Thursday, July 12, 2007

What The Fabian Is Going On Around Here?

In an effort to deal with the fact that one of the toughest guys in Professional cycling is named Fabian, I thought it would be interesting to research the origin of the man in the yellow jersey’s moniker. As it turns out, the name Fabian actually has a pretty interesting history. Now, I wouldn’t encourage naming any of your kids Fabian (or even pets for that matter) but hey, it worked out pretty well for Mr. and Mrs. Cancellara. I would also like to point out that Fabian Wegmann, the current German National Champion, is certainly deserving of attention as well, but for some reason I’m more comfortable with a Fabian as the last winner of the San Francisco Grand Prix than with a Fabian in the yellow jersey.

Anyway, Fabian is the English form of the late Roman name Fabianus. This was the name given to freed slaves which originally belonged to a Roman family with the family name Fabius, that derived from the Latin faba for the broad bean, an important food crop in the Roman Empire.

-- The most important part of this is that the name comes from the Latin term for the broad bean. I don’t really know why this is important but I feel that it is.

Additionally, the Fabian Society is a British socialist intellectual movement, whose purpose is to advance the socialist cause by gradualist and reformist, rather than revolutionary means. It is best known for its initial ground-breaking work beginning in the late 19th century and then up to World War I. The society laid many of the foundations of the Labour Party during this period; subsequently, it affected the policies of newly independent British colonies, especially India, and is still in existence today.

-- Fitting that Cancellara gradually reformed the leader board of the Tour in Britain with his prologue victory. It would have been revolutionary but we kind of expected him to do well. His victory in Stage 3 laid the foundation for the work that his team CSC (aka the Labour Party) would have to do over the course of the first week.

There was also Pope Saint Fabian, the bishop of Rome from January 236 to January 20, 250, who succeeded Pope Anterus. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. Vi. 29) relates how the Christians, having assembled in Rome to elect a new bishop, saw a dove alight upon the head of Fabian, a layman and stranger to the city, who was thus marked out for this dignity, and was at once proclaimed bishop by acclamation, although there were several famous men among the candidates for the vacant position.

-- Now this is kind of a wild little story. If only we still chose the most influential people in our society as a result of birds landing on their heads. Ahhh, the good old days. Now we just go by name recognition.

Next, we get a little more current with Fabiano Anthony Forte, who performed as Fabian, (born February 6, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and was an American teen idol of the late 1950s and early 1960s. He rose to national prominence after performing several times on American Bandstand.

His career in music basically ended with the payola scandal of the 1960s, when it was revealed that his records were doctored significantly to improve his voice.

-- Okay, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to realize the similarities between the singer Fabian and a number of professional cyclists who rose to fame early in their careers only to be exposed as having benefited from some scientific manipulation. Instead of doctoring blood values, Fabian Forte doctored the sound of his voice. Performance enhancing in the music industry? It’s a good thing no musicians use drugs though.

Then there is the Fabian strategy, which is a military strategy in which pitched battles are avoided in favor of wearing down an opponent through a war of attrition. While avoiding decisive battles, the side employing this strategy harasses its enemy to cause attrition and loss of morale. Employment of this strategy implies that the weaker side believes time is on its side, but it may also be adopted when no feasible alternative strategy can be devised.

This strategy derives its name from Quintus Fabius Maximus, the dictator of the Roman Republic given the thankless task of defeating the great general of Carthage, Hannibal, in southern Italy during the Second Punic War (218-202 BC).

Though it proved a political disaster for Fabius, eventually the Fabian strategy proved itself. The most noted use of Fabian strategy in American history was by George Washington, sometimes called the "American Fabius" for his use of the strategy.

Later in history Fabian tactics would be employed all over the world. Used against both Napoleon’s Grande Armée and Hitler’s Third reich, the Fabian tactics proved to be a decisive strategy in the defense of Russia.

-- Now, I don’t know if Bjarne Riis is a scholar of military strategies but it wouldn’t surprise me. From the intense boot camps the team goes through every year to the methodical soldier-like mentality of guys like Jens Voigt, I have to assume that Cancellara and Riis have their own Fabian Strategy for bike races. Specifically, they certainly used the element of attrition during Stage 3 to wear down the field and allow Cancellara to jump away from the group after the sprinters teams began to tire in the final stretch. The other guys were on bikes too but they may as well have been on elephants the way he took off.

There was also Hurricane Fabian, a powerful Cape Verde-type hurricane that hit Bermuda in early September during the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. Fabian was the strongest hurricane to hit Bermuda since Hurricane Arlene in 1963. It was both the most damaging and the first hurricane to cause a death on the island since 1926.

In all, Fabian caused around $300 million in damage and eight deaths.

-- So far, Cancellara is only responsible for around $100 million in psychological damage to the peloton but can be blamed for the deaths of 188 cyclists during the prologue of the Tour.
Then there is Marcus Alexander "Mark" Bagwell (born January 10, 1970), an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Buff Bagwell. He is best known for his nine year career with World Championship Wrestling between 1992 and 2001.

He trained under Steve Lawler and debuted in 1990, working for North Georgia Wrestling as The Fabulous Fabian.
-- I don’t really have anything to say here other than being saddened by the fact that cycling has recently been compared to professional wrestling by a number of ignorant American journalists. I think that all of the writers who have printed that should be forced to ride just one stage of the Tour. And then get thrown in a room with a few Australian and Belgian riders for a little education in peloton etiquette. Old school style. I’m talking to you Mike Lupica.

Also…good grief, there are regional wrestling organizations in Georgia? Do the North and South Georgia wrestling people have a Civil War kind of thing going on? I hate the American sporting landscape sometimes.
Finally (and I do mean finally, as in…bottom of the barrel) we have Fabian Basabe, Jr. (b. March 30, 1978) a U.S. socialite and all-around unpleasant human being.

The son of Fabian Basabe, Sr., a restauranteur in Bal Harbour, Florida, he gained publicity when he was photographed dancing with President Bush's daughter Barbara at a New York party.

He has also appeared on the E! network's reality series Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive.

-- Okay, any goodwill generated by Fabian Cancellara and Wegmann is potentially offset by the asinine behavior of this knob. Anyone who watched even a second of the Cattle Drive show (or has a fiancée that watches E! like I watch ESPN) can attest that this guy is maybe one of the least redeeming characters in the country. Having lived the majority of my life in Marin and Boulder Counties, I can speak with a fair degree of expertise to the subject of “grotesquely arrogant and entitled rich kids who think they are the center of the universe” and this guy is worse than anyone I have ever come across. He is the worst Fabian ever, by a long shot.

Come on, dancing with Barbara Bush? Oh dear. And that’s probably the least offensive thing he has ever done. Just a deeply questionable person. But I blame his parents so I guess I should put Fabian Basabe Sr. on the list as well. There's something funky about much of the restaurant business.

So anyway, now you know a little more about the past and present history of the name Fabian. It’s still not my favorite moniker but I guess I’ll have to get used to it. It looks like Cancellara and Wegmann are going to be here for a while. I'm cool with that.


Hooptie said...

Does Cancellara have a nickname...perhaps Fabian is enough of a name. What a fucking stud, I love seeing the sprinter get duped. What was better than Vinos win @ the Champs-Elysees?

Jeremy T. Arnold said...

Nice Hoop. I didn't think people dug my Fabian edumacation.

I'm calling him Tony Montana.

I love that Cancellara is a Scarface fanatic. That is rad. He has it written on his top tube instead of his real name. Does he have it dubbed in Swtizerlandish or something?

The thought of someone learning English by watching Scarface makes me so happy.

It's a toss up between Vino's procurement of Levi's 5th place a few years ago on the Champs and My Little Friend's punking of the group this year.

I'll go with Vino though. He's killed people before. I'm sure of it. Cold Blooded.

Uh oh, I smell a Rick James post coming on after I just wrote that.