So Brian Williams and Bob Costas are sitting there commenting on the parade of athletes in the Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Just to be sure. It's the parade of athletes. Yes athletes. Hello? Could someone phone Brian Williams and Bob Costas and remind them that it's the parade of friggin' athletes?
The Iranian delegation goes by. The discussion is something like "Iran, a country under such pressure right now. The new president is very controversial. He has called for the annihilation of Israel. He has run a competition sponsoring cartoons about the Holocaust. A lot of anti-Americanism from that country". Yes. Not a single word about the athletes. Helllloooo! Last I checked Ahmadinejad is not in the fucking athlete's parade. Oh wait, is that him over there in the burqa? Hell no! Jeez.
Denmark goes by. It's approximately: "you might have heard of all the anti-Islamic cartoons that started in that country. The Danish delegation has been the subject of much attention. As if security wasn't a big enough issue for the hosts." Again not a word about the athletes. What they're competing in. Where they have the best hopes for success.
The spiel on the delegation from Lebanon was, and I got this almost verbatim: "Lebanon. Used to be called the Paris of the Middle East. But it's been wracked by Civil War for so long. Let's hope they can keep the peace there." WTF? I mean what the fuck? Lebanon is not exactly the ultimate crucible of snow and ice sport athletes. I'd like to know who from Lebanon had the guts to give it a shot. In which sports?
When Canada, France, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and the like go by, OK. They actually say something about sport. To be sure, even this generosity is framed entirely in the parochial context of the U.S., as in: "Netherlands used to be dominant in short track until recently when they've been upstaged by the United States" or "the lone Ethiopian athlete learned to ski in New York and earned a skiing scholarship to [some US college]."
Disgusting. Just disgusting. Not only is this farce an insult to the athletes, who are not just cardboard proxies for whatever tiny window into geopolitics NBC news opens up for its news audience. It's also an insult to the intelligence of the audience. As if we are not capable of appreciating the glorious diversity of competitors that is, after all, the ostensible point of the Olympics.