first encounter between James Bond and Vesper Lynd in the new Casino Royale. Were you abandoned as a child, an orphan, George? You take on the role of the New York Times journalist but wear it with such disdain.
Enigma #3: He ends his piece with the following:
"As we saw again yesterday, the Tour is still a compelling spectacle. After this week of ghastly publicity, American cycling buffs insist the sport has moved far ahead of other pro sports. That may be true, but it is hardly a compliment."
And so, perhaps the saddest thing is that George cannot admit that a) he really does like cycling, and that b) in a tragic, abject irony, he is forced to juice-up his articles about cycling (to keep the very thing that he loves at a painful distance) to sucker dopes like me into keeping reading.