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Monthly Archives: July 2012

So When did the #Olympics Become a Religion?

I can’t help but be amused by this bit of Olympic news today:

London 2012 Olympics: Empty seats on the opening day prompts investigation

An investigation has been launched by the London 2012 organisers Locog after banks of empty seats were evident in multiple sporting venues on the opening day of the Games.

It looks like the sponsors are not using all their tickets. Incredible, isn’t it, that anyone would not want to go? It’s the Olympics!

Which reminds me of this earlier outrage:

Olympic relay torches put up for auction by bearers

Dozens of Olympic torches are for sale online as torchbearers are prepared to part with their prized relay memento.

The news has prompted much debate as to whether it is right that torchbearers, who were nominated for their achievements, sporting contributions and community work, should be allowed to sell their torches and uniforms after the event.

Ms Milner Simonds, from Burnham-on-Sea, told BBC Breakfast it only occurred to her on Saturday night that she could sell the torch and she was dismayed people who objected to her decision had started sending her unpleasant emails.

The theme that runs through these two stories is the apparent shock being expressed by some, that some of their fellow citizens are not fully signed up to the euphoria and blind devotion to the ‘Olympic Values’ that £9bn of our money is apparently meant to engender in us all.

Put to one side the irony that such a blatantly commercial operation as the Games should be somehow incompatible with participants looking to make a few bob (in some cases, not even for themselves, but their favourite charity). Put also out of your mind the incongruity of preaching the fluffy peace love and understanding  stuff, while at the same time seeing the Olympic authorities try to silence rivals with the zeal of an organised crime syndicate. Heck, even linking to LOCOG’s website in less than complementary terms is apparently against that site terms of use (see clause 5). The fascist numpties.

Blind devotion to a movement and its ‘values’, incomprehension that others may not share your beliefs, over-the-top responses to those who actually step out of your arbitrary parameters of acceptable behaviour … when did the Olympics turn into what is – by most definitions – a religion?

Its followers even have their own knee-jerk reactions to blasphemy against the faith:

PM urged to act over Games tweet MP
David Cameron is facing mounting pressure to condemn a Tory MP who branded the Olympic opening ceremony “leftie multicultural crap”. One post read: “The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?” Shortly afterwards he added: “Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows (sic), Shakespeare and the Stones!”…

Labour frontbencher Michael Dugher said: “David Cameron should show some leadership and demand a full apology from Aidan Burley immediately. Burley has got form. His comments were stupid, ignorant and offensive.”

Actually, released from the 140 character strait-jacket, I think Burley has done a good job of explaining his views, but that will not satisfy the followers of the Olympic faith, or indeed that other great untouchable religion which formed one of the centre-pieces of the opening ceremony: the NHS (pbut).

P.S. For what it’s worth, I think the ceremony, from a technical viewpoint, was excellent (but then with the amount of our money Boyle had to play with, it damn well should have  been). Clearly it’s some of the choices of content I have issue with; whichever side of the debate they’re on, most people would accept that the NHS is a politically sensitive subject – so it should not have been dropped into the middle of such a ceremony.

Andrew Lloyd-Webber Wants Your Money

His Lordship has spoken

In an outspoken speech, the musical impresario claimed the government was “turning its back” on one of its “most promising and world-leading sectors”.

There are many businesses who would be delighted if the government turned its back on them and left them alone.

“Britain is a talent hub that creates production and content that resonates around the globe.

You’re absolutely right. Just think how less successful the Beatles would have been without their state subsidies to … oh.

“So let me be crystal clear. Our vast creative potential is being strangled without any clear funding strategy for its long term future.”

Here’s an arts strategy for you, Andrew: produce stuff that people want to see, hear or look at, and they will buy the tickets, purchase the CDs and downloads, and so on.

Of course, if the stuff isn’t good enough for them to put their hands in their pockets, what gives you the right to force then to do so through their taxes?

He said that without the private funding and support of individuals and institutions, the situation would be much worse and potentially “irretrievable”.

He said the government could not rely on these benefactors forever…

It doesn’t sound like it’s the government relying on those benefactors – it’s you and your fellow rent-seekers.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, who helped compose a special song, titled “Sing”, for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, made the comments during a debate on whether the Government had a long-term strategy for the arts and cultural sector.

To which my answer would be “I certainly hope not.”