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Competition at its finest

I didn't watch the whole thing by any means, but for a while tonight, I put the Olympic opening ceremonies on in the background while I worked. It's hard for me to feel too jazzed about the Games--the coverage we have here is extremely partisan and talk-heavy. At some point, even though they're the same people who talk about the purity of competition, the TV wonks decided that the only appealing competitions are those where Americans win. And how bizarre it was to hear announcements that this partisanship is now extended to corporate sponsors, as though Coke and McD's need "protection." Maybe this can all be traced back to the Dream Team, when they wore flags to cover up their Reebok logos as they stood on the medal platform. That kind of cynicism only seems to get deeper.

Anyhow, I watched pieces of the opening ceremony, which to my mind has become only slightly less annoying than listening to songs whose lyrics have been written specifically for movies. Those are the worst. But listening to Bob Costas and Katie Couric explain the painfully obvious symbolism of the choregoraphy ("This is cube man, and he symbolizes humanity's evolution as a logical being." "The runner stumbles and falls to the ground here to symbolize World War I.") helped it climb the charts. Add to that the woeful, MST-wannabe observations--of Alexander the Great, who was apparently at one time an average Olympic sprinter, Costas remarked, "In atheletics, at least, he was only Alexander the So-So." Yuk yuk.--and I'm glad that I didn't watch more than I did. I like Costas quite a bit, but listening to him annotate the whole thing, and from a script that others probably wrote for him, was enough to send me looking for infomercials.