Saturday, July 28, 2012

London 2012: The Ultimate "Shiny Object"?

We thought this was the kind of stuff they only did in places like North Korea - throwing extravagant, lascivious mega-events while the population starved.

Seems like the West is morphing in the direction too, as the British government seems intent on using the London Olympics as the ultimate "shiny object" to distract the people from their onrushing doom.  The New York Times, shockingly,  makes the point, albeit with a coat of sugar:

That the Olympics come at a time of deep economic malaise, with Britain teetering on the edge of a double-dip recession, the government cutting billions of dollars from public spending, and Europe lurching from crisis to crisis, made the scene a bit surreal, even defiant in the face of so much adversity.

The crowd in the stadium sat in a bubble of excitement...But out in the rest of the country, critics have been questioning the expense, the ubiquitously heavy-handed security apparatus, and the rampant commercialism of the Games.

Tax dollars, wisely spent

In The Guardian, the columnist Marina Hyde said government officials appeared to be rashly depending on the Olympics, which cost an estimated £9.3 billion (or $14.6 billion), to save the country’s struggling economy virtually single-handedly.

Referring to a British track-and-field star, Ms. Hyde wrote that according to the government’s thinking, “Jessica Ennis winning gold is no longer merely a sporting aspiration but something that would cause a massive and immediate recalibration of the balance of payments.”

And, like all government-funded projects, the Opening Ceremonies had more than their share of Lefty propaganda:

The ceremony, too, reflected the deeply left-leaning sensibilities of Mr. Boyle. It pointedly included trade union members among a parade of people celebrating political agitators from the past, a parade that also included suffragists, Afro-Caribbean immigrants who fought for minority rights, and the Jarrow hunger marchers, who protested against unemployment in 1936...Aiden Burley, a Conservative member of Parliament,denounced on Twitter what he referred to as the ceremony’s “leftie multicultural” content.

“The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen — more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state!” he posted grumpily.

(more at Legal Insurrction, including a dance to celebrate...the NHS? Obama is taking notes, no doubt...)

But it's not just the politicians. A more typical complaint in the comment section of a Sun UK  piece about the lavish, $27M+ opening ceremonies:

This whole circus is a monument to stupidity and a complete waste of public money. If politicians tell us that they are interested in our health, why are they spending a disproportionate amout of public money to bolster the commercial interests of the world's professional athletes and future white elephant stadiums and venues when the money should be distributed for the benefit of all British people's sports and recreation. This nonesense encourages couch potatoes to watch TV who then drink and smoke whilst the government collects more tax with the expectation that people's life expectancies are diminished thus reducing the time they could be expected to receive pensions...

Jeesh.  Guy almost sounds like a...Tea Partier, or something.

You think the Brits are resentful now?  Wait until the Games are over, the lights are turned out, and the newly-built stadiums are left empty to rot, all while their taxes continue to rise, their rights continue to shrink, and their prospects begin to look not dissimilar to a certain Korean state...

The British government is hoping the ultimate shiny object will blind the people to their depressed standard of living.  Me, I'm not so sure that's gonna work...

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