Tag Archives: olympics

in defense of the new authoritarianism

This past Sunday’s New York Times’ “Week in Review” printed a feature about the reinvigoration of “soft authoritarianism” (my own term).  The Times’ argument more or less rests upon the recent Russian invasion of Georgia, and the relative ease with which the Chinese pulled off the Olympics without having to ease any of their restrictions on freedom of speech and protest.

Now, before I begin any real exculpatory remarks in defense of Russia and China’s seemingly ‘new’ form of governance, I think a small amount of perspective on these two events would do well to put peoples’ minds to rest on the matter. Continue reading


Chinese Sex Symbols. Don’t worry Jingoists, they’ve still got a long way to go.

One of the best parts of my trip to China two years ago was how enamored Chinese girls seemed to be with me.  I’m not going to hide my feelings on the matter; Walking down the street, I felt like some sort of model; everyone was gawking at me, and my tutor would openly compliment me about my good looks.  While I’m sure you would all love for me to regale you further on my need to travel to a country 3,000 miles away to get this sort of attention, I’m actually writing this on account of the fact that some guy who guarded the olympic torch (not quite a looker, in my uneducated opinion) has now become something of a James Dean in China.  He’s received hundreds of marriage requests.

They may win the most medals in this year’s olympics, but they have a long way to go before they challenge us careless American men for our worldwide sex appeal.  At least, that’s what we’ll continue to rationalize as we steadily lose our rationale for believing that America is the greatest nation on earth.

Olympics Opening Ceremony…Wow.

Just finished watching the lengthy, but nevertheless impressive opening ceremony in Beijing.  China definitely puts its name out there, even if it lost its opportunity to win the first gold medal of the competition.

China’s almost certain to win the gold medal count by the end of the tournament, but I’m not really interested in that: I just can’t wait to see their basketball team get stomped on by the “Redeem” team.  Typically, Americans are pretty easygoing about their sports–when we win or lose, it doesn’t really matter–but the embarassment of placing third in Athens was comical.  It was almost like we had suffered a humiliation on an epic scale.  And in retrospect, I guess it was.

Oh well, all I know is that the team is much better this year, and hopefully come the end of August the Americans will be bathing in the blood of their rivals.  Forgive my temporary nationalist fervor.  When my senses are assaulted by all manner of pretty colors and corporate logos, I can’t help but feel the stirrings of my deep-seated patriotism.  I’ll figure out some manner of self- and collective-deprecation to tone myself down once the games are over.  Until then, however: “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!