Re-examining Asterix and the Gauls

I have memories of reading Asterix as a kid. Sweet; innocent, right? No. I was being indoctrinated, and so were millions of others.

Let's take a fresh look at the ground basics: the Gauls in the little village constantly fight the Romans; fights they only stand a chance at winning because they're all doped. Because they cheat. The de facto leader of this little tribe is Asterix; a jovial, way too pompous, short man.

The parallels are pretty straight forward: Juve used doping throughout the 90's (at least). They have a French president, have always had a strong influence from that country, and there's little they enjoy more than to annoy Roma. And doesn't Asterix have a whole lot in common with Fabio Cannavaro, when you think about it?

In any case, the latter is, once more, suspected of doping. After the game against Roma (there it is again!) he was chosen to take a test, and he had traces of cortisone in his system. Juventus pleads innocence and claim it was treatment for a wasp sting, two days prior, and that it's merely a case of botched paper work.

But neither Cannavaro nor Juventus deserve the benefit of the doubt. Cannavaro, we know, is not above injecting himself with whatever he can to gain unfair advantages; Juventus are no different, of course. But more to the point, they're no strangers to trying to banalize matters such as this: an almost forgotten part of the Calciopoli wire taps is Moggi talking to the general secretary of Italy's Olympic Committee (CONI), the same organization Juve are now saying were aware of Cannavaro's cortisone injection, the two mockingly calling banned substances "the ointment". The very nonchalant manner in which they speak suggests a very liberal view of what was and was not off limits for Juventus to inject their players with.

But cortisone, at least in the amount found in the system of Cannavaro, is a banned substance. It gives no direct advantages to an athlete in and of itself, but is banned on the grounds of its masking ability. In fact, it has often been use in other sports plagued with doping scandals, like cycling, where it was taken and claimed to have been used for allergies, before what was being masked also appeared.

Perhaps the story is legit, perhaps the cortisone was really taken to deal with a bad reaction to a wasp sting. But I do not accept that Cannavaro and Juventus be viewed with anything but suspicion until their innocence has been proven, and confirmed. I do not accept the view that anyone not immediately not buying into this story is a loon, rival fan guided by hate and/or envy, or to use a favorite Berlusconism: a farabutto (crook).

I do not accept that they say "Sono Pazzi Questi Romani".