Thanks to the wonders of DVR and the internet, I have been able to keep up with what NBC considers to be highlights of the XXII Winter Olympics at Sochi, a place long considered to be the Soviet Riviera in its Workers Paradise because of its resorts – only for the party elite, mind you, because "some animals are more equal than others" – in an area that is strangely sub-tropical (despite its location on the same latitude as Cape Cod).
Note , by the way, the reports of wonderment about the temperature, with an example this morning about the women's cross country skiing events seeing participants in sleeveless tops due to the fact that it was as high as 60° on the course. No one has so far put together the fact of the weather in association with the "sub-tropical" location. It would be like holding the Winter Olympics in the southern Piedmonts, around Dahlonega, Georgia (though, paradoxically enough, Dahlonega would be a better location at the moment, other than the blizzards).
Despite my frustration with the choices of NBC in
programming (and thankful that this time at least I am no longer subjected to
the blatant political drivel of Keith Olbermann), I am an avid viewer as always
of the Olympic Games, and since the split of the scheduled years for the Summer
and Winter Olympics, I have a welcome respite every other year from the dark
gulf between football seasons.
If we are to rely on the journalists – and we have no
real choice, unfortunately – the major story so far has been how miffed they
are at their accommodations. True, it's already bad enough that so many third
world countries advise you to not drink the water, but to be warned to not touch
the water, because it's "dangerous", does attract a bit of
interest. But some of the stories, involving some not-uncommon situations I have seen in my time outside of CONUS, make one wonder if these press types
have ever been past Newark.
None of them are old enough, it would clearly seem, to
remember the Soviet phase of Russian history, and they clearly aren't inclined
to break free of their J-school indoctrination to actually, you know, study
the Cold War, assuming that they are even aware that anything amiss occurred
outside of the era of McCarthyism. Otherwise they wouldn't be surprised
at the shoddy work done by the descendants of the generations ('survivors'
would be a more accurate term) of workers who lived with an attitude of
"They pretend to pay us; we pretend to work."
That same mind-set would partly explain the NBC narration
of the opening ceremony. We don't know who wrote the copy, but Peter
Dinklage (of the current Game of Thrones fame) read the script which
included the astonishing lines that the Soviet Union was an "empire that
ascended to affirm a colossal footprint, the revolution that birthed one of
modern history's pivotal experiments." This sets the tone that
correlates with the scene of the opening ceremony wherein, after a ponderous
red-lit panoply of huge, flying machine parts and rockets and sickles and busts
of Marx, it peters out to a small girl hovering over the quieting scene,
letting loose a red balloon that drifts away, symbolizing a strangely poignant
feeling of a child's loss.
It is an odd symbology that marks a 20th century so beset
with killing, the most deadly epoch in the history of mankind. The huge
socialist empires in Nazi Germany, Communist China, and the Soviet Union,
driven by cults of personality, contended to see which could kill the
most. The lesser socialist regimes – such as Cuba, North Korea, the
Congo, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Viet Nam and others – did their part to keep up, but the
scale of death from the three empires was astounding in its magnitude.
The Nazis slaughtered millions in a relatively short time, the Chinese killed
millions of mostly their own people, but the Soviets kept up their carnage for
longer, from the Russian Revolution, the Civil War, the destruction and
starvation of the Kulaks, the Gulag, and the Reign of Terror so efficiently
carried out by the KGB in its variety of forms and names. The Russians
cite some 20 million dead in World War II – what they call their Great
Patriotic War (the Western Front was really a big side-show, looking at the
numbers involved – as the Germans certainly did), but a significant percentage
of that 20 million was self-inflicted. To paraphrase Lenin: so
many spoiled omelets, so many broken eggs.
But it's not surprising to hear this political dreck from
the same effete Commentariat, like Barbara Walters swooning over Fidel
Castro. (This is the same Walters who last Christmas publically expressed
her disappointment – there's a connection – that Obama wasn't "the next
messiah".) But what do you expect from the Establishment
Media? These are the same sorts who wrote puff pieces about Saddam
Hussein in order to maintain a comfortable presence in Baghdad.
Mark Twain's words still apply, even though the news is no longer confined to sheets of paper: "If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”