07 August 2008

Go Team Coke!

King Kaufman nicely sums up the additional dilemmas facing those of us watching the Olympics this year, besides the usual crush of corporate advertising and mass displacement of the disadvantaged in favor of billion-dollar sports stadiums that will be glorified statues in three weeks. Of course, as commenters point out, it's a bit awkward for Americans to complain too bitterly about another nation's human rights abuses while we're still illegally occupying two countries.

That said, I'm still a sucker for the fundamental Olympic idea, or whatever remains that hasn't been commodified, so I'll undoubtedly brave the endless advertising and shameless jingoism on NBC to catch a fair bit of it.

Today King interviews David Maraniss, author of a book on the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

You had the Americans and the Soviets going for every little propaganda edge they could get. That kind of competition, it's weird to say, but that's kind of missing today. There's now a whole generation of grown-ups who never experienced that U.S. vs. Soviet Union thing.

It's like you have to have the Yankees to root against...
Ah, but you do have the Yankees to root against today. They're called, uh, the Yankees. Seriously, it's the only way I can watch any amount of Olympic coverage and survive. The joy of watching the jingoes stammer in disbelief as corn-fed 'Murican boys and girls sink in defeat makes the whole exercise worthwhile. Yes, I'm spiteful, and have a blackened chunk of coal where my heart should be, but these are the kinds of lengths I've been driven to.