The Five-Ring Circus

OlyI am glad to be safe from any interest in Olympic sports. It is not because I dislike sportspeople, or other countries, or healthy exercise – far from it. Some of the cleverest people have been sportspeople, as long as they were not Yogi Berra or O.J. Simpson. Other countries are the mainstay and staple of tourism, whether they are sending theirs here or absorbing ours there. And healthy exercise is good for you and bad for the medical profession.

No…I am estranged from sports for the same reason I avoid video games; I hate wasting time in pointless activities. The zealots who will leap into the air and trumpet how important and costly and glorious sports are must finally come to the kernel of the thing; most sports are based upon moving something somewhere in defiance of someone else or doing a pointless thing better than someone else. The only sports that seem to have an anchor in reality were formulated to develop skills shooting firearms and that just raises a squawk these days.

Other people who follow international sport will parade flags, slogans, and traditions in an attempt to prove their national superiority over others. They would be ashamed of this braggadocio if it were done with brown shirts and political armbands but they are cheerfully prepared to do it in tiny bathing suits. They tell us that people really do care about the fastest person in a swimming contest without seeing that it is only vicarious nationalist pride. I can’t help feeling that they would cheer sending an Olympic gun battery to produce an artillery barrage provided it was a sufficient distance from them that they need not fear counter-battery fire.

Ah, you say, but The Spectacle! The sight of all those people marching! The Colour! The Atmosphere! The Emotional High! And the Money! The Money…!

Yeah, the money. Funny how it always comes down to the money. We could spend the same amount of money doing lots of other things that could raise a cheer and improve the country, but we don’t.

For instance we could take a census…*

  • It’s an Australian joke, folks, like drop bears and raw prawns…





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