Fifth Column – Olympian Spirit Level Rising – Issue 6

Patient in corridor, stretching to see the 100m race, cursing their luck; by the time they’d burst the wound and recollected their spleen, the race was over and a multi-ethnic national representative had broken the tape first. Though, to be fair, he has got shares in the supermarket chain that owns a significant part of England.

“Oh, that’s alright then.”
The pensioner, just before succumbing to starvation, with a last breath says, “I hope so-and-so got a medal in the Clay Pigeon Shooting.”
And the businessman who, just before his plane takes off for the Bahamas, says, “What Olympics?”

Why, oh why, does the organising of a three or four weeks long tourney of obscure sports – the throwing of oversized pins, useless dinner plates, ball and chain etc., have to cost so much? Do you not think the concentration of overstretched resources, as well as our emotional attention, into a three or four weeks long playground shenanigans, is justifiable in this day and age? It’ll inspire kids, one politician said; to what? To ignore the disproportionate pouring of socio- economic resources into putting on a set of games, whilst being charitable by giving significantly smaller amount of money, time and effort into those folk who, through no fault of their own, will die or merely live miserably – watching loved ones die – merely because they cannot put on, or take part in, a set of obscure games.

Someone might argue that it is worth the hoohah and so on, to have children inspired by seeing the right sponsored numbered badge breaking a tape in whatever race it is. Could this be achieved without the ridiculously large drain on resources? Also, the appeal to narrow nationalistic fervour surely is negative at this time in our specie development, after all, a great deal of the logos and advertising will be benefitting a small number of conglomerates, who, in the final analysis couldn’t give a flying shuttlecock for the spirit of the games. It could be played on a computer – a virtual Olympics that would not be out of place at any Bookmakers outlet throughout the world.

Those unfortunate – I use this term with some dark irony – folk who are losing in the human race, are not an issue worth spending five to ten years plotting dignified and autonomous lives for those geographically victimised by such narrow-minded, unimaginative opulence as an Olympic games. Why can’t it resemble the simplicity of the original? Why must we as a specie, claiming the latest is the best egotism, deprive other humans just so we in the affluent parts of grassland etc., can watch the absurd simplicity of men and women running 26.3 miles just so three of them can acquire a bit of metal each, to hang round their necks, listening to a tune designed to blind folks about the details of globalisation, instead of the socio-economic millstone that sees men, women and children and foetuses losing the race for any kind of life.

What would extra-terrestrials think of such folly?

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