Tuesday, February 16, 2010
AN OLD OLD NARRATIVE. I don't know why I should be surprised. I guess I'm not. They were rooting all out for Communist China during the Summer Olympics. Now they're rooting for Canada. Who? NBC. Bob Costas. Al Michaels, Tom Brokaw. Brian Williams. Chris Collingsworth. And all the dumb munchkins they've dredged up from every remote and ancient corner of NBC sports history to bring us their usual mangled coverage of events they seem to know nothing of and care less about -- except the vital question of "When, O when, will Canada breaks its storied(?) curse of never winning a gold medal on Canadian soil?!"
I know it's impolite to break into this hysterical narrative with a few wet blanket observations. The "storied" curse is about a generation old (encompassing only two recent Olympics) and I never heard about it. And I still don't care about it. So what. Canada came in third behind the U.S. at the last winter Olympics, so it's hardly the case that they weren't going to win a gold medal at some point in a venue where their athletes got to practice 20 or more times as much on courses like, say, the luge, as the (sometimes unfortunate) foreign competition did. I repeat: So what.
But Bob and Al and Tom and Brian and Chris and the munchkins seemed so invested in Canadian success that it seemed -- at least to my lying ears -- they were actually crestfallen when an American chick(shudder) stole the gold away from that disappointed, over-pressured Canadian lass on the women's mogul event. Aw. Awwwwww.
Then, when a Canadian finally won the first gold in the men's moguls, you'd have thought that it was 1980 all over again and the purely amateur American kids had just defeated the grimly professional Soviets to earn the most improbable gold medal in Olympic history. 24 hours later, they were still talking about it, exclaiming over it, and hugging themselves with glee. WTF?
I concede NBC cut us all a break by not enlisting Keith Olbermann with all the other has-been and never-were correspondents they're using to report on the Olympics. But it still feels like he's the producer behind the scenes. I can't think of any particular reason why we should respond with tremendous joy when another Canadian(!) makes it into the finals against Americans in events like the Snowboard Cross. It's our sport. If any Canadians are good at it, it's because they're down here learning from our jocks, practicing on our courses, and thriving on our prize money. I'd much rather see a final between our guys and the upstart Austrians and French. At least I can respect their underdog grit. While still hoping for their abject and humiliating defeat. I'm an American.
You see. (And this is something I've had to explain to Mrs. CP, who was initially under the impression that NBC is the reporter of record for the entire world, which it it isn't.) NBC is the American network covering the Olympics for Americans. What kind of business model tells them rooting for opponent countries is good economics? There is no such business model. There is only the delusion of their damaged educations and social affiliations. They favor Canada -- uncles and cousins who fled there from Brown and Dartmouth during the Vietnam War after burning their draft cards? Anglophile-Europhile yearnings toward the nihilists who thought George Bush a Hitlerian criminal for defending the west against fanatic jihadists? (Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?) And it doesn't even occur to them that the potential 300 million-strong television audience that provides all their (steadily declining) advertising revenue might be rooting overwhelmingly for American athletes. NOT Canadians. NOT the sullen northern neighbor who contributed 500 troops to the entire war on terror and have libelled us and our last president obscenely while still clinging pitifully to us whenever something important to them is on the line. Like the life of a premier who got the operation here he couldn't get at home while all the superior Canadians were trashing us for noticing that their socialized healthcare system was killing Canadians faster than Americans think acceptable for our own wives, children, fathers, and mothers.
If NBC were truly an American network, there are some calculations they could perform for us ordinary Americans. They could start keeping track of how much of, say, the Winter Olympics actually occurs here in the United States before competition begins in some politically chosen location. The athletes who train here, the coaches who immigrate here, the facilities located here, the technology originated and disseminated from here (seen some Nike swooshes anywhere in Vancouver, folks?), the dual-citizenship Americans who can't make our teams and so compete for other nations from their digs in L.A., the foreigners who want to live here and become overnight Americans in order to jump to the head of the immigration line...
Hell. Based on pure geography, America wins somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of all the medals in the Olympics. Is there any way you would know this from the internationalist elitists of NBC? No.
They're killing their own business, and soon enough, they'll be expecting us to bail them out too. For our own good.
It's not all about sport. It's also about soul sickness. Please don't let the contagion infect you too.
Enjoy the events. The best thing I can say is that the nations of the world continue to produce remarkably attractive and determined youngsters who are a credit to our much maligned species. They make me proud to be human.
But I'm still rooting for the Americans.