Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Man Bites Dog

The story is told of the newspaper editor who, when one of his reporters brings him an article headlined "Dog Bites Man", responds, "That's not news! If you bring me 'Man Bites Dog', now that's news!"

Well, a post in which Paul Mirengoff of the Power Line blog takes conservatives to task for going too far in their criticism of President Obama, is a "Man Bites Dog" story. Mirengoff's opinion is that those conservatives (apparently, a vocal minority) who applauded the rejection by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of Chicago as the site for their 2016 summer games, acted improperly. Perhaps so.

In this post, I criticized Obama for flying to Copenhagen for the IOC meeting. But I did not address the question of whether Chicago's rejection was a good or bad thing. I'm indifferent.

For the most part, I feel both uninterested and disinterested (and no, they're not synonymous) about another American staging of the Olympics.

I used to be a fanatical viewer of the games, from about 1968 to 1984. I've lost interest in the meantime, and I think that has been caused by some combination of: 1) the other networks don't seem to cover the games as well as ABC did, back in the day; 2) the commercialization of the games, which has accelerated since 1984; and 3) my having (alas) grown older and busier, such that I need to choose more carefully which sporting events I'll spend time on. So, I'm uninterested.

I'm also disinterested, i.e., I have little, if any, financial interest at stake. Any public subsidy (and many Chicagoans refused to believe, for some odd reason, the assurances from their leaders that there would be none such) would have been paid at the local level. However, money is fungible, and in these days when state and local governments are clamoring t0 get funds out of the federal treasury to close budget deficits, all Americans might have been touched for any Chicago Olympic shortfall.

If, as Mirengoff seems to imply, our national self-esteem is so fragile that it's damaged by being jilted by the IOC, then we've got bigger issues to consider.

1 comment:

Terry L. Johnson said...

Being one of the vocal minority regarding Chicago, I'd like to offer up an alternative thesis.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it was the willingness of every other host country to fund the games. As I tell my two teenage children, "It's always about the money." In this case, it is the willingness of the nation of Brazil (not just Rio) to bankroll the games which was a larger factor than the President's 5-hour trip to Europe. My desire one way or another was totally irrelevant to the process.

Of course, the desire of the aged Olympic Committee to spend more time in Rio might have had something to do with the decision. And, who would blame them for that?