Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lazy Sunday #93: Fighting Gravity

Dress up anything you want as “The Right Thing To Do”. Champion the most Just cause you can find, one that is only about being fair and treating people with the simple decency they deserve and others already enjoy. Then put any one of those up against money and power.

And money and power will always win.

Oh, you’ll be told it will all get better “someday” or “when the world is ready”. But those are money and power lies.

Change only comes when enough people say “Enough” and make those with money and power realize that changing is the only way they’ll be able to hang on to them.

Friday afternoon in Vancouver, the British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed a bid by Women Ski Jumpers from around the world to have their sport included in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee and the International Ski Jumping Federation have long held that the sport is simply “too dangerous” for women.

You know, like hockey and downhill skiing, where grown men regularly get killed and where they already compete,  is too dangerous for them. In the same way that throws and lifts in figure skating are too dangerous for them unless they are cushioned by wearing enough sequins. Much as the balance beam and uneven bars would be too dangerous if they weren’t prettied up to look like a Pedophile’s wet dream.

A Canadian court that has regularly ruled honor killings of women and multiple marriages accepted in foreign cultures can’t be conducted in Canada has reversed itself by saying that it has no right to impose Canadian values, such as basic gender equality, on an outside organization like the IOC.

A Federal Government massively funding the Games, one which also asks Canadian men and women to fight and die in Afghanistan so little girls can go to school and not be treated like livestock, insists it mustn't interfere.

CTV, The official broadcaster of the games, who would require me to sign a letter swearing that I would not discriminate by gender, race or sexual preference (among other things) before I could produce a TV series for them, just shrugs its shoulders and asks you to notice how cute their on-air talent looks in their IOC sanctioned sweat suits while trotting cross-country with the Olympic torch.

Why stand up for your core values when there’s money and political style points to be scored?

Everybody knows the Olympic Games are corrupt. From French skating judges who can be bribed, to Chinese Government officials acknowledging IOC President Jacques Rogge won his job by promising the 2008 Summer Games to Beijing, to old, white men from Europe who apparently only have the sport of jumping off mountains to affirm their possession of testicles, the Olympics repeatedly prove their hallowed “principles” are an empty, inside joke.

But they’ve got money and the influence power brings.

And they know there are many Canadians who’ll stoop to their bidding to carve off a little of that for themselves.

Hotel rooms for the Games in Vancouver are already being rented at seven times their normal rate. Restaurant menus are being printed with increases of 500% for two weeks in the dead of February. Everybody from taxi drivers to marijuana salesmen are getting ready to make a killing.

Who cares if a few little girls niave enough to believe they could compete in a Man’s sport get thrown under an incoming tour bus.

What’s more important anyway, the basic human right to be treated equally or the chance to sell some pins and toques at 50 times what it cost to make them?

Where are the voices of all the female hosts and reporters that CTV has lined up to gush over the Games? Or do they already know that keeping their pretty little mouths shut is the only way they got where they are in the first place?

Where are the male ski jumpers? Or would their masculinity and courage be revealed as somewhat lesser if a woman rocketed off the same ski jump they do – or even, God forbid, flew farther? I guess you don’t want to be revealed as the dick-less little douches that you apparently are, do you guys?

Vancouver is going to suffer a serious hangover when these Olympics are over. Hardly anybody is likely to have made any actual money and what they do make will be quickly taxed back to pay for all the bloated fiscal miscalculations that built them.

You’d think a city made notorious by the slaughter of dozens of local women on a nearby pig farm wouldn’t want any more female scalps bleeding from its belt. But you can’t put a price on a good time, can you Vancouver?

CTV, meanwhile, will discover that while they may get record ratings, it really won’t translate into more viewers after the party is over and may actually cost them the many who missed all the special February Sweeps episodes of their favorite American shows that the network won’t be able to program for 17 days.

And mostly, we Canadians may too late realize that “owning the podium” isn’t all its cracked up to be when we’ve also told some of our sisters and daughters they don’t really belong there.

Is there nobody in this country with the courage of these women ski jumpers, with even a portion of their dedication and drive, who can call up the IOC and say, “Hey, maybe you can pull this shit in Beijing and Buenos Aires. But you can’t do it here!”

At least then we might be able to look at Vancouver 2010 with some pride, as a moment when the values and promise of the Olympic Games were truly respected and realized.

Please take a moment to meet some of the athletes we Canadians won’t allow to compete on Canadian soil -- or snow.

There’s one more video on this topic I’d like you to sample. It’s by British singer KT Tunstall and really gets at the heart of what women ski jumpers are about. And stay for the final frame, which kinda says it all.

You’ll find it here.

Hang in there, Ladies. You’ve got more class and character in any one of your broken bones than every member of the IOC or International Ski Jumping Federation has in their entire bodies.

And could you, who don’t jump off mountains with boards tied to your feet, please find the time today to contact CTV, your home country’s Olympic Committee or anybody who’s planning to attend the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and ask them just what values they want the “Youth of the World” who have been “Called to Vancouver” to embrace.

Please take one moment to help some people who just haven’t been able to say “Enough” loud enough.

And then – enjoy your Sunday.


deborah Nathan said...

Well said, Jim. Perhaps Canada will form a commission to study the matter...

Nick said...

CTV is programming all their US shows on the /A\ network. You know, the stations they don't give a shit about and will likely close in August should they not get their valuable fee-for-carriage.

Dwight Williams said...

And I'm looking at FlashForward as being - like Bones before it - a missed opportunity for the Canadian networks. Or maybe a deliberately ignored opportunity. These are shows based on books by People Like Us, who live here(at least part of the time in Reichs' case)...and we could have done stuff here at home with them. Damn good stuff.

Thanks be that there's still other stuff out there...

Dwight Williams said...

And getting to those ladies in ski jumping: I'll second Jim's call to hang in there and not let the yunowuts grind'em down to surrender.