American exceptionalism at the Olympic Games

As a kid I watched the Olympics a lot.  I remember being charmed by CBC profiles of gymnasts who escaped the USSR and shoeless Ethiopian runners who used cinder blocks for strength training. To be sure CBC highlighted Canadian achievement at the Games, but it wasn't the emphasis.  Presenting the Olympic spirit of nations coming together really did seem to be the primary goal of their programming.

I only realized this might be a uniquely Canadian approach after sitting through a two weeks of NBC's Olympic coverage. It struck me that they talk almost exclusively about American athletes and in particular, those who win medals.  
American Brit Jessica Ennis wins gold. This picture no longer makes sense--except it shows Canada losing. 
Every night it's the same thing: a celebration of American superiourity in the pool, on the track, in the ring. It is all evidence of the undeniable fact that America is still the best nation in the world. After all, they beat out China in the medal count. What more proof do you want Obama?

To be fair there was some coverage of non-American athletes. Usain Bolt (a legend in his own words) and Oscar Pistorius (the South African who runs with two prosthetic legs) did receive considerable airtime.  While both are impressive in their own ways, doesn't profiling world's fastest man and a guy without legs seem kind of, like, obvious? Well done NBC for getting the low hanging fruit. 

The games of full of athletes with incredible stories. People who have found their way to the competition in spite of injury, financial hardship, and political oppression. Tell us about them NBC! Help us see the world for a few minutes from other points of view.  

My distaste for the whole "America is the best" shtick isn't just about being annoyed by two weeks of self congratulatory programming. Only exposed to winners, viewers miss some of the messiness of athletic competition: the false starts, disqualifications, and utter heartbreak that comes from not performing your best. I think the public is actually harmed by this sanitized version of sport (and by extension life).  They make it easy to forget that failure happens all the time, and at the highest levels and gives the impression somehow that Americans are immune.  

But maybe the only people who want to talk about American failure are me and Obama.

And I should add--none of this stopped me from tuning in every. single. night.   


Fall Makeup

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Notes: If you have any kind of darkness around your eyes you need to get 7. Buy it in the orange tint and it will totally zap any kind of dark blue or purple circles you have under your eyes. It works like a charm.  



just a random. blogs without pictures are boring.

now that i work from home/have no life/don't know anyone i have more time to devote to my one true love: cruising the internets. i'm reading, pinning and starring like a mad woman.

be the beneficiary of my wasted time.

eugina williamson tells this american life to grow up. she for one is sick of the way they "massage painful realities into puddles of personal experience" and their "preference for pathos over tragedy." zinger!

why buy the song when you get the music for free? wish i would have known about this site before i spent a small fortune in itunes for justin beiber songs. here's is a quick tutorial on how to get your free tunes. (full disclosure: it's probably not legal in the USA. fuller disclosure: i don't care).

i've been looking at this fashion blog all morning.  it is an new england wet dream. the author spends weekends in martha's vineyard, stays at the waldorf when in NYC and she personal friends with lilly pulitzer. did i mention she looks like kate middleton? she does.