Monday, March 06, 2017

Defending the indefensible

Another year, another blog post. At this wordcount-per annum I'll have finished the first chapter of The Hobbit by the time I die.

What's spurred me to bother this time is a nagging feeling that Up With This I Will Not Put. At a time when we should cherish freedom of speech and expression more than ever whilst keeping A Sense Of Humour, we need to keep focused on shit that's real and embrace what fun there is, for what it is.

This article from the esteemed publication Cyclingtips.com tells us that the irreverent, clearly nonsensical and tounge-in-cheek The Rules is "an element of cycling culture that needs to die."

The author admits that back in 1998, The Rules were "to codify some roadie traditions and to simultaneously mock those same traditions. It was, in my mind, both a reference manual of sorts and a tongue-in-cheek joke". Great. So you got it then. 

The author now says of "...women, fixie kids, riders of color, rebels, throwback granddads, artists, and other interesting people" that what "we all need to get our heads around is that these people are not doing it wrong". 

Dude, who the fuck said they were 'wrong' in the first place? 

If that's where you let your head get to, that's your problem, not Velominati Mssrs. Strack et al.

And if you have sat passively by whilst your clubmates ramped up the hate, flagrantly breaking Rule #43 ("don't be a jackass") without throwing it full-on back in their Rule-adhering face, that's your weak-willed issue.

Some of The Rules are actually useful: Keeping your tyre logos aligned with your valves (find punctures quicker/easier), signalling your turns, holding your line. Sensible things every cyclist should know and practice. Some are clearly nonsensical and irrelevant:  maintaining tan lines. Shaving your guns. Slamming your stem. Riding in big ring only. Those are the obviously *self depreciating* bits. No-one's checking, no-one really cares. And if anyone actually takes said things as points to admonish others upon, then Rule #43 is waiting to slap them back whence they came.

One of the five 'Keepers' of The Rules wrote this in 2012.
"If we really want people to enjoy riding bikes let’s not start by telling them to Harden the Fuck Up, shave their guns, or remove that fugly YJA. They will choose that path for themselves in due time. Let’s start by not being a jackass. If being kind is too much for you, you can at least not be a jackass"
The fact the Cyclingtips author knew this section of text existed (or is woefully inept at 'research' - I found it in five seconds) yet still managed to pen such a pile of holier-than-thou tosh speaks volumes. 
"But that’s what it’s like in 2017. Cyclists telling other cyclists they’re doing it wrong"
No. That's how you let others around you behave. Just like I call bullshit on people using racist or xenophobic or sexist propaganda to justify shitty behaviour or actions, I likewise call bullshit on people blaming a clearly humourous, irreverent take on the stranger aspects of cycling culture for the assholery of others. An asshole will be an asshole, regardless of what he or she has read. Do you really think some cyclists weren't assholes prior to 1998? If you see The Rules as some demon crutch used by assholes to hate on others, how are you going to feel once it's dead and buried yet the assholery continues? When some blokes are still misogynistic dicks, what will you blame then?

The author berates Velominati co-founder Frank Strack because he "did not respond for comment on this piece". No fucking wonder: the 'piece' is so nonsensically far up its own smug arse as to be utterly beneath both contempt and the need for a reply.


Humourous or not.



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