Olympian Mudslinging

Ok, I’m going to wander a bit outside my box here and rant a bit. I hope that Joey and/or Dani will put me in my place where appropriate.

I have watched a lot of the Olympics this year and I am enjoying it thoroughly. This means that our TV stays on pretty much from first thing in the morning until bedtime. The unfortunate side effect of this is that I also end up watching a lot of other things that I, as a Netflix user and general non-consumer of broadcast TV, do not typically see. This includes morning shows, local commercials, and political ads.

I have gotten so sick of hearing Dewhurst and Cruz (Texas politicians, for those in the heathen states) bash each other’s integrity and political stances. One guy attacks the other and casts doubt on his character. Then the other guy does the same thing in return. When it comes to following politics, I’m typically lost about what’s going on, and often confused and even frustrated. These commercials are probably why.

Who should I believe? Instead of being enlightened to a particular political stance, I’m being told to mistrust someone else. The other candidate then does the same and so now instead of mistrusting one person, I mistrust the whole system. Perhaps this is why voting tends to be low and people generally tend to be jaded about politics. We live in a great country with free speech and power given to the people to vote for our leaders. We’re told to do our civic duty by voting and making our voices heard so as to participate in the greatness of what our country has to offer. It’s as if there’s a voting booth on a pedestal, illuminated by a heavenly light, in which we can fulfill the apex of human politics. But then the politicians surround that pedestal with a mountain of garbage that we then have to dig through to even get to the place where we can vote responsibly.

I was under the impression that our democracy places value on the average citizen to make important decisions. These politicians seem to think that we are dumb children who only need to be convinced by what basically amounts to schoolyard name-calling. (“No, I’m more opposed to Obamacare”, “Nuh-uh, I’m more opposed to Obamacare”, “Yeah? Well you play politics like a girl.”)

And speaking of childish rivalries, can we please stop talking about Phelps and Locte? They are friends on the same team for the same country and they are not rivals. These Olympic commentators are literally killing me. They are so quick to point out the most negative things about the performances of these athletes or create drama where there is none. Michael Phelps wins a silver medal and they immediately launch into “Oh he made a mistake there” and “This is a big disappointment.” Yes, he probably was a little disappointed, but you know what else? HE WON AN EFFING SILVER MEDAL. The commentators and the majority of the population will never reach such a high level of athleticism. I will likely never do anything remotely comparable to winning a silver medal, heck I couldn’t even make a decent medal out of paper. Additionally, he now has the most medals in the history of ever, so why even nitpick anything that he does?

The nitpicking carries over to women’s gymnastics as well. The commentators are very quick to point out minor deductions such as a not-quite-stuck landing, a moment of imbalance, etc. Are we missing the fact that these are some of the most technically proficient gymnasts in the world? That teenage girl just flung herself like a crazy person between two poles without hardly breaking a sweat, and you’re going make some drama out of a few tenths of a point worth of minor mistakes? Let’s instead stop and marvel at the incredible degree of strength, control, and balance required to even attempt to do all this badassery. I can’t even see half of what they’re doing until they slow it down, that’s how much is actually going on during these routines.

So, the point here is that people need to calm it down with the negativity, whether in politics or the Olympics. I propose that we appreciate the validity of one’s political stance and respectfully disagree without attacking them as a person. I further propose that we enjoy a gymnastic/swimming/cycling/curling/underwater basket-weaving performance for what it is rather than immediately highlighting a few trivial mistakes.

If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. And while you’re keeping your negative comments to yourself, go get your fried chicken wherever you darn well please.


6 thoughts on “Olympian Mudslinging

  1. I can’t really help you with politics, except to say that if you’re interested in state-wide issues in Texas then texastribune.org is a good place to start.

    Gymnastics, though, is my jam. In addition to PARTICIPATING in gymnastics as a kid and teen, I can also refer you to the seminal film Stick It, the spiritual sequel to Bring It On. Stick It can teach us all that even though it’s not called gymNICEtics, it can be in our hearts. Secondary viewing: Gymkata.

    • I saw Stick It and I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. A cursory search for Gymkata shows it to gloriously 80’stastic.

      As far as you participating in gymnastics, I think for everyone’s enjoyment I’m going to have to call “pics or it didn’t happen.”

    • I had to google Stick It and Gymkata, because I was pretty sure you were making those up. I’m not sure if I should be happy that you weren’t or not… You were a gymnast?? What was your forte?

  2. Political ads are only fun if you are already educated about the candidates and can enjoy them for either the blatant lies or works of art they are. I do think they can spark good conversation, though, particularly in a group-viewing environment where everyone is willing to discuss without name-calling.

    But I’m with you on the Olympic commentators – they are RIDICULOUS. I actually believe that it’s a serious problem with journalistic culture, if you notice, all the ads for primetime news shows show a Talking Head looking Very Serious and asking Tough Questions. Nevermind that the Tough Questions are simply white noise about unnecessary drama – we’ve created a false culture in which pessimism, worry and judgmental anxiety are mistaken for unbiased honesty and hard-hitting journalism.

    • You’ve summed up exactly what I was thinking and trying to say perfectly. I give you permission to read my mind and write it out for future posts.

  3. I am SO over the ridiculous-waste-of-time political commercials peppering the Olympics that I have decided to believe all of them and not vote for any of them.

    Apart from those, I’m having a great time watching the Games with Vi. I think she’s partial to water polo and volleyball.

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