Lance Armstrong used to be #1 on my Five List. I held on to Lance Armstrong way longer than most. So much so that Armstrong’s book It’s Not About The Bike is featured on my book section under Top 25 Reads. And you know my default position is hate and cynicism! Still I believed. Even after he announced in August that he’d no longer fight the allegations against him I believed. And I only stopped believing in August when the NYT published USADA’s report with detailed information about his doping program based on sworn testimony from countless former teammates. Yes. I am stupid. But it’s more than just stupidity. What it is, really, is Hero Addiction. I loved the mythology. Lance Armstrong manufactured his mythology and he did it deliberately and ruthlessly and right now he’s manufacturing his contrition in the same manner. Oprah wasn’t in control last night. Lance was in control, not moved by any desire to do right or to right his wrongs but, as always, to take care of Lance. Lance used Oprah the way he’s used everyone else. And...she let him. She started strong with the yes/no questions and then ...well... did that seem like an interview between journalist and disgraced athlete? Or was it more like two friends talking through a difficult discussion? It’s the entire approach, the Oprah interview style, that made her, ultimately, the wrong person for the job. When Armstrong admitted, for example, that he did indeed backdate a prescription after testing positive for cortisone during a race, and vilifying Emma O’Reilly in the aftermath, O’s first question was about what Lance would say to O’Reilly now, how he feels about how he treated her. Instead of holding him to the revealed deception, and using that instance of fraud to draw out more examples of it, which is what Armstrong has withheld and denied for so long -- and what journalists investigating this story for years have been trying to uncover -- she gave him an opportunity to rationalise and express remorse. It allowed Armstrong to continue spreading the new Armstrong message. It gave Armstrong the platform to communicate the points that he intended to communicate -- in other words, to further his remodelled agenda. Oprah willingly or unwittingly -- and that’s another debate -- was part of Lance’s plan.
Lance Armstrong prepared and trained for this interview the way he approached his career -- Lance first. Not truth first, but Lance first. He said he was here to say I’m sorry. I don’t actually remember him saying I’m sorry. What I do remember from it all is that there was no shame in his confession. This was a man who revealed his wrongdoing with...confidence. Have you ever seen a fallen hero tell the story of his deceit so confidently? He swaggered through that sh-t in the same manner that we’ve seen him swagger through everything else, like we were supposed to admire his courage for coming forward, like he was proud of himself for being honest, just another chapter in the Mythology of Lance, and he can’t wait to see the movie.
Am in and out of meetings today although I’ve scheduled frequent breaks so hopefully there will be no interruption to the schedule but I’m sorry if it ends up being too tight to write.
Have a great weekend!
Yours in gossip,