So… The Olympics

Well, I did in fact tune into the Olympics to watch the Opening Ceremony. I did so with distinctly mixed feelings, given that I’m rather supportive of the idea of boycotting watching the games, since I think NBC has not adequately responded to concerns that their $800 million wall-to-wall broadcast is whitewashing the very serious human rights violations going on in Russia – particularly those affecting the gay and transgender community.

Though, with that being said, I did take some comfort in the fact that my decision to cut the cable with Comcast (NBC’s owner) means that they actually have no idea that I’m watching, since I’m using that sweet over-the-air, old-school broadcast system (and in HD that I’m quite sure is of a better quality than that throttled crap I used to get over the cable). Of course, Comcast is also my broadband provider, so my hands aren’t all that clean.

Anyhoo, the Opening Ceremonies were, for lack of a better word, dull. I actually wondered a bit about who the intended audience was – and I suspect it was actually the people of Russia rather than the rest of the world, here seeing live and in color the glories of what their leader has wrought. I don’t suggest that’s either a good or bad thing – though perhaps it’s different than what we’ve come to expect from these spectacles, which typically aim to wow the globe with the majesty, the grandeur of the host country. And this one? Not so much. It was really long and felt enervating; and perhaps it’s just a reflection of my innate American philistinism, but much of the subject matter was simply not engaging (though perhaps more people like ballet than I do – but it’s always acted on me like a powerful narcotic).

Of course, I didn’t really watch the festivities without my own preconceived agenda, namely that, even in spite of the deeply corrupt nature of the Olympics, this was an especially egregious example; and that it was being put on to glorify and entrench Vladimir Putin. Did it succeed? Well, to hear the fawning Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera breathlessly describing the goings-on, apparently so. But for me? Not so much. Plus, we’re still seeing bits like this:

Now, it’s pretty baller that a member of the U.S. bobsled team just stone-cold kicked his way out of the bathroom he got locked into – though the door made from corrugated cardboard is not exactly screaming high-end facilities.

At any rate, I really only posted about the Olympics as an excuse to post a couple of videos. First, a really spot-on show of support to the LGBT communities in Russia from a group of Swedes – singing the Russian national anthem (in Russian!). “Kind of insanely subervise,” as one of my good friends put it.

And then this. Not only because it’s fabulous – but because I think that, while mockery alone can’t bring down a tyrant, laughing at one can both diminish him and point out the absurdity of his views. Good luck gays, on Gay Mountain!

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