Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why Chicago?

Re: The President going overseas to basically beg the International Olympic Committee to bestow the dubious honor of host city to the Olympics upon Sodom-on-Lake-Michigan.


I mean, it's not as if the Olympics actually matter anymore. They used to, back in the days when nuclear war between Capitalism and Socialism hung over us all. It had a sense of "Us versus Them" in those days, and it was an event that most Americans could sink their teeth into. Not so much anymore. For me, at least, the thrill is gone. There are no more 'Miracles on Ice', and no more athletes who were as engaging or amazing as Carl Lewis, Jackie-Joyner Kersee, Bob Seagram, Mark Spitz, Mary Lou Retton, Peggy Fleming, Cathy Rigby, Rafer Johnson, Bruce Jenner or Wilma Rudolph. We'll probably never see the likes of Jesse Owens or Jim Thorpe again. Don't get me started on George S. Patton, either (people forget, if they ever knew, that he was a Silver Medalist in 1912). Say what you will about Micheal Phelps, but I'm sorry...your dog can swim, too, if he really had to.

You may not have given a though to many of the individual sports back in those days, but damn, some of them were fun to watch with that whole 'beat the Commies' mentality. Now, it seems, we elect Commies and root against ourselves.

Besides, it's not as if we're seeing 'true' Olympians anymore, and by that I mean true amateur athletes engaged in honest competition on a level playing field (yeah, I know all about those East German swimmers, and Soviet 'professionals in everything but name' stuff). I don't know about you, but I despise the notion of "Dream Teams" made up of highly-paid professionals competing against the rest of the world's amateurs (although this has changed much; there are so many Europeans and Asians playing in North American pro leagues to ensure that even the worst teams of most nations can sport a pro or two), based upon the laughable premise that they're playing 'for their country'. You might as well hold another All-Star game. I can't speak to the patriotism of many NBA players, for example, but I'm certain that if you asked them to speak frankly, that is without any cameras recording them, they would talk all about medals and burnishing their bio's and reputations, and less about country (this is now an important factor in getting into the Hall of Fame, it seems. The new breed of American athlete is all about 'legacy'...and money) than they do about international competition, and quaint notions of nationalism.

And why Chicago? Of all US cities, you could probably pick better ones. New York leaps immediately to mind, as well as Los Angeles. These are cities that could more easily support the influx of athletes and tourists, are pretty good at maintaining security, have the venues already built, and have the experience with large throngs to host a summer Olympics. Oh, but neither of those is Barack Obama's 'hood, are they?

I really do hate to make the following analogy, but I sort of have to. I'm wincing as I do so, but this whole thing smells of the Berlin games in 1936.

Is The One pushing Chicago in the hopes of staging a Potemkin display dedicated to himself and his 'vision', and as yet another moment to bask in his own personal glory? The way the American media worships the guy, it would be almost excusable if his head were actually that large, and the American crowds in Chicago are more than likely to be pro-Obama in a way that borders on rabid ('native' son, and all that). Okay, I can give the guy the benefit of the doubt on this one. No one could be that batshit narcissistic, could they?

Is the push intended to generate some jobs? An Olympiad certainly means those, even if they are almost wholly temporary. Let's face it, after promising to 'create or save 6,000,000 jobs' and miserably failing to either achieve that number, or even to ever explain what that truly means, you can't blame the guy for trying to beef that number up -- especially with a one-time boondoggle like this.

But in that case, why not lobby for a city that could truly use that sort of short-term economic boost? Say, Detroit?

Then again, we already know something about the President's ties to real estate developers (like Tony Rezko), and rumors about about other Obama aides and confidants (like Valerie Jarret) licking their chops in anticipation of the personal fortunes they might amass with a Olympic games on their home turf abound. I can't speak to the veracity of those rumors; they simply are being reported in various quarters on the 'Net, so I could be spreading baseless rumor.

I also wonder if any American city (actually, make that any city on the planet) that has hosted an Olympic games has actually made any money on the deal, given the huge expense of constructing venues, providing security, and so forth? I've done a quick search on the web of that very question, and surprise!, I get no clear answer (perhaps my Google and Bing skills just suck that badly?).

Anyways, I fail to see the use in an Olympic Games which is less about actual competition, and increasingly, more about money (I mean, who really wants to see anorexic 12 yr. old girls jump over a pommel horse besides pedophiles, and the thirty people who truly care about gymnastics?). I could be absolutely wrong on all counts, but I'd like to know what everyone else thinks. Feel free to fire away.


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