Thursday, October 18, 2012

Doug Reviews Cheating

Author’s Note: I just read through this post, and it took me in a direction I was not expecting. After my last few blogs, you may feel like you are an audience member to the live unraveling of my sanity, post by post. Don’t worry, I will ensure my next post is filled with toilet jokes and cleverly crafted insults toward celebrities.Enjoy!

What if I told you Osama Bin Laden was a fraud? What if I had videos that showed Bin Laden renouncing Islam and accepting Jesus as his personal Savior? What if every terror attack orchestrated by Bin Laden was performed under false pretenses? Would you care?

I didn’t think so. The fact is, you and I don’t care why Osama Bin Laden did what he did, and we don’t care what he had to do to rise to the top of Al-Qaeda. The only thing we care about is that he planned and executed attacks that directly led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people.   We don’t care about the means in this situation; we only care about the end.

With that concept in mind, check out the following data: Since its inception, the Lance Armstrong “Live Strong” Foundation has raised over $470 Million dollars, 81% of which has gone directly to help fight cancer or support cancer patients.

I’m no mathematician, but I think 81% of $470,000,000 is over $380 million dollars that has been raised to fight cancer! All thanks to those douchey little yellow bands.

But wait, there’s bad news!  Lance Armstrong, the head and founder and spokesman and reason for the foundation’s existence probably used performance enhancing drugs on his way to his remarkable 7 straight Tour de Francevictories. How can we forgive this monster? He is a cheater and a fraud. He had the audacity to win bike races against all the other guys who were using PED’s(which, by the way, is not a made up statistic. In some cases, you have to goto the 24th place finisher to find a guy that wasn’t racing with drug assistance).

I’ll be honest, I’ve never really been a big Lance Armstrong fan, and I was among the first to assume he was guilty years ago when the accusations first started to fly. I find it interesting that I am here defending him. But the fact is, it is hard not to admire the guy for his public bouts with cancer and the work he has done to fight cancer. Just as Bin Laden’s actions led to death, Lance Armstrong’s actions led to life, care, and hope.
And no matter what is and isn’t false about Armstrong, the hope he created is real.  

Disclaimer here, I’m not a very good litmus test for this type of behavior. My favorite comic book hero of all time is Captain America. Cap’s whole premise is that he was a wimpy (but good hearted) guy who was injected with performance enhancing steroids and then started going around saving the world. No one seemed to care that drugs gave him his powers.

So forgive me if I don’t hop aboard the condemnation express to speak out against the fallen hero, Lance Armstrong.

Steroids saved baseball in the late 90’s. If it weren’t for Big Mac, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds breaking homerun records, Major League Baseball might have wilted and died in the post-strike era. And by the way, when a batter using steroids hits a homerun against a pitcher using steroids…isn’t that like a double negative, where it cancels itself out?

If it weren’t for steroids, professional wrestling would be nothing more than skinny guys in singlets doing that awkward wrestling that your weird friend did in high school.

Maybe this one might hurt a little more. If it weren’t for drugs, we wouldn’t have The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who,Led Zeppelin or any other band or musician since. One of my favorite songs is “SheTalks to Angels” by the Black Crows. The song is very literally about a woman addicted to Heroin, yet I hear it and I close my eyes and I develop an emotional attachment to this girl.

All because of drugs.

Look, I am in no way condoning illegal drug use of any kind.Those of you who know me know that not only have I never touched a single illegal drug, I even get a little woozy from more than three Advil. But who amI to judge? My whole life has been filled with one amazing lucky break after another, from child birth to the typing of this word. I have never needed to escape from my reality, because my reality is awesome.

Some turn to drugs, and that’s part of their journey. I wish they wouldn’t. I’ve seen friends and family, some who have come back, some who haven’t.The pain and grief drug addicts put their families through is real and(speaking from experience) kind of selfish.   

So no, I am definitely not condoning drug use. On the other hand, I am not condemning it either. Especially since we as a nation hypocritically worship the ground our most famous drug users walk on. If the message to kids is “Say No to Drugs,” than we sure as hell don’t tell them why.Kids are smart enough to figure out at a pretty young age that everything is not as drug free as it seems. The idols we force upon our youth are often the same drug addicted bullies we create campaigns to stop.

Sorry to cross comic universes here, but there is a line I love in the Dark Knight, where Alfred is arguing with Bruce Wayne that perhaps they don’t quite understand the Joker. He tells Bruce a story about the attempts he once made to find a bandit stealing precious gems in the jungle. He ended the story with an incredible quote, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

You know what? Most of us are more like the Joker than like Batman. We sit happily by with front row seats as we watch the world burn. We speak out against the injustices in the world, we talk about a drug free society, we shake our heads in disgust while radio hosts tell us what a shameLance Armstrong is.

Once we are done condemning, though, we sit comfortably on our couch. We pull out our iPads made by slave laborers in Asia and listen to music performed by violent junkies. We turn the TV on and watch the NFL, where enormous men spend three hours crashing into each other at full speed, leaving lasting lifetime health issues. We cheer them on, then act shocked and outraged when they die young or kill themselves.

The world is burning all around us. And I am just watching and laughing. Now someone in the media wants me to get riled up because some jerk who only raised a measly $380 million for cancer victims injected his own blood back into his body?



  1. Two things:
    1. Even though I have NEVER really liked Lance Armstrong (mainly because of how I felt he seemed to put everything in life above his family), I have to agree with most of this post. I think you helped put some things into perspective about different people in the media. Perhaps the most famous people (like Lance) get away with less; that does not mean that it is an isolated problem with just one person though.

    2. This post reminded me of what great taste of music you have. I will probably now have "She Talks to Angels" stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Thanks!

  2. I thought a lot about who really cares that he doped and I keep thinking of the person who came in 2nd or 3rd who didn't get the yellow shirt. The one who spent a lifetime dreaming of winning and got beat by a cheat. I applaud what he's done for cancer research, I hope he still raises mega money to help. I am not going to hop on the beat up Lance bandwagon, it isn't my place, my sport of my fight. I also know playing by the rules is a suckers game. I know it first hand because I have been doing it my whole life and winding up 2nd or 3rd or 27th.

  3. Let me preface this by saying I think your posts are very thoughtful, well written, and clever. I think I've read all of them, and all of them have really got me thinking about things, which is probably some of what your intention is. I think that's a good thing. Onto my response to your post:

    Lance Armstrong. So let me get this straight. Cheating is OK as long as you are doing good things with your life? And cheating is OK because everyone else is doing it? I'm curious, how would you justify cheating on a test? What if Ava said to you, "Well, I can't get an A in the class like everyone else, because they are all cheating, so don't I have to do it too if I want to have an edge?" What is the difference in this situation (besides millions of dollars)? Is the justification that to be the "best" at certain things, you have to cheat in order to get there? Where do you draw the line? It's OK in sports and music, but not in ___________.

    And drugs are neither here nor there because among other things, some of the greatest music of all time was created?

    Something isn't adding up here. Sounds like a lot of rationalizations.

    I'm going to get a little more personal here. I wouldn't bring it up if I weren't comfortable talking candidly about it. If it weren't for drugs (both legal and illegal) my brother would still be on the earth today. Drugs ultimately destroyed his life, and for awhile, destroyed the lives of his loved ones. I know that you touched on this subject and I know you aren't insensitive to it and those who have gone through it. I know you're not a jerk.

    I do love music that is made by drug users, so maybe in a way that makes me a hypocrite? I'm not sure. But I do know that drugs are the root of much of the evil in our world and should absolutely be condemned. If that means we don't get good music, baseball sucks, and so does Lance Armstrong, so be it. I don't care. But then I've really never given much of a crap about baseball, ever. Or Lance Armstrong. I'm sure you would agree with me that while those things can make life more enjoyable, they are just fluff.

    So do I condemn Lance Armstrong for what he did? Absolutely. Even though everyone else did it? You bet. Do I think it's great he has raised so much money for cancer research? Of course I do. I'm glad he used his fame for some good. But does that mean it was OK that he cheated for so long? No, I don't think that it is. It sends out a terrible message. "Get there by any means that you have to use, but remember to do good along the way." ? Just who I want for a role model for my kids.

    I think you're right in saying a lot of us condemn things and then just sit back and watch and basically do nothing. So you are inspiring me to be more active in causes that I believe in. I really have no idea how to go about starting, but I'm going to do it. After I catch up on shows on my DVR, that is. :)

    P.S. You know I love ya Dougie Fresh.

  4. McKay- We only got to hang out for a short period of time, and under the circumstances we didn't have the chance to explore some of the great music out there! Someday, man!

    Angie and Julie- Both of your points are dead on. As I reread what I wrote last night, I think mine was an indictment of my own hypocrisy. I know I should feel some sense of moral outrage toward Armstrong, but the fact is, I felt nothing more than mild acknowledgement of what happened. It was if someone told me Lance Armstrong wore red underwear during his races. I'm numb to the concept of cheaters getting ahead, and my point is, at least he used the fame he gained for some selfless pursuits.

    I think what I am trying to do is expose the selective judgement we make toward certain cheaters, while giving other drug-cheaters a free pass, even support.

    The phrase "Cheaters never prosper" is perhaps the most inaccurate idiom in the English language. In reality, cheaters OFTEN prosper.

    Thanks for the inspiring words, I appreciate discussion in these threads!

  5. So Lance Armstrong was the go to athlete in the great movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Used to inspire the leading actor to buck up and go for it. That was at the height of Lance Armstrong mania. Can I watch that movie ever again? I think not.

  6. Hey, Lynn, it could be worse. You could be watching OJ Simpson on the Naked Gun movies...

  7. Ya but O J played a character, Lance played himself. Therefore I can still watch Naked Gun.