Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Class Struggle And The Cauldron

To me, the issue isn't whether or not the barrier between the people and the Olympic flame is made out of chain link or Plexiglas. The issue is, if you are a VIP, there is no barrier to access, whereas if you are a citizen of the country whose tax dollars paid for the Olympics, there is. The message VANOC is sending is clear. There are two classes of spectators at these Olympics and the fence makes it clear which is the preferred class. I can think of no better symbol of the modern Olympic movement.
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  1. wow! something we can agree on
    I'm actually feeling a little guilty now since I have been secretly wishing these Olympics do not become the smashing success the media (CTV - blech!) have been looking for with their over the top cheerleading. I feel guilty because these Olympics are pretty close to a disaster. I really didn't want that to happen.
    Funny though, you want taxpayers' money to be re-distributed in some socio-economic program that gives everybody a pony.
    I just want lower taxes so my family gets to decide how to spend it.

  2. The modern Olympic movement has always been a little sketchy.

    The amateur ideal made it difficult for those not independently wealthy to compete. (Jim Thorpe was stripped of his medals for playing semi-pro baseball for a summer. He wept when they came for them.)

    The movement was headed up by Fascist sympathizers -- Brundage et al.

    And... yeah, anyway, it's always been like that. Kinda creepy.

  3. Actually I'd characterize it as security-mania run amok more than a class issue.

    The problem is that the cauldron is inside a 'secure zone' for the media (although the decision to wall off one of the nicest parts of the waterfront for the media probably reflects some unacknowledged class preference, albeit mostly just a strong desire to impress visiting media - needn't have bothered with that one) - it's not so much VIP's that have access as anyone with a press pass and security clearance.

    Certainly fair to criticize the IOC as an elite club, but my impression is that VANOC has tried hard to make the games accessible to the public, with the cauldron being an exception (now largely rectified).

  4. Morning Joe's Willie Geist was having fun... got up on a trash can next to the fence and declaimed, "Mr. Harper, if you love freedom, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!"

    All my American friends are making similar jokes about Canadians hating freedom.