June 9, 2009

there's a look on your face
that says you've been had

Matthew Kern, More Time Tick Tock, 2000

* From Barthes to Foucault and beyond – Cycling in the Age of Empire. excerpt:

"In their marking out of a territory, of a nation and of a people, the Tours were as much a part of creating the Europe of the 20th century as was the documentation and administration of life as Foucault so very well describes in his lectures entitled of 'Society Must be Defended' – the people, customs, fetes, fairs and fiestas, each day complete with the local version of cheese, chorizo and champagne. The Tours were created and maintained by an alliance of the state, industrial capital and the media. [In France, the Tour was started by the newspaper L'Equipe, its impetus to sell more editions of a motoring magazine, putting cycling to work in the pay of an intersection of the car and newspaper industries. With its resumption after the Civil War in 1941 Spain's La Vuelta covered the longest route in its history demarcating the victor's territory across the country and particularly the former Republican strongholds. For some years it was restricted by Franco to only Spanish participants.] In modernity these races all played their role in reinforcing the status of a unified territory, a people, a nation and its capital.

"The Tours have also been the place that traditionally have allowed Europe to think of itself as the place where subjectivity could still 'do' rather than the place where subjectivity was simply relegated to 'being'. The Tours were centres of action in lands that might otherwise be petrified into museums of the old world amongst the chaos of the new world and modernity. [Is this the problem with the American?]

"But with the coming of the age of Empire, things changed. It was with the coming of those from outside continental Europe that the practices of the peloton and in particular doping first become problematised.

"It is with Simpson's death – the Englishman who helps start the process of globalising the Tours - that doping first becomes a political matter. Still it remains an internal issue, something for the sport to deal with. [The mid sixties also coincide with the demise of national teams and the introduction of what are known as the Trade Teams.] The late 1990’s mark the point at which it becomes a matter for the sovereign – it is here with the 'Festina Tour', with borders being crossed that we see doping becoming criminalised. It is here that we first see cyclists being taken from their bikes to the jail cells. But it is in the age of Empire, an age that arrives with the American, [a Texan no less] that things really start to escape their bounds."

* 2004 Arthur article, only recently available online: Daniel Chamberlin discusses the "the discreet charm of the grateful dead", with a couple illustrations by D.C. Berman. [via]

* Surprise! An Israeli couple are preparing to divorce after the man summoned a prostitute to his hotel room only to discover she was his daughter.

* “I don’t create controversies. They’re there long before I open my mouth. I just bring them to your attention.” -- Charles Barkley


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