February 08, 2002

Patriotism and its place:

[T]his year there's a real possibility (threat?) that patriotism could erupt into full-scale jingoism. There's a chance that other nations could look at cheesy attempts at patriotism and see the most blatant attempt at using nationalism to hijack the Olympics since 1936.
Not what I expect from ESPN - but certainly a welcome sentiment. Does anyone else feel that these olympics are going to stink for around 2000 reasons, one of which is definitely this "America #1" attitude? (another of which is "Utah?")

posted by djacobs to other at 05:45 PM - 15 comments

I kind of think USA, USA and America First are perfectly acceptable and appropo for the Olympics.

posted by owillis at 06:38 PM on February 08, 2002

I prefer to root for athletes I know something about and identify with, but when all else fails, I tend to root for the home team, which for me is the US. Some of my favorite athletes in this Olympics aren't from the US. Unless they are in a tight dual with an American athlete, I fear they will be edited right out of the broadcast. "Billy Jones from Kansas finished a heartwarming 42nd in slalom. Oh yeah, and some European won the gold. U.S.A, U.S.A., U.S.A."

posted by neuroshred at 06:56 PM on February 08, 2002

Imagine how students at the University of Southern Alabama must feel, they probably hear it all the time. I think chanting "U.S.A." is fun, not jingoistic. It is the intent behind the chant, along with the words, that make it good or bad.

posted by insomnyuk at 07:25 PM on February 08, 2002

I think that the spirit of global harmony that the Olympics represent will prevail. We can also expect the familiar themes of rivalry among countries, great showmanship, world record achievements etc. So, let America show her colors and letís enjoy the games.

posted by RGarraud at 08:56 PM on February 08, 2002

Having now watched the opening ceremonies, I thought they were fairly tasteful. The only exception was troops in camo during a ceremony of peace and unity. I support the troops as much as anybody, and feel they are doing necessary and just work, but they did seem really out of place in what was otherwise a beautiful ceremony.

posted by tieguy at 11:54 PM on February 08, 2002

Imagine how students at the University of Southern Alabama must feel... Actually, I'm a student at south alabama. Not only are our initials USA, but our colors are red, white, and blue. Sadly, there's not much chant-worthy at USA these days.

posted by justgary at 01:19 AM on February 09, 2002

My only worry with the focus on USA's recent terrorist acts is that it makes us look like we're the only country in the world that's ever suffered a terrorist act. Ireland, Israel, and a handful of other countries that also participate in the olympics have experienced massive terrorist acts before. When I saw special attention brought to the US in the ceremonies, I felt bad that we've never seen anything like it before at other games, and the US appropriated the games for some sympathy from the world. Contrary to what US television displays, it's supposed to be an event where individuals push themselves to excel in sports events. It's not an us-vs-them race for medals or a way to see which country is best.

posted by mathowie at 03:43 AM on February 09, 2002

Well, we are the hosts. If the games were happening in any other country, the 9.11 tribute (and it was very short and tastefully done IMO) would have been out of place. It's a global competition, but it's happening here. it's supposed to be an event where individuals push themselves to excel in sports events I think that's more wishful thinking than anything. Other than the countries who are sending representatives "just to participate", everyone else wants their country to beat the others. It's not US vs them but it's them vs. them vs. them. And hey, the Winter Olympics are usually the only chance internationally to win more medals than the US because our dominance in the Summer Games is a little embarrasing at times, except to Russia. That said. I will be so happy if somehow Jamaica is even in the top 10 in bobsled (21st in '98)

posted by owillis at 06:04 AM on February 09, 2002

Personally, one of the things I've always admired about the olympics is seeing the flags of all nations gathered at one, peaceful event.

posted by walrus at 06:09 AM on February 09, 2002

Speaking of flags, having US athletes march out with the tattered World Trade Center flag was a perfect example of US Jingoism. What should have happened was one representative from every country who lost a citizen in 9.11 should have stood under the flag. Instead of making a statement on the way terrorism affects the world, it made it look like only American-born people were attacked in the World Trade Center.

posted by djacobs at 09:22 AM on February 09, 2002

patriotism != jingoism I guess some things from Mefi are on SpoFi too. Sheesh.

posted by owillis at 11:11 AM on February 09, 2002

From dictionary.com:
jin∑go∑ism n. Extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy; chauvinistic patriotism.

I agree, patriotism != jingoism. I also think that nationalist fervor != patriotism. When does the Hockey start?

posted by djacobs at 01:21 PM on February 09, 2002

Speaking of flags, having US athletes march out with the tattered World Trade Center flag was a perfect example of US Jingoism. I would hope that we can accept the fact that we see these things very differently. And, speaking as one who doesn't like Utah much, I think that crack in the post description was pretty uncalled for and very unsupported. Lets critique the Olympics after the fact, instead of watchiing them with the most cynical of attitudes, Okay? Now I will quietly go away and watch the Pro-Bowl, before another shit-storm gets started.

posted by Wulfgar! at 01:35 PM on February 09, 2002

Soon, Dj, soon. The WTC flag segment was a bit heavy-handed. But it didn't overshadow the beauty of the ceremonies. The native segment was lovely, all the countries (even Iran!) got a perfunctory amount of love at least, and the U-S-A chants at the end were more joyful and nostalgic than war-crylike. If the rest of the games are this culturally inclusive, I'll be satisfied. I'll cheer for the USA pretty much only when there's a good story behind it. Picabo Street, Ohno, I'm sure others will emerge in the next few weeks. Me, I pull for the countries of my lineage (Canada, Italy) and for the we-just-sent-ones. Go Venezuela! Go Fiji! Go Thailand! Don't finish last, y'all!

posted by chicobangs at 01:42 PM on February 09, 2002

A lot of foreign media took shots at the U.S. for the opening ceremony, according to an Associated Press article. Best dumb quote goes to Hafez Dahi, sports writer for Al-Siyassah, who kvetched: "This is supposed to be just sports." The Olympics have never been just about sports.

posted by rcade at 01:56 PM on February 10, 2002

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