Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — As you probably know, the Olympics are here again. And with that comes the hot-air bloviating from network and cable TV in an all-out effort to make us think that watching it is fundamentally imperative to be an American patriot.
But what would the Olympics be without the sideshows?
Mitt Romney – the presumptive Republican nominee for President – got things started off when he arrived in Britain and publicly questioned whether the host Londoners were able to handle the job. Such a class move.
This comes from a guy who, several years ago, made a comment about a non-existent French marriage-policy in which he believed that they (the French) could contract a marriage for seven years. Not so.
“How shallow is that?” he added.
Even stranger is that this (7-year marriage notion) was floated in a science-fiction novel - Mitt’s admitted choice of reading - written by fellow Mormon and author Orson Scott Card. Can you say “confused”? And HE’S questioning aloud if Britain is ready for the big-time?
Moving on: The Olympics’ ceremonious opening is usually the most emotional part of the whole shebang – and this one was no different. It may be idealistic, but the sight of people from all over the world marching in harmony – all with a unified goal - is candy for the soul. Unfortunately, event-choreographer Akram Khan was chagrined that NBC did not air a segment of the opening to the American public.
The piece not shown dealt with spectators displaying photos of loved ones who “could not be there” while a song – described in the ceremony’s program as an “honest expression of the fear of approaching death” - played.
I’m serious: “fear of approaching death.” Don’t you think that thought is a few light years from the celebratory mood of the moment? Does it fit in with the positive synergy that the Games are trying to represent? Shouldn’t the athletes be concerned with the task at hand, after years of hard work and sacrifice, and not be asked to focus on the impending doom of their own mortality? Nice pep talk, Ace!
Of course I’m being sarcastic. Not to sound insensitive, but it matters little to me that it was a tribute to terrorist victims. I respectfully think it was out of place.
Khan – who also danced in the segment – said it “really upsets me.” He reasoned that “maybe it’s too truthful.”
Too truthful? How about too damn depressing? What in the name of volleyball does the fear of death have with Olympic competition? You see, there seems to be this problem nowadays where everyone wants to be an ‘artiste’ and have a political message. Wrong time – wrong place!
And realize this: NBC paid a reported $1.3 billion dollars for the right to cover the Games and will (reportedly) lose $100 million doing such, so I think, maybe, they have the right to edit whatever they want.
Another thing, some of the games within the Games seem to have an American slant. Not a big deal, but seeing Japanese guys playing beach-volleyball with designer-sunglasses and backwards ball caps on strikes me as a bit odd. Why not add some European-influenced competition like synchronized German goose-stepping? Or Italian butt pinching? And how about some tag-team yodeling.
And then, the networks can bloviate all they want.
That’s the way it looks from the Valley.
Tom Valley is a Medina resident. His column appears every Thursday. Contact him at