Olympic Obscenities

August 17, 2008

Regular readers will know that I am avoiding the Olympics. I am staging my own personal protest by boycotting the coverage and taking absolutely no notice of events, or the medal tally. But I’m also looking at non-sport coverage because that’s where the real meaning of the Games is exposed.

Take for example the gushingly OTT coverage of the eating habits of American super-freak swimmer Michael Phelps. Phelps’ intake of 12,000 calories for breakfast each day has been treated as a wonder of science, or as in one of my local papers something to mock and make fun of.

It’s actually my number one Olympic Obscenity of the week. It beats out the 56 fake ethnic groups, bus crashes and repeated screenings of a weighlifter’s busted limbs by a long way. The only thing that comes a close second is the anorexic arrested development of the female gymnasts.

Phelps’ diet would feed the entire Russian female gymnastics team for a week and let’s not (yet) even mention the apocryphal starving children in Africa.

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Georgia on my mind – gangsters, oil and blood

August 16, 2008

Warning: this post contains some AO language and is not really about taxi drivers at all.

I have a lot of respect for cab drivers. Most of the time they’re really well-educated and they’re all very, very  street-smart. Last night I got a ride home with Ahmad. He’s from Afghanistan and he was listening to the BBC World Service.

There were items about the conflict in Georgia and so we got to talking. It was quite funny to realise that my chat with Ahmad was the perfect dessert to my main course argument with my colleague Wayne at the Brooklyn.

Wayne and I had been talking about Russia, Georgia, gangster capitalism, transnationals and failed or failing states. Ahmad segued straight into that line of thinking off the back of the World Service reports from Georgia. Ahmad has been all over the world. He thinks the Russians are crazy and hates the American presence in his homeland. There’s a nice, balanced logic to his position and I’m instantly drawn to a stranger who’s making my journey smooth on a soggy Auckland night.

My conversations with Wayne and Ahmad  led to this little tome: gangster capitalism, the looming resource wars and ‘regime change’.

What happens when you give gangsters access to new-killer weapons of mass distraction?

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Insulted by Facebook – another Olympic Obscenity

August 16, 2008

I have a Facebook profile. I hang out there sometimes and it’s been a really cool way of finding former colleagues and old friends that I’ve lost touch with. When I go to London in a couple of weeks I’ll be catching up with people I haven’t seen for years, but I know they’re in London and expecting to see me because we found each other on Facebook.

Social networking is here to stay, but you know, it’s still a fairly conservative space.

I saw a great New Zealand comedy act on TV last night. They’re called the Lonesome Buckwhips and they did a most excellent pisstake anthem for the Olympics. I tried to find it on Farcebuerk to add it to my music profile because I want you all to hear it.

But look what came up when I did a Facebook search:

Not only was I challenged to find out if Tom Cruise is smarter than me – he’s not, by the way. This is just more Scientology advertising on Facebook, I have no doubt.

The Loneseome Buckwhips’ song [Olympic Anthem]  I was looking for is not there, instead I was invited to download the Goo Goo Dolls track recorded to support A T&T Team USA at the Olympics. The last thing I’d ever want to do.

Get fucked Farcebuerk, get the fucking Olympics Obscenity out of my face and Tom Cruise and the Goo Goo Dolls; that’s not what I signed up for.


Olympic coverage I like

August 10, 2008

I posted earlier today about my household’s boycott of the Olympics; the cats are down with that.

But, I am interested in news from China, particularly stuff that just won’t go away and continues to prove embarrassing to the regime.

I’m sorry for the family of Hugh McCutcheon, but this is insane.

Tragedy struck the New Zealand-born coach of the United States men’s Olympic volleyball team in Beijing when his father-in-law was murdered in an attack in Beijing.

Olympic murder attack survivor still critical

An Australian journalist was also attacked in a separate incident, but not hurt.

But wait there’s more;

Deadly explosions rock restive Chinese province

Threats, detention and KFC for protestors

And my favourite by the Herald reporter in Beijing, Paul Lewis.

A hotel in the city has been closed down and all the guests moved out because a pro-Tibet group held a protest there a couple of days ago. Good on you Paul, stay away from the stadia and give us more of this – the real story of Beijing 2008.

Beijing’s Hotel G has just become Hotel Gone – closed down by Chinese security, maybe for the period of the Games, maybe indefinitely.

Its crime: a room was used for a Free Tibet protest.

The abrupt closure shows how some people and businesses in China live on a knife edge even today, and also demonstrates how ingenious and stealthy dissidents have to be to avoid being “disappeared”.

Hotel’s last orders

Paul Lewis Beijing blog


Boycott Beijing Olympics coverage

August 10, 2008

I’ve decided (in fact, Moac convinced me) that our household is going to be Olympics-free for the next 14 days. I didn’t watch the opening ceremony; I don’t care about the rowing, soccer, swimming, horse riding or any other shit.

I’m with the rebels of Xinjiang and the Falun Gong. China has a repressive regime, a crap record on human rights and it’s not right that the rest of the world is in thrall to these gangsters.

I’m going to join the blogring boycott too. I found out about it from this dedicated blog: Boycott 2008 Olympics

I’m not going to watch TV1 for the next two weeks, I won’t be catching any highlights shows on skysport and I won’t be reading about the medal count etc in the newspapers, I will be turning off Morning Report when they cross to Beijing for sport stories.

The fun and games in South Ossetia are much more interesting and important.

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Reporters sans frontieres – boycotting the Olympics

April 27, 2008

I am interested to see that the usually non-partisan Reporters sans frontieres (Reporters without borders) is campaigning quite hard for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

One can’t really argue with the campaign’s slogan “China: the world’s largest prison for journalists and cyber-dissidents”, though Baghdad and Kabul are probably more dangerous, perhaps even Moscow and the former Soviet Union.

I must say though, that I agree with the RSF.

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