Had I known about it, I would have protested 20 years ago...

Some things surprise me still, cynical as I have become lately. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not some long haired hippie running around in my beaded underpants screaming, “Free Tibet!“  Although I would, in fact, consider it much more graceful if China did decide it would probably be okay to let Tibet fall under self-rule.  I’m just not involved or aware enough to make an enlightened decision on what is right, although what I do know leans towards a desire for the Tibetans to be self-deterministic.  I reserve the right to be proven wrong if someone comes up with a strongly compelling argument, but I haven’t been hearing one.  I’m favourable to Taiwan’s independance, Kosovo’s independance, and even Quebec’s independance if they truly decide they want independance and not some wishy-washy “Sovereignty Association” half step. 

It’s a really touchy subject in Canada because the threat of Quebec separation has been wielded here too frequently, often for dubious-sounding means, at least to a Westerner.  Personally, I’d much rather see a country-wide revolution of showing how much stronger all of us are when we mix and participate and share our culture with each other, but that’s my opinion and I claim no righteous indignation above anyone else’s. 

I distrust nationalism for the sake of itself.  I’m not saying I’m better than you because I’m Canadian.  I’m not saying I’m better than other Canadians because I’m Albertan.  I’m saying that my life has been strongly enriched by people from all areas of the country and the globe. 

Not that I have to trumpet it in anyone’s face.  I don’t need to parade through your town holding a banner or a sign or an Olympic Torch or anything. 

Ah, yes.  The Olympic Torch Relay.  That’s what set this whole rant off in the first place.  First started at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, it was one of those masterful propaganda pieces.  I had no idea it was a creation for the Berlin Games until I read this column by Gwynn Dyer.

“There had never been a torch connected with the original Olympic games in ancient Greece, and the revived Games got along without an international relay race just fine for 40 years before the Berlin Olympics of 1936 – but if there was one thing the Nazi’s did well, it was propaganda.

Does that taint the memory of others of the torch relay during Calgary’s 1988 Winter Olympics?  Not such a nice thing when coloured with Nazi Propaganda, eh?  Or is it different when the torch winds solely within the host country as opposed to the six continent, multi-national, behemoth globe-trotting event that’s going on right now?

Well, having read that article I’ve had one of those rare moments that pretty much reversed and hardened my stance on an issue.  The torch relay (particularly one themed the “Journey of Harmony”) now seems to be a silly, pointless moment of national self-importance that has absolutely no business being rubbed in my face.  Shut it down.  I suspect I’d tolerate it if the torch was lit at Olympia and then skittered prancily throughout the host country, but to hell with this country to country propaganda move.

In fact, to hell with the whole Olympic movement and what it’s become.  To quote Mr. Dyer once more:

“Never mind the silly torch, and the equally bizarre three-layer cake that is the actual Olympics Games of today. (An international athletics competition on the bottom, an orgy of nationalist self-congratulation in the middle, and a sickly-sweet pantomime of international love and brotherhood on the top.)”

I don’t care anymore.  I’ll probably give an “attaboy / attagirl” to our athletes, but don’t count on me watching any of it.  I probably won’t change my mind much in two years when it’s in Vancouver or Whistler or whereeve the hell it’s going to be.  Strip off the top two crappy layers of the cake and maybe I’ll get interested again.  Until then, just go away.