Aug 02 2012
My son’s post about learning aspects of other cultures ended up being timely given the start of the Olympics.
The Olympics celebrate the gathering of countries and cultures so that we viewers can see how large the world is outside of the U.S. – pretty much the idea my son was discussing. But this Olympics is causing me to experience cultural transition issues. I find myself not wanting to watch, even though I should be there rooting for the good ole U.S. of A.
Based on NBC’s taped delay events (including the ones where the pre-event ads tell us the winner prior to seeing the event), it seems the producers want Americans to maintain a parochial interest instead of exposing us to other countries, cultures, and sports (you know, those lesser events where the U.S. might not dominate or that the athletes might not be wearing bikinis – put those field hockey players in bikinis and you’ll see that event in prime time with American women dominating).
Based on the episodes I watched, an alien from outer space could easily assume that the only sports are swimming and gymnastics. And, in gymnastics, there is only one women’s team, but there might be a gymnast or two from another country – possibly Great Britain.
NBC also seems to downplay the success of other countries – when a South African won the first swimming gold ever for his country (and broke a world record), we heard an interview with the 3rd place American. Or when a French woman defeated our swimmer, we heard how the 2nd place American would have overtaken the winner.
Living overseas was a great opportunity the military provided my family and I. My kids especially learned that there are other cultures and ways to do things out there. Being home now and watching the Olympics, I’m reminded of some of those cultures and people, and I wish NBC would take this chance to show other Americans the breadth of the world – as my family’s military life showed us. I guess other then Brazilians in bikinis, that wish isn’t going to happen.
Don’t get me wrong though; I still will follow the Olympics. However, I do think that I long for the days when we sent college basketball players against the “pros” of Russia and when we got a chance to guess which East German women swimmers might be men.