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Leave him alone

Updated February 7, 2009 (see below)

U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps pauses during an interview ...

Reuters photo

Michael Phelps (photographed last month above) apparently is not allowed to live a young man’s normal life because we own him because of his Olympic ability.

Although I love men’s swimming and diving (and men’s gymnastics, too — and wrestling is OK…), I didn’t follow the last Olympics and American swimmer Michael Phelps is doable enough, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been hot for him.

But 23-year-old Phelps, who has won a record 14 gold medals, shouldn’t have to live up to some arbitrary standard of “perfection” that the vast majority of the rest of us don’t live up to.

Apparently Phelps was photographed smoking (pot, presumably) from a glass pipe at a house party when he was visiting the University of South Carolina (and he might be criminally charged for this, although I don’t know how a photograph proves what it was that you actually were smoking or whether you were even really smoking anything at all; you could jokingly hold a pipe to your lips), and because of the pressure he has had to apologize for this.

The fact that marijuana should be legalized if alcohol and tobacco are legal completely aside, why should Phelps have to live up to some arbitrary standard of behavior?

I mean, fuck — is the man even allowed to masturbate?

Those who think that there is any connection between Phelps’ athletic achievements and his apparent desire to live the normal social life of a man of his age need to get a fucking life.

Update (February 7, 2009):

Salon.com’s Joe Conason wrote a piece on this topic for Salon.com dated Feb. 6.

Included is his piece is a link to the rather poor, rather boring photo of a barely recognizable Michael Phelps apparently with his mouth pressed to a glass bong.

“And after sporting chiefs announced laws which mean four-year bans for drug-taking, Phelps’ dreams of adding to his overall 14-gold-medal tally at the 2012 games in London could already be OVER,” the cheesy website that posted the photo boasts.

Yeah — boast about potentially destroying someone’s career for some harmless thing that he did in his off time. Phelps legally could drink and get much more messed up than he could on marijuana, but let’s see if we can ruin his career (and increase traffic to our website) because we have a photo of him apparently smoking some weed!

More interesting than the original Internet story on Phelps’ apparent party behavior — a story that is about as earth-shattering if we had learned that yes, indeed, Phelps does jack off — are the comments posted to it.

Apparently there are plenty of people out there who believe that Phelps “represents his country” and that he should be a “role model” for our youth.

Oh, fuck, Michael Phelps does not represent our country — any more than George W. Bush or Dick Cheney represented our country (the fact that they stole office in late 2000 entirely aside; and plainly they represented their fellow corrupt power- and money-mongering oligarchs and plutocrats, not the common American people).

Each of us represents him- or herself and anyone who believes otherwise is juvenile. People need to grow the fuck up and stop attaching their egos to the success or to the wrongdoings (real or perceived of others) who, they assert, “represent” them.

Unless you can swim like Phelps can, he did not represent you at the Olympics. He represented himself. At best, we can say that he represented his team of fellow American Olympians.

As far as the “role model” thing goes, you need to raise your own fucking children and not expect Michael Phelps or any other athlete to do that for you. And if you are a decent parent at all, you will realize that yes, your children, when they are Phelps’ age, probably will party, too. Get over it.

And further on the “role model” thing, where is all of the “role model” talk when we have people like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney stealing elections and creating bogus wars that result in the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent civilians and in the wholly unnecessary deaths of thousands of our young military personnel and in the plundering of hundreds of billions of our tax dollars from the U.S. treasury by Cheney’s Halliburton and the other war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp?

Gee, I think I’d much rather have my child smoke some weed than to commit treason.

Americans’ values and thinking are fucked up beyond all recognition to the point that they strain out teeny-tiny gnats while they swallow gargantuan fucking camels.

If this doesn’t change — now — this empire surely will go the way of the Roman and the British empires.

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