Watching the Olympics

I’m trying not to be interested.

I’d much rather run than watch someone else run.

They may be better athletes than I, but so are Rusty, or Aaron or Micah. I can watch them running most weeks.

I also object to the nationalism I am subjected to. If the point is to watch good atheletes, what does it matter what country they come from. A friend asked me “Aren’t you proud of your country?” After some thought, I must confess I am not. I am ashamed. Quite deeply ashamed now I think of it. I think my country has behaved atrociously in the last decade. We are like a big bully in external affairs, internally we have elevated supidity to an art form. (As Walt Kelly put it “We can out stupidify the Russians!”). We seem unwilling to take any responsibility for our actions. Why should pride in my country mean I want to watch athletics anyway? Doubtless the New York Stock Exchange is a marvel in its way, but I have no desire to watch it either.

I like to do things. Watching other people do things is either boring or jealousy-making.

Anyway, I don’t own a television. (And I still have dial up).

So I can’t.

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6 Responses to “Watching the Olympics”

  1. franfinney Says:

    George, George, George!
    I get it that you have no television. That IS a huge obstabcle to viewing the Olympics – or any other televised sport.

    But if you have an opportunity to watch some of the distance runners – it CAN be somewhat interesting and informative. I like to watch the runners, the cyclists, and the swimmers -all elite in their sports. I marvel at the range of body types and techniques. The marathon female runners, for example. Some are short and solid. Some are tall and lanky. Some have a quick, powerful gait. Some are loose and easy. Some even look tight and awkward. Yet they are all outstanding performers. I watch them and wonder what they all have that gives them that special edge. I look for similarities and differences. It’s fun! (IF you can keep it from being jealousy-making. . .)

  2. drea Says:

    George,

    Despite US failings, we also have many successes and we “try” more than any other country. We offer “aide” and support to more nations than anyone else. The US is still an amazing country and I truly believe that most intellegent people here want to do the right thing. And we have tolerance, we do. We allow freedom of religion, of speach, of gender, of orientation…. It’s a good place to be. I wouldn’t want to grow up in China!

  3. georgeruns Says:

    Well, in a way we give more foreign aid. As a raw number we do. But we’ve a big economy and a largish population. As a percentage of GDP we rank last in the developed world. We give 0.16% of our GDP. The developing world agreed to a .7% target in 1970 and we are nowhere near that; currently Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands are the only countries who reach that level.

    We think highly of ourselves, while failing the standards we set.

    I would not want to grow up in China either. But I did spend time in my youth growing up in the UK, and in many ways I prefer it.

  4. sbrunning Says:

    You. Have. Dialup. You have dialup. YOU have dialup. You have DIALUP!?!

    On foreign aid: Last summer a Swede with whom I worked at the time graciously took time from his family to make certain his visitors had a good experience, got to have a real feel for Swedish life. In the course of a continually wandering conversation, he very gently commented that neither he nor most Swedes really felt so good about people being homeless and healthless and that was why there there were no homeless people, because “we should just take care of one another, isn’t it?”

  5. georgeruns Says:

    The Europeans do seem to have more sense of social justice than we do. I admire that.

    I find that I fall more into the morality of Scrooge or Swift’s “Modest Proposal”, I feel Malthus breathing over my shoulder and worry about anything that increases the human impact on the planet.

  6. georgeruns Says:

    Yes, I have dialup.

    Mostly this is simple laziness on my part. When I cared about such things DSL wasn’t available in my area, and cable didn’t do what I want.

    The high speed options I have seen advertised are asymmetric with much higher download bandwidth than upload. But I’m interested in the reverse. I have no interest in downloading other people’s videos, but lots of interest in uploading new releases of my program.

    As it is, I do about 50meg of upload once a month. Set it going at bedtime, wake up and it is done. I don’t need high speed.

    Finally there is a slight sense of morality. The servers, routers, and what-not that make up the internet consume enough electricity that the power generation for the internet alone produces as much green-house gas as airline transportation. The internet isn’t a clean technology, and high speed means more power and more climate change.

    So just as I ride a bike to commute, I use a low speed connection.

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