Friday, August 5, 2016

Rejoice! The Olympics begin tonight ... in Rio and not Chicago


     A rare two columns in the paper today, the brick piece below in the front section, and this, in sports. The Olympics leave me cold, obviously and, given all the hired hype, I thought a little pushback is in order.  

     The opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro takes place Friday.
     A reason to celebrate because, as you know, they might have been taking place in Chicago, a kind of surreal mockery added to our usual set of grim urban woes such as holding a child’s birthday party with balloons in the middle of a blood-soaked battlefield. Dodged that bullet, for once.
     You’re not watching, are you? Whatever for?
     You do know about this internet machine, correct? That anything halfway interesting immediately will be tweeted and Facebooked and ballyhooed around the world. Why park yourself for five hours in front of the TV when you can just hoover up the highlights, should there be highlights, the next morning?
     Me, I plan to be at Millennium Park on Friday night. Some kind of concert.
     Yes, to be candid, had my wife not come up with that outing, I might have sprawled on the sofa to check out the opening festivities with all the minor countries you forgot existed marching in with all sorts of fashion nightmares: “Look, the team from Kyrgyzstan seems to be wearing green oven mitts on their hands.”
     I would indulge the dull, might-as-well-see-the-spectacle curiosity. I would flash back to the 2008 opening ceremony in Beijing, a chilling demonstration of totalitarian power, this $100 million, four-hour show of old Red Army-style coordination with 15,000 slaves in mechanized synchronization all designed to overawe viewers into submission. You couldn’t watch it and not think, “Surrender is our only option.”

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4 comments:

  1. I have no interest in the Olympics themselves, but the disaster that it's going to become will be the lead story most days on the news.
    And the macabre in me is waiting to see how many swimmers, sailors & kayakers get sick or even die, from the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay!
    The experts have told the swimmers to keep their heads above the water & don't swallow any of it.
    Now I'm very happy Chicago didn't get that money pit, but I do hope the bribed scum of the IOC realizes that it could've been in the clean waters of Lake Michigan.

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    1. Oh, don't hold your breath on the IOC realizing anything!!

      The schadenfreude on this one is that Daley found out that there are agencies and other cities that are better at handing out bribes than he was.

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  2. Good to see a twofer in the paper and a rare visit of yours to the sports section.

    Clark, you are right indeed about the "bribed scum" of the IOC.

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  3. I've often gotten bad vibes when watching gymnastics and the frequent hugging and patting the bottoms by male coaches. It's nearly impossible to not conjure up thoughts of sexual predators becoming coaches of these vulnerable kids, male gymnasts as well as female. Sadly, some parents may actually close their eyes to the possibility of this abuse in order to reap the rewards of Olympic medals.

    SandyK

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