This Is Your Nation on Steroids

Why does a performance-enhanced society scorn performance-enhanced athletes?

Turn on a football game, and you'll see cheerleaders with seam-popping breast implants, aging sportscasters with suspiciously tenacious hairlines and commercials for pills that promise Olympian erections. Turn on the news, and you'll hear about how athletes have got the notion that it's O.K. to use artificial substances to improve their bodies. Appalling! Where would they get an idea like that?

On its face, the baseball steroid scandal is simple. Athletes who break the rules to win are cheaters. But ask why we have the rules in the first place, and you have to confront a basic irony. We decry performance-enhanced sports....

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