Monday, August 02, 2004
Lance Armstrong's European critics--even if they are not overtly anti-American--resent even more than his dominance of what has traditionally been a European sport his very American style of success. He trains too hard for them, plans too carefully, strives too relentlessly. He does not wear his talent lightly or camouflage his intense desire to win.
On one point, at least, Armstrong's European critics are right. Striving for success, like following one's dream, is a quintessentially American trait. Taken together, the two have made millionaire moguls of uneducated immigrants, powerful politicians of low-born nobodies, world-famous inventors of basement tinkerers, and great sports champions of disadvantaged youths like Armstrong. The natural home for ambitious dreamers, whatever their nationality, remains the United States.
As I was reading the excellent article from the Weekly Standard I was taken back to one puzzling thought I have always had about everyday Black Americans. We love kung-fu movies. Every great kung-fu movie is the same. Man/Woman meets defeat of some kind. The run away and lick their wounds, then they train, and train and train until their skills are better than their enemy. Then and only then do have the final show down. Good wins over evil because good works harder. Its a simple lesson. Its an important lesson. The most important lesson. What leaves me puzzled is why doesn't this seem to transfer into the academic world.
Maybe its "the soft bigotry of low expectations".
Anyway something to think about on a Monday morning.