Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's Cool To Be Ignorant...About Protesters that Is.

I went looking for articles about any protests of the winter Olympic Games in Torino on the internet, and the first thing I found was this non-article in which some hack brags about his ignorance for two pages. It falls into the genre of non-story which may be especially reserved for left-wing activism. The theme is "who are these people? Gosh, I don't understand them, and who could? Aren't they silly? Aren't I funny? yuk yuk." I don't understand how someone could come to the conclusion that his own complete failure to do any actual research says something about the people he went looking for and didn't find. But, I guess in this world, if the guy from Newsweek didn't see it at the train station, it must not exist.

I did watch more of the winter games than I'd like to admit, so I noticed that there was a lot of corporate advertizing and no discussion of anything meaningful about Torino. One thing that missed the mainstream media coverage of the games was that the Torino City Council recently passed a coca-cola boycott for the whole town. Now this is appropriate in a country where people refer to anything annoyingly American as "fiume di coca cola," and doubly so in a place about to be taken over by corporate America for two weeks. The Guardian does have a clearer explanation of the protests against the Olympic torch as it made its way through Italy, as well as critics of the damage done to Torino by the Olympic sports arenas and the Olympic Village. Reuters' coverage, now at Yahoo news, was OK too. From that report, you can bet Torino was an armed camp in preparation for G8 style protests. ( several of the anti-protester/anti-anarchist articles there were references to the killing of the Italian protestor in Genoa as the result of some kind of anarchist" violence. "Predictable, but sad anyway.)
Dave Zirin, author of "What's My Name, Fool?" and frequent commenter on WBAI, has an article that I think is generally accurate, although since the standard of US Olympic coverage has been so bad in the past, I'd have to agree with one of the comments after his article who said it wasn't anywhere near as bad as it was four yers ago and more; at least they covered events w/no American contenders (Cross Country Skiing) did feature stories on non-US athletes like Croatian Anja Pearson, and one of the cheesy-corporate sponsor movies was a story about the history of Chinese figure skating involving archival clips of the coach, Yao Bin, in his first olympics. Now, if Zirin had analyzed the post-cold war nature of this new corporate global empire, he could have said more about that weird little tale of China.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, that is one long article above this one - anyway, I thought you might be interested in this diary at Kos about United Mine Workers of America, Local #1972 and Decker Coal Company:

"...My stepdad was one of the 15. I'll never forget that day, when he and my mom came home from the union hall, fresh from the announcement of the terms presented to the union membership. We had been so excited that it was finally over, that we could get back to normal again. But when he walked through the door, he looked so tired and old to me. There was no smile, no pride of victory, no confirmation that his fervent belief in the power of unity had prevailed. Just a wearied, beaten man with the fate of his union brothers and sisters on his shoulders...."