Make the silent heard and the invisible seen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2010 Olympics: Don't believe it

The 1984 Olympics - a rare Olympic success - created a new class of news reporter, the "Olympic journalist." It is their vocation, just as it fell to Christianity’s composites Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to write the Olympic gospel.

This disciplehood follows the doctrine of the International Olympic Church, which includes: host organizing committees, such as VANOC and its patron saints, er... sponsors. For their faith and favourable coverage of all things Olympic, the media monks of the Olympic Church receive an array of fringe benefits. If they blaspheme, they might be denied access, even expelled. As an avowed Olympic atheist, I don’t even try anymore to garner favour with VANOC bishops. I know, I’m going to hell.

The "Olympic salvation" poses a serious threat to media objectivity, accuracy and autonomy, that is if the trinity of journalism is not already extinct. The disciplehood believes in the Second Coming. (Their ascendency in the media monasteries coincides with the biennial Olympics, and they transcend their unaccredited heathen brethren). Sportswriters, in particular (the Knights Templar of the Holy Games), are alleged to receive 'freebies,' wined, dined, given gifts, even money, to be Olympic friendly. (There are some curious parallels with Luther worth pondering here.)

The Olympic industry is modeled on the most successful hegemonic industry in history – organized religion; specifically, Christianity. In 1894, the founder of the modern Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, called his creation, “a new civil religion.”

The family of Christ became the Olympic family called upon to unite on a pilgrimage and gather in a host city where these faithful solemnly observe ritual. It is, by definition, a liturgy. Hell, there’s an Olympic hymn.

The Olympic motto – Swifter, Higher, Stronger – is three words, and the number three represents the Christian Holy Trinity. The ring is an important Christian symbol for the Trinity and eternity. Baron de Coubertin borrowed the motto from a Dominican priest, and the more informal motto – “The most important thing is not to win but to take part!” – is lifted from a Bishop’s sermon. Every religion throughout history has appropriated from the religions before it.

If you believe
A blogger with nothing better to do, analyzed the Olympic medals table by each nation’s religious culture. Christianity is the Gold-medal-winning religion of the world. 70% of the gold medals have been won by 33% of the world, and of these, 57% of the Christian gold medals were won by Protestants, which might have shaken the Catholic faith of de Coubertin.

Do you believe?
In her conclusion to 'The Olympic Industry and Civil Liberties: the threat to free speech and freedom of assembly,' Helen Jefferson Lenskyj writes:

“... (Pseudo)-religious terms like 'Olympic movement' and 'Olympic spirit'... are carefully selected to evoke feelings of universal excitement and belonging, while the less savoury and profit-making motive is concealed. Activists who attempt to uncover this hypocrisy often find themselves silenced, as the mass media and local politicians capitulate to Olympic industry pressure to censor critical voices and to criminalize peaceful protest in Olympic host cities.

Now, what do you believe?

2010 Olympics: the tithe that binds the media disciplehood

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