Time to celebrate Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès

October 19, 2012

Who?

Well, late on October 18, 2012 (though it must have been early on the 19th for agitators like UCI Overlord), people interested in changing the sport began changing their Twitter avatars. Gone were the predictable mug shots and in came the faces of key figures of the French Revolution.

The French Revolution, an incredibly messy and bloody period that brought in a new political era. Its effect was not only felt in France, but – as even Lance will admit – in the entire world. Not entirely useless then, those French.

So, French Revolution buff that I am, I quickly changed my avatar to the one on the right. Sorry, maybe I got the wrong memo.

I highly recommend the book though, with Tim Moore as an amateur cyclist riding all the stages of the 2000 Tour de France for fun. And that may have more relevance to today’s situation than you might think – there’s still a chance he could be crowned the winner of that 2000 Tour!

Anyway, it was time to pick a real French Revolutionary. UCI Overlord suggested Jean-Paul Marat, a Neuchatel-born radical journalist and politician. I did live in Neuchatel for some time (even banking at the same UBS bank that is now mentioned by Gazzetta dello Sport, exciting stuff) so that makes some sense. He also spent a lot of time in his bathtub, which I think is an excellent place for reading and thinking (too much information, I know).

But Doug Ellis, owner of Slipstream and a man I hold in very high regard, suggested Lazare Carnot, an engineer turned politician. This of course presented a conundrum, the engineer that I am versus the journalist I would have liked to have been. As George Costanza would say after Jerry Seinfeld invents a marine biologist life for him: “you know I always wanted to be an architect”.

Anyway, as it turns out, I am Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès. Not because he was a clergyman, but for a few statements he made that I whole-heartedly believe in and which dovetail nicely with a project I am working on.

In a French society controlled by the Estates-General where the First and Second Estate (clergy and nobility) could always override the Third (the rest of France i.e. the normal people), Sieyès stated:

What is the Third Estate? Everything. What has it been until now in the political order? Nothing. What does it want to be? Something.

Which of course in today’s society translates into teams and federations making a mess of this sport without fans having any influence, or to paraphrase:
What is the Fan Base? Everything. What has it been until now in the cycling order? Nothing. What does it want to be? Something.

The Third Estate demanded that the credentials of the representatives should be checked by all sides, rather than every Estate only checking themselves (self-regulation without answering to anybody else). When that went nowhere, Sieyès told the Third Estate, now meeting as the Communes (English: “Commons”), to:

Proceed with verification of your own powers and invite the other two estates to take part, but do not wait for them.

Of course it’s just a few people who after a week neck-deep in LanceGate sewage are in desperate need for some silliness, but it’s not bad to draw some inspiration from unlikely sources from time to time.

9 Responses to “Time to celebrate Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès”

  1. Evan Shaw Says:

    Oui oui! Exactement! Formidable! This is why we need the Tour de Pharm. Where athletes become example of scientifically determined uber mensches, taking refined complexes of doping products to excite the fans and produce UCI approved super beings. New set of rules makes it all possible. All that money going into testing can now makes for a new breed of athletes. Yes, their lives might be short, but oh so exciting and glorious. Livepharm.org Join today!

    OMG this might be where we go seriously! New talk of reform, but gene designed drugs are next. For real.

    • Retro Active Says:

      The sport could just turn into an overt extension of Transhumanism. The riders could be the guinea pigs on teams sponsored by pharmaceutical, biomedical and GMO corps. Big money to be made all around.

  2. Luc Prévost Says:

    Oui could also rename the TdF… Why not le Tour des Francs. ;-)

  3. Sans-culotte Says:

    Nice to see you joining in. This could be a highly entertaining way of making a powerful statement.

  4. sheldon-san Says:

    You deserve credit as a member of the Fourth Estate. Without which the scrutiny and challenge of you; Walsh and Kimmage would not exist. Cycling needs an honest commentary. Thank you.

  5. Jon Says:

    Amusing and appropriate parallels! Similar parallels can be drawn to the need for bike manufacturers to reclaim their IP from suppliers..

  6. Retro Active Says:

    The mob is getting restless.
    Wall St. looting trillions, LIBOR fixing in The City, a quadrillion in derivatives, housing bubbles popping, manufacturing outsourced, unemployment, Political/Corporate Oligarchy, police state, world war shaping up…all too much to think about.
    One of our “heroes” is a total fraud? Nooooo…there will be blood.
    The mob knows something is wrong, something, somewhere. Those damn exponential curves.
    Interesting times.

  7. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    This mess is all the fault of the fans!!! Didn’t Mr. Mars claim that he could not clean up cycling because WE, the fans won’t tolerate a TdF run off at an average speed of 25kph, we demand 40+? Can’t remember where I read that now – but it illustrates how a) greedy and b) clueless these chaps are. Who in the hell can take over this mess and fix it? Is there anyone?


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