I’m not going to regurgitate this article – you can read it. I just wanted to speak quickly and subjectively about these Olympics.
I’ve had a weird feeling about these Games. I think of Beijing and for some reason I think about this Rolling Stone article I read about how China is basically becoming technocratic is so many ways, it’ll make your head spin (and scientists will count those spins too.) Everything is being watched by something or someone – it’s almost if it’s kind of an experiment on control.
On one hand, you have China’s very obvious issues with state-run oppression and suppression of anything deemed too political. On the other, much larger hand, you have commericialism at its height. A Communist country selling itself to the world, but not politically. You have to understand the moment here – you have a merging powerhouse Communist nation with so much capitalistic appeal to the West they HAD to make sure Beijing had basically the best Games possible. The article reads that China (with help from the West I’m sure) spent $40 billion to put on this show. Think about that. 40,000,000,000 dollars. A fast spending, easily entertained people in a politically controlled, technocratic environment? Something’s giving me the bubble guts….and it’s not the food I had for lunch.
On another front – You have to wonder if something like what Smith and Carlos did 40 years ago could’ve happened in today’s climate – not totally from a fear of the state standpoint as Americans…..but because of the general apathy towards human rights by most. (I say this with the vicious bite of irony and mindful hypocrasy, given my current job – but really only I have to deal with that in my heart/mind…one way or another. And I actually think this experience with equip me with a lot more than most – more on this in another blog posting.)
With our news cycle spinning and spinning around ideas in our heads….who knows how a recreation of that moment would work in our age. A part of me wishes it DID happen at these Games, in some form or fashion. With a hypocritcally raised, and therefore muted fist in the air, I salute Smith and Carlos and those who continue to work for true equality everywhere in the world, then and now.
I have to say….as I look at the photo up top, I look at it with an unequivocal sense of pride, courage, and strength.
I also look at it with a sense of anger (for a variety of reasons)…..confusion……and even a sense of shame – both objective and personal.