Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Olympic Pall

Margaret Wente is one of the few non-Stepford journalists at the Canadian national newspaper Globe and Mail. The paper has been agonizing over the lack of medals, an agonizing nation voting in the the Canadian Ignorance Poll when it asks "Do you think this is likely to be Canada's worst showing ever at a summer Olympics?" A total of 14794 voted. (Overwhelmingly, YES.) Asked if they would accept a "modest tax increase if it were dedicated to amateur sports?," some 16990 voted. (Mostly NO). On the really important stuff like "How should Canada's Supreme Court justices be selected?" some 5658 voted. To make sure there was no consensus of ignorance the Globe and Mail offered three choices. Few cared.

Margaret Wente cuts right through that.
The whole point of the Olympics is to celebrate youth and beauty, eroticism and sex. The Greeks knew this. That's why they performed nude.

Which is why, no doubt, the Olympics have begun to pall for a lot of people. Poor judging, crybaby Olympians, a monster monopoly on Olympic stories that you have to pay to cover, the whole Olympics has become just another ineptly run Internationalist boondoggle. There is something obscene about a country as poor as Greece spending $10 billion on the Olympic facilities that are unlikely to ever be used again. And there is something unwholesome about pictures of well-fed athletes with unflattering leaf crowns that make them look like bacchanal, waving in triumph of banality. That these pictures crowd out those of the victims in the Sudan who are still waiting for the U.N. to do something -- anything, isn't the athletes' fault. It is, though, a symptom of the sickness that old media focus on such frivolity to avoid focussing on the wholesale corruption of the international organizations they would have us defer to on our decision to go to war.

The Olympics have become the gladiator contests that serve to amuse the masses and distract them from the serious business of self-governance. There isn't even the pretense of an Ideal anymore. Pity. If the world needs anything right now it is idealism.

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