Olympic Nationalisms


I have to confess, the Beijing Olympics, but also the previous Olympics give me nausea. I would abolish them. They are a fantastic economic ramshackle thing that goes round the world every four years. Where the circus arrives, they build stadiums, roads, sky scrapers, metro lines, whole cities. The Olympics are a triumph, a cement orgasm.
The lighted torch is no longer a symbol of peace. The world continues its wars, its extermination with six circles. Tibet and Xinjiang have finished up under the carpet of the sponsors. Georgia and Ossetia have been annoying events, they have taken space away from table tennis and synchronized swimming. The Olympics are a maddened train. If you ask the engine driver what is the next station. He won’t know how to reply to you.
What annoys me about the Olympics are the fake records, the Olympic sports that are only done by a handful of people, the drugged athletes, the enthusiasm of the crowd on command, the prize-giving in lines of three. More than any other thing, however, it’s the nationalism that really gets my goat. The nationalism of the sportsperson who cries as their flag is going up, with hand on heart, the eyes lost gazing upwards. The nationalism of the media who always give space to national athletes, even in improbable disciplines (do you know someone who plays badminton?), even if they are a long way from the podium. The Olympics are a simulated war.
I would like athletes without flag. Without sponsor. Without a President who greets then at the start and who receives them as triumphant people when they return. I would like that those who use their armies to kill other human being DURING the Olympics be expelled with infamy and for ever from the Games. The Russians who invaded Georgia, the Americans who invaded Iraq, China who squashes Tibet have no moral right to participate in or to host the Olympic Games.
Man is no longer the centre of the Olympics, the Nations have taken his place. The great media madness of the medals and the little medals makes us feel more Italian, more Mexican, more Korean. More different. The best. The chosen race.

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What about nationalism ?

We hear something about when we're going to buy a car (in the country with national carmakers);
we hear something about when we watch F1 or MotoGP (the Polish flags for Kubica, the Finnish for Raikkonen, the German for Schumacher);
often we don't support who plays better, we don't watch a game : we have to support our team.

Thinking that something is better just because it comes from our country it doesn't help : we'll never improve in quality (about goods) and we'll never support the best football team.

But the Olympic games are not just nationalism : for the athlets is competition (what about the Black Panther in Mexico ?).

Sometimes we could speak about being nationalist, but this doesn't fit our lives : in Europe we can touch it !

Catalans (and Basques) that wouldn't be Spanish ; somebody in north Italy that wouldn't be Italian ; Scottish that wouldn't be British ; Bayerish (or Frisish) that would't be Germans ;

Montenegro that won't be Serbia ;

emigrants that don't feel themselves British or German (or any other country they live, they don't feel themselves 100 % part of it and the same autoctones don't feel them 100 % part of the country).

What's useful with this nationalism ?

Posted by: Marco Saba | September 2, 2008 09:21 PM

I enjoyed this post. The UK has to face a barrage of b...s..t until 2012, by which time we will have spent £14bn for two weeks of bad television. It is the biggest gravy-train of all, run by a 'Lord' who was elevated to unelected power in perpetuity, on the strength of his social connections landing us the Games. Corrupt to the core. Today I saw a group of school teachers on TV (BBC - p*ss weak govt propaganda)agreeing how important sport was to create the competitive students business requires. As if somehow it is the job of schools to produce wages slaves rather than rounded individuals for the benefit of themselves and society. Sport can be fun, winning matters not one bit. Sportsman now only means one who competes, all other definitions are gone. Petty nationalisms get twisted, and in the UK where this is taking on an ever more american-style blindness, that is a dangerous thing.

Posted by: Carl B | August 26, 2008 02:45 PM

Well, I would not like athletes without flags. Nationalism could be a positive aspect of life if interpreted in the right way. For example, look at my proposal — at the moment still ignored by IOC — for London 2012 (read http://lindipendente.splinder.com/post/18082868/European+Union+at+the+Olympic+ article). It could be a facilitator to create a European culture. An union-oriented nationalism to beat the country-oriented one.

Posted by: Dario de Judicibus | August 24, 2008 01:27 AM

Somebody Think why the cost of petrol whose so up bevore olimpic game and now the price go down?

May be the Cina contri both very much quantity of petrol before Olimpic Games...and made a risk of recession all the world.

Im not shure about the possibility that the Olimpig game whose the reason of the price of Petrol...but im shure that in Cina the Paper is finished for print Olimpic Game materials...so the international Publisher must pay more the books printed in Cina

Posted by: Piretti Massimiliano | August 23, 2008 10:04 AM

From Biotechniques Weekly, 21 August 2008

New York, NY, Aug. 21—In a two-hour press conference on Monday, Federal Bureau of Investigation officials presented scientific evidence that led them to believe that military researcher Bruce E. Ivins was responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks. The release of information follows last week’s criticism by congressmen, colleagues, and independent scientists of the Bureau and the US Department of Justice’s investigation into Ivins, who COMMITTED SUICIDE just as authorities were preparing to file charges against him.

Of course 9/11 was masterminded by naughty terrorists and wicked Talibans hiding in Afghan caves.


9/11 was an inside job.

Posted by: Giacomo C. | August 22, 2008 04:40 PM

I like you would like nothing more than to see the Olympic flame extinguished. We can't go back in time to before 1936 to see if there ever was a time when the event was purely an exhibition of sport, but today's version makes me sick as well.

Posted by: Shane Nahumko | August 22, 2008 02:14 PM

to Maximus Roman Emperor SPQR and others who have decided they have such superior brains and a high and mightly moral attitude, please... look at YOURSELF.

a 'spoiled westerner' like me, 'at the mall' while people die? Why don't you watch what tripe you absorb and regurgitate, you pathetic armchair cynic.

Posted by: sarah feldman | August 22, 2008 05:31 AM

Your post makes me wonder if you see any difference between Nationalism, and Patriotism. Are they both evil?

The wars and exterminations will continue, regardless of the Olympics, while you seem to imply that this sporting event is somehow invalidated by them. Do you think world peace should occur because of the Olympics?

There is nothing wrong with PRIDE in your country or in Athletes that come from your country. Your view of ONE is nauseating, of everyone competing, no matter how mediocre. I like DIFFERENT. I like BEST.

Posted by: sarah feldman | August 21, 2008 05:20 PM

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