Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9/11 Reminds Me of the Shitty 2012 Olympics

Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Now it's over. And I was happy to see yesterday come and go. Hello, glorious September 12th!



Likewise, I was happy to see the Olympics this year come and go. I love the Olympics, kind of. I guess I should say I loved the '08 Olympics. I watched them both from beginning to end. But the U.K.'s Closing Ceremony this year was as unwittingly tragic and comic as its Opening--the celebration of the Industrial Revolution as a 60 minute dance routine, plus a dash of Marry Poppins (a movie whose cultural significance is near to nil), some diced-in dance troupes glorifying their beloved (and failing) National Health Service, topped with a splash of the tiresome "Hey Jude" sung by a guy who looks like he should have died about ten years ago with dignity, all in one extravagant, self-congratulatory stew of boredom and waste, brewed to surpass the spectacle of the '08 Chinese performance.

Which the UK failed to do.

The actual games were not as exciting this year either. Phelps is washed up and has been replaced by his douche-bag drinking buddy, Ryan Lochte. Watching the US basketball team pull their Harlem Globetrotter stunts over the rest of the world is entertaining for about the first two games, till the yawns set in, soon displaced by the hope that maybe it would be cool to see, say, Ecuador, kick some serious American Empire ass. That did not happen. But at least the girls gymnastics never fails to disappoint, and at least the Mexicans and the Chinese rocked the fuck out of diving.

Then there's the problem of Western propaganda that I found (or find) a little troubling. During the '08 Olympics, I recall a slew of mass media pundits on the Left and the Right bitch about how evil and totalitarian the Chinese government was, spurring a general (and your typical) patriotic, nationalistic spree of horse-shit that expresses and exacerbates itself so fittingly to sports as well: a sort of happy-go-lucky, all-in-good-spirit "We're the free world, and we're going to fuck you up, chinks!" kind of attitude.

Lo and behold!  It turns out the UK is probably more totalitarian than the Chinese! At least, that's what I concluded when I discovered that the government of those lovable Limeys "deployed an extra 1,200 more troops to aid in protection measures at the 2012 Olympic Games," that the opening ceremony provided "an estimated 18,200 UK military personnel," and that "another 5,500 were troops stationed outside the venue." As if that weren't enough to make us feel safe: "more than 4.2 million CCTV cameras were used to watch the general public" during the Games. 

But we didn't hear any Western bitching about the UK's totalitarian government by the mass media pundits this summer.  (Hence, the bitching shall take place here.) That's because the Western mass media had this message to share instead: Don't worry about your safety. All is well. Big Brother is watching. And he speaks English, not Mandarin. Bitches. 

We might as well admit now that Big Brother speaks "Ah-mare-ee-can!" too, especially every September 11th: "the day we'll never forget," "Patriot Day," the "day of infamy," the day "that changed the world forever," the day "nearly 3,000 innocent Americans lost their lives" creating our "post 9/11 world" and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.   

Sometimes I think the worst thing about 9/11 is that we have to suffer this sentimental rhetoric till DHS arrests us for thought crimes expressed on blogs like this one. But of course, the rhetoric of Newspeak is not the worst thing about the 9/11 anniversary. It's the omissions. Our collective, national (if not entirely Western) willful ignorance of some basic facts. Like this one regarding the death toll of our glorious War on Terror: 
That's total civilian and military casualties. Men, women and children. On both sides (whomever it is we are fighting these days: Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, whatever.). Including drone strikes. And the American civilians--one a 16-year-old boy--killed on the direct order of our Dear Leader Obama himself.

Seriously thinking about these figures--that is, these dead people, and the gruesome way they died--makes the Shitty 2012 Olympics seem pretty cool in hindsight and in comparison. Even the UK's Opening and Closing Ceremonies (as hard as that is to believe). But the mass media do not want us to think seriously about anything. 

They don't want us to think at all. Which is why, thank God, 9/11 is over, today is September 12th. And we have 364 days till next year's anniversary. 






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