Feb 11, 2022, 05:57AM

The Olympics and Propaganda 

Watching the neoliberal Games, waiting for Russia to act.

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I had middling to high hopes for the Beijing Olympics, hopes driven by my understanding that China is growing into itself as a proud and unapologetic superpower, one poised to assume global hegemony as our own “civilization” succumbs to the wasting effects of transgenderism and mongrelization. I was wrong. The Olympics in their current guise are irredeemable.

With an hour to spare as Mother scraped out the chicken coops, I turned on the television to see this exercise in low American emotivism from a certain Mikaela Shiffrin, an apparently top-notch skier who, whatever her past achievements, has been botching it in China, skidding her way out of two marquee races.

Chin up, woman! A bit of the stiff upper lip! One can’t help but compare this young American woman’s whimpering with the stoicism of the Olympics’ Chinese athletes, who go about their business clear-eyed and with admirable powers of self-control, even in defeat; or with the Russian athletes, who are models of self-composure even as they’re forced to share an Olympic village with the Ukrainians who have been waging psychotic aggressive war against their country since 2014. (I’m serious when I wonder how the Russian athletes manage to sleep; night after night, murderous danger lurks nearby.)

Another evening, with another bit of time to kill as Mother and Sister Marie circumcised the winter lambs, I turned on the tube to see a procession of ludicrous events of the sort that have been introduced into the Winter Games over the last generation: some ugly business known as snowboardcross; admirably death defying but ultimately frivolous freestyle skiing; clumsy snowboard halfpipe theatrics.

These silly, ungainly X-Games-style contrivances epitomize the contemporary Winter Games as far as I’m concerned: conceived by drawling young pot-addled American morons, made for television, high on superficial flash—the sporting equivalents of Pop-Rocks, or, to put it another way, attempts to replicate in the flesh the cheap thrills of video games. Moreover, they have none of the roots in Alpine and northern culture that the venerable old Winter Olympics sports, from the various skiing disciplines to biathlon to hockey to speed skating to even curling, can boast.

Rootless, paper-thin, unnourishing, stupid, made to be consumed via screens: the contemporary Winter Olympics and so many of the sports that make them up are quintessentially neoliberal phenomena that do dishonor to China in its dignity and its might.


I’m starting to distrust my sources, to put it mildly.

Since the new year Twitter has echoed with voices screaming that a Russian solution to the Ukrainian problem—that is, a righteously annihilating blitzkrieg invasion—is coming any week now. No, even better: any day now, as soon as this or that piece of the Russian military apparatus assumes its position at this or that point on the border that Russia is, unfortunately, fated by history to share with a fascist Ukraine.

And then, nothing. To the point, in fact, where I am starting to wonder if the “erasure” of the Ukraine and the decimation (we can hope for more than decimation, but, to paraphrase the old line, one out of 10 ain’t bad) of its population will happen at all.

Perhaps my so-far dashed expectations are my fault. After all, the Tweeters and pundits who’ve raised my hopes by prognosticating the swift liquidation of the Ukrainian state and of a healthy plurality of its people are, largely, the same who spent the last almost seven years drumming up serial lunatic theories about Russian malfeasance in our voting system, the “Havana Syndrome,” Trump’s Gorbachev-era recruitment by the KGB, and so on.

I have, in other words, found myself in the peculiar situation of taking the forecasts of these American Establishment shills and propagandists seriously, even though before this December I would’ve assumed that every word they said about Russia was a malicious lie. Thus do hope and desire cloud the faculties of even those of us who consider us steeled to the methods of our media’s deployers of the technologies of anti-Russian racism–a phenomenon that I insist represents the chief human rights challenge of our time.

Meanwhile, something called the Kyiv[sic]Independent reports that far-right Slovakian lawmakers today made quite a show of desecrating the Ukrainian flag. A good day’s work on the legislators’ part, and one that gives hope that Central European support for the Ukrainians isn’t quite as solid as the Atlanticist fanatics would like to think it is.

I dream of a multi-front war against the Ukrainians, with anti-fascist Slovakia and Hungary attacking the Ukrainians from their side of things, blocking the westward paths of refugees as the holy Great Russian storm descends on the Ukraine from the north, south, and east.

A vain wish, of course, given these countries’ NATO memberships and current weakness. But things change, as Heraclitus taught us, and thanks to superior Russian statecraft NATO will likely not outlive this decade, and we will see how the dust settles when the hurly burly is done. 


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