You will have to excuse my columns foreboding sense of negativity and dread darlings, but we are only a few days away from the opening of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. And let me tell you, I for one could not give a rats’ ass. Oh don’t get me wrong, muffins. I have tried to buy into the marketing hype on TV with the glossy promos, the gorgeous sepia toned slow motioned visuals, the heart-tugging stories of athletic courage and all of that, but I can’t stop thinking about Mitt Romney and the Potemkin Village that was the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics.
“But Ruby,” I hear you asking, “what about the International Spirit and the Sportsmanship?” To which I reply, “What about it?” For one thing, the totalitarian government of China is doing an image make over that would make the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints envious. Also, when the sportsmanship has deteriorated into “our team doctors can hide more illegal substances than your team doctors,” and most of the athletes are professionals anyway, then I think its time to get rid of the quaint “celebration of amateur athletics” designation and see the Olympics for the corporate marketing monster and superpower pissing contest that it is. At last count, the estimated cost of the 2008 Beijing Olympics is about 20 BILLION dollars. So it’s no wonder that only egomaniacal countries like China can host an Olympics, or the all-important corporate sponsors have to be multi-national giants with global influence. Let’s face it petals, the Olympics is NASCAR for third world people who tailgate with rice!
Oh, and don’t get me started on the repression of the media, the silencing of the Tibetans, the forced removal of the poor to build venues, the internet filtering, the draconian measures to temporarily rid the city of pollution, or the clamp down on free speech and protesting (during the Olympics more than five people together constitutes a protest, so a typical Utah family would essentially be tantamount to a revolution). But on the positive side, all the cheap Wal-Mart clothing that American tourists will be wearing gets to go home for a visit, so I guess that will be nice!
Sarcasm aside, another source of dread comes from the fact that John McCain may announce Mitt Romney as his VP pick soon. This is terrifying because a) McCain is older than the Great Wall of China, and b) McCain is likely to die at the hands of fanatical Mormon caterers during the inauguration ball, leaving Romney as president. Eeeewww! Ten to one, Romney will campaign citing his miraculous “turnaround” of our scandal-plagued Winter Olympics as a preview of how he can turnaround the Bush legacy of runaway federal debts, corruption and cronyism. It might sound good and his hair will look great, but I hope people don’t buy the facade. As for Salt Lake City’s Olympic Legacy, it has all but disappeared (but that’s an entirely different column). Although my street does have a big slab of red rock with an Olympic logo carved on it. I’m not sure what it cost, who put it there, or what it’s for, but every solstice I’m convinced I can hear thousands of druid ants chanting to it.