Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Sports

For someone who doesn't appreciate sports, I've been enjoying my share of the Winter Olympics on US television via NBC. Some tangential thoughts.

1) Identify the following flags (note: some may be flipped, rotated, fabricated, or unkempt):

[* See KEY to flags* below.]

2) Speaking of flags, a high proportion of flags at the Winter games bear crosses (Georgia's has five). Very few winter medal-winners' flags feature other designs such as the crescent, Star of David, or Wheel of Dharma. Deduction: Torture devices of the ancient Romans are important to nations interested in winter sports.

3) Figure skaters (or perhaps judges) seem to think that the music best suited to skating was composed in late 19th Century Russia. (It's not the only era represented, but it's the most likely one.) I'd like to see skating to something by Steve Reich--honestly. Clapping or Drumming or Piano Phase or, if worse comes to worse, Music for 18 Musicians:

4) I enjoy curling, but today I heard a commentator talk about the tremendous conditioning of the curling competitors. Don't bullshit a bullshitter, NBC.

5) In the USA, the tension between physical exuberance versus marketing, cheap myth-making, branding, jingoism, and mush is painful. Someday maybe we'll be able to watch the events we want to watch and not have them packaged by bloodless cynics.

[* KEY to flags: the point of this exercise is that a lot of flags are similar. That's the key.]

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