August 26, 2012

French Olympic team discovered to have unfair advantage: Baudelaire


It has recently come to our attention that French Olympic swimmer Yannick Agnel stands accused of using literature as part of his pre-match routines, namely the potent work of Charles Baudelaire.

While these accusations are not yet fully confirmed, we believe the rules of the Olympics—and indeed the less codified rules of fairness—demand an investigation into the possibility.

While the use of any literature by athletes at this level might be cause for consternation, the work of Baudelaire in particular is known for its headiness, its heightening of sensory perceptions, its ability to diminish the impact of time, and its strange and simultaneous reveling in decrepitude and the human form. It is apparent to us that anyone reading Baudelaire would have a measurable edge, either in the Olympic pool or simply while flaneuring about in the company of fellow wastrels.

We insist that Agnel be brought under investigation, with possible punitive actions if indeed he has been using Baudelaire—known sometimes by the street name Les Fleurs—to include the revocation of his medals and forced reading of Edmund Burke to counter the effects.

If the IOC is unwilling to take action in the face of this clear instance of literary doping we, as patriots and fans of disturbingly well-sculpted abdominals, urge the American team to fight fire with debauched French fire.

To that end may we recommend our own recent novella by Baudelaire, his oft-overlooked Fanfarlo. The book is full of lust and decay and, what’s more, it’s in English. It is short enough to be read in a morning between time trials and matches, slim enough to be hidden in the linings of those cheek-hugging shark-skin space suits all the swimmers are wearing now. The book is a secret weapon which we regret having to offer up to any team but which, if corruption is to be the order of the day, feel we must.

It’s time to take back the pool, America!

Order a copy of Fanfarlo today and we’ll waive the cost of shipping. And if anyone gets in touch with the USA Swim Team, tell them that Melville House wants to send them their very own copies of Fanfarlo.

Maybe it’s too late this go-round, but by the time our swimmers are visiting Rio de Janeiro for the next Olympics, they’ll be quoting Baudelaire underwater.