August 7th, 2008

Loosely Connected Thoughts On The Olympics

1. Once every four years we take the temperature of planet Earth.

Every nation turns up. Every nation is watching. 

It's too big an event for governments to control, though- God knows- they try.

Interesting things- horrible and inspiring- will happen in spite of the wishes of government.

2. All governments are horrid. Some are more horrid than others. 

The Chinese government is almost certainly less horrid than it was in the days of Chairman Mao.

There's no way the governments of the USA and the UK can lecture China about Tibet while they still have troops in Iraq, etc, etc...

The Beijing Olympics has opened China up to the rest of world. This is almost certainly a good thing.

3. My Radio Times contains a guide to the Olympics. In every event it gives me the name of a "Brit to Watch". What a ugly phrase! What an ugly idea!

How lovely if it were all about youth, beauty, speed, strength, grace- but it's not. It's mainly about nationalism.

Those American athletes turning up in Beijing wearing face masks- what rank bad manners!

Flags and national anthems should be banned and athletes should compete as individuals. Fat chance!

4. The Bird's Nest stadium is really pretty. 

This icon of the new China was designed by Swiss architects. 

Lots of homes were demolished to free up the site. The displaced people say they have received no compensation. 

Ach- the moral complexity...