Monday, July 9, 2007

Le Jogging

Let’s start this post with a confession. I’m a jogger. I begin most days by going out for what I like to call a run—but to be completely honest, I could just as well call it a trudge or a plod.

There are some hardcore runners in my neighborhood, guys who like to talk about their running, compare their times, chat about the local road races. But for me running is more of a secret, guilty pleasure. If I were young enough and social enough to find myself some decent pickup basketball games, I’m not sure I’d be running at all. There’s something slightly embarrassing about running—not so much the running itself, as the fact that I’ve made it my workout of choice. Maybe it’s that running smacks of trying too hard. I see a runner all decked out in his short shorts and his Oakley glasses and his high-tech racing shirt and I peg him as a guy who is a little too into himself and his exercise. But do I look all that different when I go out for my runs?

The Boston Globe’s Brainiac blog
had an interesting piece on French intellectuals’ reaction to the jogging habit of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. One prominent philosopher called jogging an “undignified” and self-absorbed pursuit and the leftist newspaper Liberation asked, “Is jogging right wing?”

It’s an excellent question. But I’m going to keep running. If there’s one group I feel even less in common with than runners, it’s French intellectuals.

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