Thursday, 30 September 2010

A day to lose heroes

Tony Curtis is dead - he was good even in bad films.

Also, Alberto Contador has been suspended after positive drugs tests. Heartbreaking. I thought his victory in this year's Tour de France was a turning point for the sport - a clean race with a titanic struggle between the two very best cyclists on the circuit. But now it looks like another embarrassing fix. These days, in cycling, it's very much a matter of guilty until proven innocent. Sad, but the organisers, the sponsors, trainers, medics and cyclists have brought it upon themselves.

The competitors, actually, should be at the bottom of the list of guilty parties. Under the day-glo kit and muscle, they're the proletariat, slaving for a wage and forced to cheat because not to cheat means losing and failing to feed their families. The system conspires against them to make cheating (and risking early death or ill-health) the logical choice. It's not individuals pulling a fast one on their rivals (though they probably think it is, and scabs do deserve a beating), but an economic structure demanding superhuman effort at the cost of health - just like being a miner or steel-worker. Their bodies are their tools and the products - but the profit goes to the advertisers and organisers, and the blame accrues to the individual.

That's capitalism, folks.

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