I know this has been said better and earlier by people who care more about sports than I do...but whatever. How much is Olympics coverage a sign of the coming dumbed down apocalypse?

I remember being really, really into Olympics coverage when I was young, and part of the magic was that, for two entrancing weeks, you entered this special world that the entire globe was fixated on. And the beauty was that you sat there through everything. The gymnastics team from Guinea, the dead moments where the commentators had to make stuff up, and the "what it's like to hang out around the Olympic village" features with Bob Costas sampling haggis, or whatever. And then, when truly exceptional moments emerged, it was really a miracle that you had the privelege to experience with every other country on earth.

But these days, how can we be sure the sportscasters aren't just sitting in a studio in New Jersey somewhere? Any authentic 'sport' being performed has been sliced and diced into the most ruthlessly 'significant' highlight reels, puncuated by insufferable voice over videos and relentless commercials for reality TV shows, which it seems like NBC is really, really jonesing to get back to. The vicious circle of crappy, compromising coverage of the games causing crappy, compromising attitudes towards the games is so transparent its painful.

The least we can hope is that in another decade, the profit margin NBC gets out of its 1/2 hour music video version of the days events shown at 11 PM Eastern/Standard will become so negligible that they'll abandon it altogether. Then some cable channel will take it up, show it 24/7 in real time, and the IOC, released from the iron grip of U.S. television bullshit will be able to go back to the natural order of a 4 year rotation schedule. God willing.


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