Friday, August 08, 2008

The Olympics are here....meh

So, I guess the Olympics officially kick off today. On the one hand, hey, I get to see some sports that I never get to see. On the other hand, schmaltzy human interest stories galore, rampant commercialism and hypocrisy, nationalism on full display, and endless stories on China and their reaction to the Olympics. Ugh.

As important as all of these stories on China's human rights violations are it's hard for me to get too worked up about considering that these seem to be pretty standard for the rest of the world as well. One could argue that the first event of any Olympics is the rounding up of the homeless and other "undesirables" in order to present the best face to the world. In Atlanta they actually loaded them on busses and shipped them to New Jersey or somewhere while in Beijing they probably have somewhere similar to send them too. Yeah, China is causing some serious problems when it comes to Tibet and their role in the Darfur conflict but it's a lot easier to point fingers at them than address issues like Guantanamo or the war in Iraq.

However, it does annoy me that the Olympic committees or countries like the US or Great Britain bend over backwards to keep from offending the hosts of the games. Britain told their athletes that their free speech rights were suspended if they wanted to compete. Meanwhile the USOC has hypocritically decided to take "see no evil" approach to pollution after the forced members of the cycling team to apologize for wearing masks that the committee designed and gave to the athletes. In other words, "yeah, the pollution here is shockingly bad but don't actually say anything about it. We've got to pretend that Beijing isn't the most polluted city in the world because we don't want to offend the people that have to live here breathing this crap 365 days a year. That might actually force them to clean it up instead of just shutting down the factories and half the cars for a few weeks in order to pretend that things aren't that bad." Whoops, guess that whole thing isn't working out too well.

Anyway, I'll probably watch what I can and try to ignore all of this negative stuff which is pretty much what they want us all to do anyway. It would be nice to just have the games without it having to be a vehicle to sell credit cards and soda or a major coming out party to show off to the rest of the world but that's probably too much to ask for.

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