Sunday, February 14, 2010
The Olympics: Vancouver's Big Date
Vancouver is like the teenage girl on the evening of her dream date with the high school hunk. Unfortunately, the high school hunk is not the rest of the world, but the United States. Like most vapid teenage girls from the popular set, Vancouver doesn't even notice the panoply of interesting geeks, stoners, pseudo-intellectuals and artfags from the rest of the school. No she only has eyes for the cool jock with the fancy car and the right haircut. She does everything she can to fix herself up so she appears to be the kind of woman she thinks he wants, in the process making herself bland, generic and uninteresting. Her weird father with the worn corduroys and stupid opinions is a source of profound shame so she screams at him "If you dare say a word when he comes over, I'll kill you!" The irony is is that when the dude does come over and he meets the dad, it turns out he finds the dad kind of interesting and cool and the girl's attitude towards him childish and annoying.
This is the problem with many Canadians' insecure, sycophantic feelings towards the U.S. They want to be rich and have all the cool movie stars and nice toys that we see the Americans have on television and in the movies. And by extension, they think that the Americans will think we're cool if we demonstrate that we have those things. What they don't realize is that Americans respect individuals. They like cultures that stand out and do their own thing. They don't always understand them and sometimes they crush them with their military might, but usually the educated ones with enough money to travel are disappointed when they go to another country and find a watered-down simulacrum of their own world. This is especially true with Canada. They want to come here and find us being crazy Canadians, with our doors unlocked, our legal weed, our gay marriages. Nothing would make Vancouver more interesting to the american media than a well-organized protest rally. VANOC and the Vancouver and BC government are so sycophantic and weak-minded, that all they can think of, like the insecure teenage girl, is how they might be embarrassed. In doing so, they miss a giant opportunity to demonstrate to the world that we are a rich, complex democracy that respects political freedom of expression. So they clamp down, straightjacket all artistic performances and make a bunch of stupid behaviour rules (white knee socks, really?)
I won't even get into the utter financial fiasco this is turning into and the frightening draconian imposition of security that will probably remain in place after the games are over. It's this shame of who we are that I find the most depressing and distasteful about these games. This part resentful, part yearning unrequited love with the coolness that is succesful America. You see it at it's worst in the city of Vancouver (wanna be Los Angeles) and in Toronto (wanny be New York). A minority of Canadians of this mentality actually grab the brass ring and make it to their promised land. You could see most of them up on the stage lighting the olympic torch. But most of them stay in Canada and remain wistful and pathetic, dreaming of the treasures the south has to offer but lacking the fundamental spirit that got them those jewels. Those are the losers and fascists who are organizing the Olympic games in Vancouver. While I hope for the best for our athletes and for the lower mainland, I really hope the Olympics are a huge fail and that the organizers lose power so we can get rid of their kind of thinking.
Let's get back to being the cool, quirky, independent girl that the flashy jock secretly lusts after not the ditzy blonde that he knows he is going to score with but really doesn't give a shit about.