Tag: 1936 German Olympics

Go With The Flow


“Never bet against the side that’s having the most fun in a culture war.” – PDB

Politics is downstream from culture, said Andrew Breitbart, and he was 100% correct. Politics can try to dictate culture, but a counter-culture soon pops up and forms a resistance. This was true in Soviet Russia, it was true with the hippies in the 60’s and it’s true today. Thanks to crowdsourcing and multiple streaming platforms, everyone can watch what they want to watch, and support the artists who produce the content that they want to see. The deer now have guns, and we’re darn near everywhere. For example, I spent hours in my youth scouring the bins of Zia’s Record Exchange and Eastside Records, looking for rare import tracks from my favorite artists. Now pretty much everything is available on YouTube, Last.fm or other platforms. Animé, (or as I knew it, japanimation), was a rare thing indeed in my younger years. We’d spend $75 or more (in 19080’s money) to watch a poorly dubbed VHS copy of Nausicaä, now there are entire film festivals dedicated to Miyazaki’s works

Black History Month: Jesse Owens


You will be changed, seeing this story. The great Jesse Owens was a champion in the Olympics and championed friendship with a competitor for a lifetime. And do not miss the afterword with little-seen pictures. (Two-minute read and video.)

The 1936 Olympics was held in Germany. Adolf Hitler was in power. To Hitler, the Olympics were to be a statement about the supremacy of the so-called Aryan race. Every other ethnicity was inferior. But Jesse Owens, of African ancestry, won four gold medals at the 1936 games. Owens beat some of Hitler’s greatest athletes.

Much could be said about Jesse Owens’s great skill as an athlete. But there is a deeper story, a human story, the friendship between Jesse Owens and Luz Long, a German long jumper. Long and Owens cemented a lifelong friendship in a matter of days. Wonderful pictures exist of Owens and Luz talking or walking together arm in arm. As Owens said of Long,

Quote of the Day: Fighting Against the Odds


“Thula exploded in the face of what she saw as lax discipline. Feeling trapped, growing desperate, she finally declared that she would not live under the same roof with Joe, that it was him or her, that Joe had to move out if she were to stay in such a god-forsaken place. Harry could not calm her down, and he could not abide the thought of losing a second wife, certainly not one as lovely as Thula. He went back upstairs and told his son he would have to move out of the house. Joe was ten.” — from The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown

Joe Rantz was born into a desperately poor family during the Great Depression. As a young child he lost his mother to throat cancer; shortly thereafter his father deserted the family. Joe was shipped off to stay with an aunt. When his father finally returned, he decided he needed a new wife. He married Thula.

After Joe was kicked out (Thula was the epitome of the evil stepmother), his life was filled with hardship. But he was strong, worked hard and never gave up. Eventually he attended University of Washington and passed the physically demanding requirements of the crew team. He found it to be a painful, demanding and merciless enterprise and embraced the challenge.