Monday, February 27, 2006

Over? Si.

I lost count somewhere around 578, but my guess is every print and electronic media outlet in America has or will put some variation on "World Says 'Arrividerci' to Torino Games" on its headline dek today. Because, it seems, that's what the Olympics are all about. In America, at least.

And I'm not just talking about pissy bitch Bryant Gumbel here either. But, since, hey Bryant: How many African Americans are there in Slovenia? Answer: none, because it's Slovenia. Stupid. Why not spend a little less time wondering about how American the Olympics are and a little more mental energy thinking about places on the globe where ethnic minorities are literally being wiped off the planet?

And the next person to call them 'pseudo-athletes' gets my foot in their ass. Irina Slutskaya and Johnny Wier aren't athletes because what? They have nice asses and wear sparkly costumes to work? Fuck you. Object to winter sports on aesthetic grounds if you must. Say curling isn't your cup of tea. But don't pull out the bullshit Dan Jenkins "cross-country skiing isn't a sport. It's how a Norwegian goes to the Safeway" argument, because yeah, it IS how a Norwegian goes to the Safeway, and if we went to the Safeway like that here in the US we'd probably have one of the highest standards of living in the world, too. But no, this is a NASCAR Nation, and we'd rather drive. Fine. Which one is more of a real athletic activity, now?

Anyway, we don't ski here in the US, apparently. (Or if we do ski, we drink whilst we do, Bode.) I think once we did, before Bloaty McBuildup folded like a cheap card table up on the mountaintop. (I guess we'd all better joinbode.com, because he's falling apart! Hi-yooooooh!) I can't tell what skiing should be anymore, because NBC's coverage of skiing was like its coverage of everything else: All US, all the time. so fucking predictable. I get that NBC wanted to hold our interest for as long as they could, considering how much dough-re-mi they've sunk into televising the games, but for as much coverage as there was, the US slant to virtually ALL of it made me want to whoops. And, of course, there were the three stooges in the Fake Paneling Lounge (with, I think, a fake fireplace? Jesus.): Bob "Little Bobby" Costas, Jim "Lamps" Lampley, and Jimmy "Oh Christ, pour soap in your ears so you don't have to listen to him" Roberts, telling us how awesome these games have been for the US. Except for Lindsay Jacobellis. That bitch needs to apologize to America for what she did! I love the idea somebody floated of Costas, Lampley, and Roberts all rubbing each other down after broadcasts, telling each other how great they were that day.

"You were awesome, Jimmy."
"Thanks, Bob. You rocked, too."
"Nah, I was a little--you think so? Really?"
"Hecks yeah, Bob."
"You were real great Bob."
"Thanks, Jimmy. You too, Lamps."

Now that's about as up close and personal as it gets. (For the record: I believe the Lake Placid Games in 1980 is where the term "Up Close and Personal" was used first. I may be wrong about that, but my point is that ABC kicked ass with its Olympics coverage two decades ago, and those featurettes were one reason why. The ones I remember most concerned sister and brother Hanni and Andreas Wenzel. Two downhill skiers. From Lichtenstein. The only way you'd get a story about a Lichtensteiner today is if he or she had two heads.) But if a "surly" black man decides not to skate in a race he may not have won anyway in order to concentrate on a race he did win, now that's a fucking story. Hero, villain, America!!! (Sorry, another parenthetical:Fuck you, whoever wrote the story about Shani Davis living on the "gang-infested streets of Chicago's South Side." Because he grew up in Hyde Park, home to that notorious gang magnet, The University of Chicago. Yeah. One of the great universities in the world, smack dab in one of the best neighborhoods in the city. True, Hyde Park is cheek-by-jowl with some less-than-great areas, but Davis hails from Hyde Park, and the point is the point. NBC made it sound all "Ooh, hopeless child torn from bullet-ridden streets, saved by the power of sport in a white suburban enclave" when he comes from a great South Side neighborhood, and the Evanston Skating Club has always been multiracial. It's Evanston, not Winnetka. But I guess NBC doesn't want people to know that Shani Davis'
story is maybe the average athete's story. In other words, as average as his talent is not.)

Again, I know NBC's producers think the only way to keep lazy-ass NASCAR Americans glued to the Games is All US, All The Time. But fuck, man, give us more credit than that. Technically, the coverage is the shit. (The ski-jumping cameras? Amazing.) Let's aspire to the level of Jim McKay and not Geraldo Rivera. Because if NBC goes to Beijing in two years with this kind of game plan, with the Games happening 14 hours ahead of TV time, I guarantee that only about 7 people will be watching. Including Bryant Gumbel.

2 Comments:

At 12:19 AM, Blogger Stuart Shea said...

Tom,
I am so impressed by your blogging. You are an entertaining, knowledgable writer who has a lot to say...fuck, man, I wish I could write like you.
Stu

 
At 3:32 AM, Blogger superclosetnerd said...

Some good posts and comments on here, glad I found it. I'm laying down a bookmark so I can come back later, I gotta go off to work now. My new site if anyone's interested (I don't really like it yet but I'm working on it and am new at it) --- fireplace dampers

 

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