Lance Armstrong gets reshelved
As regular readers may remember, two years ago the activist blog Waging Nonviolence organized a campaign to encourage booksellers and readers to move George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, to the crime section of store shelves. It was inspired by a similar protest in the UK that year over Tony Blair’s book A Journey.
Now a similar effort appears to be under way in Scotland, this time over reports from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career and bullied teammates who resisted his efforts to engender a culture of cheating in the American cycling team. Considering that he’s been stripped of seven Tour de France titles, cut from endorsement deals with Nike and Anheuser-Busch, and forced to resign as chair of Livestrong, Armstrong probably has bigger things to worry about. But, as discovered by a Reddit user and reported by MSN, a bookstore in Glasgow aims to add insult to injury by reclassifying his memoir Every Second Counts as fiction.
Since no one seems to have issued a call for further action along these lines, I’ll do it now: booksellers and shoppers, move Armstrong’s books (including his bestseller, It’s Not About the Bike) to the fiction section where they belong. Doping may be as old as sport itself, but as the USADA report makes clear, Armstrong’s persistent reprehensible behavior brings shame to cyclists and cycling fans everywhere, and it’s time to call his lies out for what they are.
If you’re looking for something to read instead, I’m happy to recommend Robert Penn’s delightful and cheekily-titled paean to the bicycle, It’s All About the Bike. Penn, who once pedaled around the world, travels the globe once again on a quest to build the bike of his dreams, learning much about the history of cycle manufacturing and racing along the way. For the avid riders among us, it’s a perfect reminder: Lance Armstrong is wrong. It really is all about the bike.
Christopher King is the Art Director of Melville House.