Putin on the Ritz
Now there's something even more precious at stake: Corporate bucks. Beijing had proved in spades during the 2008 summer Olympics that even the last Communist superpower on earth was too capitalistically pragmatic to resist the lure of corporate cash. London was so rotten with corruption at the last summer games the several corporate sponsors had rent a cops scouring the streets of the West and East Ends looking for signs of local mercantile disobedience, their edicts and orders carrying with it the full force of the law as Parliament had already secured the rights of the Games' corporate sponsors way back in 2006.
And of course the international press and public opinion still carries enough weight so that every city and nation hosting an Olympics brutally cracks down on anything that could be considered negative. They come off looking like a negligent sweatshop owner handing out the safety goggles and putting up warning signs just before an insurance or OSHA inspection and it fools no one.
Vladimir Putin, Russia's President, in many ways is worse than Adolph Hitler who, as previously stated, gave Berlin's gays and Jews a little breather as long as the scribblers were in his capital city. Putin's and his Duma's unbelievably repressive crackdown on Russia's LGBT population came long in advance of the Sochi Games and it may perhaps all be a PR stunt to mask the fact that the Sochi Winter Games is, at $51,000,000,000, the most corrupt Olympics of all time. In fact, Sochi cost more than all the previous Winter Games combined and part of that is due to the Russian government, and Putin, handing out cost-plus, no-bid contracts to some of Putin's buddies in the private sector (One company alone got $21,000,000,000 in contracts.). Right about now, Mitt Romney, the Mormon savior of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, is licking his chops and flagellating himself for being a piker by conspicuous relief.
The paranoia over a faux pas is so great that another private corporation, no doubt run by another buddy of Chancellor Putin, has been hired to round up and kill every stray dog in Sochi, prompting Keith Olbermann to make a brief comeback of his pompously snarky ways to talk about it from his ESPN desk. Yes, they're rounding up countless thousands of stray dogs and likely cats, as well as many pets that have mysteriously gone missing because Putin is endlessly paranoid about a dog straying on the field during tonight's Opening ceremonies.
And now Putin is warning those who might have other, more humanistic ideas that the Olympics is not the place to talk about LGBT rights or the lack thereof.
Bullshit. When federal governments so ruthlessly crack down on human and animal rights in advance of an Olympics, you're automatically getting politics involved so everything is fair game. The repression and insidiousness is so rampant, the Russian state automatically hacks and/or uploads malware on the laptops and cell phones of every single visitor to Sochi literally within minutes. NBC News recently proved that and the US State Department has issued an advisory warning Americans to remove their cell phone batteries.
The IOC and USOC are so shockingly and staggeringly corrupt and inefficient they spout lies and propaganda as effectively as the Soviet and Fascist states of old, mouthing platitudes about how gay people will not be persecuted and that dogs are not, in fact, being rounded up or shot with poison darts and fed poisoned meat. The Games themselves are a glittering, glorified afterthought with athletic competition and international amity and brotherhood piously preached about. But what makes every Olympics turn around these days is money, money, money, with sponsored athletes being forced to mention their corporate sponsors (such as Verizon) or violate their contracts.
This level of brutality has made even a weak-kneed, Go-Along-To-Get-Along milksop like Barack Obama withhold his presence from the Opening ceremonies tonight and to send in his place a delegation made up of Billie Jean King and two other LGBT athletes. This will do little for LGBT rights and will only rachet up the tensions that already exist between our failing empire and Russia's emerging but still-insecure place in the global community. But at least it's something.
The bottom line is world leaders will do nothing to, excuse the expression, queer this three week-long boondoggle when there's so much money on the line. The IOC and USOC are made up of wet-legged corporate sock puppets and the corporations are certainly not going to incur the wrath of a power-mad madman who still thinks that gay people will molest little Russian children.
As usual, it will fall to individual LGBT and LGBT-friendly athletes to embarrass Putin and his oppressive regime infinitely more than had Pussy Riot. That will be the only thing worth watching for during an Olympics already infested with millionaire athletes craving a little more glory, endlessly avaricious corporations and 30,000 soldiers just quivering to shoot the first person who looks as if they'd ever gone to a Broadway musical. In the midst of all the canned, artificial, delayed commentary, the endless commercials, the heartless dog safari that will rage behind the scenes and the rampant homophobia, the only thing that will be worth watching is to see who has the balls to stand up and make Putin as red in the face as Jesse Owens did to Adolph Hitler.
Every four years the American corporate MSM appoint at least one darling of the American delegation or another and to make him or her the face of the Olympics to better sell the temporary brand. It remains to be seen if they'll have the guts to make the first person to publicly embarrass Putin on the medal stand at their expense of their medal and dorm room in the Olympic village this quadrennial darling.
Who will be the next John Carlos and Tommie Smith? I cannot wait to find out. How about you?