The 12-Step Program for Lance Armstrong's Image
After 15 years of denial, obfuscation, and single-handedly creating the worst fashion trend of the 21st century, Lance Armstrong is finally ready to admit to the world—or Oprah, same difference—that he indulged in performance-enhancing drugs during his time as a professional bicycle-riding man. Apologizing is the only way forward for a celebrity caught either literally or figuratively with his pants down. A successful apology can render any and all transgressions null and void. Mel Gibson apologized for being a huge racist sack of shit, and he got to go to the Golden Globes and make a movie called Get the Gringo, while OJ Simpson didn’t apologize for murdering his wife, instead deciding to write a book that described the act in considerable detail while avoiding a confession, and now he’s in prison and I can never find The Naked Gun on TV.
Considering the shameless, bullying way that Armstrong went about his campaign of deceit, it’s only logical that he would reject any and all options for contrition that even had a modicum of honesty in them. Rather than quietly releasing a statement and going to “spend more time with his family” or whatever, Lance will continue his tour of douchebaggery on TV during a two-part interview with Oprah where he’ll admit to cheating and probably cry and tell her “it’s been so hard” to be a megalomaniac asshole for so long.
Being interviewed by Oprah and crying, however, are only steps 1 and 2 of what is a 12-step process for rehabilitation for the American celebrity. The rest of the steps are as follows:
Step 3: Admit to Oprah, to Yourself, and to Everyone the Exact Nature of Your Wrongs
It’s not enough to do something horrible. The entire planet needs to know about the details. The key here is taking full responsibility for the poor behavior, and letting everyone in on some of the fucked-up details. Remember how when Tiger Woods was revealed to be a serial cheater, we all wanted to know how hot the women were? As mentioned above, OJ Simpson was kind enough to write a book about how he murdered his wife and Ron Goldman. The mistake was naming it If I Did It. If he had titled it Fuck Yeah, I Did It, Here’s How: and Oh, By the Way, I’m Sorry, maybe we all could have moved on.
Step 4: Allow Oprah to Remove All Defects of Character
If you think Oprah isn’t going to offer a bevy of suggestions for what Armstrong should do with his life, you obviously don’t know Oprah. She’s going to metaphorically flog him in the public square for his misdeeds until he can’t think anymore, then she’ll fill his head with some New Age bullshit about how to live. I’m hoping she tag-teams him with Dr. Phil, the master of unwanted “homespun” advice.
Step 5: The Hug
All Oprah has to do is say, “I believe he’s sorry” and offer him a post-interview hug and Lance Armstrong is golden. If he doesn’t ask for a hug, then he’s dumber than he looks, and not just because he needs to win over the masses—Oprah gives a great fucking hug.
Step 6: Make a Decision to Turn Your Life Over to the Media
Once you have accepted that you are a worthless ex-athlete with nothing to offer the world now that your body has fallen apart from years of drug cycles, and that you have shamed yourself in the eyes of millions of people who will never meet you, you should be more than happy to do whatever a journalist tells you to do.
Step 7: Make a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Yourself
Typically, this means some sort of reality show, preferably on TLC, since that’s “where the eyeballs are,” to use the industry parlance. Reality television allows the star to focus on themselves, their own moral quandaries and also make a shit-ton of money off of the public’s morbid interest in their indiscretions. A spot on Celebrity Apprentice? Lance Armstrong: Bounty Hunter? Flipping Houses with Lance? The possibilities are endless.
Step 8: Make a List of All Persons You Have Harmed
Lance Armstrong’s list of people he wronged is actually quite short. Cheating on a sporting contest doesn’t actually mean anything. Sports are games that people who are lucky enough to be good at them get paid for. Consider that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is responsible for leading a government that actively subjugates millions of people, but no one ever asks him to say he’s sorry.
Lance’s list is as follows:
·Everyone Who Makes Money Off of the Sport of Cycling
·Everyone Who Was Harrassed as a Result of (Accurately) Calling Armstrong a Cheater
Hmmm, actually, that might take a while.
Step 9: Made Direct Amends to Such People Wherever Possible, Except When to Do So Would Injure Them or Others
I have a feeling that if Lance Armstrong tried to apologize to Sheryl Crow, he’d be the one who’d get injured.
Step 10: Continue to Take Personal Inventory, and When You Are Wrong, Promptly Admit to It
Lance, I am speaking directly to you now: Next time you try to sneak the last slice of pizza and not tell anyone, think twice. At least ask if someone else wants the pizza. Just taking it is selfish.
Step 11: Pray for Knowledge and Wisdom (aka Begging)
Pride is great to have when you’re a huge star who has beaten cancer and the French. Pride is far less valuable after admitting to being a shameless liar and scumbag. For Armstrong, now is the time to get on bended knee and start sucking the rod. Kobe Bryant had to beg his wife, Vanessa, for forgiveness after allegedly raping a woman in Colorado, and then purchased her a $4 million ring to seal the deal. What I’m trying to get across here is, Lance Armstrong needs to buy me a four million dollar ring. I’ll feel a lot better about him after I sell it.
Step 12: Having Had a Spiritual Awakening as the Result of These Steps, You Try to Carry This Message to Other Asshole Celebrities, and to Practice These Principles in All Your Affairs (aka Sell Your Services to Others)
In Step 6, it is commanded that the offending party turn themselves over to the whims of the media. The final step of rehabilitation is to ascend to the throne. You must become the power that you worship. Seize the throne. Get a talk show where you chastise others for their misdeeds. Complete the circle of shame. It’s called “pulling a John McEnroe.”