Friday, January 18, 2013

Lance Armstrong Is In His Own Special Category of Horrible

Live strong, asshole.
I was inspired by Lance Armstrong, though I wasn't taken by him in the way a fan might be. He was just darned impressive while not being a particularly likeable character. He just won Tours de France as if he were born to do it.

Turns out he wasn't. Unlike other frauds in sports -- Barry Bonds and others in the steroid era of baseball come to mind -- Lance Armstrong grew his legend through what can only be described as a monumental criminal enterprise.

Which, quite simply, makes him a horrible human being.

I like second acts, I believe in forgiveness, I believe in redemption. For Lance Armstrong, though, I hold a special contempt. So let him have his second act, let him redeem himself, and, yes, I'll forgive him at some point. But first, let him give up all his spoils of deception and wear a serious hair shirt for a serious length of time. Then let those who are inclined to forgive him do so.

I'm no fan of Glenn Kessler, the WaPo fact checker. But he rang my chimes with his world-record granting of 28 Pinocchios to Lance Armstrong (the previous top negative rating was always 4).

Robert De Niro in The Mission
I remember being impressed by Robert De Niro's character, Rodrigo Mendoza, in the movie The Mission. After killing his brother in a rage, he seeks forgiveness from a priest with whom he shared a friendship, played by Jeremy Irons. As I recall, the Irons character had Mendoza carry a cross up the frigging Amazon and up a very tall waterfall to earn forgiveness. Maybe Lance Armstrong could carry a bicycle on his back as he scaled, beam by beam, the Eiffel Tower.

Sounds about right.

In the meantime, if I never see another Tour de France -- a true disgrace of an athletic competition -- it'll be too soon.

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