Watching the Vancouver 2010 Olympics from abroad provides a unique perspective. I’m in Amsterdam at the moment, outside the Van City snow globe, and thus perhaps a little less attached to a foreigner’s perception of these Games.
Or not. Based on the early returns, I’d have to say… up yours, Heather Havrilesky and Rick Reilly. Both are American-based writers – Havrilesky for salon.com, and Rick Reilly for espn.com. Both are fairly acclaimed and normally entertaining writers (although having read Reilly in Sports Illustrated since I was a kid, I can say that he’s a shadow of the writer he once was). And both recently ripped Canada a new one for both the opening ceremonies and the stereotypical attributes of Canadians in their respective columns this past week. And not in the normal, fun-loving satirical way either.
What’s that you say? We’re too polite? Too boring? We say “eh” a lot? Wow – fresh stuff. About as fresh as Apolo Anton Ohno’s soul patch.
Yeah, Vancouver’s opening ceremonies were at times full of cringe-inducing fromage and jingoism. Name one Olympics in the past 50 years where you couldn’t say the exact same. From a country that always has an Ashlee Simpson or a Toby Keith vomiting into a microphone while fighter jets fly overhead at its big events, you really don’t have a leg to write on. Yeah, we screwed up on the torch-pillar-thing. Nice work on the Obama swearing-in, where the most powerful man in the free world had to awkwardly mumble his way through and then have a do-over the next day. Yeah, our Zamboni failure sucked the drama out of the men’s 500-meter speed skating event. Er… YEAH.
The point is: lambaste us for something original, say something you haven’t said or heard a thousand times before, and step your own game up before talking shit.
P.S. For an idea of what constitutes legitimate and funny skewering check out Steve Almond’s salon article:
(Thanks to Jeff Funnekotter for the contribution. Follow his travel blog at www.funnekotter.blogspot.com)