Ignore China: The Olympiad is Already Broken Beyond Repair
Forget Tibet, discard Darfur, take your mind off Tiananmen Square, please, for just a moment. Consider this concept: a cabal of gangsters wearing communist clown masks run a ruthless capitalist economy (which is poisoning our world, by the way.)
Yeah, the Chinese government is evil incarnate, goons gone wild. But the only thing more ridiculous than playing ball (and ping pong) with this ridiculous blot on world history is wrapping the hoodlums in Beijing with the utter falsity of the so-called Olympic ideal.
Both the Beijing Mob and the Olympic Ideal are equally corrupt. These X Games -- X as in xenophobia -- were never any good in the modern era. Sure, Jesse Owens made a lard-ass brunette like Hitler look stupid for conjuring a Master Race concept based on somebody blonder, taller and more jut-jawed than der Fuehrer. At least the 1936 Olympics were a figurative haymaker that presaged the quick end of Aryan superiority. Even though Mr. Owens never got the respect he deserved for single-handedly punching the Third Reich (until the guilt-ridden revisionists came along).
Now, sadly, Olympic competition is all about who has the most gold, the most winners, the most photogenic young fantasaletes who get to cry when some martial anthem is played while the winner gets to stand a step higher than somebody from some other now-inferior society. The only scoreboard that matters is the one in which xenophobic society snags the biggest haul of precious metals. This is so wrong in so many ways. If you want to hold a global athletic competition, dispense with the flags, the phony patriotism, the crocodile tears that spill from winners who have only realized their own selfish goals.
Congrats. You practiced the Butterfly your entire life to the exclusion of all else? We're so proud. What was your name again?
You know my favorite Olympics? No, it's not the 1980 Moscow Olympics, when Jimmy Carter kept his country's (weeping and moaning) jocks home to protest the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan (too bad, considering the president the Communists installed, Najibulla, was probably the best thing to happen to the country in half a century). Nor was it the L.A. Olympics four years later, when the USSR reciprocated and allowed the American way of doping to finally supplant the nasal-sprayed steroids to finally gather more gold than the Soviet Empire.
Nope, my favorite Olympics came in Nagano, Japan, during the 1998 Winter Olympics. Those Olympics set records for boredom (though the opening ceremonies drew more people than the final of the first season of Survivor). What was cool was the multi-gazillion-dollar, 90-second commercial bankrolled by the John Hancock Insurance Company.
John Hancock got some hot-shot director to film interviews with kids who had attended the best Olympiad of all.
Why the best? Tito. He actually attempted to quantify the Olympic ideal, to forget boundaries and celebrate the beautiful culture of a non-aligned state. Tito had enough brass-medal balls to thumb his nose at the superpowers (though he wasn't opposed to slipping on the brass boot to keep his people's internecine animosities from boiling over.)
The 1972, the Olympics sparkled in the spine-tingling pretty city of Sarajevo. They were the best, ever. Tito had kicked Hitler's ass with no outside help, and he pulled off the coolest international games in the modern era. Unfortunately, he died, and governments based on the cult of personality soon followed suit.
So, when the next Winter Olympics were held in Nagano, Japan, four years later, a prominent relief group called the American Refugee Committee came up with a SEEMINGLY BRILLIANT plan to tap into the emotion and enjoyment of those Sarajevo Olympics.
So the ARC enlisted the insurance giant John Hancock, which footed the bill for a 90 second commercial during the opening ceremonies (which, believe or not, drew millions more viewers than the last episode of the first season of Survivor). You have young adults, talking about how the Sarajevo Olympics gave them a will to survive, interspersed with those same young adults dodging, not successfully, the sniper bullets from the Serbian snipers who ringed the capital in the hills of the suburb surrounding the drop-dead goth city.
Enter the queen: Sigourney Weaver, with a voice so low and so cool and so ridiculously convincingly sexy, comes on and says: "The Children of Sarajevo never forgot the 1972 Olympics. Don't forget the Children of Sarajevo." She was only asking that Americans pledge a few bucks to build playgrounds and gyms for the forgotten. And, um, she sounded like a wet dream.
Okay. If Sigourney Weaver had asked me to nuke my 401ks, I would have gladly done it (well, I'd did it for other, more ridiculous reasons). More than 40 John Hancock volunteers were staffing phone lines to take what surely would be a deluge. It never came. The grim total of 67 people called out of the 59 million who watched the commercial.
Too bad. For a fleeting minute and a half, it seemed like something akin to an Olympic idea had been realized. But, unfortunately, Americans just decided they were watching TV.