I never stopped to think about it, since I have often gone jogging with some quite left-wing individuals. Neither of us felt like we were capitulating to the other’s ideology by running together . . .
But in the wake of Nicolas Sarkozy’s election to the French presidency have come criticisms of his morning jog. In addition to the obvious fact that it is “extremely undignified” and a “cultural humiliation” to have the President’s knees exposed to the world, running is right-wing:
It is all about the management of the body; it is about performance, and individualism, and the triumph of the will.
It is no wonder, they say, that physical jerks have generally been associated with fascist regimes; and above all they believe that by staggering around in his NYPD T-shirt, the French President is making a tragic act of obeisance to America.
But the British author retorts:
Of course it is Right-wing, in the sense that the facts of life are generally Right-wing. The very act of forcing yourself to go for a run, every morning, is a highly conservative business.
There is the mental effort needed to overcome your laziness. There is the pain in the calves and the ache in the lungs, and the keen sense that everyone is looking at you and sniggering.
And then slowly the endorphins start to flood into your brain, and the effort gives way to reward, and the deferred pleasure arrives, and you come back home feeling you could bite a tiger – and, above all, that nothing else you do that day can be quite as painful and exhausting.
And now, I am going out for a run . . . What will you do? Just sit there and keep reading? Or get out and face the facts of life?