The Olympic Games started in Beijing today, and here’s why you should boycott them (by which I mean just don’t watch them on the TV, like how Rosa Parks refused to watch Hee Haw lo those many years ago):
With the same blithe, hand-rubbing glee of profiteers who assured us over the last 15 years that free markets in China would lead to free minds, IOC President Jacques Rogge was supremely confident that the Olympics (a hallowed institution from the birthplace of democracy, after all) would inspire the Chinese government to embrace Western-style free expression. Well, it didn’t really work. The menacing efficiency of Chinese information control has carried on apace in the form of online censorship and severe press restriction, and all the hallmarks of classic totalitarian stage management have been on display in a paternalistic Beijing grooming its citizens for Western exposure. Free markets haven’t led to free minds, nor have the Olympics.
Rogge’s plea to keep politics out of the Olympics, echoed by the Chinese government, is kind of ridiculous in the face of his statements about the event’s transformative power. By telling us the Olympics would have an impact on human rights in China, he made them political—and that’s how they should stay. Damn it. Even if you really like them and think all that political stuff is icky.
Boycott! (I know, I know, I too will miss beach volleyball, rhythmic gymnastics, and the one where the large women hurl the small metal ball.)