Before I (eventually, as usual) ease into today’s topic — The interview Paul Kimmage conducted with Floyd Landis in NY Velocity — I’d like to dive into caveat-land for a moment. Specifically, I’m not well. Nothing big, just a sore throat that’s probably evolving into a cold. But I’ve been dealing with sick kid issues — some short term stuff, some long-term stuff — and that, compounded with a coughing jag that lasted for a big chunk of the night has left me a little bit exhausted.
So the hilarity quotient — at least the intentional hilarity quotient — of this post might be a tad low.
Or maybe it wouldn’t have been all that funny anyway.
The Joke That Didn’t Happen
My original plan for today’s post was to do an absurd “Gems from the Kimmage / Landis” interview. My premise was going to be along the lines of “this interview is so impossibly long that there’s no way people are actually reading it in its entirety, so I took one for the team and read the whole thing, and here are the amazing things I’ve uncovered.”
And then I would go on to reveal that deep within the interview are things like:
- A recipe for a really good Southwestern grilled shrimp marinade
- Winning lottery numbers
- The GPS coordinates for Elvis’ current residence
- An elegant, face-palmingly-simple, common-sense solution to Fermat’s Last Theorem.
Way before I finished reading it, I decided it wasn’t something I wanted to joke about.
Now that I’ve read the whole interview, I kinda think maybe what I should do is go back and read it again, this time liveblogging the thing. And I don’t mean a jokey liveblog, either. I mean that as I (re)read it, I should detail what I think of the question and answer.
I dunno, maybe I’ll do that sometime next week, when I feel up to it.
For right now, though, I’m just going to give a few general impressions, and then open up comments for the Vitriol Squad to talk about how this interview proves for sure that Lance Armstrong doped.
- Floyd is messed up. He still hasn’t worked through the embarrassment, humiliation, and loss he’s suffered for the past several years. No matter whether you believe or doubt everything he says, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with the conclusion that this is a guy who is hurting pretty badly inside, and is nowhere near the end of the tunnel.
- Floyd has twisted logic. Floyd says that if given the chance to do everything over, “I would do everything the same and I would just admit it, afterwards.” And yet he is trying to position himself in an anti-doping stance, so that others won’t have to go through what he has gone through. His justification of what he claims to have done is in direct conflict with his mission to rid the world of this doping problem. I don’t honestly think he sees the paradox, which goes back to my first observation.
- Floyd still thinks he was in the right. The most amazing thing about this interview is that Floyd felt he was genuinely ill-used by the system. That even though he was a doper, and was caught for doping, he got bad treatment, because the lab caught him for the wrong offense. Kind of like getting mad at cops for arresting you for having a corpse in the trunk of your car (which you may or may not have put there) when you expected them to arrest you for the suitcase full of counterfit bills hidden in your apartment.
- Floyd has a credibility problem. With me, anyway. I was one of the guys who believed Tyler Hamilton. I was one of the guys who believed Floyd. I am one of the guys who believes Lance. This isn’t just obstinate naivete, this is part of my life philosophy: expect that people are good and honest. Does this mean that sometimes I am taken advantage of? Yes, but not as often as you might expect. Once, however, Floyd admitted that he had lied, a lot, even a guy like me has to doubt anything and everything he says. He tricked me once for motives that I didn’t guess at; how can I possibly have any confidence he’s not tricking me again, for motives I once again am not guessing at?
- Kimmage does not act like a reporter. I’m no journalist. You can tell from my interview with Phil Liggett that I’m just a cycling fan with a blog, and I don’t even pretend to try to be impartial. But Paul Kimmage’s interview with Landis seemed — even to me — remarkably un-reporter-like. Especially toward the end, where in email exchanges he starts telling Floyd how personally involved he is, and begins giving Landis career- and life-affecting counsel. I’m glad that Kimmage is at least open about his bias (as opposed to trying to camouflage it), but there’s no way to read this as objective, impartial, multiple-sourced journalism. It’s more like two friends, reinforcing their shared worldview to each other, over beers.
You know what? On second thought, I don’t think I’ll liveblog the interview. Like a lot of pro cycling news these days, it’s just too depressing.
Luckily for us, all of that nonsense has nothing to do with the reason we love riding.
PS: I’ll be back Monday.