Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bah. Humbug. Part 2

Watching the divers in their disturbingly tiny Speedos and the endless beach volleyball, I have concluded that it's only a matter of time before masturbation becomes an Olympic sport. Officially.
Competitors (men only, sorry, ladies) will be grouped in size classes, as in boxing and wrestling, and will be judged on the basis of speed, distance, accuracy and something ineffable called style. (If you think 13-year-old girl gymnasts are amazing, wait until you see what 13-year-old boys can accomplish.) This could occur as early as 2012 in London, since the British will be eager to defend their reputation as the world's biggest wankers. But after Ernest Borgnine (91!) revealed the secret of his vitality to Fox News last week, I hope he'll be around to guide the USA to victory.

According to NBC, the world is agog over the question: Who's greater, Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt? Since one of them swims and the other runs, it seems like asking whether Mozart was better than Shakespeare. Tonight we can see some of what every commentator calls the "decathalon," which is some athletes being very good but not all that great at ten different things. So it's a kind of international reality show, and now we're in NBC's ballpark. By the way, just a great idea to have Tiki Barber as a commentator, bringing his years of experience as a football player to a sportfest that seems to include every sport except football. Still, he's cute as hell.

Now that we've come a long way, baby, and have female weightlifters, it's time for the IOC to give the announcers a break and come up with a new name for the snatch. These guys were sweating more than the athletes trying not to get their words in a tangle. ("And now here's Yakushova, whose snatch is just amazing!") I nominate the bumps-a-daisy. It's copyright, so e-mail me, OK?

"One world, one dream." Anybody else got the jeebies from that slogan? Presumably the world is this one, the third planet from the sun, but what is the dream? A gold medal? To paraphrase Mr. Bernstein in Citizen Kane, it's no trick to win a lot of gold medals if all you want is to win a lot of gold medals. You start with a billion people, identify the potentially talented athletes as soon as they can walk unassisted, and spend the next fifteen years training the hell out of them. Some dream. I suppose it was inevitable that that dopey Cold War our-system-is-better-than-your-system childishness would reawaken in China, a country with a chip on its shoulder the size of the Great Wall. Their scientists are probably reverse-engineering one of Phelps's bathing suits to see what makes him so shark-like; if they could, they'd vivisect Phelps himself.

Where's the fun?

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