The Winter Olympics is a time for good will, harmony, and most fittingly, criticizing the Olympians for having the prowess of Special Olympians minus the retard strength. Although Boulder types will lecture on Bode Miller’s impressive coordination despite a heroic intake of marijuana, glorified sledding is a far cry from guarding Lamar Odom, especially from Sour Patch Kids and large women.
But recently, the criticism has turned up a notch from “obvious” to “political.” Bryant Gumbel, Colin Cowherd, Spike Lee (probably), and a slew of other talking heads now condemn the Winter Games for hosting events that involve expensive equipment and so cater exclusively to the rich. And since Jesse Jackson now allows the media to acknowledge the correlation between wealth and race, they in turn condemn the Winter Olympics for being whiter than a Mainer church camp.
The equatorial proximity of most poor countries isn’t the problem as we might proclaim in our final attempt to eschew stereotype. Even moderately wealthy Americans can afford to ski in Kenya, though they usually do it in a vain attempt to make skiing seem much less white.
So while it’s true that countries like Ghana, Peru, and other Chavez favorites only attend the opening ceremony to marvel at a controlled fire, I’d like to claim that I don’t understand why Spike Lee needs to call attention to it. But even though I read the New York Times, I don’t read it enough to be that innocent or dishonest.
Let’s first remember that sports are fun for everybody, not just for guys with 40-inch verticals. Slow, white guys, however, only excel in athletic competition by inventing sports that they can dominate with their bank account—that is, we can’t blame them for the biathlon any more than we can blame Silicon Valley nerds who buy Ferraris. It’s their way of standing out.
More importantly, moneyed competition is symbolic of what the Olympic Games represent aside from athletes doinking each other: peace and productivity.
The Olympics began in Ancient Greece only after the absence of pugilism, among other factors, compelled men to wrestle each other naked.
For the next two millennia, Christianity dominated Western thought and so international competition once again became known as war.
It wasn’t until the end of the 19th Century, the most peaceful time in world history, when the Olympics resumed. Although the 20th Century and, so far, the 21st Century both long for accord, like an heiress with a big nose, we have enough money to make up for it.
So if it wasn’t for the wealth and technology that we condemn the Winter Olympics for exploiting, there wouldn’t be an Olympics in the first place, let alone the condoms and secular philosophy that make for a guiltless mass doinking.
To look at this issue from the other side, Usain Bolt, like all Jamaicans, is a descendant of African slaves who were selected based on their athletic ability—ie their slaving ability. But instead of condemning his genes as privileged, we rightly honor him for making the most out of his native fortune, including his surname.
I’ll go a step further. Due to the laws of gene expression, a white guy who runs as fast as Usain Bolt would be a metaphysical impossibility. Jamaicans, however, at least have a chance to win an event that is less athletically demanding, like the bobsled. Sure, it would be tougher for such incongruous athletes; they would be the victims of northern European jocularity, and they may need to hire John Candy as a coach, but oddities make it easier to spark a human interest story and so a movie deal. And since this discussion is ultimately about money, an adequate comedy is better than a medal that’s more adulterated than Elin Nordegren.
Interestingly enough, the success of a Jamaican bobsled team exposes the root fallacy of Spike Lee’s criticism: like Barbara Ehrenreich and Two-Face, he thinks that economic prosperity is entirely determined by chance. Though I agree that Guns, Germs, and Steel has its merits in a myopic framework, it’s more important that any country can create an environment of individual rights and computer bytes in which Cock Rock writes. Rhyming dictionaries don’t hurt either.
The Winter Olympics aren’t a kick in the face; they’re a kick in the butt. Here we are, the Western world, competing in idiosyncrasies that require a small fortune to master, and when we’re done we go home and eat lobster, poop in something besides a river, and then marry someone who isn’t our cousin.
Forget for one moment the corruption, the crime, and Sarah Palin, and remember that our civilization’s awesomeness probably cannot even fit the ken of a typical Zimbabwean, which may be what’s ultimately keeping him from all the fun. Regardless, the disconnect leaves a great opportunity for guys with communications degrees to sound sophisticated.
Though if you are athletic enough to run the 100 meter dash in 10 seconds or catch a pass in the NFL, I suggest you stick with that. Raw athletic ability is a better vehicle for accumulating sexual partners than any game created by money.