Which would be
A flawlessly executed Olympics
The one we’re probably
going to get?
By now you’ve no doubt read the hilarious tales of the woes faced by journalists and other media types as they arrived in Sochi, Russia, in time for the Winter Olympics. Unfinished hotels (some even without lobbies), very serious warnings about the tap water and toilets that can’t handle toilet paper are just some of the details being tweeted about. This despite the fact that a record-breaking $51 billion has been spent to get the city ready for the games (an astronomical number when compared to the $7 billion Canada spent for Vancouver just four years ago).
The general consensus is that this is a direct result of the entrenched corruption and hubris of Putin’s regime. As a leader, Putin personally strikes me as a lot like George W. Bush–an absurd man strangely beloved by much of his populace, but regarded as mostly ridiculous by the rest of the world. The difference is that the majority of Bush’s chicanery was masterminded by the men who helped bring him to power, while Putin is clearly capable of doing all his dirty work himself.
Taking a play from the Karl Rove guidebook, Putin is currently attempting to convince the people of Russia that their problems have nothing to do with the massive failures of his government, but instead is a result of the supposed “corruption of values” caused by the country’s LGBT community. Terrible laws have been passed and–unfortunately–many citizens are taking him seriously (but not all–bless you, Pussy Riot). Statements by Sochi’s mayor, insisting that there are no gay people in his city would be laughable if they didn’t remind us of images of Russian skinheads beating and torturing gay men in videos they are brazen enough to post online.
The result is a global spectacle that could very well turn out to be a train wreck. And the question is, don’t you kinda want it to fail? Putin is clearly counting on the success of the event to prove to us all that he truly is the colossus he imagines himself to be in his mind and what would be better than seeing him tumble down into the mud caused by all the melting imported snow?
Obviously, this would be terrible for the athletes who have devoted their lives to the event and the last thing anyone wants is for anything to happen that would result in injury or loss of life (sadly, the fears of terrorism this year are very real), but if we’re not going to boycott these games, isn’t the best thing we can do is hope that they really suck or–even better–turn out to be so embarrassing that even an asshole on Putin’s level can’t spin it as a triumph?
Or am I just a bad person?