Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Olympics again...


I'm totally addicted to the Olympics(TM), already, as ever. This, despite the contempt in which I hold the entire, bloated, consumerist enterprise. I hate myself, really, but nothing new there. I found myself watching weightlifting with Will and Jonah today -- weightlifting! Really. Not exactly an enthralling spectator sport. But I'm a hopeless procrastinator, desperate for any crumbs of televisual distractions for my hyperactive pre-schoolers that I can rationalise in any twisted way as being Good for them. You know, international sport, learning about different countries and all that. No. I don't really believe it either.

This weekend, Marina Hyde wrote a neat comment piece in The Guardian on why, fundamentally, the Olympics are despicable and morally corrupt. It's raises some of the same issues I did months ago, though this being Marina Hyde, it's much wittier and cleverer than I could manage here.

I can't be bothered to write about everything that pisses me off about the Olympics. The sport itself is fine, though why the BBC brings us dressage and archery and shooting and not fencing I don't know. And I hate the medal table: it is fundamentally wrong that a gold medal earned by a single man splashing around a pool for 60 seconds is weighted the same as, say, a gold medal earned by a full team-squad that struggles through a whole tournament of 90 minute games... oh. Now, see? You've got me started.

But I won't tolerate any talk of 'Olympic values', as they were once conceived. Commercialisation and (then) professionalisation make it very clear what the Olympics value. Picking Beijing as the host city, makes it even more clear. The elevation of individual achievement over team achievement, the awarding of the games to a country that efficiently deal with 'security issues'... there's little left to admire, really. Vacuous calls for World Peace? PLEASE!

Note to the BBC and everyone else: Let me just waste my time watching humans push themselves to silly extremes peacefully, without all the notions of nobility and honour. Just let me enjoy the orgy of capitalism and sport and self-loathing.

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