Open Letter to Mike Penton

I just read from a friend who received the second issue of Uni.
Mike what on earth were you thinking when you published these photos from an Israeli invader in Lebanon, on his uni a gun in his hand and a tank in the background?

Do you think it’s so cool to ride a unicycle at war when your job is to go and kill people in a foreign country ? I can admit that it’s a bizarre and unique situation to ride a unicycle, but don’t you find it obsene and revolting to enjoy riding muni so selfishly when your job is to drop bombs on people ?

I am not arguing for one second whether this war is right or not, war is about killing people, no matter who started it. Riding a uni is cool at war ? How about a serial killer riding a uni, or a raper on a uni ? Wouldn’t it be fun to see a guy riding a uni right after having molested a child ? Of course I’m going too far but, I’m sorry to say, so did you.

I’m utterly revolted and desgusted by that editorial choice. When you publish to a large scale you must be aware of what it means and what you support when you publish.


I have not seen the new magazine (but I don’t think you have either), but I fail to see how the picture made the ‘Israeli invader’ look cool, did it have a caption saying ‘look at him, he’s so cool’? I have to say, that does sound like an odd place and situation to ride a unicycle in though. I am sure it wasn’t made to offend.

You read a…?


I haven’t seen the picture or magazine, but I highly doubt the picture was made for him to be “I bomb peple while doing muni!.”

If I saw the picture, and from other pictures I have seen of stationed troops with unicycles, I see it at how diverse the sport is. Being done by people around the world in all different locations.

Like in this picture of me(left) and my friend mike(right).

It me and him with swords, dueling eachother in a nice rural setting. This doesnt mean I go around the city slaughtering innocent kids. Slash slash, blood, guts, stabby rip stab stab, im cool cause I kill people and uni. No, nothing like that, its just an interesting picture.

Thats how I thought about the pictures that I have seen with a soldier and a uni. Its just an interesting picture, showing that people everywhere enjoy the sport of unicycling.

Uni Fight 7.jpg

What is your problem?
So can your problem be solved by killing the messenger?
Or by ignoring or censoring the event?

Ah, you have a fictional problem.
In your next open letter ask if the publisher does support what s/he is reporting before believing in your own asumptions.

Oh bytheway, I’m friends with two other unicyclists in the Isrealian army.
And friends with a juggler who was juggler in the Red Army (that’s Russia).
(and yes for militairy purposes).
Now do you have a problem with me?

Its rapist

…and disgusted!

I think the guy was trying to bring something good, to a bad situation.

Rock on!

But it’s real gun and real tank, Jerrick!
The guy says “I participated in the recent fighting in Lebanon as an Israeli reserves soldier”

Leo, when you publish something, you make some editorial choices. For exemple, in our French Uni Mag, we want that people always wear helmet on Trial pics.
That has already been the choice of different Moutain Bike Magazines.
You impart values.

I have to admit I was shocked when I saw the pic. I have nothing against that guy, and the fact he is a soldier, I don’t know his life and I don’t want to judge him. My biggest problem was he was holding a gun while riding his uni. And there is no reason to do this.
For me, uni should never be related with guns. Uni has other values. If you ride during war time, it should extract you from all this.

Mike, you did a great job in this last issue! I’m sorry I criticise you for that, but I had to say something…

And there are hundreds of Americans who disagree with you, and frequently go on trails armed to defend themselves against natural dangers (there have been discussions on this forum on this very topic).

Its an interesting unicycling-related picture, nothing more. The situation and the person riding are far from the usual, making it more than worthy for magazine printing. Mike wasn’t condoning the war, any ‘assumed’ actions by the rider, or anything else.

No, actually, I don’t. Nor does any rational person. Unicyclists (like all people) come in all shapes, sizes, colours and most importantly jobs. What does that make our resident unicycling soldier duke? Can he not be a unicyclist because he also ‘kills people in a foreign country’?

How did this War become Mike’s fault? Its would be wrong of Mike not to print the picture purely because the man is a soldier. As Leo said, censorship would be more wrong.


I kind of saw that picture at first and thought whooa.

But thinking about it, it’s an illustration of the fact that even psycho nutters fighting for an oppressive regime / scared people fighting for their country (whichever way you see it) ride unicycles. It’s fascinating that in a situation like that, someone has the time to get on their unicycle and ride around. I don’t think the way it was shown really showed any support for the person involved, it just printed what they’d said about the picture and left it at that. The tank and the gun, whilst arguably a bit tasteless, do provide the context that makes that picture, without them it’d just be a guy riding a unicycle in a car park, and wouldn’t really say anything.


Thanks for telling me the values I should have because I do a certain activity. It’s really appreciated.

Cry me a wave?

Wars are waged by politicians, not soldiers. The soldiers only follow the orders that are passed down from above. They don’t make policy, they don’t decide whether to “drop bombs on people” and they don’t get to choose the enemy. Also, last I heard, Israel has compulsory military service. That means everybody (male only?), whether they’re for, against or indifferent to war.

I haven’t seen the magazine (or picture) yet, so I have no business judging it, nor does anyone else who hasn’t at least had it described to them in context. Maybe it’s in poor taste, and maybe that’s a matter of interpretation. Wars certainly are in poor taste usually, but they happen anyway, and get reported in the news. Uni is news about unicycling and unicyclists. Here is perhaps a guy whose stuck in the army, but managed to bring his unicycle along. Hopefully not into actual combat. It sounds like the picture may be intended as a bizarre juxtaposition of killing machines (gun and tank) with silliness machines. But that’s just a guess, as I haven’t seen it yet.

BTW, there is also nothing wrong with voicing your opinion if you don’t like the picture, or the choice to use it. Feedback is always helpful to a good editor.

River, actually.

I have seen the photos (there are 2) and I see them as a bit surreal. They remind me that even in a place of conflict there are real people who enjoy the same sport - i.e. MUni - that I enjoy, which gives me a sort of affinity with them. I may or may not agree with Adam Kover’s opinions on lots of other things but I can’t know that from some staged photos.

Yeah, because being a soldier is on par with raping children and serial killing.

What are you thinking?

So, you think that everytime we feel like complaining about any thing that has to do with uni’ing we should start a new thread?
So should I start a new thread about why I am not a sponsered rider, and why I am not the most famous rider ever?
If this magazine offends you so much then don’t read it and go make your own uni magazine.

That’s what I call propaganda by censorship. You do not reflect reality. And so your are drawing your own virtual truth.

Eh what? If the guy want to have himself on a picture with guns while unicycling, I’d say that’s a reason to take it.
If you think he should not do so, then that’s just your opinion based on YOUR rational reasons and/or irrational feelings. And still the guy has HIS reason to want that picture.

Okay, now on that I agree …for you uni should never etc.

It’s a different topic, and I’d like to have NO opinion on that.
Or maybe like to make up my opinion case by case.
But most war cases are too complex to have a well balanced opinion.
Myself, I don’t like to fight in wars I didn’t start by order.
And so I did’nt want to serve, untill I discovered the EOD unit.
Guns and bombs don’t killl, people do. Even without guns. Even with flowers!

EOD reminds me to another extreme example of your practiced manipulation trough presenting an incomplete picture:
report with 6 pictures (not suitable for children, as it’s no game console but reality).
report with 7 pictures (not suitable for children, as it’s no game console but reality).
Now tell me who’s the bad guy? The 1st publisher? the BBC? Israel? the soldiers preventing innocent victoms by killing 1 person? the bomber? me?
Should the BBC not have published the event because I think robots should not be related to guns?

But my bottemline of my post to which you responded to, is that if you publish a picture, you don’t always reflect your opinion. It also could be you just want to expose what is happening.
Am I a nazi when I publish a picture of an SS’r who was unicyclist during WO2? I don’t think so.
Or would you says that Le Monde has an opinion because of publishing picures of burning cars in France? -If they do their task well- they’re just showing what is going on in the world.

But if you like to live in your own little world… then I’m sorry you ran into people who don’t stroke with your opinions.

Are you saying those swords aren’t real? They are definetly real, and very very sharp. The right one isn’t as sharp or strong as the one on the left, but they are both very real. =p

Re: Open Letter to Mike Penton

leo wrote:
> anso wrote:
> > Leo, when you publish something, you make some editorial choices. For
> > exemple, in our French Uni Mag, we want that people always wear helmet
> > on Trial pics.
> > That has already been the choice of different Moutain Bike Magazines.
> > You impart values.
> That’s what I call propaganda by censorship.

i couldn’t find what you are talking about

>You do not reflect
> reality.

tell me more


“Clavilux and Lumia: music, our sight
sound our plexus, prism chords
of mutant flesh, bigger brains, better
words, whole souls sustained above”–tell me more, Akua Lezli Hope

a bit off topic. (this is much more a JC topic)
what you say here touches something. Having been at school after world war 2 we were taught at school that since many apparently normal people commited horrible things (I mean french people!) we have a personal responsiblity on whatever we do and obeying orders is not an excuse (that’s why it is extremely difficult to be a bossy manager of people having been educated that way :smiley: ).
So being a soldier is not a sin (My son got killed while in the army)
but you are going to be judged on what you do not on what your are (BTW one of my best friend is a desertor of the israeli army and he is a courageous man!) .
you can be a soldier but do not need to advocate images of might and sword (I suppose that was the thing An’so objected to -+ the fact that that war is really getting on our nerves!-.

Any chance of seeing the offending pic?

Yes, buy the mag :roll_eyes: (Well it had to be said :stuck_out_tongue: )