I have a hard time with the Olympics. Some of it is just fucken cool. But it's painfully obvious that, while most of the athletes are there for the best of reasons sincere (if nationalistic), the thing is a boondoggle that's not of any real value to improving the world condition.
Unfortunately, so's the World Cup. So suck it. Bring on my bread and circuses.
There are some things that are self-evident. One is that my local nation is better than yours. It just is. Especially, in this season, if you're my friend from Canada, for whom I shall not make up a name, so that when Purple sends him this post through the Faceybookz in an obvious effort to discredit me and Obamacare, I can pretend that I have lots of friends from Canada and it's not actually about him.
Another piece of self-evidentia is that even though my local nation is better than yours, especially if yours is Canada, other nations are not to be disrespected (unless they're Canada). For example, the skip of the British womens' curling team is pretty hot, as are a number of Russian women hockey players, some Italian skater chick I happened to notice because Ilse is obsessed with figure skating in all its forms (a million deaths are not enough for Porcelain Face) in addition to unicorns and the Olympics in general, and, also according to Ilse, Henrik Lundqvist and some guy on the Norwegian mens' curling team. Note the absence of anything Canadian on my Hot List. And hers. I said note it, bitchez.
By the way, if you're concerned that I'm not getting to the point, don't be. There isn't one.
Specifically not to be disrespected: the Russians. You wouldn't know it from watching the endless American rainbow fairy tale that is NBC's coverage of these Olympics (and every Olympics), which spent the entire opening ceremonies telling us how Russia equals Soviets equals bad and brutal and horrible and Stalin, and did we by the way mention Stalin? Of course, they did a really shitty job of reconciling that to guys in spiked coal-scuttle helmets who torment Russians, as well as reconciling math concerning a certain major conflict between said guys and Russians. Nor would you know it from the world journo community, which appears to be convinced that Russians are shitting in its water and feeding it cockroach borscht.
I thought the Russians did a really cool pageant about their history and culture. Was it an obscene waste of money? Of course it was. See Rule One. But their pageant was every bit as awesome as every other country's Olympic opening pageant, and a damn sight better and more entertaining than the pasty white (and Anglo) pageants thrown by the last two pasty white (and Anglo, despite the vague mists of froggification and First Nationsization that Vancouver 2012 tried to pimp, and you are totally not getting a break from me at all in this post, you fucking Canadian fucks) nations to throw such galas.
Full disclosure: Tschaikovsky innately trumps anything Anglo. Suck it, we lose.
I've been fascinated by the Winter Olympics since I was a kid. Especially the hockey, which was my first true sports love. So I have this jingoism problem. You see, in a hockey sense, I really, really hate some other countries that, on the face of it, probably don't deserve it. I'm looking at you, Sweden. And you, Finland. The very notion of disliking Sweden or Finland for any reasons beyond spoiled fish in skunk mustard sauce or their craven national behaviors in the aforementioned major conflict should be a pretty serious clue that I have a serious need for antipsychotics here (and in case you don't know: Sweden was a neutral that profited from sales of war materiel to both sides, while Finland sided with the Germans, because they were terrified of the Soviets, until the Soviets kicked their asses and made them change sides).
Subsequent Olympics have only exacerbated the problem. When Vladislav Tretiak was revealed as one of the torch-lighters in Sochi, I recognized him and almost involuntarily hissed, to Ilse's great puzzlement (fucking GenXers, and fuck also my generation's upbringing with hammers and sickles populating our duck-and-cover dreams). I cursed vividly when I saw today that the Czechs (minus the Slovaks) will be the United States' opponent in the quarters. And you will have no trouble guessing who I detest first and best among hockey nations.
This is difficult, because who I detest second and second-best among mens' hockey nations this time around is us. There are maybe 6 guys on the US Olympic hockey team who don't make me want to slit my own throat in disgust. But my country's laundry is what it is. Contrast Sweden, whose hockey team I've hated since I was about 7; it includes three of my favorite Olympians (Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, and the aforementioned suave, debonair, and blindingly awesome King Henrik Lundqvist, if you're curious).
It gets worse. Of course I despise the Canadian mens' team. But I reserve the most spittle for their womens' team, who fundamentally cheated to beat the US women in group play (which doesn't matter--the final will be US-Canada). It appears I have a bit of a problem with Canadian women playing goal-scoring sports. But I'll just try to stick to nationalism here without hauling out the misogynist artillery.
Friend Jim has done his best to provide fine and healthy counsel on my larger sports hate problem (but ask him about Duke). My jingoism transcends even my routine homerism. Therein, of course, lies the rub when I try to make sense of the Olympics. Best for me to just eat the bread and roll with the circus, I think. And to play Civ V or FM when my television is showing Ilse her tiny ice ballerinas.