Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Everybody’s Got The Fee-vah...

Oh, sure, over the years I've watched the Olympics. In recent years I've been more interested in the canoeing events -- whitewater or flatwater, doesn't matter -- probably because a kid down the street from where I grew up was on the team for years, and his dad was the one who taught me canoeing. (Also tried to teach me kayaking; I got it down later in life.) I also like to watch taekwando. Now, if the competitors for those events wore those little bikinis like the USA beach volleyball team wears, they'd get more airplay, but they don't. (Hey, my kid brother used to coach volleyball. I should ask him if there's a point to that. I mean, the women's swim team switched to those custom-made form-fitting body suits to improve performance, right? Oh well...) I suppose this year is different.

Everybody is making a big deal out of who is hosting the event. People who protest China's treatment of Tibet, whether here in Washington and elsewhere, wear clothes make in China, use megaphones made in China, carry signs made in China, and when it's over, will probably order take-out from... you get the idea.

We've had this happen before, where a country uses its role as host of the Olympics to make a point of how respectable they are. When Germany tried that back in 1936, it sorta backfired, didn't it? China's done a bang-up job so far -- literally. That fireworks display was absolutely awesome. Since the Chinese invented fireworks, it was the least they could do. Of course, had they known how much American tourists love Chinatowns from New York to San Francisco, they wouldn't have torn down the little ghetto areas that look like Chinatowns in the final weeks, only to replace them with Western-style hotels. Guys, we already have those in the West. We want the real deal. You'll never take over the world with that kind of intel, okay?

Well, thank goodness I've got high-end cable. I can watch the most arcane sporting events imaginable on any one of several channels, like USA, ESPN, MSNBC. I can see moments like when the Georgian and Russian athletes embraced one another, oblivious to the invasion of the former by the latter. We can see, even if it's just for a few days, that no matter what country you are from, no matter how governments try to make it look, people are pretty much the same, and they can move beyond their differences.

Even the Greeks in the ancient games stopped their wars for the same. Now, if we could just get Georgia and Russia to put a lid on it.

Even if it's just for a few days.

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