Thursday, April 10, 2008

You know what I don't care about? The Olympics...

[Note: not giving a shit about the Olympics originally opined by Will Leitch himself in God Save the Fan. Mr. Leitch's opinion agreed with here without express written permission.]

But you know what I do care about? Hating on Gregg Doyel, that's what. So let's ditch the safety net of stats and get into my true wheelhouse - complex, multifaceted questions of international relations that combine economics, politics, and ethics in an almost unfathomable stew. Gregg, you have some thoughts on the Olympics?

Try not to smash your face into your keyboard as you read the following sentence: The 2008 Olympics are being threatened by the human rights protest du jour.

Wait, what's supposed to be smash-inducing about that? The fact that some outdated, uninteresting sporting event is being used as a forum to draw attention to a terrible human rights abuse? What's so horrible about that?

[Somewhat serious note: Tibet is a really complicated mess of an issue for no end of reasons, and honestly I'm not sure I have anything intelligent to say about it. Well, unless you count, "Man, that Tibet thing is fucked up." But without even having read the rest of the article, I am absolutely certain Gregg Doyel has nothing worthwhile to say about it, and if there's one thing the debate doesn't need it's some cantankerous jerk of a sportswriter weighing in on something he doesn't understand. I'm here in some very feeble attempt to cancel him out, and that's all. I don't claim to have any more profound understanding than that.]

Today it's Tibet, which means Richard Gere, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the do-gooder elite are in luck. The 2008 Summer Games are approaching in Beijing, so unless China stops pushing around Tibet, the solution is simple.


He's so right - fucking do-gooders, the lot of them! And what about this whole "elite" thing? Fucking elitists, always deciding for regular schmoes like Gregg or me whether China should horrifically violate our basic human rights for half a century. Like they always know what's best for us.

The Olympic torch passed through the United States on Wednesday and was met with massive protests, with the torch -- an inanimate object, for Chrissakes -- needing its own security.

Yeah, because if there's one thing that can never have power, it's a symbol. A symbol invented by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics in order to make literal the supposed link between classical Greece and the Third Reich, as seen in Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia, but a symbol nonetheless. You can see it all in my favorite source of documentary evidence, German death metal videos.

But you know what? Decrying the protest of what is essentially recontextualized Nazi iconography is only the very tip of Gregg's asinine iceberg (asin-iceberg?).

Meanwhile, in Europe, a boycott of the entire Olympiad -- not just the opening ceremonies -- is being openly discussed. It's a matter of time before that discussion hits this country, with Gere already saying the United States should do it.


Knucklehead? Apparently Michael Wilbon is co-writing this garbage. That at least explains all the aimless rage, although I would have expected some "Tibet protesters are like the NFL draft - IRRELEVANT and the knuckleheads who care about it are DOPES!" comment by now.

Let me make this as plain as possible: Tibetans do not come before Americans. Sorry. They just don't.

Now that's what I call ethical philosophy! Peter Singer, your preferential utilitarian ass just got pwned by Gregg Doyel. How the hell are you going to come up with a more rigorous proof than, "They just don't"? Fucker even apologized for your wrongness. You know what that is? That's classy. And logically consistent. Consistent with schooling your ass in matters philosophical!

You know what? Fuck it, Gregg Doyel just solved the entire field of ethics with one simple formula:

Americans > Tibetans

Suck it, Jeremy Bentham, I'd like to see anything even half as enlightening as that in fucking The Principles of Morals and Legislation. Greatest happiness principle my ass!

And it's not about numbers, because if it were, the boycott movement would win. China has brutally occupied Tibet for more than 50 years, and by some accounts more than 1.2 million Tibetans have died because of it. There will be roughly 550 members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.

You see, don't think Gregg Doyel is a heartless asshole who only cares about Olympic athletes. He cares about this whole Tibet thing, dammit. You know how I know that? Because he mentions it in one fucking sentence, that's why. Or at least what "some accounts" say about it.

If this were a mathematical equation, it would read like this: 1.2 million is greater than 550. Therefore, boycott.

Right, but we already established your pioneering formula of Americans > Tibet, which clearly supersedes mere arithmetic. Also, Gregg, "therefore"? C'mon, you're an ethical philosopher now. "QED", please.

But this isn't a mathematical equation. Our loyalties in this country, now more than ever, must be to our people first.

Couldn't find a way to cram "support our troops" in there, could you? What about:

"It's a smack in the face to all our brave men and women serving overseas who are fighting for our right to take bronze in the archery."

You can have that one for free. Schmuck.

Nothing against the Tibetans. What they've been subjected to is outrageous. It's horrific.

Dude, the construction "Nothing against the [BLANK]" is appropriate for, say, noting that your coworker's kid is kind of a brat. You know, like this: "Nothing against Jodie, but sometimes I want to slap that kid of hers. Always with the singing!" However, it is not sufficient if you want to trivialize a human rights abuse. You'd at least have to throw in a "Look" at the start - you know, "Look, nothing against the Tibetans." See what that did there? The "Look" shows people you're getting real.

But it's not Amanda Sims' problem. Sims is a college freshman from Santa Rosa, Calif., who wakes before dawn to swim, then goes to class, then returns to the pool for another practice session in the evening. When she was in high school her coaches said she didn't miss a practice. Ever. In four years. That's a streak of more than 1,300 sessions. Why so serious? Because she was in training for the 2008 Olympics.

Gere and anyone who wants to join the boycotting movement needs to knock on Amanda Sims' door tomorrow at 5:15 a.m. -- she'll be awake -- and tell her: Sorry, you've wasted the last 12 years of your life. Tibet needs our help.

Gregg Doyel, you sack of shit. I started this post with the noble goal of making fun of you, but now I'm just legitimately enraged.

The obvious response to those paragraphs is to reverse them, to describe the horrific conditions Tibetans live under - which are way worse than having to practice swimming a lot, I can assure you - and then say that I hope Gregg will be telling those people, "Sorry, the rest of your life is doomed to endless pain and suffering at the hands of a brutal, oppressive regime. Amanda Sims needs her shot at a medal." But you know what? I think that'd be unnecessarily sensationalist and tastelessly dickish, and I'm going to take something resembling the high road here. Also, I apologize to Amanda Sims for dragging her into the crossfire of my war against Gregg Doyel. Sometimes I hurt the innocent in my drive to punish the wicked. I'm like a badass vigilante in that respect.

Maybe I'd feel differently about this if a U.S. boycott of the 2008 Olympiad would work, but it won't.

Gregg goes on to describe how the boycott of the 1980 Olympics in the Soviet Union did nothing to stop all the carnage in Afghanistan. And yes, that's true. Indeed, there's something to be said for an intelligent, rational discussion of the many, many factors that go into this entire business. I mean, it's probably true that a boycott amounts to little more than empty saber-rattling and that no real political pressure will actually be placed upon the Chinese to improve the Tibet situation.

And so then one can wonder whether, as cruel as it may sound, maybe all a boycott would accomplish is screwing over the athletes in the name of an empty gesture towards the Tibetans, and that unless politicians are really serious about getting tough on China, a boycott is pointless. That's a harsh but quite possibly true analysis, and deserves the attention of a sophisticated, intelligent writer who can argue them out. A writer who doesn't marginalize the important exercise of freedom of speech that is peaceful protest. A writer who doesn't reduce a complex question of political ethics to a jingoistic formula. A writer who doesn't spend more time detailing some swimmer's workout schedule than the last fifty years of Tibetan history. A writer who actually realizes the horrific, painful irony of including these two sentences in his article:

I care more about hundreds of Americans than millions of Tibetans. Sorry. I just do.

Let's not forgive the guilty. But let's not forsake the innocent.

God dammit Gregg Doyel, you've made me not funny. I mean intentionally not funny.


Djmmm46 said...

I think here's the appropriate place to note that, the assholishness of the Communist Chinese government notwithstanding, the Dalai Lama is, in fact, an asshole himself.

Come on, Archie! I know you know this! Because Penn & Teller told us so!

Archie Micklewhite said...

I know - in an earlier draft of this post, I even mentioned the Penn & Teller stuff explicitly. (Yes, I did multiple drafts of this post.) But I felt that didn't really serve my argument particularly well, especially as my focus was mostly on the average Tibetans, not their privileged pseudo-saint of a leader.

You can consider my distaste for the Dalai Lama implicitly folded into my "the Tibet issue is complex" point.

Djmmm46 said...

Amen! If Penn & Teller say it, it MUST be so!