Eddie & Mike

Ah – another proud moment for South Africa as the world looks on.

Eddie Izzard’s attempt to run 27 marathons in 27 days in South Africa has had to be postponed, “just” four days in:

I set out to run 27 marathons in 27 days as a tribute to Nelson Mandela and his 27 years spent in prison.

Having completed 4 marathons, unfortunately, I have had to put my attempt on hold due to unforeseen medical complications that have arisen due to a multitude of factors including severe terrain, humidity and altitude. But I wish to say that my attempt is not over and I will return to South Africa and run the 27 marathons and finish this story.

I owe that to Nelson Mandela who has inspired the world to struggle and succeed no matter what obstacles are thrown at us.

There are literally hundreds of supportive comments in response to the post.

And then there’s this one from Mike Finch:

This is awkward and embarrassing, at best. Is it meant to be funny? Is it meant to be a bit of a dig at the English?
Or maybe a dig at Eddie personally?

Even runners like you?

It’s not surprising you only lasted four marathons

This is the guy who did 43 marathons in 51 days a couple of years back. I’m no huge fan of Eddie Izzard, but that is a pretty huge achievement.

Now he is in SA supporting and honouring the South African hero. And yet you ridicule him?

And what on earth is:

This is Africa… where men never cry and women do… a lot

meant to mean?

All in all, it would be a pretty awful comment from anyone, really, but then it turns out that Mike is the editor of Runnersworld magazine.
He’s educated.
He allegedly “knows about running”.
He edits the most popular running magazine on the continent.

And yet he gives us that condescending, uninformed crap?

No wonder I’m not a subscriber. Are you?

UPDATE: Opinion seems divided over the Mike Finch post. The overwhelming majority are with me: the comment is rude, disrespectful, uninformed and crass. Mike does have some support though.
The division exists almost completely (although not absolutely) along the line of whether the individual knows Mike or not. Those friends of Mike are incredulous that I or anyone else could read anything but humour into his Facebook comment. And that, to me, probably shows that Mike’s comment was probably an attempt to be humorous. (I still don’t get the “women cry a lot bit”, though.)

However, what these unobservant birds fail to notice is that the vast majority of Eddie Izzard’s 445,000 fans on Facebook aren’t personal friends of Mike Finch. So on their reading, his comment will have come across as rude, disrespectful, uninformed and crass.

As someone charged with editing a popular magazine, and when commenting to 445,000 fans of Eddie Izzard, perhaps Mike should have thought about writing more for the masses and not for his mates.

  • Anon

    Can’t say much, because I work in the industry, but I think those comments are in extremely poor taste. And the women dig is just ridiculous. Petty, stupid, childish… take your pick. If I was his boss, I would can his ass over something like this. And the media wonder why the government wants to regulate what’s published, said or printed.

  • Um, he comes across as a complete DICK!

  • Ms Thang

    A poor attempt at promotion and humour. I think he was trying to use Eddie’s style. There is only one Eddie Izzard.

  • I read this on Runner’s World website – they are promoting it……

    I also dont’ get the woman thing and agree that the comment is badly written and not at all humorous.

    However I also think that the attempt itself was stupid. Eddie himself said he was doing it with no training and has not really run since that last 43 marathons he did….. which was a few years ago.

  • Pamela > Lots of us run without doing training. *cough*

  • Mingbean

    Umm, the comment is admittedly not as humorous as it probably was in Mike’s head but I think it was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. I read ‘even runners like you’ to mean ‘even accomplished runners like you’. Sorry, but I’m seeing molehill…

  • Mingbean > And if I disagree, you’ll start crying… “a lot”, right?

  • Mingbean

    I’d be disappointed if you didn’t 😉

  • Glen M

    What’s wrong 6? You’re bummed about the dig at the English? Certainly sounds like it

    cry me a river

  • Glen M > Please. If I simply documented digs at the English, I would be a far busier blogger. I’m more offended by the fact you linked to a Justin Timberlake song on my blog.

  • Mingbean

    Yes, I think your update is overstating things a bit.

    “The overwhelming majority are with me: the comment is rude, disrespectful, uninformed and crass.” Perhaps a majority, but certainly not an overwhelming one. Of the comments I’ve seen, I’d say anti-Mike sentiment only narrowly takes it. I am decidedly underwhelmed by this purported majority.

    “The division exists almost completely (although not absolutely) along the line of whether the individual knows Mike or not.”
    I don’t know Mike so I am exceptional (well we knew this). How do you know who knows him and who doesn’t? I don’t think you can assume this with any certainty from the comments made. As someone who didn’t know who he was yesterday, I assumed it was an attempt at humour, not an indictment of the English or a recordal of his alleged sexist views.

    “However, what these unobservant birds fail to notice is that the vast majority of Eddie Izzard’s 445,000 fans on Facebook aren’t personal friends of Mike Finch.”
    This, to me, is just an excuse to insult those who don’t agree with you.

    I agree with the last line – at least insofar as he perhaps should have given this more thought. I don’t think there is any basis for assuming he was writing it exclusively for his mates. It was just a slightly off the mark attempt to be funny. Molehill.

  • Perhaps the best would be to challenge Mike to run with Eddie. Seeing as he seems to know so much about running 27 marathons and all.

  • Mingbean > LOL. Spoken like a lawyer. His lawyer. But there’s no burden of proof needed here. This is merely opinion.
    But hey, not just mine. I don’t just get comments on the blog. People tweet me, they email me, they comment on facebook. I even got one guy SMSing me on this one. That’s where my “overwhelming majority” remark comes in.
    I’ve seen him described as “sexist”, “a fool”, “a douche”, “ill-considered”, “embarrassing” and “needing to be shot” (but not stoned). And that’s excluding any insult regarding genitalia, because we’ve had quite enough of that sort of thing this week.

    Nor was I the only blogger to cover this.

    Either way, semantics aside, even you agree that more than half the people that read that thought it was a bit of a crap comment. And even if you’re not one of them, that’s a lot of people.
    Most every comment (excluding your exceptional effort) that has been made in favour of Mike’s comedic skills has mentioned the fact they they know him “and he’d never do anything like that”. How are us laypersons meant to know that?

    Molehill perhaps, but as you’ll know if you have a lawn, molehills are annoying and need to be tackled. Besides which, the way the mainstream news is at the moment, I’m much happier concentrating on the molehills.

    I’m still waiting for any explanation on the “women crying a lot” bit.

    Tara > All before breakfast. 🙂

  • Mingbean

    True, I am a lawyer but I’m certainly not commenting in that capacity. This is my opinion – I presume I am entitled to offer up an opposing one? I wasn’t referring to the comments on your blog, I was referring to the comments I’ve read across social media. Luckily for me I have access to more than just this blog, entertaining and informative as it is. I would suggest those that tweeted, emailed or sms’ed you directly are likely to be those in agreement with you. Perhaps a less biased group would be a better gauge of the majority view.

    And again, I disagree with “most every comment” mentioning that they know him. I have seen plenty of comments supporting him with no indication of a personal relationship.

    I suppose what I object to is the fact that, by all accounts, an otherwise respected editor and athlete is being so viciously attacked (by those using the words you referred too) for something relatively minor which amounts to, at worst, a lapse in judgement.

    On one point we certainly are in agreement – at least this has absolutely nothing to do with spears, whether in conjunction with rhinos, Nandos, Mr Bean or not.

  • Mingbean > Of course you’re allowed to offer your opinion. If you weren’t, I’d be blocking comments left, right and centre.
    Look, we’re obviously talking about different groups of comments and commenters, although I’d remind you that even in your “less biased” group, you’d say that “anti-Mike sentiment only narrowly takes it”.

    I think that people in positions of responsibility (and Mike is in a position of responsibility, being editor of the biggest running magazine on the continent and commenting on the facebook page of a internationally-recognised runner running a well-publicised series of runs in South Africa) should be chastised for their “lapses of judgement”.

    I find it interesting that Mike hasn’t got in touch to give his side of the story. Perhaps he has learnt something from The Spear debacle and doesn’t want to attract unnecessary attention to his magnificent and upstanding “lapse of judgement”.

  • Nina

    Over a number of years that Mike Finch has been the Runner’s World SA editor, I have grown to like the man less and less. He seems arrogant and elitist in his behaviour, and he has just proven it again.
    I have witnessed the man in action at an Ironman 70.3 when athletes had to line up in the cold wind and pouring rain to check in their bikes & race bags, and he was sitting pretty in the commentator box with his pal, Paul Kaye. What big stuff they were, making sarky comments about various individuals standing in the rain. And then what about this year at the finish of the Two Oceans when one of the News24 columnists finished his Ultra in the rain and mud. Mike Finch again a commentator, saying something like “well done X, at least you have finished this run, you normally bail”. And one reads between the lines that Mr Finch caused many an excellent RW magazine staffer to quit: Sean Falconer, Ashleigh Bird, Lisa de Speville. Why are none of these really talented people associated with RW SA any more? Sorry, Mike, but you seem to suffer from the big fish in a small pond syndrome.

  • Mingbean

    Yes, ergo no overwhelming majority…

    I certainly don’t dispute that people in positions of authority should be held accountable for their actions. The problem here is a matter of scale. Does he really deserve the type of abuse he’s received?

    Snort! I am sure he will make a statement in due course. I doubt he’d do that here though as he may not be inclined to direct traffic to a blog hell-bent on blowing this out of proportion 😉

  • Nina > Are we absolutely sure that those examples aren’t just “misguided attempts at humour”?
    Apparently, once you get to know the guy, the sun shines from his Spear. Allegedly.

    Mingbean >Ah. So it’s alright to be seen as an offensive, sexist person by slightly more than 50% of people, just as long as you’re not seen as an offensive, sexist person by much more than 50% of people?

    Does he really deserve the type of abuse he’s received? I don’t know. I think that maybe people simply read what he wrote and judged him on that. His comment (for me and most other people who don’t know him personally) probably deserved such a vehement response, yes.
    I was so annoyed that I was tempted to spread black paint all over it and then sue someone for assault.

  • Mingbean

    “Ah. So it’s alright to be seen as an offensive, sexist person by slightly more than 50% of people. Just so long as you’re not seen as an offensive, sexist person by much more than 50% of people?”

    Direct me to where I suggested that? I am disputing your statement that the ‘overwhelming majority are with you’. Factually incorrect. That is all. We will have to agree to disagree (yawn) on whether it deserved such a vehement response. I would say no. Emphatically.

    And I say do it. I’ll defend you.

  • Mingbean > “I am disputing your statement that the ‘overwhelming majority are with you'”

    Yes, yes, yes, but that’s a straw man argument. The issue here is not the semantics, but in fighting over that, you’re convenient overlooking the fact that a lot of people read Mike’s comments the same way I did.
    I am not alone. We are all Spartacus today.

  • Mingbean

    Nope. Nice try though. My starting point was that your update overstated things. That remains my view.

    I am happy that you’re not alone. That doesn’t mean that you are right.

  • Mingbean > So we’re actually only arguing over my use of the word “overwhelming”? And even then, only in the one single group of comments that you reference, not in the group that I was actually talking about?

    Meh – you can have that. I felt my update explained the rationale behind my views and I stand by it.

  • Mingbean

    If you’ve lost track of where we disagree, perhaps read through the comments again.

    But thanks, that’s very generous of you…

  • Mingbean > *grin* I addressed your argument in my very first reply today. The hint that we were referring to different groups was definitely there.

    Hey, in the update, I even agree that Mike was trying to be humorous.

    I think that we agree more than you like to admit. Does that make you uncomfortable?

  • Mingbean

    Bwahahahaha! No, I’m happy to leave it at that. Now we need to talk about your drawing skills…

  • Mingbean > I’d hate to read too much into your comment, but you sound uncomfortable.

    My drawing skills will improve with practice. It’s difficult to practice when all I ever see is:

    “Mingbean: WAITING: their move.”

  • Po

    That comment is an embarrassment to just… everything! The worst of all South African characteristics, the bizarre machismo, brash arrogance covering a deep, damaging insecurity. I am kind of speechless.

  • Po > You might just feel that way ‘cos you don’t know Mike, though.

  • rob

    wow everyone, well done on taking something way out of context. its one dude making a poorly judged comment about another. that is all. read it for what it is. a poorly thought out comment on facebook. yes facebook.