Lance vs. France
My friend David Morrison (welcome back bud) is a bicyclist and a big fan of Lance Armstrong. He is also guilty of suspicious Francophilia, so these developments should concern him deeply.
While accepting the ESPY last week, Armstrong said of the French soccer team that “all their players tested positive for being assholes.” Prompting the French media to respond in kind. I wonder why Armstrong might have used the particular phrase “tested positive.” Hmmm …
Armstrong has been hounded by charges of doping, and there is an element of French chauvinism-cum-wishful-thinking in trying to deny that the greatest cycler in modern times was … (sniff) … “un americain.” In the Washington Diarist in the latest New Republic (not available online best I can tell), Robert Messenger wrote:
Armstrong’s retirement hasn’t slowed the French press’s relentless effort to prove that his seven victories were tainted by doping. The murky evidence and legal intricacies of the investigations are all but incomprehensible, but L’Equipe, the French sporting daily, runs each vague allegation under a screaming headline like “the Armstrong lie.”
Of course, what is funny (or nauseasting) is that there actually have been “doping convictions” associated with the Tour de France. And guess what … with the exception of one Australian, all the riders were European. And not an American among them.
I think head-shrinkers call this “projection.” Moralists call it “double standards.” I just call it “French.” Nor is it something unknown in the French attitude towards Americans in other fields. Several examples come to my head — the vocal criticism by the French government and the French populace generally of tough US action against Saddam Hussein or Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah (and the Jews against their Arab enemies as well). But how does France act when theirs are threatened — as in, say, the Ivory Coast? Restraint?
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