Sunday, April 13, 2008

Threat to taste

The article "Threat to Olympic Flame" by a Gwynne Dyer gives one an interesting insight into the workings of a journalist's mind.

[snipped; URL]

> His intention was to mock this
> pathetic neo-pagan ceremony that....

Wonder if being neo-pagan automatically makes one pathetic? What about just pagan? The journalist obviously believes in the One True God and the millions of "primitive" peoples whose souls still need to be saved. Unfortunately, pagans and heathens thrive in countries like India, China and Nepal. Or is this another not-too-subtle attack on China, and on cultural diversity.

> ..the revived Games got along without
> an international relay race just fine
> for forty years before the Berlin
> Olympics of 1936 -- but if there was
> one thing the Nazis did well, it was propaganda.

The world got along without the Games just fine for much more than forty years. This argument can be used to put any change in a derogatory light.

Ah, the Nazis. Anything the Nazis liked is bad, and anything they despised must deserve our sympathy. Surely this argument may not be admitted in an adult forum?

> Leni Reifenstahl even made a
> documentary film..

The name is spelt Riefenstahl, not Reifenstahl. Or is this the journalist's revenge at having Gwynne spelt incorrectly by others?

> This year’s Olympic Games were
> supposed to be Communist China’s
> coming-out-party, and the route
> is even more ambitious:.....

This is artless arrogance, given that China is not exactly a new civilization, and communist China is a reasonably-seriously-taken entity in world politics, nuclear state, world's largest army, one of the fastest growing economies of history, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and all that sort of thing.

> As England is the spiritual homeland
> of irony, so is Australia the world
> capital of mockery,.....

This reveals the journalist's narrow world-view. Doubtless similar titles exist (in the journalist's mind) for New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and the USA. That about covers the English-speaking world. There are a couple of other peoples who do not speak English, and yet can claim to be almost civilized. China, for example.

> After the propaganda triumphs for
> the “Free Tibet” movement in London..

The dictionary defines propaganda as "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature". So the journalist appears to be against the Tibetans, Nazis and the Chinese. Or for all three of them. A little confusing.

> Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has already
> said that the blue-track-suited
> Chinese thugs....

> The “thug” description is courtesy
> of Sebastian Coe....who was overheard
> on the phone...

This is quite a way to insult someone without taking responsibilty for the libel. Has Mr. Rudd accused the Chinese of being thugs? Or is it Mr. Coe who refers to them as thugs? Can an "overheard" (eavesdropped?) phone conversation be legitimately taken as one's stated views on a subject? In any case, even if the chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games does believe that the Chinese are thugs, surely that is his personal opinion, and not to be exhibited as objective truth, as our worthy journalist has chosen to do: the inverted commas around the word thug come
only in the second instance.

> It has become a nightmare for the poor,
> doomed Chinese bureaucrats who set this
> thing up.....

Ah, the journalist calls for sympathy for the Chinese! Or is this perhaps an example of the irony referred to earlier. Straight from the spiritual homeland, even.

Also, one admires the use of the word "bureaucrat", laden with associations far beyond the literal. Is the President of the USA a bureaucrat? The Permanent Secretary of the Treasury? Any official in an office? Or is this appelation only reserved for those in the East?

> So far, though, I haven’t been hearing
> much criticism.

Have you been listening to Chinese radio? Or is an opinion meaningful only if articulated in English?

> Never mind the silly torch,...

The silly torch is a symbol, like the silly flags and silly seals of all the silly people around the world who still believe in symbols.

> ..the actual Olympics Games of today.
> (An international athletics
> competition on the bottom...

Olympic Games, not Olympics Games.

And there is more to the Olympic Games than athletics. Like cycling, fencing and shooting. Or is it too much to expect a journalist to do some elementary research before broadcasting her valuable insights to the rest of us.

> What’s actually colliding here are
> two irreconcilable views of the world.

Try replacing "What's" with "What are", as there is more than one view that allegedly collides.

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