Gustave Flaubert was one of those writers who can make the most mundane parts of our existence seem like we are part of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie; he indeed was that good, like Predator good. His debut novel is the book that many aspiring writers wish they had in them; it is Madame Bovary. In it, a character reminds me of the average GCN viewer, and I’m sure Flaubert would agree with me.
To get to grips with the point I am going to make, we need to look at Monsieur Homais. Monsieur Homais is not a main character in Madame Bovary, but it is impossible to imagine the novel without him and the tone that he creates. A simple analysis, often these are the best, would show Homais to represent the cowardly, shallow, and pretentious middle class that was springing up in France at the time. Indeed, he is the town’s pharmacist; there are not many jobs that you could see as being as middle class as this.
The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of
stupidity attained by the bourgeois.
It is essential to understand that Homais is a professional. Flaubert uses him to illustrate the difference between idiocy and being ignorant. You cannot have gained the necessary knowledge to be a pharmacist if you are ignorant. For Flaubert, you can know many things but understand nothing; that is precisely what Homais represents.
Flaubert believed that the media was responsible for spreading idiocy. This is why Homais sets aside an hour daily to read “le journal.” Flaubert began to keep a journal detailing all the crazy ideas that the media would peddle; after his death, this was published as “The Dictionary of Received Ideas.” People would then repeat the superficial nature of what they had read, just repeating the headline to sound clever. That is what Homais would do; he would then lecture on these subjects he knows little as if he were an expert.
Now to GCN
Flaubert would indeed have applied the same idea to many avid cycling media consumers, not just GCN. People with a good education, such as Homais, generally follow the cycling media. They would essentially fall for the grifts carried out by the marketing departments of various bike companies despite being highly educated.
We should probably finish it there before I go and issue a spoilers notice for the novel and ruin your will to live.