Tuesday, August 26, 2008

London 2012 makes me ponder the Fall of Rome

We went to the medieval English city of Lincoln yesterday afternoon, and it was a pretty nice day, except for when we decided to visit the Lloyds Bar pub in town. The drinks and food were good and so were the surroundings, but on the TV they were showing the closing ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics and the start of the celebrations for the Olympic torch being handed to London.
I watched all this thinking, "Hoo-fucking-ray!" To say that it put me in a sour frame of mind would be as obvious as Al Franken being turned down by any modelling agency he applied at. I also thought, "I am seeing a modern-day version of the fall of Rome here."
Wow, I really enjoyed the moving human tower. My life was so enriched by that. Fireworks exploding in the shape of the Olympics rings? Marvelous! That performance by the old rocker with the guitar and the young pop bint beside him? Spectacular! Seeing that red doubledecker London bus rolling into the stadium had tears of happiness welling up in my eyes. Just when I thought it couldn't possibly get more edifying and enriching to the soul than this, David Beckham appeared! And he kicked a ball into the crowd! Jesus wept, how I wish I'd spent the equivalent of my salary for the next five years just to have been there! After all, if David Beckham was there, it must have been entirely worth the several billions of dollars being spent on what only a grump would call a travesty.
Well, call me a grump, but it is a travesty. The Olympics are nothing but one huge, grandiose circle jerk. Spare me this misty-eyed "nations coming together in the pursuit of sports" garbage, OK? It's nothing but one colossal spunkfest.
And it's our money they're spunking away. In addition to already paying more for less, via council taxes, Londoners will have to pay even extra to fund the 2012 Olympics. It doesn't matter one iota that there are plenty of Londoners who didn't want this nonsense coming to their city, who didn't "back the bid," and who prayed to God every night to please, please let Paris or Moscow have the Olympics instead. This wasn't up for a vote, as it damn well should have been.
But, alas, you cannot fight or even argue with the mighty triumvirate of sports, consumerism and corporate sponsorship. Add to this trifecta cheesy "celebrity" kitsch, and you've got yourself a winner, me laddie! Karl Marx hadn't yet seen the ultimate opiate of the masses.
As far as I'm concerned, the 7/7 bombings in London were an appropriate mood-setter to London having been "awarded" the Olympics only the day before.
The United Kingdom, its capital London especially, is a time bomb waiting to explode: Hundreds of thousands of youths with nothing to do, nowhere to go, no career prospects. They can't even get a job, never mind a career. They can't spell; a lot of them can't even read beyond a five-year-old's level. You'd think that every single council would have a big youth center to keep these kids active and dispense advice to them. This is one form of development I'd heartily approve of. You keep children and teenagers active, you make them happy. And when they're happy, they're much more likely to accept advice, to learn, to start thinking of college and a possible career. Furthermore, kids with a place to go and stuff to do are far less likely to engage in criminality.
We hear about how we're failing Britain's youth day by day, how we've lost and continue to lose generations to idleness, unhappiness and a life of crime, and how nothing ever seems to get done about it. And so what is our response? To spend several billions of dollars, with the cost constantly rising, on a superfluous sporting spunkfest. The legions of unemployed no-hopers must be so grateful.
One group who will be most grateful? Terrorists. Security, according to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, is "inadequate" and that plans for security need to be revised. This means, of course, in that time-honored British fashion, that adequate security will be an afterthought until it is too late. London 2012 must be as close as Al-Qaeda members ever get to a wet dream.
And yet we still have jerk-offs crowding Trafalgar Square and The Mall waving their "LONDON 2012" signs and shouting to the heavens of their joy and exhiliration.
Eat, drink and be merry today, oh foolish ones, for tomorrow we all die. A fitting slogan for the London 2012 Olympics if ever there was one.


kristen said...

Shall we call you Oscar? ;-)

I enjoy the Olympics, but I think the celebrations are getting out of control. It seems that each city has to out-do the previous host; and if that's the case, you guys are up a creek with a small paddle. Who wants to out-do $44 billion? Talk about overdone.

Salt Lake in 2002 was one of the few cities that actually made money from hosting.

We need to get back to just celebrating greatness and athleticism, and enjoying the thrill of the games.

But hey, I don't think London will have quite as many controversies....unless of course you switch out ugly girls for cute ones, and lie about gymnasts' ages.

Nightdragon said...

Well, K., Oscar is a grouch and, as I believe I made myself quite clear here, I am a grump.
But, hey, exactly what the difference is, I don't know.
Having said that, I'll return to my trashcan. =)