April 07, 2008

I Don't Want to Put You Out, But...

I'm sorry, perhaps I'm being a little cynical, but can I explain how ridiculous I find the Olympic torch relay?

Take a look at the route it takes. The freaking thing is better-travelled than most people! What a kick in the teeth! Here we all are trying to be good to the environment (and criticising the Olympic hosts on a daily basis, I might add, for spewing greenhouse gases), and some lantern gets to swagger around the globe leaving a bigger carbon footprint than most U2 tours!

And for what? Some half-baked, histrionic tradition that's not even one hundred years old! Okay, so I get it, it's a symbol; look how harmonious nations are! We can make fire together! But as a symbol of peace between nations it has more irony than a hipster's t-shirt collection, given that the first ever torch relay was held at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin (you know, the one where all that great Hitler stock footage comes from) — and we all know what a harmonious period in world history that year marked the start of.

Not only that, but just the sheer amount of time and money that goes into planning the damn thing, nowadays! The lantern is carried around the world on airplanes, to re-light the torches when they go out (or are put out by protesters trying to put it out, or police trying to stop protesters trying to put it out); it's booked into hotels with a team of ten minders; and then each country gets to share a little bit of the joy by providing police and crowd control along the way! Why not put all that effort into, I don't know, addressing some of the human rights issues that everyone seems so upset about? It wouldn't actually take all that much more to, say, house all the Chinese workers who were forcibly removed from their homes to make way for the Olympic village in Beijing.

I'm all for a good symbolic tradition, don't get me wrong. That whole Easter egg thing is right up my alley. But I don't understand why everyone needs this damn torch carried around the world to show that international relations are fantastic, because, (a) they're not, and (b) don't the actual Olympics kind of serve the same purpose, as far as symbolism goes? I say, let's spend less time worrying about some stupid flame, and more time worrying about a car accident that happened eleven years ago.

No, wait.

2 comments:

vinny said...

Holy crap! Dodi al Fayed is dead?!? Who the feck is running Harrods?!

chrisdye said...

Yep, dead as a Dodi.

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