21 January, 2013

The Armstrong Laws of Deception

(Pic courtesy : berzin.blogspot.com via Google)

Has it has been christened yet ?  Has it has been given a name ? No – It is not a baby I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the Lance Armstrong / Oprah Winfrey interview.  To me, sceptic that I am, that interview, this whole drama could be turned into, will be soon turned into a book for sure, maybe a movie even.  It probably might be – sometime in the near future.  I’m pretty sure, as we speak, there may be publishing houses lining up to snag the publishing rights to this book.  For, in the world of today, nothing sells like dirt. 
Yes. Dirt.
As far as the interview goes – the whole affair of him “confessing” in the interview with Oprah and what have you made me ask myself just one question – “What does he stand to gain from this exercise ?” .  Like I said earlier, I am a sceptic and when people like Lance Armstrong start trying really hard to shed those crocodile tears and throw an interview the public’s way – all pat and rehearsed – it leads me to wonder why he’s doing this and why now ?  Surely not out of a change of heart, surely not because a virtually non-existent conscience demanded that he submit to its whims, surely not because his inner voice called him on his private line or sneaked in an appointment with him and told him off, surely not because he suddenly “realized” that what he had been doing all these years had been completely wrong.  Yet again, I should not be using the word “wrong” here because concepts of right and wrong are extremely relative, subjective. 
I read the transcript of his interview with Oprah and it made me wonder – not about how Armstrong gathered enough of courage to rip the façade off his own face but about the people who have lost out through the years because of him.  There have been many – people who have lost out on their cycling careers, people who have been forced to shut shop, people who have been forced to quit their jobs, people who have been slandered by Armstrong’s publicity company or his band of lawyers.  This whole “confessional” made me think of those other people whose lives he’s destroyed in an attempt to hold on to what I can only describe as a megalomania all these years. 
I’m sure it is not easy.  Having been put on a pedestal all his life (well, virtually) and having been an icon of sorts – a cancer survivor who came back into the world of competitive sports to win titles as gruelling as the Tour de France, he would pretty much have got used to that image himself.  It probably made it easier on him to project the image of a sportsman that was nothing other than a complete lie, a total sham. 
During the interview, Armstrong confessed to have been a bully, a flawed person but in the very same interview he blamed his testicular cancer for having pushed him into doing what he did – used dope and bullied people into submission, intimidated people into keeping quiet and browbeat those that did speak out.  It is a known fact that usually when people survive something like cancer, they are rather pointedly and emphatically aware of having survived something colossal, something that many people succumb to.  This radically alters their perspective towards life as they live the rest of theirs.  Armstrong clearly seems to be an exception.
Many newspaper reports have said that he showed little or no remorse.  I did see bits and parts of the interview (didn’t really waste my time watching it all) and yes, there he was, his face set, his eyes spewing defiance, his entire body language saying “Yes.  I did it.  So what ?”.  But then again, for people like him that are used to having their way, no matter what, even admitting this must have been extremely difficult, I presume.   Commendable, indeed !!  He even went on to say that he personally believes that he deserves to be given another chance.  If ever there was something called the height of audacity, he surpasses it all.  If ever there was something called being an egotistical maniac, he takes the cake (and in this instance, he eats it too).
My thoughts also, at this point of time, revolve around the kind of impact this must have had, must be having on youngsters worldwide who have looked upon Armstrong as an icon of strength and determination.  What sort of an example has he set the kids all over the world, not to mention his own ?  My heart goes out to his kids, more than anyone else at this point of time.  They still have to go to school, they still have to face their classmates.  Imagine having a parent whom everybody looked up to, every one of your friends idolized and now there’s nothing left but a feeling of disgrace.  The erstwhile idol image being replaced by the newfound discredited one.  The ignominy of it all is something his kids will have to live with – day in and day out.  He’s not just tarnished his reputation here, he’s put his kids on the line as well.  Fame is indeed a double edged sword and a mighty sharp one it can be.
If anything, the first half of the interview with Oprah just went on to highlight his sociopathic personality traits.  They did not, in any way, dispel that notion and bring him forth as a human being who was genuinely remorseful over his actions or his deeds.  The second half of the interview with Oprah is said to be a more emotional one.  I, for one, sincerely doubt if I’d even take the trouble of watching the second part or reading the transcript of the second part of the interview.  End of the day, I doubt if I would be able to bring myself to believe a word of what he utters for, as he himself put it the other day “he is not the most believable guy in the world right now”.

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