|If you live long enough and you are paying attention you start to notice patterns in life that are frequently either horrifying or amusing. I always find it funny when people register shock or horror at something in human behavior that has repeated itself about a zillion times throughout history and should be more predictable than surprising.
Take the recent hullabaloo about Lance Armstrong and steroids. How can the fact that Armstrong was popping steroids like peanuts in order to win the Tour de France and lying about it shock anyone? I always thought it was kind of obvious. Given that the top 20 cyclists in the race tested positive for steroids kind of begs the question, is everyone all mad because Lance Armstrong used steroids or because he beat all the other guys using steroids? Evidently, the sport is rife with performance enhancing drugs. It also strikes me as ridiculous that all sorts of commentators and celebrities jumped all over him as if they occupied some high moral ground and had a perfect right to judge anyone. Oprah's interview was particularly silly to me. Really, Oprah? You've never done anything compromising or naughty to obtain your fame and fortune? Just watch any reality program and you can see what people will do for their 15 minutes of fame much less a lifetime of it. Celebrities will go to cosmetic surgeons and have their entire faces and bodies enhanced to achieve fame. They get new noses and chins, puffed up lips, fake breasts, fake bottoms, fake muscles, have themselves nipped, tucked, waxed and sandblasted in order to enhance their chances of grabbing the fame golden ring. Bankers and financiers will cheat their clients, impoverish ordinary people, lie, steal, and manipulate to get to the top of their game and filthy rich. Politicians will lie, cheat, sell their souls to the highest bidder and ruin their competition to get into office. In short, human beings will sacrifice their integrity, step on whomever gets in their way, lie, cheat, steal, make things up, hurt others, pretend they have a moral agenda that is entirely false, sell their souls, and then lie like troopers about it when they are caught for as long as they can, and then have some carefully crafted excuse for their behavior when they are found out. They all have these things in common, along with gigantic egos, a true talent for delusion, and a breathtaking sense of self-preservation. If you think about it, how can we throw old Lance to the wolves and let the Wallstreet guys who crashed the economy get off without even a spanking? I never cared much for Armstrong, but come on...How is he so different? The only thing about the whole story that shocks or amazes me is that he was able to cycle up all those hills dragging an ego the size of a small planet behind him.
Baseball players are a little bit different. If you tested the top 20 baseball players for performance enhancing drugs on the right day, would they test positive? I don't know. What I do know is that for Babe Ruth, one of the greatest baseball players in history, performance enhancing drugs included cases of bourbon imbibed regularly, piles of rare steak, mountains of mashed potatoes, cigars by the thousands, and having a lot of sex with anything female that showed signs of life. Worked for him.
With modern drugs and technology it is kind of difficult to tell real talent from fake talent anymore. Singers have their voices tracked about a thousand times in a studio and technically enhanced. I read somewhere that the band Queen were the pioneers of this kind of tracking but when they went on stage they at least had the real talent necessary to deliver live on stage as well without enhancement. Now, even if singers do actually sing live, they still have all that tracking playing along with them in the background. What is real? According to people who claim to know, classical music and opera are still real. Sound departments use technical enhancement to compensate for acoustic flaws in a venue but they do not amplify, so when Tosca sings her final aria before leaping to her death she doesn't have a mike sewn into her bodice or anything. She has to sing and be heard in the entire theater against a full orchestra. Go Tosca.