Thursday, March 17, 2005


So I happen to have CNN on and the Steroid hearings come on. Of course my initial reaction weeks ago when Canseco first went on his book promotion talk show rounds was that it was bad that players were doing it and good that Canseco exposed it. This is because I felt pity for these players who were endangering their health unnecessarily in pursuit of their career, and thought Canseco was doing a good thing by revealing it.

Then I thought about all those other people in various professions who risk their lives to do their work. Coal miners or crab fishermen could reduce the risk to their lives by being less efficient coal miners or crab fishermen, but they don’t. Professional athletes are essentially entertainers. There is something in watching the process of a man hitting a five ounce ball of twine over a quarter of a mile with a single swing of a tree branch that affirms something about the human condition. It is entertaining. Steroids make these entertainers more entertaining. So maybe Canseco was right when he said steroids were a good thing.

In addition, I thought of Leo Strauss who argued for an esoteric-exoteric distinction, applying the famous triplet of Hillel. Maybe Canseco was wrong in exposing this because, while pro-players should juice, the millions who fantasize about being those players should not. By living the lie, the players were providing good entertainment while also suppressing the publicity given to steroids.

But then I remembered that this is the aspect of Strauss that can be dangerous. Clearly, Strauss does not ultimately believe in this distinction because he wrote down his material. Maybe Canseco is ultimately correct in bringing this issue to light so that it can have our scrutiny (see what all jews believe on right) and apply G-d’s greatest gift to humanity, our reason, to this issue.

Then again, how can we trust with this demos to apply that gift?


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