Monday, February 17, 2014

an olympic rage: in which i am an elitist judgmental snob

We've been enjoying a nice respite from family movie nights and reality in general by watching the Olympics whenever we have a spare moment. We don't get to it enough to watch the cool stuff, like curling, and it seems like I'm watching one particular ice dancing routine over and over, but we have seen some snowboarding and cross country skiing and finally some bobsledding. I'm surprised how much I enjoy watching the actual sports and how exciting it can be. 

Which is why I think NBC should be sent away for some reparative therapy and the gospel for their treatment of Bode Miller in prime time last night. For those of you who were fortunate enough to miss it, after tying for bronze medal, an NBC interviewer accosted Bode not to ask questions about the technicalities of his run but instead to focus her ratings driven reportorial gaze on his personal life, reducing him, finally, to a weeping broken fetally positioned puddle of sorrow. NBC filmed it, edited it and ran with it. And I and Matt rushed desperately around looking for the remote trying to end the anguish and despair, crying out in rage at out helpless condition of having to watch something so inappropriate and weird we might as well have been in a Real Housewives of New Jersey set. To try to connect us emotionally to a grown man at the top of his sport, as if his skiing is so inconsequential that we can't be bothered to care about it, that what really matters is that his brother recently died and that he has a hot hot hot Olympian wife whose every word must be audible to the entire American public, is shameful.

I know there are a lot of factors bringing American culture and life into a cesspool of debauched stupidity, tv being one of those at the top of the list. There's a reason we don't ever watch it except for the Super Bowl and....hmmm....I think we watched something some time ago but I can't remember what it was. So anyway, I know that one reason tv is so dumb is because the people who watch it are dumb and we accept the stupidity and become stupider for accepting it. And one of the stupid things about America is that we (and I use 'we' here very loosely so as to not include myself) don't care about real things, real objective true things, we only care about how it makes us feel. So what's going on in the world is not important to me unless I can feel something about it and since I don't have any feeling about Syria, who the hell cares anyway. Bring it to sports and the actual sport is a great bore to me unless I know something about each sporting person, something about their intimate life, that let's me feel "connected" to them and then I'll awaken my dull dull mind to some kind of feeling and watch them slide down a melting snowy slope. Except for ice dancing, apparently I'll watch that all day long with no problem.

Do I sound bitter? I am. I'm made so tired by American civic appeals to my emotions. It's like when I couldn't get out of the hospital without watching the Shaken Baby Syndrome video. Six times I had to watch it. And do you know how they tried to guarantee that I won't shake my tender and precious offspring? By trying to make me fear, emotionally fear, that I might accidentally do it. I might just so lose control of myself, as a hormone soaked dumb young mother, that when the baby cries, I might just pick it up and shake it. Not one rational, logical, objective, fact based appeal to my intelligence and mind was made in the Shaken Baby Video. 

Americans, I think, love to see other Americans cry. And they'll goad and push until it happens. And every time it gets a little more boring and a little more stupid. Because there's so little appeal to the mind, to real thought and intelligence, the emotions and feelings careen around our lives like overwhelming little Honey Boo Boos. "Watch this! It will make you cry!" we lob heart wrenching youtube videos back and forth through cyber space trying to feel something and "connect" to others. But the less there is the more immediately the feeling dissipates and we have to looking for another fix.


Jill C. said...

Some things to consider (and I saw the whole episode as well): is it possible they asked permission ahead of time to interview him in that regard? Is it possible he could've walked away from the camera and interviewer? Is it possible that a coach or friend could've come up and put their hands in front of the camera and said, "no more, all done!"?

Anonymous said...

TV- yes- seems like any time I am finally convinced to watch 'whatever' series I end up being really depressed about it. Could not even get through the first episode of Downton Abbey, though it gets rave reviews.

We don't have a telly here, and haven't really missed it. Of course, I do waste just as much time on the computer. :P


Kat said...

I read an interesting article yesterday pointing out that the Media seems to rediscover Bode Miller every 4 years. First, it was because he was home-schooled by "hippie" parents, and grew up using an outhouse. Then he was the "bad boy" who partied too much for their liking, and apparently Bob Costas, in 2006, literally said he'd be "unceremoniously forgotten" Now, it's all about the dead brother and the hot new wife, and the custody battle with the mother of his year old son.

He, at least, says he doesn't blame the reporter and she "didn't mean to push" Whether that part is true or not, NBC chose to air it, instead of edit it out.

I'm sure Bode Miller wishes they'd focus on his skiing! Not the outhouse. Not his partying. Not the dead brother or the custody battle. Being the oldest Alpine skier to medal EVER, and the most decorated US Skier in history.

And then, just maybe, they could have aired an interview with his US competitor, Andrew Weibrecht, who won SILVER, to his Bronze.

NBC should be ashamed of themselves.