August 1, 2012 § 8 Comments
My life is run by corporations. They pick my government, which writes my laws, enacts the agencies that regulate my behavior, and tells the local, state, and national paramilitary police when to arrest me for fucking up. They tell me what to think (I generally comply), what to read (I’m a dutiful consumer of Google News), and what to say. Two out of three isn’t bad.
Every four years Globalcorp, through its athletic subsidiary Olympiccorp, puts on a multi-day performance of the Olympiccorp Repertory Theatre. As Dr. Trolliam Stone likes to say, “It’s a douchefest of watery-eyed American mothers weeping over their sons’ and daughters’ gold medals. Thank goodness we don’t have to watch on NBC those events where Mitt Romney’s culturally inferior nations stomp us into a bloody fucking mess of bone, blood, snot, and matted hair.”
Despite its flawless planning, its authoritarian repression of dissent, and Olympiccorp’s pageantry to criminal regimes like Red China, every once in a while the players get off script.
Honor among thieves
Whoever said that there’s honor among thieves has never spent time in prison, or among thieves, or in the middle of a bike race. As a recent women’s Cat 3 crit debutante recently announced, “In bike racing, I don’t trust anybody.”
That’s what you’d expect from a newbie. Give her a few more seasons and she’ll be experienced enough to leave off the “In bike racing” part of the sentence.
Olympiccorp puts on its show the way its parent company, Globalcorp, runs its business. The venue is given to the country with the most outlandish bribes. The Olympiccorp committee is composed of thieves, skulduggerers, and cronies of the wartiest sort. Globalcorp branches such as CocaPepsi, MacVomit, and VisaBK are rewarded for their participation in the advertising spectacle by giving away expensive comp tickets to wealthy patrons who never use them. The specter of major contests held in gymnasiums that look like they’ve been hit with the plague speaks to both the scale of the corruption and to the fact that the only viewers who matter are the ones on the other end of the TV cameras.
The only thing that the nation-states who bribe Olympiccorp ask in exchange for the billions in tax dollars that they lavish on strangers even as their own citizens live under the grinding wheel of poverty and want, is that Olympiccorp’s theatrical performance include at least one major show that will make the host country’s citizenry feel the pride of patriotism.
You know, patriotism: that falsehood fanned by nations to encourage mothers and fathers to send their only begotten sons and daughters off to slaughter in foreign lands.
Olympiccorp’s top dude, Jacques Rogge, got together with Queen Elizabeth to plot out the proper theme for the men’s road race.
Jacques: What is your wish for this event, Your Majesty?
Jacques: The Olympiccorp men’s road race. It’s in London this year, Your Majesty.
Liz: Eh? What’s in London?
Jacques: Olympiccorp ’12, Your Highness.
Liz: Right. Of course it is. Where else would it be?
Jacques: Well, four years ago it was in Beijing.
Jacques: Beijing, Your Majesty. China.
Liz: What was in China?
Jacques: The last Olympiccorp Repertory Theatre, Your Majesty.
Liz: That’s ridiculous. China and India are still part of the Empire, aren’t they? Why should they have it?
Jacques: Exactly, Your Majesty. That’s why it’s now in London, where it belongs.
Liz: Well, it’s about bloody time. Which ones are we going to win?
Jacques: We were thinking that after the Tour de France and world championship victories of Mr. Bradley Wiggins and Mr. Mark Cavendish, it would be appropriate for Britain to achieve gold in the men’s cycling road race.
Liz: Eh? Who?
Jacques: Wiggins, Bradley. He just won the Tour de France, Your Majesty.
Liz: But we’re in England now, and I don’t give two Catholics for whatever they’re doing in France.
Jacques: Yes, of course, Your Highness. But it was quite an achievement. He’s the first British citizen to win the world’s most famous cycling event.
Liz: I thought you said it was in France.
Jacques: I did, Your Majesty.
Liz (huffily): Well make up your bloody mind. It’s either the world’s most famous event or it’s in France. You can’t have both.
Jacques: Well, Mr. Wiggins…
Liz: And what kind of name is “Wiggins.” Doesn’t sound English to me. Sounds Australian, or American. Ugh.
Jacques: Actually, his father was Australian.
Liz: I knew it. So ‘e’s not really even English. Where was he born, then? Liverpool? Next you’ll tell me I have to go knighting another Liverpudlian, as if that fellow McCartney wasn’t enough, or some gay singer like that John fellow.
Jacques: Mr. Wiggins was born in Ghent, in fact.
Liz: Oh, there now! I told you he wasn’t English! Prison convict for a father and born amongst Catholics. This will never do. Let’s pick another event to win. This won’t do at all. I could no more shake his dirty hand than wash his underpants.
Jacques: There’s Mark Cavendish, Your Majesty. He stands a good chance at gold if we “let the troops know” that’s how it should play out.
Liz: So he’s good, then?
Jacques: When we can keep him off the donuts and beer, he’s the best, Your Majesty.
Liz: And you say he’s handsome?
Jacques: I’d not go quite that far, Your Highness.
Liz: Well, I suppose if that’s the best we can do, we might as well have that one. All right then, put me down for a gold medallion in the bicycle chase.
The doper who didn’t get the memo
With all of Formerly Great Britain primed and excited for the win, and with the stupid fans of Wiggins and Cavendish primed to watch the best of Britain deliver Horseface to the finish line, the stage was set to perfection.
Unfortunately, the unrepentant doper, recalcitrant road warrior, and scheming son of Borat otherwise known as “Vino” didn’t get the memo. With an entire career built on lies, deceit, doping, and some of the most colorfully tactical road riding in the last twenty years, Vino charred the British fish and poured salt in their beer with a stylish, gutsy, aggressive win that confounded the brainless automatons who have learned to dominate through earpieces and overwhelming team strength, and who will never know how to race on smarts, strategy, courage, and a suitcase full of drugs.
Despite having their own career team cheater in the form of David Millar, the British faithful were outraged at this off-script victory, snatched out from beneath their paunches by an aging ex-Communist doping villain.
But what, in truth, could be more fitting for this tainted sport than the most tainted and decorated rider still in the peloton stealing an impressive win at the tainted Olympiccorp Theatre of the Absurd? The only thing we missed was his sobbing mother.
May 17, 2012 § 13 Comments
Okay, so when people want to know what to wear, Wankmeister isn’t on speed dial. I get that. But I do know a thing or two about fashion. Just because I always wear that black t-shirt, ratty jeans, and those Vans with the holes in the back doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s what.
For example there’s a difference between chick fashion and dude fashion. Chick fashion follows “TPO,” which means “Take my Panties Off.” Dude fashion follows “FOMI,” or “Focus On My Income.”
In other words, chick fashion is sexy, whereas dude fashion is all about brand recognition and money. Cycling fashion, however, is a unique blend. Tight, slinky, revealing stuff that is also designed to make you remember names and buy shit while hopefully not drawing too much attention that your junk is really tiny. Cycling clothes were gay before gay was the new straight.
Got that? Good.
A brief history of cycling fashion
A long time ago, cycling fashionistas wore wool shorts with real leather pads that scrunched up around your groin and acted as involuntary butt wiping rash inducers. You’d pull off the shorts along with a pound or two of brown crud. Yeccch.
Shorts were black. Shoes were black. Socks were white. Jerseys had a couple of sponsors’ names in big letters. Primary colors all the way, except for the occasional gay Italian ice cream sponsor who liked lime green and purple.
And that was pretty much fuckin’ it.
Modern cycling fashion
Then someone realized that plastic fabric was better than wool. It tore up easier. It was less comfortable. It didn’t breathe at all. And the synthetic chamois was originally a variant of sandpaper. But unlike wool, when you sweated it didn’t smell like an old tampon. So it prevailed.
The other thing that happened with cycling fashion is Adobe Illustrator. Every moron with a computer now had a 56-million color palette and the template for a bike outfit. At about the same time, local clubs realized that they could defray some of their beer money by selling ad space on their kits.
Real estate became scarce. Good taste became scarcer. Legit fashion and design skills became extinct. Pro and amateur teams alike wore whatever vomit some junior high school pre-accounting major with a laptop threw together. Design wasn’t an afterthought. It was an afterbirth.
Bicycling magazine recently posted a list of the best cycling kit designs in the Amgen Tour of California. It’s a shame that so little thought went into the piece, which could have shed light on some of the mechanisms behind the grotesquely ugly kits that generally blotify the pro and amateur pelotons, not to mention the “ride jerseys” and club outfits that litter our beautiful California landscape.
As a public service announcement, I’ve decided to review their list and comment on it. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, I can sum it up thus: Get Joe Yule and StageOne to design your stuff. It’s really that simple.
1. Black proves you can’t design
“These lads know how to dress. Black jersey, black shorts, and stealthy black bikes—it’s all so punk-rock.” Uh, are you fucking kidding me? Black is the ultimate non-test of design. ANYTHING looks good in black. It’s the default color for slimming a double-wide butt, for repositioning curves that are in the wrong places, and for lifting saggy belly lumps that belong above the belt line…Black is such an addicting and easy color to design and dress with that once you get used to it, it’s hard to wear anything else, kind of like a vampire. But the problem isn’t that it’s “punk rock,” it’s psychotically depressing. It’s what people wear to funerals. It’s the color of religious clothing, judges’ robes, executioners’ masks, Ozzie Osbourne. Worst of all, it demonstrates zero design skill, because it goes with anything. Black bike. Black helmet. Black jersey. Black tires. Black deep dish rims. An occasional red highlight if you like the police car look, or a yellow one if you fancy bumblebees. Boom. You’re done. For cycling, as a design motif black sucks because it’s a slow and boring color. That’s bad, because for spectators, cycling is already a slow and boring sport. You want excitement on two wheels? Watch a fucking formula motorcycle race or some dirt bike action. Manorexic weenies with spindly arms who are clad head to toe in slow black women’s clothing? I’d almost take NASCAR. Almost.
2. If you’re even thinking about Orange, you’d better be nicknamed “G$”
“Those orange stripes! So swoopy! Swoopy is good, in case you were wondering. An orange and black pairing often evokes thoughts of Halloween, but on these Optum Orbeas, orange and black mean fast and stylish” Wow. Someone really wrote that, someone who supposedly wasn’t smoking a crack pipe. Her name is Jen See. Jen, the orange stripes aren’t “swoopy, swoopy.” They’re buttlicking ugly, especially with the lightened orange squares and slashes blended in with the regular orange. The other problem with this nasty looking kit is that you can hardly read the sponsors’ names even in a still photo. Are we really supposed to tell what this says at 35mph? Which brings us to the “money and brand” part of the design package. On a pro bike kit, you sure as shit better be able to read the sponsors’ names. And what brand of LSD was it that suggested the black/white/orange combo would look good with…green lettering…yellow shoes…bright red bottle? Kill the mutant now, doctor, before it spreads.
3. Everything looks good on a winner, right? Wrong.
“Does it matter what color a four-time Paris-Roubaix winner wears? The sea-foam and white jerseys are paired with black shorts—never a bad choice.” Actually, Jen, sea-foam is always a bad choice, unless you’re in a Jello marketing focus group or unless you happen to actually be an ocean. This color is so fucking ugly that it wasn’t even popular during the 70’s disco boom. The idea that winning makes everything pretty is doubtlessly true if your objective is to give Tornado Tom a fangirl fucking, but all the pave trophies piled up in a heap don’t make sea-foam green anything other than fugly. The epaulettes, arguably the most valuable real estate on the kit, have a tiny-ish red “S” for Specialized and a completely illegible scrawl for “innergetic,” along with some squiggly shit on the world champion sleeve striping. Poisonest of all, the sea-foam is really similar to the Astana “Blood Doping Blue” made famous by Vino, Tainted Meat, and a whole host of crooked drug cheats. When all you’ve got is a nasty coke habit like Tom, you don’t want to wear colors associated with dopers.
4. Garmacuda was styling when Jen See was still calling pale orange “swoopy”
“But with this year’s kit, the Garmin-Barracuda boys have hopped on the style train.” Jen has dealt out a true left-handed compliment, but at least she gets that the Garmacuda kit designed by Joe Yule is badass. In fact, Garmacuda has been on the “style train” from its inception. The last two years in particular have seen forceful, noticeable color combinations that do an extraordinary job of highlighting sponsors’ names and looking fantastic. This is shit you’d wear to a job interview. To a first date with a rich girl. To your fucking wedding. And it’s not “swoopy.” It’s “leg rip-offy,” Jen.
5. Your kit is boring and blah, but I love your Pinarello.
“How did Bissell get on the most stylish list? Two words, my friends: Pinarello and Campagnolo.” At first I thought, “Shit, this girl is funny.” Then I realized she was serious. Yep. Your kit is stylish because of your bike frame and your Campy gruppo. So, like, you could just ride naked. Jen, honey, your LinkedIn profile says you fucking went to Claremont College, Georgetown University, UCSB, you have a Ph.D., you speak French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Dutch…and your critical analysis calls the Bissell kit stylish because of the BIKE FRAME? Our country is so fucking doomed it’s not even funny. Note to the computer programmer who designed the Bissell kit: That red and white swooshy thing on the ass that looks like a tuning fork or a toothless barracuda’s jaws…drop me a line when you finally figure out what the fuck it’s supposed to be. Thanks.
6. Just because it’s a color doesn’t mean it looks good
“Quite simply, this team oozes style from head to toe…Liquigas is all about color, lime green to be exact. The color isn’t for everyone, but the men of Liquigas totally own it.” No, Jen. The men of Liquigas don’t “own it.” They are contractually obligated to wear it. There’s a difference. You are sort of right when you say lime green isn’t for everyone, but to get it exactly right you should probably say “lime green isn’t for anyone.” For starters, it’s a total JOC, or “junk outline color” as we say in the trade. This means that it totally highlights each dip and curve of your package. For bike racers, who are scrawny little fellows with scrawny little toolboxes, that’s bad. Lime green doesn’t go with anything, but it especially doesn’t go with blue. Now I know what you’d say, Jen: “Does it matter what a four-consecutive-stage winner of the ATOC wears?” And again, we’d say, uh, yeah, it matters. Like, it really matters. And if you don’t believe me, try googling images for something called “Mapei.”
And when you get around to looking at the rest of the peloton, check out Spider-Tech. Shoulda been number two, after Garmacuda. Ciao, baby.