Why I dislike the Olympics

Votes for Women Poster

WSPU Poster by Hilda Dallas 1909

What a great excuse for a celebration. Every team in the Olympics has a women team member, a mere 84 years after the Representation of the People Act of 1928 gave women over the age of 21 the vote in the UK.

Just forget the fact that the military basis of these sports are contrived to exclude women from fair competition with men. There is no gender parity here and only in a very few of the sports are men and women included together. Make no mistake, more women in the Olympics is a step forward, but this is physical competition in a man’s terms.

One wonders, if Olympic sports were something that changed with the times, what could be included that might promote gender parity. Perhaps ones that include strategy, cunning, cooperation like working together at solving problems. It seems such things are not yet acceptable as ‘strategy’ like crashing your bike or trashing a game ‘to win the war’, are deemed cheating.

The Olympics are a tribute to the sponsorship and shameless promotion of corporate power in general. What on earth do Coca Cola, McDonalds and the other 52 partners, supporters, suppliers and providers have to do with the tradition of human excellence in sport?

Coca Cola (am I still allowed to actually write that?) are the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympic movement. They see their role as official soft drinks provider enables them to showcase the range of drinks they offer and sell these at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Their sugar-filled drinks have obviously helped many of the sports people attain their brilliance, along with McDonalds who have fed them all to nutritional peaks of achievement. Is it just me feeling uneasy that these two companies are major ‘partners’ in the Olympics? Is it with some sense of irony that they have become sponsors?

shit pile by Paul McCarthy

Runner up in the 2012 Olympics logo design competetion: ‘shit-pile’ by Paul McCarthy

As for the corporate Olympics logo, the falling down house of kiddies bricks – I have never seen such an ugly looking thing totally devoid of any accessible meaning. How on earth did that get chosen? Was the panel devoid of any aesthetic sensibility? I realize it was designed by a child but honestly, I have had better looking shits.

In addition to its promotion of corporate power as something acceptable and unquestionable, the Olympic Games promote the concept of privilege so central to the class system in the United Kingdom. The Class system is an archaic system based on status and rewards which is well past its ‘best by’ date. The whole method of purchasing and distribution of tickets serves to promote ‘prestige’ and fictions about ‘reward’ so prevalent to driving consumer capitalism.

As for petty nationalism, please do not include me. Although I live in the UK, I am a citizen of the World and dislike the whole ‘us and them’ scenario promoted by these games, because, in the end, there is only us, there is no them. “We beat Brazil,” you claim. Not me mate. I did nothing and it seems to me that your part in it was pretty infinitesimal because you give every appearance of somebody sitting on the sofa making sports noises.

And there’s another thing. Why do we have to be endlessly patronized by sports commentators shouting at us as if they are excited children on a sugar hit? Is it compulsory for them to drink the sugary drinks provided by sponsors so that they can go off into one? The whole hyped-up way of talking over-excitedly when there is clearly very little actually happening is just sensory pollution of the worst kind. Its like trying to appreciate a glass of wine by drinking somebody else’s puke. ‘Look, there’s a load of grown men kicking a sheep’s bladder round a field.’ Nuff said. Effing Shut Up. I have to put my MP3 player just to stay in the environment of this ear-grating nonsense.

The Olympics provide a great distraction from the latest War in Syria, the Great Eurozone Sham, the Global Debt Crisis and our Environment Spiralling into Chaos. Petty Nationalism through Sport is a form of denial and a means to continue to ignore Climate Change, the Genocide of Amazonians and all the other things we don’t want to think about.

The original meaning of the word ‘competition’ means ‘striving together’. Somewhere in the mists of time this has been lost and the Olympics provide a spectacle of nations striving against each other to win – what? A Big, Fat Gold Coin, a symbol of ‘money’, the very problem at the heart of our downfall.

Darwinian fictions about ‘survival of the fittest’ drive the competitions. Where do we have nations ‘striving together’ to achieve something beyond ‘winning’? Where are we shown that ‘co-operation’ is the most desirable trait of a lead species? It would certainly not seem to be in the Olympics.

simonthescribe writes and publishes articles, books and websites themed around living a sustainable life in tune with nature.

Posted in eco-philosophy Tagged with: , , , , , ,