While it traditionally takes the locust seven years to emerge and for its devastating effects to be felt, there are plagues whose cycles are far shorter and whose damage and may be far more wide ranging. We are currently facing one, in a chain of occurrences going back many years.
The current outbreak is one that rather than seven years, occurs every four, and does not involve insects (though some other members of the animal kingdom and some other pretty scary creatures are involved). They are eventful years which feature over-the-top and often disjointed oratory, seemingly pointless public events, and monumental misjudgements of behavior. They are also years which, regardless of the winners and losers, will see little changed in the world around us.
By now, many of you are already girding you loins (an expression which I always snicker at, since it seems obscene rather than protective) for yet another long-winded piece about the 2012 election. You would be wrong however, since what I'm talking in this case about is the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Don't get me wrong here. I have nothing but approbation for the dedication not only the athletes who give up a sizable chunk of their lives to pursue a dream (though corporate sponsorships make it easier than it once was), and the families of those athletes who likewise sacrifice and without hope of reward. I have nothing but awe for the abilities of those who have reached this pinnacle of the world stage that allows them to complete for the coveted gold medal. I have nothing but appreciation for the little people like ticket takers at these quadrennial events that somehow make it all work in spite of their masters.
It's a shame that the event organizers are neither as skilled or as talented as those competing. How can anyone feel anything but disgust for the lamentable efforts of these Hollywood wannabes for the tasteless and lavish festivities that they put on? How can anyone feel anything but abhorrence for their abandonment of the simple pomp and circumstance of the world's best marching into the main venue behind the flags of their nations and taking the Olympic oath, in favor of an 'Industrial Light and Magic' display of artificially enhanced magnificence?
Apparently the Olympics was unable to learn from the ruining of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and the Super Bowl half-time show. Instead in recent years, they have bowed to the pressure of their massive TV contract and a foolish national arrogance to present an 'Olympic-sized' Broadway show that's become an awful parody of the worst Cirque du Soleil concept ever created, and ruined further by a rabid touch of George Lucas computer enhancement to insure that any shred of dignity left in the proceedings departed the stadium long before the participants were allowed to. (By the way, when did a lot of people waving or holding things become entertainment?) Quite frankly, the only tacky thing missing were cameos by the 'beautiful people' who will star on NBC's fall lineup (though maybe they're saving that for the closing ceremonies).
If this continues, it won't be long before they turn the whole thing over to Pixar and allow them to animate the opening and closing ceremonies; ensuring not only their perfection, but allowing them to choreograph events on an even more massive scale, and permitting them to take advantage of Olympic mascots that have become increasingly hideous and horrifying Muppet avatars whose incessant hopping and waving frightens the children. (Besides, then the whole thing could be sponsored by Pixar, who could recoup some of their money by putting subliminal frames to hype their latest movie releases.)
If they can continue to mess with the opening and closing however, maybe we could mess with the events themselves? For starters, it seems that it should go without saying that all archery and shooting events should be eliminated by an enlightened society that decries weapons and violence. (Please note that sarcasm is often used on this blog.) Quite frankly it amazes me that such barbarity hasn't been done away with already. I mean my God, they might as well allow suicide bombers to compete (an event which would make medal ceremonies superfluous and preclude multiple medal winners). On the other hand, since you 'shoot' pool, such an elimination would mean that Billiards could never be an Olympic sport (not that it's an exciting game to watch).
But let's face it. not all of the competitions are all that exciting. So maybe in the name of TV ratings and commercial revenues, we could abandon things like synchronized swimming and diving, along with rhythmic gymnastics in favor of a combined 'synchronized gymnastics'. Let's see some high bar routines where they switch bars during the routine, pommel horse with two people moving around it, tumbling routines where athletes cross paths; and vaulting efforts involving teammates running at each other like they want to take each other out. (You know, kind of combining gymnastics with NASCAR.)
As long as we're combining .... What if we combined badminton and ping pong, playing alternate games on field and table and switching birdie with ball while using the same racket/paddle? Perhaps we could even throw in tennis and really mix up a three set match.
You know personally, I believe that setting aside some memorable moments of Olympic competition, the whole thing has become a tedious and boring farce (and even Bob Costas telling us otherwise is not enough to convince us). Quite frankly, I'd prefer that more of it than not be scrapped in favor of the 'Monty Python and the Flying Circus' version, called the "Silly Olympiad"; and I will end this week's rant with just a bit of its potential.