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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

War Drums

Haven't bothered with the Olympics. Just not my thing. I saw the men's swimming relay, where an American made up a body-length in a lap to win by eight hundredths of a second. Beauty. Maybe there is something to this thing after all.

Then again, no. Just read George Will's piece on Russia and Georgia. He closes with this: "For only the third time in 72 years (Berlin 1936, Moscow 1980), the games are being hosted by a tyrannical regime, the mind of which was displayed in the opening ceremony featuring thousands of drummers, each face contorted with the same grotesquely frozen grin." Man. Perfect. He's wrong about the 72 years. It's 112 years. And the intervals are getting shorter. But I had to see it, so many thousands of rictus grimaces. Here. The smiling starts at second 4:45.

I watched it with an increasing sense of sadness. How odd. Why would I do that? I watched until tears came to my eyes. Was it not beautiful? No. It was horrific. "It was a tableau of the miniaturization of the individual and the subordination of individuality to the collective. Not since the Nazi's 1934 Nuremberg rally, which Leni Riefenstahl turned into the film "Triumph of the Will," has tyranny been so brazenly tarted up as art."

Exactly. Why? The precision was lovely. The harmony was delightful. What would have happened to a drummer who did not smile, though? What slave labor camp would he be sent to?

Had some other nation produced this spectacle, it would have been breathtaking. But it was totalitarian Red China, which knows no freedom, and where the human spirit is treated as nothing more than gravel to be placed or removed in the building of a dam.

Because the world does not care about this, God damn it. But it damns itself, with its cowardice and indifference.

Here we are, counting our medals. How patriotic. And China be damned.


J

6 comments:

Will C. said...

Great post and Will (George) has nailed it again.

"Here we are, counting our medals. How patriotic. And China be damned"

Hmmm, I see it as our system being triumphant over there's. Like saying "Hey China, your robotic and tyrannical training and indoctrination can get you so far, but American freedom and will (of the individual) will kick your ass 9 times out of 10." We don't need an agent monitoring our swimmer to see if his effort is there. Instead our boy Phelps pushes himself to excellence and beyond. Not to aim our scorn at the poor athletes, but at the totalitarian system...at Hu Jintau and those like him.
One could almost compare it to a cold war, fought on the fields of water, sand and clay, by proxy soldiers.
Simple put, we must beat them... and count on.

Jack H said...

But you don't really believe that our winning more medals, if we do, will have any effect whatsoever on geopolitical realities. When has that happened? Hitler didn't change sides, when Jesse Owens won. He stepped up tank manufacture. It is true that our system must be a purer motivation. But you'd work pretty hard, under the threat that your mother will be tortured otherwise.

The appropriate response to a Peking Olympics would be to not allow it in the first place. What a perversion. Next time let's have it in North Korea. They really know how to put on a show.

Will C. said...

"But you don't really believe that our winning more medals, if we do, will have any effect whatsoever on geopolitical realities."

No, but neither do I believe boycotting would have any effect as well.

I see it as symbolic of America, winning and overcoming that is. As maybe an inspiration to people from repressive nations.

BTW we're back on top... ;)

Jack H said...

I'm boycotting it, the way I would boycott pornography. It doesn't make a difference, except to me. I'm not participating in the obscenity, by watching it. Sometimes porn has extras. Sometimes it has scenes in the street -- innocent. But the context is porn. It's not the athletes that are disgusting here. But they are in a disgusting place. Not their fault. Not ours, much. But it is what it is. A sporting event that profits, vastly, a totalitarian dictatorship. Everyone must examine his own conscience, in this matter. I watch a few things in it. Doesn't make me guilty. But there is guilt. It's all so complicated. Is there a way to make it simple?

Touch not the unclean thing.

But that's not a help.

Will C. said...

I understand your feelings on the matter.
My BIGGEST gripe however would have to be NBC's (and the rest of the press but especially NBC) utter submission to the censorship by the Chinese regime in the coverage.

But hey, GE's got "green energy" to sell and making a stink over free speech is bad business...

Jack H said...

But what am I saying. I'm not boycotting it at all. It's Red China that I despise. I just don't care about the Olympics.