Armstrong – a convenient scandal?

For some, former cyclist Lance Armstrong is like an annoying stain you can’t get rid of, and for others, he is just a good story—the archetype of a modern scandal. For me, he is both, but mostly the latter. I still believe that the Armstrong story has something to tell us about the media’s uncritical desire for scandal.

The media have a penchant for scandal because it’s easy to angle: for or against, right or wrong, good or evil. Furthermore, the media has a proclivity for finding someone personally responsible. When a single person is highlighted, the journalist—and we, the readers or fans—need not worry so much about the context, the surrounding culture. Very conveniently, we can distance ourselves from the scandal.

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Lance Armstrong as Teacher

“In a world where people take no responsibility for their lives, Armstrong is the villain. In a world where we do take responsibility for our ordinary lives, we can learn a lot from Armstrong. That is his resurrection. In the most unlikely way, he has become one of contemporary society’s best teachers. If only we dare to use him to look deep inside ourselves.”

Read the entire essay here.

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