I’m really torn on this whole Sochi Olympics thing. In the first place, I won’t be watching – except maybe the pee-in-your-pants excitement of luge competition – mainly because I find most Olympic sports booooooooooring. But that’s just me. Secondarily I think the IOC is a shitheaded organization that is to amateur sport (in its true sense) what the Hell’s Angels are to honorable business practices.
Hmm, considering some so-called ‘honorable’ business practices these days maybe I shouldn’t be too quick to judge the Angels. Better analogy, IOC is to amateur sport what BC Ferries is to respecting public concerns. Yeah, that’s more apt.
Now, the Sochi thing hasn’t started out with the blessings of a lot of people in this part of the world. What they see is a bunch of homophobic Russkies slaughtering feral dogs, offering unfinished hotels and spewing very questionable substances from the faucets of hotel room faucets if you are lucky enough to have a room and one with a faucet. All it would take to establish a truly cliche picture would be for Cossacks on horseback, brandishing sabres and mowing down those who would complain. Just a kind of Dr. Zhivago pogrom scene to round out what many seem to think is the case.
All I really know is that the Russians pumped in gazillions of mafia-laundered rubles into this most costly winter games ever, yet somehow a “wasn’t it all just grand?” attitude isn’t really coming into being.
And then there is the omnipresent threat of terrorism and this isn’t to be taken lightly. Those of us who’ve been around long enough remember Munich in 1972 and the horrors that transpired there. Russia has lots of enemies; Chechens, Afghans, and a lot of people from those silly ‘Stan’ countries that once made up the Soviet empire. Those people generally don’t have warm feelings towards Mother Russia. Well, considering the USSR was second only to Nazi Germany in its brutal policies any legacy of Stalinist days isn’t remembered fondly as the ‘good old days’.
All I can say about the terrorist threat is, God Forbid.
About the homophobia, it seems like not a few Russians would be very cozy in certain parts of the US Midwest and South, and the Canadian heartland, not to mention Rob Ford’s office. As an aside, isn’t it kind of a compliment for Ford to find your lifestyle disagreeable? On topic, Russia, like those other bits of geography seems to be unaware of the inclusivity of the Olympics and how the world has moved on a tad since the days when the gulag was in full flower.
Re the dogs; well, I know that Max won’t be watching. I had heard some billionaire was going to bail the misbegotten canines out, but I have heard no more about that. I hope it’s true.
Otherwise, ,have a nice Olympics, folks, though I won’t be watching – well maybe the luge, and maybe just a li’l bit of hockey – oh, and Go Canada!