Watching the Olympics Through the Looking Glass

 

As I do every four years, I’ve spent the weekend watching countries I don’t care about play games I don’t care about.  It’s not as boring as it sounds, although it’s certainly, um, surreal.  I mean really, really weird.  I’ll try to explain with a few observations, in no particular order:

  • Ping pong is a strange sport. Sorry; table tennis.  And in a development which surprised no one at all, the gold medal game will be between China and Japan.
  • The American corporations who buy advertising time on the American TV stations to promote their products to Americans apparently believe that there are very, very few white people in America.
  • Water polo looks brutal. I wouldn’t play that sport without a life preserver, a football helmet, and SCUBA gear.  Actually, I still wouldn’t play that sport.  Those people are nuts.
  • Simone Biles may be the best athlete I’ve ever seen.
  • I’d never seen dressage before. It’s a competition in which horses sort of prance around slowly, nearly dancing, while carrying a person wearing ridiculous clothes.  This is what happens when you give white people too much spare time and way too much money.  The longer I watched, the more I thought that perhaps wealth taxes aren’t such a terrible idea…
  • The commercials are following today’s trend of featuring average-looking people, better to identify with their target audience or something. If there is a truly beautiful woman in an ad, she will be black.  And if there is somehow a truly beautiful white woman in one of these commercials, she will have a crew cut and a tattoo of a snake on her neck.
  • I thought I had played badminton before. Apparently, I have not.  Holy crap.  It’s nearly violent.  And they’re not drinking beer while playing.
  • It’s my understanding that most cities that host the Olympics lose money. Not always, but usually.  I wonder how the books look for Japan right now?  No fans at all.  Beautiful, enormous, brand-new stadiums, purpose-built for each individual sport, with 15,000 empty seats in every single one.  Restaurants and hotels are empty.  Zero ticket sales.  Can you even imagine how much money Japan is going to lose in this deal?  Oh my God.
  • Since the Russian Olympic Team was found to have widespread egregious violations of drug policies over the past several Olympics, Russia was not permitted to participate in this Olympics. So the Russian athletes are participating as the “ROC”, or Russian Olympic Committee.  They don’t have a Russian flag on their uniforms.  That way, the athletes have not doped up steroid monsters now.  Much better.  I’m sure that the athletes from the other countries are glad that the Olympic Committee resolved that issue.  Whew.
  • I can’t imagine working my entire life to have the opportunity to compete in the Olympics and then performing in front of empty, quiet stadiums. How heartbreaking.

All that adds up to a surreal viewing experience.  Watching sports I don’t know anything about, with athletes I’ve never heard of, with commercials that appear to be filmed for a foreign country, with announcers trying to build enthusiasm for games that nobody is watching in empty stadiums.  It is really weird.

I usually enjoy watching the Olympics.  I get all wrapped up in it, every time.  But watching this, I feel sort of sad.

This is a strange world we live in, my friends.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Dr. Bastiat: I’d never seen dressage before. It’s a competition in which horses sort of prance around slowly, nearly dancing, while carrying a person wearing ridiculous clothes.  This is what happens when you give white people too much spare time and way too much money.  The longer I watched, the more I thought that perhaps wealth taxes aren’t such a terrible idea…

    I’ve seen it. I’ve wasted the occasional afternoon watching it, or rather waiting for my date to get done competing.

    Now horse jumping is another thing entirely. It is always fun watching the horse jumping, particularly if one of the horses decides at the very last second that the entire enterprise is just too silly to participate in.

    • #1
  2. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    How’s Slovenia doing? In BB pistol. Or in anything. 

    • #2
  3. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    Percival (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: I’d never seen dressage before. It’s a competition in which horses sort of prance around slowly, nearly dancing, while carrying a person wearing ridiculous clothes. This is what happens when you give white people too much spare time and way too much money. The longer I watched, the more I thought that perhaps wealth taxes aren’t such a terrible idea…

    I’ve seen it. I’ve wasted the occasional afternoon watching it, or rather waiting for my date to get done competing.

    Now horse jumping is another thing entirely. It is always fun watching the horse jumping, particularly if one of the horses decides at the very last second that the entire enterprise is just too silly to participate in.

     

    I heartily endorse this message.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dr. Bastiat: The American corporations who buy advertising time on the American TV stations to promote their products to Americans apparently believe that there are very, very few white people in America.

    And they’re probably not really doing the “target audience” any favors.  I’ve seen interviews of black people from Chicago etc where they said that, as children, they thought the whole world was black people because they never saw anything else.

    • #4
  5. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Dr. Bastiat: I’d never seen dressage before. It’s a competition in which horses sort of prance around slowly, nearly dancing, while carrying a person wearing ridiculous clothes.  This is what happens when you give white people too much spare time and way too much money.  The longer I watched, the more I thought that perhaps wealth taxes aren’t such a terrible idea…

    I liked your post for this paragraph. 

    • #5
  6. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    I quit watching some years ago. All the dumbass “human interest“ stories are insufferable.

     

    Plus, all the commie/socialist nations understand competing when it comes to olympic sports, but in business? 

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    I quit watching some years ago. All the dumbass “human interest“ stories are insufferable.

     

    Plus, all the commie/socialist nations understand competing when it comes to olympic sports, but in business?

    I wonder if the US network broadcast announcers still refer to black athletes from Botswanna etc, as “African-American.”  That was hilarious.

    • #7
  8. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: I’d never seen dressage before. It’s a competition in which horses sort of prance around slowly, nearly dancing, while carrying a person wearing ridiculous clothes. This is what happens when you give white people too much spare time and way too much money. The longer I watched, the more I thought that perhaps wealth taxes aren’t such a terrible idea…

    I’ve seen it. I’ve wasted the occasional afternoon watching it, or rather waiting for my date to get done competing.

    Now horse jumping is another thing entirely. It is always fun watching the horse jumping, particularly if one of the horses decides at the very last second that the entire enterprise is just too silly to participate in.

     

    I heartily endorse this message.

    That’s what happens when the horse is smarter than the rider.

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    I quit watching some years ago. All the dumbass “human interest“ stories are insufferable.

    Five minutes of competition, fourteen minutes of that schmaltz, and eleven minutes of commercials.

    • #9
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Percival (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    I quit watching some years ago. All the dumbass “human interest“ stories are insufferable.

    Five minutes of competition, fourteen minutes of that schmaltz, and eleven minutes of commercials.

    And you know they aren’t pausing the events for the 25 minutes of schmaltz and commercials, which means you missed it!

    • #10
  11. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG
    • the USA basketball team is not that good.  
    • #11
  12. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell
    • The American corporations who buy advertising time on the American TV stations to promote their products to Americans apparently believe that there are very, very few white people in America.

    And those shown are of “uncertain” sex. (I refuse to use gender when discussing sex.)

    • #12
  13. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Twenty billion dollars is what Japan is losing on the Olympics. In Friday’s paper there was an op-Ed by a journalist about the silly COVID procedures required of foreigners. 

    I must disagree with you on dressage. I love watching the horses doing their routines. Next time you are in Vienna, visit the Spanish Riding School and watch the Lippizaner horses do their dances. They are descendants of war-horses. 

    • #13
  14. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    • the USA basketball team is not that good.

    And the coach is a jackwagon.

    Plus, the only 3 minutes I’ve watched is when my wife called to me: “Katie Ledecky is swimming.” She’s from Maryland and we used to live there.

    • #14
  15. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    The MBC coverage here in Korea on opening night was a hilarious disaster. Pictures of riots to represent Haiti, a pic of Chernobyl to represent the Ukraine, Dracula for Romania, etc. 

    https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2021/07/25/entertainment/television/opening-ceremony-offensive-images-mbc/20210725165400457.html

     

    • #15
  16. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Dr. Bastiat: The commercials are following today’s trend of featuring average looking people, better to identify with their target audience, or something. If there is a truly beautiful woman in an ad, she will be black.  And if there is somehow a truly beautiful white woman in one of these commercials, she will have a crew cut and a tattoo of a snake on her neck.

    Stuff like this makes me really sorry I don’t watch TV.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    The MBC coverage here in Korea on opening night was a hilarious disaster. Pictures of riots to represent Haiti, a pic of Chernobyl to represent the Ukraine, Dracula for Romania, etc.

    https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2021/07/25/entertainment/television/opening-ceremony-offensive-images-mbc/20210725165400457.html

     

    Sounds like Koreans have a sense of humor, even if it might be accidental.

    • #17
  18. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: The commercials are following today’s trend of featuring average looking people, better to identify with their target audience, or something. If there is a truly beautiful woman in an ad, she will be black. And if there is somehow a truly beautiful white woman in one of these commercials, she will have a crew cut and a tattoo of a snake on her neck.

    Stuff like this makes me really sorry I don’t watch TV.

    Me, too. I threw it out in March 2020. Just sick of all the commercials while trying to watch PGA Golf.

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: The commercials are following today’s trend of featuring average looking people, better to identify with their target audience, or something. If there is a truly beautiful woman in an ad, she will be black. And if there is somehow a truly beautiful white woman in one of these commercials, she will have a crew cut and a tattoo of a snake on her neck.

    Stuff like this makes me really sorry I don’t watch TV.

    Me, too. I threw it out in March 2020. Just sick of all the commercials while trying to watch PGA Golf.

    Aren’t there like Golf Channels without all the ads?

    • #19
  20. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    OK. You talked me into it. I watched the end of the triathlon. I caught the cycling and the 10k race part. Didn’t see any of the swimming. Norsk fyr vant (Norwegian guy won).  There were commercials, but don’t ask me what they were.  I usually get up and do something else. From your description, I didn’t miss anything. 

    They tried doing the human interest thing with the Norwegian, but he was having none of it. Good for him. 

     

    • #20
  21. RPD Member
    RPD
    @RPD

    I lost interest in the Olympics sometime before Jim McKay retired. It just seemed tedious.

    A few years ago a study came out that found that having minorities in you commercials really helped sell to that minority. They also found that this didn’t depress sales with whites any. Ever since there’s been massive increases in minority representation in commercials.

    • #21
  22. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    RPD (View Comment):
    A few years ago a study came out that found that having minorities in you commercials really helped sell to that minority. They also found that this didn’t depress sales with whites any. Ever since there’s been massive increases in minority representation in commercials.

    I don’t mind minority representation in commercials.

    What does grind my gears is that every adult couple seems to be either inter-racial or homosexual. I can’t recall the last time I saw an white, male-female couple in a commercial.

    • #22
  23. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    RPD (View Comment):
    A few years ago a study came out that found that having minorities in you commercials really helped sell to that minority. They also found that this didn’t depress sales with whites any. Ever since there’s been massive increases in minority representation in commercials.

    I don’t mind minority representation in commercials.

    What does grind my gears is that every adult couple seems to be either inter-racial or homosexual. I can’t recall the last time I saw an white, male-female couple in a commercial.

    See the source image

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    RPD (View Comment):
    A few years ago a study came out that found that having minorities in you commercials really helped sell to that minority. They also found that this didn’t depress sales with whites any. Ever since there’s been massive increases in minority representation in commercials.

    I don’t mind minority representation in commercials.

    What does grind my gears is that every adult couple seems to be either inter-racial or homosexual. I can’t recall the last time I saw an white, male-female couple in a commercial.

    See the source image

     

    Funny!  And I just saw an episode of Gutfeld on YouTube where an Italian-American guest says that Italians weren’t considered “white” until Godfather 3.

    • #24
  25. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Dr. Bastiat: I’d never seen dressage before. It’s a competition in which horses sort of prance around slowly, nearly dancing, while carrying a person wearing ridiculous clothes.  This is what happens when you give white people too much spare time and way too much money.  The longer I watched, the more I thought that perhaps wealth taxes aren’t such a terrible idea…

    Let’s have a little explanation of dressage, shall we?  Every rider performs a “test”–a memorized sequence of commands, moves and gaits (i.e., walk, trot, canter) that are scored based on how precisely they are performed.  If the test requires the horse to turn at A, then the horse must turn at A; anything else is penalized.  If you have to canter a 20 meter circle, then it must be precisely 20 meters and it must be a circle, not an egg or an oval.  Above all, dressage must look effortless.  The leg and core strength of dressage riders is tremendous, and the best dressage horses are also incredibly strong.  Try getting a 1200-pound flight animal with a mind of his own to do something very physical and very precise on demand.  

    Dressage riders wear formal attire, the coat is called a shadbelly.  Previously, riders wore top hats and it took a long time and some unfortunate injuries (notably Courtney King-Dye) to change the attire from top hats to helmets.  There has been a tremendous amount of controversy over rude social media comments about the Dutch riders.  The Dutch team always wears Orange, as in William of Orange, because history and tradition matter to the Dutch. 

    Most riders don’t own the horses they ride.  They are owned by investment groups, syndicates or wealthy people looking for someplace to spend their money.

    And if you are open to being inspired, watch the paradressage competition.  Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup was born without legs.

    Percival (View Comment):
    Now horse jumping is another thing entirely. It is always fun watching the horse jumping, particularly if one of the horses decides at the very last second that the entire enterprise is just too silly to participate in.

    Perhaps you will be interested in watching the showjumping portion of the Olympics.  One of the best American riders decided not to ride in Tokyo, so the team has a substitute member–Jessica Springsteen, as in Bruce.  Now if you want to tax the Springsteens, go right ahead.  

    • #25
  26. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    RPD (View Comment):
    A few years ago a study came out that found that having minorities in you commercials really helped sell to that minority. They also found that this didn’t depress sales with whites any. Ever since there’s been massive increases in minority representation in commercials.

    I don’t mind minority representation in commercials.

    What does grind my gears is that every adult couple seems to be either inter-racial or homosexual. I can’t recall the last time I saw an white, male-female couple in a commercial.

    See the source image

    Ha! That’s probably right!

    • #26
  27. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    RPD (View Comment):
    A few years ago a study came out that found that having minorities in you commercials really helped sell to that minority. They also found that this didn’t depress sales with whites any. Ever since there’s been massive increases in minority representation in commercials.

    I don’t mind minority representation in commercials.

    What does grind my gears is that every adult couple seems to be either inter-racial or homosexual. I can’t recall the last time I saw an white, male-female couple in a commercial.

    See the source image

    Ha! That’s probably right!

    Well to be fair, a lot of people thought Mariette Hartley and James Garner were playing a couple in the Polaroid ads, and those were late 70s-early 80s.  Whereas the “spicy meatball” ad started in 1969,

    • #27
  28. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: I’d never seen dressage before. It’s a competition in which horses sort of prance around slowly, nearly dancing, while carrying a person wearing ridiculous clothes. This is what happens when you give white people too much spare time and way too much money. The longer I watched, the more I thought that perhaps wealth taxes aren’t such a terrible idea…

    Let’s have a little explanation of dressage, shall we? Every rider performs a “test”–a memorized sequence of commands, moves and gaits (i.e., walk, trot, canter) that are scored based on how precisely they are performed. If the test requires the horse to turn at A, then the horse must turn at A; anything else is penalized. If you have to canter a 20 meter circle, then it must be precisely 20 meters and it must be a circle, not an egg or an oval. Above all, dressage must look effortless. The leg and core strength of dressage riders is tremendous, and the best dressage horses are also incredibly strong. Try getting a 1200-pound flight animal with a mind of his own to do something very physical and very precise on demand.

    Dressage riders wear formal attire, the coat is called a shadbelly. Previously, riders wore top hats and it took a long time and some unfortunate injuries (notably Courtney King-Dye) to change the attire from top hats to helmets. There has been a tremendous amount of controversy over rude social media comments about the Dutch riders. The Dutch team always wears Orange, as in William of Orange, because history and tradition matter to the Dutch.

    Most riders don’t own the horses they ride. They are owned by investment groups, syndicates or wealthy people looking for someplace to spend their money.

    And if you are open to being inspired, watch the paradressage competition. Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup was born without legs.

    Percival (View Comment):
    Now horse jumping is another thing entirely. It is always fun watching the horse jumping, particularly if one of the horses decides at the very last second that the entire enterprise is just too silly to participate in.

    Perhaps you will be interested in watching the showjumping portion of the Olympics. One of the best American riders decided not to ride in Tokyo, so the team has a substitute member–Jessica Springsteen, as in Bruce. Now if you want to tax the Springsteens, go right ahead.

    The PTB almost never show that. None of the shooting sports, fencing only once in a great while. 

    I’m no longer interest ed in the Olympics. The human interest stuff is not the only reason.

    • #28
  29. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    My daughter once did dressage. Local thing.  The barn where she rode had off track thoroughbreds, quite tall. They would alternate clockwise and counterclockwise in the rink as a group, doing walk, trot, canter.  Things were fine clockwise, but every time they had to reverse, the horse went into track mode and had a fast trot and canter, so much so that she was passing everyone. I have one video that is a hoot. The owner was standing beside me, pretending she was calling a race. My daughter also jumped on the flats. She did ride one year with her college team but grew disgusted with the competition stuff she saw re horses. She prefers pleasure riding now. I do enjoy watching dressage.

    • #29
  30. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    I dont have TV anymore, so I dont know how to watch.

    I do like gymnastics, men’s and women’s. But i’m skipping it this year alway, just to stick it to NBC. Maybe my vote will count there. 

    I did love seeing that young american fencer who won the gold. Such a trad, holding the flag, and smiling big as you please. it makes me smile and long for the good old days. 

    • #30