king.jpgThis NYTimes article, which reveals an investigation into steroid use by not only athletes but performers like 50 Cent and Timberland, got me thinking. What’s the relationship between writers and “performance enhancement?” A friend of mine, when confronted with the hip-hop-steroids connection laid out in the NYTimes replied with, “Yeah, but so what?”
“Well, they are illegal.”
“Yeah, but so are a lot of things that famous people do. I’m supposed to not like a performer because he juices?”
As I thought about it I realized that an athlete running down a field gains unfair advantage over others if he/she uses steroids, but what if a singer does? What if we find out that a big name Hollywood actor, someone not obviously ripped but in very good shape for their age, turns out to be using steroids? Other than the fact that the steroids are illegal, is there an unfair advantage gained? Is a better posterior helping them in a way that’s unfair to the other beautiful people?
pynchon.jpgAnd what of writers? At what point does something become “unfair performance enhancement?” Stephen King (see above) has written a lot of words for a lot of books. Does he juice? What about Thomas Pynchon (left)? He writes awful heavy books. Maybe too heavy if you catch my drift. How does he lift those manuscripts.
Okay, they don’t juice. I know that. But what amounts to an unfair advantage? Wealth? The ability to not have to work? Typing 100-plus words a minute? I just bought speech-to-text software (no, not the garbage one I wrote about last week). Does my using it to transcribe my work amount to “unfair advantage?” Should we all limit ourselves to a common playing field? Do writers have a playing field? Are we even in competition with one another, or is it more like golf where the real effort is beating yourself?

One thought on “Steroids

  1. Ah! So many questions!!
    Is it unfair I have bionic hands that allow me type twice as fast as Sean Ferrell? Is it unfair I buy all my plots from elves on the black market?
    Some questions have no answers, my friend.

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