Tag Archives: Winter Olympics

Polo fits White Wealth Winter Olympics

Ralph LaurenYou might wonder why a polo player features so prominently on the official clothing of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Well of course, because the haberdasher au contract is Ralph Lauren, who one-upped Lacoste so many years ago when so many of the hoi polloi began sporting the little alligators that yuppies needed to differentiate themselves once again.
 
Of course a snotty sport like polo is not unrepresentative of winter sports. It’s exclusive, requires expensive equipment, and near full-time access to snow, meaning globe-trotting jet setters. What’s appropriate too about this logo is its size. You didn’t remember it being so big? It’s targeted at generation Ralph Lauren, now needing reading glasses.

Yanks overseas pretend to be Canadian but how do you do that in Vancouver?

Since the overt militarization of Pax Americana, US citizens traveling the world are advised to pretend they’re Canadians. It only took this week’s unexpected team USA victory over Canada in men’s Olympic hockey, to ignite anti-American feelings. Even before the games began, the USOC’s USA House was the only hospitality venue whose address was not made public, conveniently too because it was safely not open to the public. Now visitors leaving USA House are reminded not to wear or behave in any fashion that would distinguish them as Americans as they make their way to their accommodations.

Security warnings didn’t lessen even as Canada took revenge with a win against the US in Women’s Hockey. Canada’s speed skating victory wasn’t helped by Apolo Ohno’s complaint that his disqualification might have been owed to the supervising judge being Canadian.

Will a Canadian victory in the finals be enough to ameliorate feelings against Americans who dominate every other aspect of North American culture so obnoxiously? In either outcome I foresee American visitors and athletes taking their leave with as little fanfare as possible.

Just as McDonalds is uncontested as it pretends to speak for all Olympic athletes that their toxic McNugget is the “favorite of Olympians,” so is the American war machine able to coopt US athletes for their imperialist message. Critics of the Olympics are ridiculed for politicizing the games, yet militant nationalism pervades the ceremonies.

The television announcers remind us that the USA hockey players have been paired with beneficiaries of the Wounded Warrior program. Each stick-wielding, armored, helmeted ice warrior thus plays for the honor of an actual US soldier. A recognition I believe of America’s undying desire to have a second chance to kick ass.

I don’t know anyone rooting for Team USA, the finals rematch would seem to be an extraordinary opportunity for Obama-spirited diplomacy. These athletes are all NHL players of mottled nationalities, probably most Canadian as much as they are American. What better chance to let the victory to the host. Can you imagine the US asserting its dominance over its coalition partner? What could come of that?

Americans have precious few fans outside the homeland. Oh, they tell us, “we love Americans, just not America.” But in Vancouver this week, that was not true. Imagine Canadians added to the list of world people grown tired of the idiot American brute. Canada will take the sympathy of the rest of the Commonwealth with them.

After two weeks of patient cheerleading against US Olympic supremacy, suddenly I’m jumping up and down for a US win!

It’s just a game. The white man’s war on the world is not.

Norway ties USA for Olympic gold

Does it matter really in transnational games between warmonger countries? Nearly all Winter Olympic participants are NATO occupiers of Afghanistan. Though Norway was among several who condemned the Iraq invasion, its oil company is complicit in exploiting Iraq’s oil.

The gold medal tie between a nation of 309 million and another 1.5% its size is contingent of course on the outcome of today’s hockey match-up, a sport just as all-white as cross country skiing. It’s hard to imagine Kenyans not leading the pack if someone would jest give them skis.

The 50k cross country ski event is known as the King’s race, because the winner is king, metaphorically. It reminds me of my grandmother’s “queen for the day” award to my best-behaved cousins. The real king doesn’t of course participate in the race, but lends gravitas to the champion among his best trained men. The biathelon throws a rifle into this pursuit event, for those who having difficulty relating competition sports to military preparedness training.

Norway’s winner is named Northug, which draws a not inappropriate allusion to Norway’s historic contribution to modern Europe. After Rome’s collapse, it was the Vikings who restarted the West’s imperialist economic growth model.

Suomi hockey team beats Slovenska for bronze at 2010 Jeux Olympiques

Finland beats Slovakia for 3rd placeWhat does it say across the front of the Finnish hockey jersey “SUOMI?” Is that an acronym or an internet initialism? While it could be enthusiasm for Olympic mascot Sumi, Suomi is Finnish/Saami for what they call their country. Apparently the Finns didn’t get the memo about bringing Olympic text into uniform English-compliance.

Swedish jerseys use the abbreviation SWE for example, even though they spell their name Sverige. Similarly Austria, AUT, which otherwise goes by Österreich, and Japan, who spell it Nippon.

Norge, Polska, Nederland, España, Schweitz/Suisse, Belarus, Latvija and Kasakctah are perhaps close enough not to confuse American television viewers. Other hold outs are Hungary’s Magyarország, Germany’s Deutschland, and Russia’s ?????? -even the Asian nations know to romanize their Olympic alphabet. When in Rome, even the Greeks speak English.

It amazes me that American interviewers expect Olympic athletes to speak English. Where they don’t, their names don’t even get a mention. South Korean speed skaters are referred to only as “the Koreans.” Chinese free-style ski jumpers were given English nicknames so their “Chenglish”-speaking American coach could tell them apart.

Medal count reflects Wealthy Olympics

The US media ranks the US ahead in the Vancouver Winter Olympics based on most medals won. The non-American consensus rates competitors according to their gold, Germany often leading. If your average win is silver, it does seem queer to declare yourself in first place. Not to mention that total wins appear irrevocably linked to the size of the teams fielded. Inspired by 538 giving 2010 odds based on statistical analysis, I thought about other likely predictors. Number of athletes and population size are both outweighed by Per Capita Income as the deciding factor for final rankings.

Gold
Medals
Total
Medals
 
Country
Team
Size
 
Population
GDP per
capita
Prob.
Rank
8 32 USA 215 309m $ 46k 1
9 27 Germany 153 82m 39k 3
8 20 Norway 99 5m 77k 4
8 17 Canada 206 34m 39k 2
6 11 South Korea 46 50m 16k 9
6 8 Switzerland 146 8m 66k 5
4 13 Austria 81 8m 45k 7
4 10 China 90 1,336m 3k 10
4 8 Sweden 106 9m 43k 6
3 14 Russia 177 142m 9k 8

Rachael Flatt will not be assimilated

Rachael Flatt is neither fat nor homely, but it doesn’t take an Olympic judge to downgrade her prospects in figure skating. Embarrassingly, sports commentators were poised to preempt confused TV viewers from sitting up in alarm. Who is this stout little duckling flailing, albeit with precision, among our swans? The awkward freshness of Flatt’s execution made it look all the more miraculous, but I think the between-the-lines verdict was that Flatt flunked her screen test.

Words like graceful and beautiful pepper the usual skating play-by-play, but not when Rachael Flatt was on the ice. Compare their stilted discomfort to her airtime to their effusive fawning over everyone else. No sooner was it Rachael’s turn than announcers began to interject praise for her great personality and high intellect. I doubt not a few of Olympic competitors are very bright, but apparently Rachael runs a deficit of qualities for which the color commentary must over-compensate. It seemed as much to apologize for whatever freak accident of competition left the door open to Flatt, as to prepare the audience for the judges’ swift condemnation.

Were they surprised when Flatt skated flawlessly? Apparently it’s not enough to be the athlete, Olympic skating requires a ballerina. I thought that’s what Ice Dancing was for.

It’s no coincidence that Olympic faces are only the most beautiful, all with straight white teeth. Colorado Springs High schooler Rachael Flatt is imperfectly lovely, possessed of a photogenic quality all her own, if not theirs. Did you know the Olympics mean to celebrate only humanity’s televisible champions?

Presenters and judges alike know what they are after. The Olympics are a showcase for the epitome of our ideals, not merely athletic feats, but our aesthetic aspirations. It’s a 4-H meet for eugenics.

Forget Olympic Gold, US claims a ring

ringsThe Olympic rings represent continents don’t they? I can almost see the globe laid flat traversed by the five rings, even the colors seem culturally appropriate. B, Y, Bk, G, R are the US, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. What is North America but the US with its oil reserves isolated in the state of Canada and its cheap non-citizen labor pool confined in the state of Mexico? Actually the Olympic organization conflates South America with North to accommodate a ring for Oceania. Australia can have a ring of clear wallpaper. The indigenous revolution of Latin America deserves a ring of African dimension. If any powers can stand merging it’s US and EU. The Winter Olympics could be represented by a single white ring.

By an odd coincidence E.U. are the European Union’s initials for les Etats Unis, the United States.

McDonalds: Eat Like Fat Olympians

The authentic moment in the McDonalds commercial “Eat Like Olympians” is where an athlete walks amazed past tables of A-list Olympians stuffing their faces with Chicken McNuggets. He’s not starstruck, but dumbstruck at the sight of athletes poisoning themselves/selling out. Would they, could they? Not and hope to win. Center stage is US speed skater JR Celski and it’s a damn shame. I always hope medalists will seize their moment in the spotlight to hold their fists high like Mexico 1968. No, they’re so self-obsessed they shill for McDonalds and dope the minds of their admirers with Olympic strength toxin.

Canadian audiences have to suffer a wide campaign of misinformation from a handful of their Olympic hopefuls: Cassie Campbell, Brad Martin, Crispin Lipscomb, Cindy Klassen, Shawn Johnson, and Patrick Chan. Each pretending to eat the garbage.

How is being received? Have a look at this preteen rebuttal on Youtube entitled Olympics + McDonalds = Fat Olympians whose main character is a loving tribute to Shaun White.

Shoot him in the chest – I want his hat

Olympic television audiences can be shown Sunday’s violent luge death, over and over, but they won’t see the video recently leaked from Nigeria, of last summer’s cleanup effort against Islamic rebels. Nigeria is a US client state, violently repressing indigenous resistance to Chevron oil environment rape. Footage shows government soldiers leading unarmed men to lay face down in the public square for summary execution. Said one officer before killing a victim: “Sit properly we want to take your picture.” Another officer shouted: “Shoot him in the chest not the head — I want his hat.”
execution

The white Olympics

Smokestacks of TurinToday I watched the opening ceremonies of the White Olympics in Torino.
 
Yes, White Olympics. Virtually all the athletes are white. White because winter sports take place in northern climes where most everybody is white. White because winter sports require equipment beyond what tropical non-developed countries can afford their athletes. White because that is the color of the world aristocracy.

But the Summer Olympics were very much the same. Compared to World Soccer, or the NBA, or the NFL, or the AFL-CIO, the Summer Olympics are lily-white.

So everyone at the Winter Olympics is white, the entire South African team is white. The few dark faces among the white are citizens of white countries who trace their roots elsewhere.

When the American team made its entrance, I wondered, where were the boos? The American athletes were smiling and waving, many were hamming for the camera, one was talking on her phone. An audience was never shown, either booing or applauding.

But there would not have been booing at this pageant. This was a fete for the developed countries, presently at war with darker skinned countries. This was a white man’s club. The few delegates from dark countries were vestiges of the old colonial representatives, cousins of the western nations, returned home having lost their lands and authority to land-reform and indigenous efforts to reclaim territorial autonomy.

So this celebration was the bi-annual gathering of the ruling class, their athletes who can afford to practice their athletics full time, and the spectators who can jet around the world and attend the events.

And the symbol of power from which the ruling classes owe their supremacy was visible in the Olympic flame. Some might also find it was appropriate for the industrial city of Torino.
 
I thought it looked right out of Antonioni’s stark 1964 film Red Desert about industrial ennui, the multiple-funneled smokestack that is this year’s Olympic cauldron.