Friday, February 10, 2006

I Am Immune From Olympic Fever

I'll never understand what the big fuss is all about, especially with the Winter Olympics, the unloved bastard child of the international athletic competition world. At least for the summer games, they put a little effort into keeping me entertained, like CNBC puts that thoroughly unnecessary Donnie Deutsch on hold for a couple of weeks to show round-the-clock women's beach volleyball, which is only the most pandering sport this side of NASCAR. Maybe in 2008, the IOC can make mudwrestling and foxy boxing official Olympic sports.

But for the winter games, they don't even bother to try. Just look at this year's mascot thingies, Neve and Gliz. Neve, the doodad on the left, is a hydrocephalic snowball with, uh, arms and legs?! That's not going to confuse any poor Botswanan children who've never seen snow before. Gliz is an anthropomorphized ice cube. No, I'm not kidding, one of the Olympic mascots comes out of my refrigerator door. At this point, I'm just gonna come right out and say it: can we stop having goddamn ten-year-olds design the Olympic mascots, because they keep winding up being retarded. Like these things from the Athens games that I'm pretty sure I saw guest starring in an episode of "Gumby" fifteen years ago, or this hyperactive freakjob from Atlanta.

Credit where credit's due, though: According to the official Torino 2006 website, Neve and Gliz are "easy to use commercially," so they have the whole whoring themselves out thing going in their favor. That little observation deserves to be juxtaposed against this one, taken from an IOC press release titled "TORINO 2006: Preserving The Purity Of The Games." The IOC writes, without a hint of irony, "To preserve the purity of the Games, the IOC does not allow advertising hoardings on the field of play, resulting in a clean venue and broadcast." Do the members of the IOC even watch the Olympics, or are they too busy taking bribes and fixing ice skating competitions to notice the ubiquitous mentions of Coca-Cola and Mastercard in the Olympic Village?

I also would like to know what the hell is up with NBC's bipolar promotions for the Winter Games. They have this one ad that goes something like, "Once every four years, the world comes together in brotherhood and harmony," and then not even two minutes later, they show another ad that goes, "Four years ago, the U.S. won more gold medals than ever before. But this year, the U.S. is gonna kick the rest of the world's ass even harder, just like we did in Iraq. We're bringing freedom and snowboarders to your country, bitch! Boo-yah!"