Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Live from The Varsity Lounge, Saturday, February 22: how many decided to boycott coverage of the Sochi Olympics?

   A boycott is a "concerted refusal to do business with a party in order to express disapproval of that party's practices." "Black's Law Dictionary/New Pocket Edition," 1996 ed., p. 73.

   The original Olympic Games were held in Greece a couple of thousand years ago. The games were not called "summer" games. The Olympics did not have "winter" events as counterpoints to running, equestrian events and the throwing of objects that made up the games of the time. Winter sports were uncommon to the Greek Islands.

   The modern Olympics were a revival of the Olympic Games of yore. A couple of winter events were included in the early days, until the International Olympic Committee started the Winter Games in 1924.

   The current Olympic Games are hosted by Russia. Intermittent Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to have authorized a lot of money to be dropped on members of the International Olympic Committee to ensure Russia would play host to the Games. The original price tag for the Games at Sochi---a summer resort area---was estimated to be $12 billion for construction and development of the venues for competition. The last figure I heard was $51 billion, some 60 percent (a low estimate) of which was due to corruption.

   Given the low marks (cards held up by metaphorical judges that show "0" or "-1") Russia receives in the category "human rights," particularly as regards LGBT people, some called for a boycott of the Sochi Games.

   There was no organized boycott of the 1936 Games, held in Berlin with the former postcard artist, Adolf Hitler, serving as host. Jesse Owens, the African-American athlete perhaps did the best anyone could have done to put it in der Fuerher's face and set the record for most Gold Medals won at the Games by a single athlete.

   In 1980, the United States boycotted the games to be held in the Soviet Union, because the USSR had invaded Afghanistan and refused to leave. In 1984, the Soviet Union and its "allies" boycotted the Games in Los Angeles because, its leaders said, the safety of the athletes could not be guaranteed. (Was that safety from street crime or from LA police?) The boycotts were a mutual "wash" as the USSR only left Afghanistan after a few more years, a lot more lives lost and US-supplied shoulder-held surface-to-air rockets brought down a lot of aircraft. (See, "Charlie Miller's War.") LA's streets and cops pose as much of a danger to everyone---American citizen or foreign tourist---today as in 1984.

   Guests for Saturday's Show include Tania Domi, a native Hoosier and LGBT activist who has a c.v. of such length as to make one blush and who will Skype in from NYC; Annette Siegel Grossman, of P-Flag; City-County Councilor Zach Adamson; and a person who traveled as a mime throughout Eastern Europe in the 1970s. We will stream "live" from The Varsity Lounge, just south of 16th Street on Pennsylvania in downtown Indy.

   The focus of our conversation will be the human rights violations in Russia, whether we should have boycotted the Games, and the lousy winter conditions for Winter Games---but hey, that's what one gets for staging Winter Games in a summer resort area. Catch us 11 am to 1 pm.   

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Comment by Paul K. Ogden on February 20, 2014 at 9:56am

I think everyone has decided that boycotting the Olympics is never a good idea.


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