Before I leave the Olympic Games, I must give a shout out to Michael Callahan at the Philly Post who writes some awesome stuff and this is no exception! Somebody might think Callahan is anti-American but he is not: He’s just anti-ugly-American. A few highlights:
But the next day, with NBC broadcasting on 50 channels, I had the chance to watch something I’d never normally see, perhaps skeet-shooting or yachting. I found a cable listing for archery on the NBC Sports Channel, flicked to it, and got … beach volleyball. The only thing I didn’t know then was that I would be getting beach volleyball 24/7 for the following week.
And that’s for two simple reasons: It allows NBC to show scantily clad women (and some beefcake thrown in for good measure). But more important, the Americans always win. And being in America, we only want to see the sports where we are likely to win. Which is why NBC devoted an entire channel to basketball—so we could witness LeBron and the rest of the spoiled NBA millionaires beating the shit out of some country no one’s ever heard of. Did you happen to catch that thrilling 110-63 U.S. victory over Tunisia? How about that 156-93 nail-biter over Nigeria? Well done, boys. Whew!
As for beach volleyball, a simple question: Are there two more obnoxious Olympians at these Games than Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings? (The answer, sadly, is yes: See Lochte, Ryan.) The whoofing, the finger-pointing, all for a sport played in the back of dive bars. Who knew two lithe women could so effectively channel frat-house hooliganism? Since beach volleyball was introduced at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, the men’s team has won gold every time but one; the women’s team has won the last two. This year’s women’s final will be “all-American.” Wonder why we’re seeing so much of it on TV?
Beach Volleyball is a dubious sport unworthy of the Olympics and I was appalled at the bikini-clad athletes both there and at the track and field events. I think athletic events ought to be modestly done without sacrificing performance. The swimmers do not wear bikinis for example. I thought those women were better looking as a class than the skinny beach volleyballers although its Serena I cannot watch on TV lest I suffer acute unholiness!
My view is not that we shouldn’t celebrate the American spirit and its triumphs at the Games. My view is that we shouldn’t do it at the expense of everyone—and everything—else. One of the best stories was the shocking upset victory by 15-year-old Ruta Meilutyte, who won tiny Lithuania’s only gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke. Did you enjoy the interview with her? Cry at her medal ceremony? Not likely. Neither were broadcast. If only she’d had the sense to defect at age 10.
Just remember, Lithuania actually did what the Soviet Constitution guaranteed each and every republic: They seceded from the Union! (Forcing Gorbachev to invoke Lincoln! That ought to say something to Lincoln worshipers which I am NOT one!) I think the Baltics can have a bit of attention from the US public. I would have said, “Isn’t it great as we are about to hear the Lithuanian national anthem to recall that this song was played on March 11, 1990 when the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet voted to do the unthinkable: Secede from the Soviet Union.” I might be available for the Olympics as a foil for the NBC crew (but Michael Callahan would do better!) but they would not like my sports imperialism comments after every basketball game! But maybe I could interview Serena Williams! I would also honor all the nations who won their first medal. Listen to Callahan:
One of the biggest gripes I made in my original argument was that we never get to see the medal ceremonies unless the Americans win. In our subsequent chat, Costas swore this wasn’t true. But it is. I have now watched NBC’s prime-time coverage for more than a week, and with the rare exception—Usain Bolt’s ceremony, for example (who knew Jamaica had such a stately national anthem?)—it’s been the stars and stripes forever (and ever). I did catch the moving medal ceremony for the Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez on Monday night (at 11:56 p.m., naturally), for his victory in the 400-meter hurdles. If you haven’t seen it, you should. He burst into tears even before his flag began ascending the flagpole, and his raw, patriotic emotion was almost too much to bear. It was, in a word, beautiful.
Callahan uses his next paragraph to show how classy people from other nations can be when they win:
The sight of Jessica Ennis of Great Britain, her eyes welled with tears, listening to her fellow countrymen sing “God Save the Queen” after winning the heptathlon, brings a lump to the throat. Yesterday morning I watched Omid Noroozi of Iran receive his medal for 60 kg Greco-Roman wrestling, and what struck me was how gracious he was: singing quietly with his anthem, and taking pains to shake hands with his competitors and bring them onto his platform with him for pictures. Diplomacy may not live in international politics, but it’s somehow comforting to feel it still exists in international sport. And if you really want to see how you accept a medal, check out the video of the Italian women’s fencing team, holding hands and singing a rousing rendition of Mameli’s Hymn. I played the video for my friend Christy; she promptly burst into tears.
Some might wonder: How can I attack globalists and thunder how foreigners will never tell us what to do and talk like this over the Olympics? Because the Constitution is the supreme law of the land (next to the Bible most dear!) and while they will not tell us what to do unless we adopt silly and dangerous treaties or increase the power of the UN, I know that there will be fellow followers of Christ in heaven from every tongue, tribe and nation! Many of them have a faith that makes mine shallow. I intend to spend about 10,000 years or so with the African believers worshiping Jesus Christ as Lord and I hope I can keep up.
No we must respect people from all nations! It’s why I am a non-interventionist. It’s why I believe in sovereignty! It’s why we must mind our own business! Callahan sings to me in his conclusion:
But maybe that’s the problem. Or, more specifically, my problem. The raw truth is that people don’t want to see the medal ceremony of the guy from New Zealand. I got into a discussion about all this with Joe, the teddy bear of a man who drives my apartment shuttle every morning, and while he agreed that perhaps the NBC coverage was a bit off balance, he counter-argued that the Olympics were our chance to show the world American glory and, in his words, “dominance”—to reinforce the notion that we are still the superpower of the globe, the force to be reckoned with.
It would appear the rest of the country agrees with him: Ratings for the Games are up, and up a lot, an affirmation that when it comes to watching the Olympics, Americans want to watch Americans, and more specifically they want to watch Americans beating the feathers out of everybody else. NBC is, after all, a business (one owned by a Philadelphia company), and its responsibility is to its shareholders. So as much as I would love to lay all of this at the feet of Bob Costas, in good conscience I can’t. Instead, I can only lament all of the chest-thumping. And comfort myself with repeated playings of those marvelous, singing fencing girls from Italy.
If my media player does not crash again. Go Michael Callahan go! I can’t wait for the Winter Games and if Bob Costas needs an assistant I want to interview the female curling teams from Northern Europe!