09 August 2008

One Olympic Bore

Is it just me? I'm so not interested in the Olympic Games. Not the fact that it is in Beijing, nothing to do with the politics of China nor the fact that the rest of the world seems peeved about China for one reason or another...but, frankly, I find the whole spectacle quite boring.

The powers that be want you to be hooked on every commentary, every sporting event and I couldn't give too hoots. Obviously our eyes are meant to be focused firmly on the event or the Soviet Union may not have chosen such an opportune time to 'deal with' Georgia nor John Edwards to 'come clean' about his alleged extra-marital affair. Your eyes and ears are meant to be elsewhere. That's how much politicians have mastered the art of social psychology and manipulation - they know what will distract you - and it works!

I think my lack of interest is partly due to not watching television anymore. I don't care to total the number of hours I have wasted sat in front of the box - although that is not to say all those hours were wasted, just that the majority were. What we should remember is companies want you to buy: whether their products or ideas they are all on a sell. I don't want to be told how wonderful these athletes are for spending years training to compete against the best in the world - big deal! And so what? I don't want to watch big splashy adverts from McDonald's or Nike or some other multinational corporation who has spent millions of dollars securing their position to push their products at the masses watching the games. I don't care who has taken performance enhancing drugs, had a tantrum, wins a medal or been injured. Makes no difference to me whatsoever.

No, I would rather be spending my time with family and friends, playing with my doggies, chatting to my neighbours, going for a long brisk walk, updating my blog, reading, preparing a lovely meal and just cogitating for the sake of it on the wonders and ridiculousness of the world. I may even create a piece of art work or start my herb garden or paint the side of the house.I could learn the basics of another language, teach myself the basics of Dreamweaver and I could do all of this in the two weeks odd and have bags of time to spare to do the normal everyday things that one has to do.

Would you trade your time glued to the box for how many weeks? The next time you sit in front of the television with all your provisions ready for the main event, think about this: Is this how you would prefer to spend your precious time? Just my thoughts.


Jacqueline said...

OMG, I was afraid to admit it lest I'd be labeled an outcast. My husband keeps wondering why I fall asleep each time he calls me in to watch.

Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the pageantry and all, but it seems as if they're trying too hard in light of all that's a wreck right now.

I guess I'm having trouble with it because I want to tell the King he's naked and it's real hard to look past it and enjoy the show!

ccch said...

I'm with you, Zee,for all the reasons you stated, as well, although many argue it's "just sports", I wonder then what the heck the heads of governments are doing there?. Personally, I'm disappointed that no althelete boycotted. I guess today money/fame's more important than setting a precedent.....
Oh and really, re John Edwards?. Gosh, I should turn on the tube once in a while or perhaps read a rag!

Amber said...

I hear you! My mom called me to make sure I had on the opening ceremonies, and I reminded her that I haven't had a television since 1998. *smirk*

I have universes and craft projects and dinners and games to keep my mind on. The only thoughts I have for the Olympics this year is anger for the fact that they are being held in China, and I support Tibet in their attempts to free themselves from Chinese rule.

Ralph Dumain said...

Spectator sports have mostly bored the crap out of me since early childhood. The issues, however, with professional sports are politics and economics. Aside from the athletic skills perfected and displayed, professional sports concentrate all the underlying disase of society in one place, as one would expect of the real religion of all nations.

Though it's difficult to single out the worse offense, the selection of a criminal regime like China to host the Olympics is exceptionally disgusting, not as bad as Hitler in 1936, but not so far from it either. The confluence of money and empire--oops, I repeated myself--makes this spectacle especially ugly. Bush, of course, wouldn't know human rights if they came up and bit him on the ass. His rhetoric is really a cover. These two rotten empires--one declining, one rising--are mutually dependent as well as competitive. The Olympics do not only display the most repulsive nationalism and corporate management, they reduce their hapless heroes to commodities on a world market,and they distract us yet again from the fact that beneath the facade of organized government, the world is run by maniacs.

TV is much worse than it ever was, not only in terms of content, but in the totalitarian domination the interconnected media now wield over the individual from cradle to grave. One has to be old enough to witness the changes to fully appreciated what has been perpetrated. On the other hand, people have always been manipulated idiots. What has changed is the accelerated artificiality of people's lives and perceptions; there is nothing but sound bites and adverts circulating in their brains.

TV has had its moments, though. The Brits gave us one of the greatest TV series of all time, back in the '60s: THE PRISONER. This was an anomaly, and Patrick McGoohan was driven out of the country at the series' conclusion. We've had similar flukes in the USA, when there were independent production companies and creative individuals strategically placed to get away with producing something of quality. And this under the strict censorship of the '50s and '60s. The decadent stags we are in now, and the relaxation of taboos. disguise the fact that censorship has not gone but has been reconfigured. The bars of our cage are thinner and stronger.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

I'm with you. Unless they make rugby and Olympic sport, I'll keep watching the Sopranos series instead of watching people fling themselves through the air and whatnot.

My Autism Insights said...

I watched the opening ceremonies initially because my son had been learning about the Olympics in school and was excited to watch them. Then I decided that I wanted to watch a few events, like women's swimming. I find it pretty inspiring that a 41 year old is competing and winning against girls half her age - call me shallow. I'm not letting it take over my life, I'm still taking care of what I need to with my family, including a hike up the Appalachian trail yesterday. I think in moderation, they're not quite so damaging, politics aside. But I try not to watch TV for the politics.

CharmaineZoe said...

I have a guilty confession to make. I really enjoyed the opening ceremony, but then I'm just a sucker for colour and pageantry and that was some show:-). Having said that I'm with you when it comes to the sport, I can definitely take it or leave it and on the whole will be leaving it. I spend most of my time on the internet anyway when I'm not at work ( and a fair bit of time there as well ;-)

S. A. Hart said...

After watching the opening ceremonies I was inspired to write a post on my blog, The Artist's Muse at http://www.sharonahart.blogspot.com, about the ceremonies being used as a form of propaganda. While some people have opted not to watch the competitions because of politics, I don't think it matters, as it's really a matter of ratings for the stations that are carrying the events. However, the opening ceremony was another story.....

Zee Harrison said...

Hi everyone who has responded so far.

Just a quick-ish response from me:

Jacqueline: Your outcast comment made me think of all the times society expects us to conform, in fact, often insists on it. It's difficult to challenge the status quo and just don't give a damn when the whole country is ooh-ing and ahh-ing about some event which you are supposed to jump up and down excitedly about.
I know what you mean about the King/Emporor and no clothes - just like I feel about Royalty and the Olympics.

ccch: I tend to check the headlines of the day to get a glimpse of how events are being reported and John Edwards' alleged affair is being seen, in this slow holiday season/Olympics, as being newsworthy. So that's my excuse!!

Ralph: You do manage to tell it like it is and the reality is staring us in the face.
I didn't watch the initial showing of The Prisoner (obviously, or maybe not) but caught the odd bit of the re-runs in the early 80's. I must say it never actually grabbed me but that may have been due to being more interested in other things at the time. Sounds like the Series is worth another look. Your last two sentences resonated with me.

Paul: Thanks for the comment and the link. After reading your comment I wondered if rugby had ever been part of the Olympics - I visited your blog and there was the answer!

Andrea: I think you are no doubt doing what is right for you and your son. It is a bit like not celebrating Christmas - if you don't partake then you are a bit of a party pooper and your son has an interest and what do you do? Anyway, I was really sharing my thoughts to do just that - I am as pleased as Punch when someone takes their precious time to comment here regardlesws of whether they agree with me or not. So I'm saying if someone booked their annual leave for the whole Olympic period, packed out the fridge and freezer, lined up their DVD-RW's and bought bunting that would be fine for them! Not for me, but fine for them. I'm just a different kind of person. One has to do what one has to do cos at the end of the day we all die! I only say this because I hear your almost apology and it isn't necessary, mi dear! Thank you for commenting.

CharmaineZoe: And you too!! No guilty confessions allowed! I know what you mean though as I spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet. One man's meat..?

Thanks everybody!

Original GRITS said...

First, I am not a sports fan, so that really removes the desire to watch it for the whole "sporting" aspect of it all. Otherwise, I'm not a fan of just sitting in front of the boob-tube aimlessly, that's why we have a DVR so I can record the shows I do like and watch them on my own time schedule and since the Olympics mean nothing to me, personally, they are not on the "to be recorded" list.

When you add in the entire political aspect, it rather sickens me that the entire Olympics are being supported in general. But hey, those are just my politics...maybe there are those who like the idea of Communism, the atrocities committed against the Tibetan peoples, not to mention all that wonderful cheap Chinese crap we buy at Wal-Mart....I'm just not one of them.

Just my 2 ¢'s worth.

My Autism Insights said...

Zee: I thought this might make you laugh. Any time we try to flip the channel to the check out how an event is progressing, my daughter has taken to shouting, "Oh no! Not the bad Olympics!" for her, they are now ranking right up there with the "bad news." So no taping Bob the Builder to watch beach volleyball for us. Darn! LOL! :-)

Nairobian Perspective said...

you are spot on with your comments, the opening ceremony was quite something otherwise Beijing needs to style up soon on how it handles diverse opinions

Bent Society said...

I have to agree - Olympics aside I'm mystified with the public obsession with "ball chasers" not dogs - but basket ball, field hocky, soccer, football, rugby, golf, volley ball, squash, baseball, cricket, softball... whats the big deal? And the olympics: swimming up and down like a loon, running around in circles, throwing thinks about? Who cares... I suppose some people love to spectate this stuff. I've always been a doer myslef.

Charles Sapp said...

Interesting enough, I've been bored of the Olympics a year ago, I just came back from a 1 year stint in Beijing and the hype was just overwhelming, especially with all the ethnocentricity.I luckily made my way back home in June, right before the foreigner crack-down and visa restrictions. The only interesting moment was to see the opening ceremony and pinpoint the locations of our local neighborhood to family members and show the smog pollution that plagued us for a year.

The propaganda is unreal as China proudly boasts their intentions for world domination.

Mekhismom said...

I completely agree with you. I have watched none of the Olympics. I did tivo the opening ceremony but I couldn't watch it. Like you I haven't been watching tv - but I do spend quite a bit of time in front of my computer. I gotta work on that.

TOPolk said...

Looks like I'm in the minority based on the comments, but I've really been enjoying the Olympics. For the most part, it's pure sport.

Sure there's there's the back stories and the drama perpetuated by the commentators and the heaving marketing that goes on in between the events, but when you ignore all of that (which isn't that hard to do) it's really fun to watch.

I don't watch much TV. I find it pointless more times than not. But once every two years (I enjoy the Winter games as well) I block out time to watch the greatest athletes compete on the world's biggest stage.

Add in the fact that even with all of our flaws, I love supporting my country and I find it hard to believe that there are people who are completely unmoved by the Olympics. But I'm sure there are people who feel the same way about American Idol (which I despise), so to each their own.

kimmysharinglight said...

If I see one more breaking news about the swimmer breaking records I am going to scream. I know for me, all sports are tainted a little. Doping, and cheating just seems to come out in a matter of time passing. Can we fast forward where Michael Phelps is not the Golden Boy? (Please understand, I have no ill will towards this boy. I just know those same reporters that praised him will stop at nothing to dig up dirt.) Hence, I am blogging, and doing laundry! Great post!


blaine_fridley said...

i'm LOVING the olympics. it's not hard for me to see why others wouldn't. but man, why so cynical about it? i still refuse to believe that these ladies are doing the things they're doing on the balance beam, uneven bars, etc. and to watch somebody straight dominate high-caliber field after high-caliber field the way phelps has done is just fun. nevermind the fact that these people have dedicated their lives to athletic perfection and witnessing the drama unfold as they attempt to make their dreams come true. simply riveting stuff.

isabella mori said...

hmm, i tried to post a comment on this before, don't know what happened.

i'm totally not interested in the spectacle. however, i have to say that when i accidentally caught the women's 100 metre sprint, with the three jamaican women winning, i was caught up in the their beauty, the look of immense concentration on their faces, and their truly happy elation after the win.

btw, i sent an award your way, here: http://www.moritherapy.org/article/just-brilliant/

Asdquefty said...

I haven't the olympics, as I generally don't watch any TV at all so it's kinda hard anyway. I could watch if I wanted to, but I just don't have the interest. To me, sports is the least interesting thing to watch or do that I can thing of, and I'm not much of a fan of the idea of competition as it really tends to aggravate me more then anything.

Oli said...

I've been watching the Olympics since Day 1. The only reason I watch telly nowadays is for sport... and some series...and the odd programme...
Most info I do get is from the net
But back to the Olympics. At first I was a little iffy, because of the whole China and their politics etc etc but as medals have been won Im really liking it! Esp. as Britain are doing amazing(compared to usual) Been getting real excited
And Jamaica is doing fantastic too! Usain Bolt, already a legend =D
An Olympics to remember!