Friday, February 07, 2014

My Weekend Olympics

I am an admitted Olympics junkie. I love them. I love the pageantry. I love the drama. I love the passion. I love the hot athletes. Without fail I always get a little choked up during Opening Ceremonies because it represents the culmination of a lifelong dreams and a lifetime of hard work.

But this Olympics? Dammit if they’re not trying to break up with me before we’ve even started dating. What with its kidnapping of wild orcas, killing of stray dogs and warnings to visitors about “dangerous face water.” Oh, right, and there is also all that terrible mistreatment and persecution of LGBT people. Faster. Higher. Stronger. Fewer Civil Rights. Ugh. It is just so fucking awful.

This is the first Olympics which I have truly, unshakably mixed emotions going into. Certainly, there were questions about human rights issues with Beijing. But Sochi has had so many that are so well documented they’re practically impossible to ignore. And they’re kind of ruining everything. The illusion that the Olympics are about the purity of sports and talent was shattered long ago. But it’s still nice to hope that we can rise above the geopolitical posturing, rampant consumerism and endless corporate sponsorship to appreciate the thrill of human accomplishment.

The good news is the world is watching. NBC kicked off its Olympics coverage tonight with Bob Costas mentioning Russia’s anti-gay climate in the first few seconds of broadcast last night. And there was an in-depth discussion of the civil rights issues in the country (with the even more depressing stat from a veteran Russian journalist that 85 percent of the country is virulently homophobic). And while most corporate sponsors have stayed silent, AT&T was the first major corporate sponsor to take a stand against the country’s anti-gay laws. And yesterday Google posted took an unmistakable stand on its homepage (as well as its Russian homepage). I swear to God, I got genuinely choked up looking at my search engine yesterday.



So, starting today, we’re all faced with a choice. Watch the Olympics, don’t watch the Olympics? Boycott Russian vodka? Toast with some Stoli, baby? Hard to say what will be most effective. I’ve decided I’m still going to watch. I’m going to cheer for these athletes because they deserve to be cheered for. But I’m also going to continue to advocating for change, continue shedding a light on Russia’s oppressive anti-gay laws (and other general bumblefuckery). And I hope more athletes, sponsors and world leaders do the same. Perhaps the glare of the international spotlight will do some good, or at very least expose all that is wrong. Perhaps the torch can shine some light into some dark places. In fact, I think it has an obligation to do so. In the end, you don’t have to love Sochi to still love the Olympic spirit. Go, world. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. Oh, and I have a few thought on the ridiculous hypocrisy of having fake lesbian Russia pop duo t.A.T.u. play at the opening ceremonies tonight as well, if you’re so inclined to care click over here.

p.p.s. When not rooting for Team USA, I will be rooting for Team Canada. A little gay indeed, eh.

7 comments:

Carmen SanDiego said...

Google is being amazing. I welcome our new overlords. And thank you AT & T. I wished Coca-Cola would do the same...
That virulent homophobia stat is a punch in the gut.
I will still watch but having mixed feeling too. Oh well

Amalia said...

On top of everything, there is the horrible environmental cost to these games: http://science.time.com/2014/01/30/sochi-winter-olympics-environmental-damage/ I will read about the athletes and protests, but I won't be watching this year.

Karin said...

that Canadian commercial is f*ing hilarious! it took me a second to get it but hahahaha!

Vera said...

and this what they've done in the UK http://www.buzzfeed.com/scottybryan/channel-4-have-changed-their-logo-to-support-gay-athletes-at

Rachel said...

I've been having the same quandary. The IOC has failed to hold the hosts accountable, but maybe the world spotlight can be a catalyst. I'll support the athletes, but can't in good conscience support the hosts or the IOC for their lack of leadership.

swilder75 said...

I get it that your a fan Dorothy, But what would it take for you not to watch?

J9 said...

Much Like I don't watch Roman Polanski or Woody Allen, I am not watching the Olympics in Sochi. I root for the actors in RP and WA movies, and hope the olympians do well, but I connot support this.