Once again, it is Olympic time, the only time I ever regret my decision to cut the cable umbilical cord which connected me to mainstream America,
I love the Olympics. Always have, and always will. There is nothing else like them.
Relegated to viewing the Olympics tangentially from the fever swamp of the Internet, I sincerely miss televised Olympics. It isn’t as if network television suddenly rises to the challenge and performs well in Olympic mode, it’s just the Olympics lends itself to television so well. TV is the perfect medium for the games. Frequent built-in bathroom breaks and drama, beautiful scenery and beautiful people. The games get politicized, but those who do politicize the games do so at great risk. History judges those who make inappropriate political statements at the games pretty harshly.
Bearing this in mind, I will review America’s comportment at the games this year. My qualifications? I have been watching the Olympics for a long, long time. I am a reader as well as a watcher. My knowledge is accumulative.
The politicization of the Olympics has always been there, but a prime example is when the U.S. boycotted the Russian Games because of the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. We were upset about this. Our greatest proxy warrior, John Rambo, even went to fight for The Taliban, or the Mujaheddin (Holy Warriors) in the third installment of the series, which is not to be confused with the greatest Rambo movie, Rambo Goes To Burma.
Now, however, after our own invasion of Afghanistan for motives rather more dubious than the USSR ever had for invading a bordering state full of potential terrorists, things get confused.
Our incitement for Ukrainian uprisings to make Putin look bad during this Olympic season remind me of our support of the Georgian aggression against one of its tiny neighbors during the Chinese Olympics last time. Couldn’t we give it a rest, at least during the games?
Well, no, not really. Pooty-Toot Putin, as George W. Bush used to refer to him (sorry, I can’t translate Moronese, so I don’t know why) is presiding over an economic miracle in Russia, a religious revival for Orthodox Catholicism, and an international resistance to United States military adventurism.
In contrast, the United States is bankrupt, and will have to raise its debt ceiling again shortly. Russia is giving a haven to the whistle-blower Snowden’s about the NSA’s Cold War (cold for now) against the American people, and no rainbow in sight as America continues to outsource jobs and resources to our masters, the foreign countries who own our debt and control our banks and politicians.
So, the American corporate media and its political arm, the United States government are castigating the Russian Olympics with the only card they have–the LGBT card.
A certain percentage of people are LGBT (Lesbians, Gay, Bisexuals, and Transvestites). In Russia, they are not allowed to demonstrate in public and revel in the pride they have in sodomizing each other. This is, of course, incredibly tragic. However, for the U.S. to castigate Russia, should we not also be unassailable in the eyes of the gods of Political Correctness? Also, let me point out the irony of the U.S. using the Stalinist/Marxist construct of Political Correctness to attack the former Soviet Union. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Want to move on? Not until you consider the irony.
There is, however, another element in play here–American racism as per the Olympics. I am referring, of course, to the exclusion of Mirai Nagasu from the U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Team for Ashley Wagner (not until you think about the irony–Ride of the Valkyries, Apocalypse Now, Charlie Don’t Surf–get it yet?).
Like most Americans who grow up watching the Olympics, I have every confidence in my ability to judge the dismounts, landings, triple axles, and floor routines associated with subjectively judged sports such as figure skating and gymnastics, but I also think the selection for these things should be as blindly meritocratic as possible. If I go to a horse race, I am not going to place my money on a horse who is limping around the track during warm ups, and who has performed poorly in its last few races. I don’t care if the horse won the Triple Crown a few years back. We are only as good as our last game, at least when it comes to me gambling with my money. With this in mind, I found Nagasu’s exclusion from the Olympic team highly questionable.
Right before the Olympics, Nagasu took third in Nationals. Wagner was a distant fourth, and actually fell twice during her performance. Historically, this means Nagasu would have gone to the Olympics.Barring injury, this has always been the case. Nagasu took 4th in the 2010 Olympics when she was 16 years old. She is a proven international competitor in a sport which requires nerves of steel. She supposedly had a few lean years performance-wise after the last Olympics, but she seems to have timed her training so she would start peaking right before the big show, the 2014 Olympics.
Wagner, however, was selected for the final Olympic spot, against the established tradition.
I must commend The American Olympic Skating establishment for the way they closed ranks on this deal. Scott Hamilton, figure skating’s perennial Fey Boy, went to great lengths to justify Wagner’s selection. Various other bloggers Olympic hanger-ons have gone to great lengths of logical fragility to justify Wagner, but picking Wagner was racist. It comes down to the idea of perceived beauty.
Figure skaters spend a lot of time and money on their appearance. They are judged for it. It’s part of the show.
However, Nagasu is not perceived as being as beautiful as Wagner. It’s primarily marketers who make these aesthetic decisions. Olympics are a big business. I will not comment on Nagasu’s beauty versus Wagner’s. It would be inappropriate, since I am not impartial. I do wonder if this could even be considered a serious question?
So, before we distract from the American Economic Catastrophe, ongoing and pending, by taking Putin and Russia to task for their religious beliefs regarding LGBT causes, let’s remove the plank from our own eye and see clearly. The United States of Drone Strikes has a long way to go before we can claim “light unto other nations” status. If the Neocon War Party wants to fix the world so badly, maybe they should start by apologizing to Nagasu for the Olympic Team’s racism against her? Are you listening, Obama and Hillary? Of course not. It’s just that Ayn Rand used to insert lines like that in her books, and I wanted to try it.
As for Mirai Nagasu, sorry, sister. You are poetry in motion, and a national treasure. Too bad aesthetic decisions are made by Walmart marketers in this country. You definitely would have had my vote.Maybe if you had a rainbow tattoo you would have gotten some justice from Scott Hamilton.