Monday, August 18, 2008

Beijing Roundup

Since Larry B's been slacking on his on-the-spot investigative journalism, I'll have to take over. He's probably too busy trying to score with all the Olympic athletes from Sweden who finished their events two days ago and have nothing to do but cruise the Beijing bar scene.

Anyways. My gripes with Olympic coverage lately:

1. Soundbite re: a men's quarterfinal in the 200m:
"If there was an Olympic record for winning easily, Usain Bolt would hold it!"

I wonder how this record would be measured. Maybe in number of smiles, asshole fist-pumps or pointings to the crowd. Seems to be inherently slanted towards non-swimmers, as it's hard to see if Michael Phelps was grinning his big-eared ass off while he was whomping all those other people. But he wasn't, I'm sure, because he is nice and humble and white, unlike those fiery-tempered Latin sprinters.

2. NBC Commercial for the Opening Ceremonies DVD:
Own a part of the spectacular show that people will be talking about foever.

No. The only reason people might talk about this one even in six months? Part of it was faked. Does anyone ever talk about the Opening Ceremonies from past games? If you do, shut up and let me make a point already. Then, go back to wherever weird people like you live, which is probably in a foreign country.

3. Re: an Exxon commercial I've seen running several times:
"Why is this worldwide company involved in a public health problem?

Because devoting .0001% of their 11 billion dollar, national-record profits allows them to put sanctimonious ads on TV to convince more people of a generally false assumption that Exxon is devoting a large share of its energies to fixing public health problem, when actually Exxon is devoting a large share of its energies to fixing the public health problem of its execs not having enough Bentleys.

4. The disappearance of the "human rights" story.

All I heard about in the months and weeks leading up to these games was "China's human-rights record" and "Tibet" and all that. Now, China's not even letting protesters do what little they had hoped. Now, it makes sense to me not to turn th Olympics into a political statement... but it seems to me that a hell of a lot of journalists and media institutions were happy to jump on the "China sucks and mistreats its dissidents!" bandwagon four weeks ago, but are just as happy to jump on the "Wow, these are such a well-run Olympics!" train right now. I call bullshit.


Also, Jemele Hill's article on Michael Phelps [I think we here at FJM should go to a no-links on her] is unsurprisingly base and formulaic. What's really amazing is that Hill has an incredibly unique ability to generalize her own perspective to everyone. Most of us are cured of this by the time we graduate high school, when we realize that yes, other people do have different opinions. I won't do the whole article, because I think the first two paragraphs sums it up:

What's an athlete? Who's an athlete? What's mental toughness? What are limits? What is greatness?

We thought we knew those answers before Michael Phelps.

What's an athlete? Who's an athlete? Mental toughness? What are limits? What is greatness?
I knew all those answers before Michael Phelps, and I still do.

But now that we've witnessed Phelps win eight gold medals, it turns out we didn't know anything.

Speak for yourself, Jemele.


Jeff said...

I wish I showed your restraint on the Jemele Hill column. Man was that terrible.

Anonymous said...

When is this Olympic stuff over? I just watched girls' on the parallel bars. The American and Chinese girls tied, but there are tiebreakers (which were created in 1997) and the Chinese girl won the gold. All of the announcers bitched about how it's unfair to use a tiebreaker, and how impossible it is to figure out how it is done. They showed how it works, and I've seen it online, and I see the problem. If this has been in effect for years, did the competitors not know, even though NBC said they were aware of it? If not, who is to blame fo that? If so, then what's all the whining about? Then, the "expert" began to bitch about the scores. All of a sudden the Chinese girl's routine, which he was creaming over when it happened, was terribly flawed. Then they go to Costas with Bela Karoli, who goes off on the judging and works himself into a lather. The kid has 4 medals, and she looked disappointed but got over it. Why can't the announcers?

Tonus said...

After Phelps had won his fifth or sixth gold medal, there was an article on ESPN about how his performance was drawing attention away from other US medal winners. It included a whiny quote from another gold medal winner about how it wasn't entirely fair.

After Phelps won his eighth medal, there was an article about how he had single-handedly saved the Olympics by giving people a reason to watch and care about them. This time, there were no quotes from whiny medal winners who wouldn't have been noticed at all if Phelps hadn't won a ton of gold medals.

Larry B said...

Sorry. The interwebs here in Beijing run entirely on a complex tower of interconnected 56K dial up modems, so I haven't had the time to get anything done. Sure is a lot of pollution, though!

CitizenX said...

Jamaican is Latin now?

dan-bob said...


I thought about it. I admit not knowing a ton. Can someone with greater knowledge inform me?

pnoles said...

Have we abandoned our favorite Jemele Hill label so quickly?

Chris W said...


bumbaclot! I and I are outraged


You had to work in an Eddie Gaedel reference, didn't you?

dan-bob said...