During the Cold War, both sides used the Olympic games as a forum to rally world sympathy for their respective causes. But with the conclusion of that ideological conflict, it seems an act of Hegelian synthesis has taken place surrounding this international festival that would make Marx’s whiskers tingle in delight.
Incorporating aspects of monopolistic capitalism and command socialism into their managerial approach to the games, Greek officials and the International Olympic Committee planned to exercise a degree of control over spectators no human being should be allowed to exert over any other. It has become common practice for major corporations to pay millions of dollars to have their names emblazoned across the public consciousnesses as being affiliated with the Olympiad. But instead of accomplishing this with witty advertisements during commercial breaks or less than inconspicuous billboards in every broadcast shot, marketers schemed to establish product dominance not through the rigors of free market competition but rather by emulating practices more in common with the arrogance associated with pompous bureaucrats and centralized planners.
According to the Sunday Times of London, spectators could be refused admittance to the games for sipping the wrong brand of soda or told to flip their shirts inside-out for displaying logos of corporations not coughing up the dough for the vacuous honor of being an Olympic sponsor. Just because these tycoons aren’t confident as to the soundness of this investment is no reason to take out their insecurity on unsuspecting spectators.
It would be bad enough if game officials concocted the excuse that no outside beverages could be brought into the venues for fear of protestors or other related leftwing Euro-trash using cans and bottles as projectiles and then sell gullible sports enthusiasts marked-up, water-downed soft drinks in dainty, sissy-sized cups. But how in the name of homeland security can you justify allowing someone to bring in a Coca Cola but refuse entry to someone should they have Pepsi or the local Wal-Mart off-brand equivalent let alone demand someone obscure unobscene clothing logos if no functionally justifiable dress code has been delineated?
The last I heard, onlookers weren’t the ones receiving the obscene amounts of money. Spectators are not under any contractual obligation to blithely do as they are told regarding matters not even remotely connected to those of public safety.
Fortunately, despite the socialist grandiosity of Olympic organizers, the public thwarted some of the ambitions of these aspiring potentates by utilizing the strengths of the free market system to thumb their noses at these petty micromanagers. Rather than subject themselves to such control, many Greeks forsook attendance and viewers tuned out to avoid being brainwashed or to at least to avoid the severe nausea that often results from exposing oneself to such globalist blather.
One disgruntled Greek told the Sunday Times, “I don’t see why, after all the money that Greek taxpayers will end up paying to host the games, McDonald’s should dictate what I can eat in my own city.” While it’s nice to cheer for your country’s team if you are from a country worth loving, there is nothing anywhere saying we have a duty to pay attention to the Olympics: game overlords have not yet discovered a way to coerce such interest.
If International Olympic Committee officials and their sycophants in multinational corporations continue to undermine basic human freedoms --- foremost among them being the right to consume whatever foodstuffs one has legally acquired irrespective of brand --- hopefully this antiquated pageant of feigned brotherhood and other hypocritical drivel will once again go the way of the heathen deities such athletic spectacles were invoked to venerate as curious but best forgotten footnotes of ancient history.
Copyright 2004 by Frederick Meekins