It's all in the details. Details like Jakob Fuglsang's phone number, and Johann Vansummeren wearing blackface.

As you may remember, my last post dealt with my unbelievable attention to detail, particularly when it comes to photographs I've taken in the past, as well as watching live races through low-quality feeds from Europe. Today's post continues in that now week-long tradition, and further shows that not everyone is as attentive as I am.


Proof
Consider the documentary that a Dutch channel made about Andy Schleck's attempt to win the Tour this year. In that documentary, producers missed a small detail, and failed to realize that broadcasting Jakob Fuglsang's phone number was probably not a very good idea. Similarly, Andy Schleck failed to realize that misspelling his teammate's first AND last name, and then showing it on camera, might not be a good thing.




I've taken the liberty to blur out the last two numbers, since producers didn't. Apparently Dutch television doesn't know that every phone number in the world starts with "555"





It's certainly possible that the number shown on screen is actually for a pizza place in Denmark, and that Fuglsang merely works there during afternoons so that his calls can't be traced. But I guess it's also possible that his phone number was just aired on Dutch television as he called Andy Schleck from his cell phone, in order to meet up before a training ride. It's also possible that Andy Schleck just doesn't know how to spell the name of a guy he will be asking big favors from in July.


Other details
Fuglsang's possible employment at a Danish pizza shop aside, other details are far more obvious and easy to spot. Consider this picture of Lampre riders Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Ballan, which somehow also features CHiPs star, and latino heartthrob Erik Estrada humping a Willier bike.


via Ten Speed Hero




Lastly, I should point out that small details aren't always small details at all. Like when Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Vansummeren, and a recently exonerated* Thomas Dekker wear blackface.


*By the healing and regenerative powers vested in Garmin-Cervelo



via Ciclismo Espresso



After looking at that picture, those you who are worldly and familiar with Dutch and Belgian traditions are surely hurrumphing right now, dying to point out that these two are merely dressed up at Black Pete, Santa's slave (uh...I mean, "helper" or "assistant"). You probably also want to point out that is a tradition which is as old as...welll...as old as slavery and colonization actually.


While the story of Black Pete, and the fact that it makes white Europeans put on blackface has drawn criticism from many, I will now try to put that aside by summoning every bit of me that believes in cultural relativism. Cultural relativism (if you were too lazy to click on the link), dictates that a person's beliefs and activities are best understood by others within that individual's own culture. That means that unless you're not Dutch, you won't fully understand the true significance, meaning, or historical context of why Johann Vansummeren is wearing blackface. It also means that he will never fully understand your objection to it (particularly if you're an American). As such, Vansummeren is not wearing blackface within the American context, but rather dressing up as Santa's "assistant", which is completely accepted within the Dutch milieu. So in a way, cultural relativism is just a way for individuals and entire nations so simply say, "dude, that's not what I meant at all."


Cultural relativism is a concept I personally know well, since I use it often in order to not get grossed out and irate when I see some Americans dip their pizza in ranch dressing. Similarly, it's a concept that my American wife knows well, as she tries hard not to laugh when I tell her that according to my Colombian upbringing it's absolutely impossible for me to hand a salt shaker to her, because it would bring us both incredibly bad luck.

So....since I've been the recipient of cultural relativism's many blessings, why not extend that level of understanding to Andy Schleck, and simply assume that he spells Jakob Fuglsang's name wrong due to his Luxembourgish upbringing? Similarly, let's just tell ourselves that Jakob Fuglsang's eyebrows are normal in Denmark, and not creepy at all due to the severe amount of sculpting they received at the beauty parlor.

And since we've now let Schleck and Fuglsang off the hook, can we also forgive Erik Estrada for humping a bike, and Johann Vansummeren for wearing blackface?

That may prove to be a bit harder to do, since most of us still have trouble with actors sexually assaulting bikes, and cyclists wearing blackface. As it turns out, there's some things that even cultural relativism can't help us resolve.