Monday, August 11, 2008

Dear International Olympic Committee,

Congratulations on your foresight. When you picked Beijing as the site of the 2008 Summer Olympics, many critics lambasted the choice, pointing out that there were two things that Beijing was lacking that are essential components for a successful Olympic games:

  1. Air that people can breathe
  2. Journalists that report news

But you scoffed at their lambastion. Chinese officials assured you that by 2008 they would find a way to provide what they lacked, and you decided to listen to them and believe. After all, Communist regimes are known for producing public officials that are ambitious, and that take personal responsibility for their actions.

So cheers to the IOC. And guys, I wouldn’t make too much of the stories about how the Chinese doctored the feed of the opening ceremonies by inserting CGI fireworks. It just goes to show you that no matter how many times the TV commentators breathlessly remind us that the Chinese invented fireworks, and that they are the masters of fireworks, there’s really nothing that can’t be improved by the use of CGI.

Well, except for that first Hulk movie.

And I’m not even peeved by the fact that the Chinese denied a visa to US Olympic Gold Medalist Joey Cheek, due to his involvement with a group of athletes protesting China’s support for the government of Sudan. You know why? Freedom of speech is just not appropriate when you are visiting someone else’s country. It’s like, if I went to a party, and I found out the host was supporting a known murderer by giving him money and shielding him from law enforcement authorities, I wouldn’t keep drawing attention to it. It’s rude. Besides, it’s not the job of the US of A to go around the world spreading freedom.

One tiny word of criticism, and that involves your charter, which I do believe says that you forbid “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise.”

C’mon guys, Saudi Arabia, like many Muslim countries, has never sent one woman to the Olympics. In 36 years, not one. Bupkiss. And it’s not because they simply don’t fund women’s athletics equally, like the US. It’s because that it’s, well, kind of illegal for women to play sports in Saudi Arabia. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m sure you could get that Saudi prince who is on the IOC to explain it to you. Also, you might be able to get some information from one of the female members of the IOC, if you can find one.

But hey, you say, what about when we banned South Africa from participating in the '60s, because of their policy of apartheid, and the fact that black athletes could not compete equally with whites there?

To which I say, yeah, what about that? That’s really confusing. Because clearly Saudi Arabia’s actions are worse in that women can’t play sports at all, let alone compete equally. Yeah, that is really fucking confusing, alright. Hm. Yeah, I have to admit that that puzzles the shit out of me right there.

In any event, best to just remove that pesky “no discrimination” clause, eh? I mean, you can always put it back at some future date, you know, like when it happens to be true.


Jess said...

But more importantly: 29 minutes to Michael Phelps!!

vikkitikkitavi said...

Swimming? Sorry. Honk-shoo.

Jess said...

Actually, I would have thought so too. Jeff (who was once a competitive swimmer and had hopes of going to the Olympics) wanted to watch the swimming, and (surprisingly to me) it's been AWESOME! Last night, during a relay, we were actually screaming.

My comment about Michael Phelps was supposed to be a joke, however. They are OBSESSED with the man! They talk about him even when he has nothing to do with what's going on (i.e. women's gymnastics) and there are pop-ups on the screen every so often that say stuff like "29 minutes to Michael Phelps!"
My favorite was when Katie Hoff came in FIRST during a semi-final and they go "what HAPPENED?" to her... like she was such a disappointment (and, of course, they somehow managed to bring up Phelps). Later Phelps came in THIRD and they GUSHED over him. The guy is amazing, don't get me wrong, but seriously it's getting embarrassing and kind of weird!

GETkristiLOVE said...

Well, just to be fair - if they ever get to compete, everyone should wear hijab.

Larry Jones said...

Phelps is only winning because he has the Bat Suit.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Jess: Sure, anything can be made exciting if you care about the outcome. OR IF PHELPS IS COMPETING!

GKL: I hear that hijabs are very aerodynamic.

Larry: I feared that this post would become a repository for Olympic in-jokes. So, yay.

kiki said...

1. phelps is a tool

2. as if the "no discrimination" clause will ever be removed, or adhered to.

Dave said...

The opening ceremonies are theater, not competition. I don't think it was that big of a deal.

Dad E said...

dave-I think the point is that the CGI could have been a good story in itself and should have been announced ahead of time. Deception and tight control of information is the norm in China.

Vikki-Perhaps the IOC could amend their charter to say, "countries that find it necessary to exclude women from competition to protect their mens' fragile masculinity can compete as long as refrain from competing in synchronized swimming." This way the rules would be the same as practice.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Kiki: Phelps is a tool, huh? Perhaps. But he's the most medaled tool in the world.

Dave: Even in theatre, you don't bill one actor as playing the part, if the part is actually being played by two actors.

DadE: My experience with the Chinese is that their mindset tends to be that the end result is everything, and they do not understand the American obsession with how you get there.

Oh, and perhaps we should forbid the Saudis from competing in anything EXCEPT synchronized swimming.

'Bubbles' said...

And now we hear about the cute girl that lip synced for the not-so-cute girl with the good voice. Grrrrr.

Dave said...

The body double on the poster for Pretty Woman wasn't credited.

Italian Vogue doesn't point out every blemish that they eliminate.

The cheeseburgers from McDonalds don't actually look that way.

Whitney Houston lip synced the national anthem.

Altered media is 100% as of the 1990's, at least.
Not much is a total lie, but almost nothing is total truth.

To me it just seems that CGI fireworks at the opening ceremonies are about as big of a scandal of those people flying through the air were actually being held up by wires.
They weren't actually flying.

Dad E said...

dave-Please forgive my outlook on things. I grew where speaking publicly on a phone was done in a private booth. I drank water out of a tap or fountain which caused no littering. We organized our own games after school and walked safely to and from them. It was a huge public scandal to learn that Charles Van Dorn was given answers on the $64,000 Challenge quiz show.

Perhaps I shouldn't single you out but you don't seem to decry the examples you site, but accept them as normal.

The extent of law breaking by the Bush administration appears to be so mind boggling that we aren't outraged enough to demand impeachment.

Seems the much feared slippery slope is at work here.

What ever happened to INTERGITY?

vikkitikkitavi said...

When it was discovered that Pavarotti lip synched a performance, and that Jennifer Beal had a body double in Flash Dance, those were news stories.


Why was this fireworks thing a news story? Because there was a deception intended, that's all. I think you can argue that it's not news because it's incredibly trivial and who cares, but I don't think you can argue that we all expected a deception, therefore deception was not news.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Oh, and DadE, you need to be careful. You are on a slippery slope yourself. It's the "old coot" slippery slope.

I know, I know, back in your day, children didn't talk back to their parents this way.

Too bad you raised me otherwise.

Grant Miller said...

You'll regret this post in 10 years when all Americans will be forced to bow down to our Chinese masters.

vikkitikkitavi said...

I'm already regretting it now.

dguzman said...

I hate to add a comment here, because Grant and your reply to him just effing nailed it--but I had to say that I love your "Honk-shoo" snore noise. Nice work!