Type A people are “overachieving monsters” – and they have invaded our sport!

Hitler has now popped up twice in my week, first on my receipt from 7-11:

not sure what he's saying but let's assume it isn't very nice. bad Hitler.

not sure what he’s saying but let’s assume it isn’t very nice. bad Hitler.

and then in my reading material about psychotic cyclists A Type personalities (who are psychotic cyclists).

fascinating stuff. not sure if the two are connected though. that would be weird.

anyway, back to that that term, ‘Type A’.

“It first reached the mainstream in a 1974 book called “Type A Behavior and Your Heart”,” reads this interesting article by Emma Brockes on the AlterNet website, “and its 1996 follow-up, “Type A Behavior: Its Diagnosis and Treatment”. These books were not written by a psychologist but by a cardiologist, Dr Meyer Friedman, who described the type A category in mostly negative terms, as a group of angry, thoughtless people whose behaviour put them at heightened risk of a heart attack. You know who else was type A in this schema? Hitler.”

Brockes points out that the term Type A has been appropriated by these very people – and indeed society at large, especially the media, to the point where it’s now something that people brag about.

“The people identifying as type A in these circumstances use the term as a synonym for success,” write Brocke.

“Type A, in common parlance, is an advertisement for the self along the lines of: Hey, I may be a bit maddening at times, but it’s only because I have higher standards than you. Anyone who objects to the way of the A-type is merely displaying her position further down the evolutionary chain.

“So universal is this interpretation of type A that it has become a principle of marketing. The New York Times just ran a story about Unplug, a new meditation franchise that has opened in Los Angeles, specifically offering “meditation for Type A personalities” and – brace yourselves – “a SoulCycle for meditation”. (Unplugged may be brilliant, but this particular sales spin is bonkers: meditation seeks to dismantle the very hierarchies and categories of achievement upon which the pitch relies. SoulCycle, on the other hand, is about re-reinforcing those categories by pretending the stationery bike you’re on is a mountain that you are conquering – a mountain probably made out of cash and the skulls of type B personalities.)”

we know what “I’m a Type A personality” really means.

it means you look down on people who you consider to be Type B or C or D or however far your scale goes. it means you put people into ‘types’ in the first place, which kinda sucks. it means you give yourself free reign to behave in ways that otherwise would be considered rude, selfish or just downright sh*tty, and that you expect others to allow for that because hey! you’re Type A!

you’re an achiever, a go-getter, a WINNER.

(nothing wrong with that, but do you have to be a d**k off the bike too?)

does Type A sound familiar to anyone out there? how many of these do we have in road racing? in road cycling? in our clubs and in our coffee shops?

this sport is littered with these guys and they are all over the forums, spouting bile and ill-informed crap like it grows on trees – which, unfortunately, it does.

it goes all the way up – or all the way down, depending on how you look at it. think of the guys who have been at the top of our sport over the years and yup, guess what – loads of Type A folk.

there are indeed however many more lovely folk out there riding and racing bikes, and indeed many pros are very nice people – it’s just that these Type A types, they do seem to be increasing in numbers, don’t they?

like plankton.

or mold.

it seems also that there is a mindset that believes that to be a winner you have to be an uber-aggressive, antagonistic personality that won’t brook failure (something i believe should be embraced) or ‘weakness’. it must suck to have to bend your head to think that way. it’s a pretty cold, hard slab of a mentality.

and it can’t be healthy, not in the long run. i wonder how many dopers would descrive themselves as Type As? interesting thought.

“Whatever the context, using the words “I’m type A” is often a prelude to some form of conversational douche-baggery,” surmises Brocke.

DoucheBag2

cranky indeed.

i’m off for a bike ride.

7 comments

  1. karl Cosnett

    SIR Chris Hoy should be the template, if you’re a rude person then you’re a rude person.

    Is the A in type A for A##hole

  2. Bryin

    Nice article… no doubt the sport is full of d-bags or type A or whatever you want to call your garden variety asshole.
    . If you are old enough to remember the sport pre-Lance then you remember a time that it was not the way it is now. When Lance started winning the TdF the masses (of Americans) became interested in cycling and those with money walked into shops and wanted “a bike like Armstrong rides.” The money POURED into the sport, which in turn only attracted more d-bags. The fact that a person can walk into a bike shop and drop $10k, $12K even $15K on a production bicycle made in China (at Chinese wages) should be sign that the sport is ill. You can now buy a pair of shorts that cost more than the first racing bike I bought.
    Today those same people are turning their backs on the sport. With no American (or even English speaker) close to winning a GT the sport is losing viewership and revenue at all levels. Cycling’s growth rate during the 1999-2007 period was too high to sustain. Like any business that experiences high growth, eventually the growth slows down and may even contract somewhat. The bad news is there will be fewer pro teams, riders will earn less and the industry will contract as a whole. The good news the number of d-bags should decrease as well.

  3. David Huntsman

    What I find almost sinister about North American racing cycling’s elite is their absence from the world of bicyclist advocacy. Look, I know roadies have to deal in a certain level of denial We’ve all said “Sure, mom/honey/kids, it’s safe to ride a bike on the streets…” But, when I see any celebrated racing cyclist meeting the Mayor after a bike race and not saying, publicly and privately, “You know, you should really lower the speed limits in your town so cyclists can get around safely…” you really start to wonder.

  4. David Huntsman

    What I find almost sinister about North American racing cycling’s elite is their absence from the world of bicyclist advocacy. Look, I know roadies have to deal in a certain level of denial. We’ve all said “Sure, mom/honey/kids, it’s safe to ride a bike on the streets…” But, when I see any celebrated racing cyclist meeting the Mayor after a bike race and not saying, publicly and privately, “You know, you should really lower the speed limits in your town so cyclists can get around safely…” you really start to wonder.

    • crankpunk

      yeah agreed. but then they don’t even complain about the things that threaten their own careers, like doping and doper managers. head down, avoid attention, don’t rock the boat, be thankful for the crumbs you’re thrown.

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