VINO VINO ROSSO

I just don’t know.

I hate UB40.

So, when you hear this version of this song, which is absolutely marvellous… have they completely ruined it for you or can you salvage the good song for your own playlist? I know that neil diamond of all fucking people actually wrote it but nevertheless I am going with this one…

CAN YOU HAVE ONE STIGMATA?

Is one stigmata a stigmatum?

Today I am actually quite pleased. It is the first time I have had stitches that can’t be attributed to my own clumsiness.

Do you see the ugly looking point on the right side of that lock? That just went through my hand.

In a complete accident during a game, I had my hand on that and a kid happened to kick it from the other side and it went through.

I am actually delighted for a few reasons.

1. Very luckily there was no serious damage to tendons or anything.

2. I now know what the inside of my hand looks like because he squeezed it in the hospital to look for tendon damage and some of it glooped out and back in.

3. For once I got some stitches without it being my own clumsy bastard fault.

4. I can now apply for Padre Pios job [the old fraud] because I am half qualified for it now.

But the serious point is that if you have ever been to an accident and emergency department with something minor then you quickly blow it off because the other people you see in the department are definitely having a much worse time than you.

Well… thats what happened to me today.

DAVE ZIRIN ON THE OLYMPICS

I think he has called this just about right. I mentioned a few of these things in previous posts but he has put it together well here…

DAVE ZIRIN – THE 2008 OLYMPICS: SUBTERRANEAN ROT

Not since Marco Polo has anyone traveled so far up China’s Silk Road with such amoral élan. But there was Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, knight of the court of King Leopold’s Belgium, three-time Olympian in the grand sport of yachting – standing astride Beijing at the close of the 2008 Olympic games. In front of a stunning 90,000 at the Games’ closing ceremony, he said, “Tonight, we come to the end of sixteen glorious days which we will cherish forever. Through these games, the world learned more about China, and China learned more about the world.”

But what did the world really learn? From NBC’s ratings-rich coverage alone, not all that much. We learned that China is remarkably beautiful, Michael Phelps can really swim and Usain Bolt is truly quite fast. Oh, and there are pandas there. some of whom died in the Sichuan earthquake. We can’t forget about the pandas.

As the Washington Post’s veteran columnist Thomas Boswell wrote in his last missive from Beijing:

“In all my decades at The Post, this is the first event I’ve covered at which I was certain that the main point of the exercise was to co-opt the Western media, including NBC, with a splendidly pretty, sparsely attended, completely controlled sports event inside a quasi-military compound. We had little alternative but to be a conduit for happy-Olympics, progressive-China propaganda. I suspect it worked.”

I applaud Boswell for his honesty, but it is hard to not have contempt for the aside that “we had little alternative” but to dance the infomercial shuffle.

Boswell and the press made a choice the moment they stepped on China’s soil.

They chose not to seek out the near two million people evicted from their homes to make way for Olympic facilities.

They chose not to report on the Chinese citizens who tried to register to enter the cordoned off “protest zones” only to find themselves in police custody. (A shout out here to all who will find themselves shortly in similar “protest zones” in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul.)

They chose not to report on the Tibetan citizens removed from their service jobs by state law for the duration of the games.

They chose not to ask what $42 billion, the price tag of the games, could have meant to earthquake ravaged Sichuan.

They chose to not point out the bizarre hypocrisy of seeing Michael Phelps–with full media fanfare–taking a group of Chinese children to their first meal at McDonalds. (Even though Phelps famously eats 12,000 calories a day during training, I can’t imagine much of it comes from Mickey D’s.)

They chose not to report on the foreign nationals who as of this writing, are still being held in Chinese prisons for daring to protest. (According to the Associated Press, the US Embassy pleaded with China to free protesters, gently suggested, that China could stand to show “greater tolerance and openness.”)

They chose not to ask why George W. Bush was the first US president to attend the Olympics on foreign soil, and why the State Department last April took China off its list of nations that commit human rights violations.

They chose not to ask whether it was a conflict of interest for General Electric to both own NBC and be one of the primary sponsors of the games as well as the supplier of much of the games’ electronic security apparatus, including 300,000 close circuit cameras. All indications are that these cameras will most likely remain in place once the world has turned its attention elsewhere.

They chose not to ask and re-ask the question of why the games were in Beijing in the first place, considering that Rogge and Beijing organizing committee head Liu Qi both promised that the Olympics would come alongside significant improvements in human rights.

As Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch said:

“The reality is that the Chinese government’s hosting of the games has been a catalyst for abuses, leading to massive forced evictions, a surge in the arrest, detention and harassment of critics, repeated violations of media freedom, and increased political repression. Not a single world leader who attended the games or members of the IOC seized the opportunity to challenge the Chinese government’s behavior in any meaningful way.”

The legacy of these games will be in no short order: China’s dominance, in winning more gold medals than the US; the aquatic dominance of Phelps; and the blistering triumph of Bolt and the Jamaican sprinters. But we should also remember the ravaging of a country, sacrificed at the altar of commercialism and “market penetration.” And we should recall a mainstream press, derelict in its duty, telling us they had “little alternative” but to turn this shandeh into a globalization infomercial.

Liu Qi called the Olympics “a grand celebration of sport, of peace and friendship.” Not quite. Instead it was a powerful demonstration of the way the elephants of the east and west can link trunks and happily trample the suffering grass.
England, you’re next. And you thought the blitzkrieg was rough.

First published at thenation.com

[Dave Zirin is the author of  the forthcoming "A People's History of Sports in the United States" (The New Press) Receive his column every week by emailing dave@edgeofsports.com. Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com.]

ABSURDNESS FOR SATURDAY

Rage against the machine went on stage at the Reading music festival dressed like this.

The BBC report about the gig said this…

Rage Against The Machine have returned to the Reading Festival with a passionate headline performance on the main stage.

They made a political statement from the start, coming on stage dressed in orange jumpsuits and fully hooded, a probable reference to US foreign policy. They then proceeded to play opening song Bombtrack in the costumes.

Lets look at that line again, did you notice?

“a probable reference to US foreign policy”

Good grief.

But then, there is the better side to the BBC which is making programmes like this…

If you want a laugh this saturday then this is what you have to watch..

CLINTON: HIS STRUGGLE WITH DIRT

LITTLE STORIES AND WASP SNUFF FILMS

There are always little dramas going on around you, and I have decided to declare this cryptic wednesday.

Today I happened to be walking past an outdoor swimming pool and something caught my eye, so I filmed it.

It was these two videos [they are 20 seconds each]…

Seeing this put me in a strange mood so I decided to walk around the pool and see what else was dead. The pictures aren’t great but you get the idea…

All kinds of different species, in just one tiny little pool.

Also, if you are one of the sick individuals who found this post after searching for snuff films then I think you are fucking despicable.

MORE OLYMPIC STRANGENESS

I haven’t been watching much of the olympics but I turned the TV on the other day and they were talking about the history of table tennis in China.

They mentioned that during the cultural revolution sport was frowned upon and things like that.

Then they started talking about Deng Xiaoping who may have been directly responsible for the Tiannanmen massacre. At any rate, he is reported to have spoken in praise of the officers and soldiers involved.

However, the BBC entirely neglected to mention this and described him as a ‘political visionary’ and as the man who ‘revolutionised chinese table tennis’. Apparently this is because he allowed them to change the way they hold the bat.

It’s like a reporter from the 13th century describing Genghis Khan as being notable for changing the way people wear hats.

Don’t get me wrong, they don’t cover non-chinese politicians any better like when Bush recently said..

“Russia has invaded a sovereign neighbouring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people, such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century.”

and they report it without anyone saying ‘hang on a minute…’

It is simply what everyone knows…the goalposts have moved on who is a good butcher and who is a bad one..

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