Monday, February 18, 2008

The Story Vouchsafed to Us, Thus Far

All right. I've figured out this much:

People in sports aren't allowed to use steroids.

No one explained that to me; I divined it on my own by reading between the lines of a rash of pretty opaque newspaper stories. But it raises more questions than it answers.

Who invented this rule? Certainly not the sovereign, or law enforcement would be arresting jocks right and left, and they're not. On the other hand, Congress has lately displayed a morbid curiosity regarding steroid use, so perhaps there are criminal implications. But then, why isn't anyone going to jail? And so we go, 'round and 'round in circles.

Why does the rule exist? Steroid use doesn't seem to harm the players suspected of using them; on the contrary, it seems to create superstars who rake in the dough like nobody's business. On the other hand, if steroids are harmful, surely these players, with their brains, brawn and bux, are one class of persons who are the least in need of such paternalistic protection. Nor can it be a question of fairness, whatever the hell that is, for steroids are freely available to one and all.

Why does anyone care? This is the "Quiz Show Scandal" question. Who cares, if the game show is rigged? So's professional wrestling; what of it? Who cares if the DJ takes payola? Payola has oiled the wheels of entertainment since the 1890's. Who cares, if the ball player uses steroids? How does that in any way detract from the mindless pleasure to be derived from watching him play?

The whole thing resembles indoor smoking; one of those New Age sins that we've lately invented because we no longer disapprove of murder (say, O.J.), perjury (say, Clinton) or theft (take yer pick), and man is a naturally moral being who has to disapprove of something. But that's not really a very satisfying explanation.

If anyone could enlighten me, I'd appreciate it.


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