The Olympic closing ceremony's wrapping up over in the other room as I'm writing this. No, that's not quite right, they actually wrapped hours ago, but you'd never know that from the people on TV.
This isn't going to be a critique of NBC's abysmal coverage of the games. That's already been done pretty thoroughly, so instead I'll just point out a couple of good examples. I wouldn't have expected The Nation to cover the Olympics at all, but here they are, with a well-argued rant about the idiotic and chauvinistic coverage provided by NBC, a.k.a. the Neocon Bellowing Corporation. That rant references someone's blog offering a similar argument. And another example I came across. I realize I may not resemble the statistical "average" American, but I have to think that the same ideas have occurred to a lot of Olympics fans. Viewership is way down this year, and there's got to be some kind of reason behind it. Maybe viewers aren't the knuckle-draggers the TV people have them figured for, and they'd really like to see something that isn't a.) ignorant Cold War-style chest-beating nationalism, and b.) manipulative, tearjerking human interest stories about how somebody's great-grandmother passed away 15 years ago, or their dog got run over, or whatever. Enough of the moronic prepackaged storylines. Just shut up and let us watch the actual games, already, ok?
For a rather opposing perspective, the Big Old Media types at AOL present a list of ideas on how to "fix" the Olympics, gleaned by interviewing a variety of sports marketing experts. Since these are basically the people whose ideas count with the Powers That Be, I'm afraid things are going to get worse before they get better. Most of the ideas seem to focus on making the games more like the world's biggest reality show. Let the viewers vote on figure skating winners, stuff like that. Plus the authorities need to manufacture international rivalries, like USA vs. Austria in skiing, for example, because the whole point of the Olympics is to hate people from countries you can't even find on a map, I guess.
On a cheerier note, here are a trio of blog entries I came across by people who love the Olympics, each for his or her own reasons, which is great.
The Canadian blogosphere is active as well. Here are four rather interesting examples. You have to feel for the Canadians, four long years of handwringing about their men's hockey team failing to medal. That's got to sting a bit. The blame game has barely begun, so (even though I'm not Canadian) let me get my 2 cents in. The Gods of Hockey will never allow any team with Todd Bertuzzi on the roster to win an Olympic medal of any color, much less skate the Cup. If you don't believe in that sort of thing, you could also lay the blame at the feet of Joe Thornton, who apparently didn't want to be playing for Canada any more than he wanted to play for the Bruins.
A blogger in Norway is doing a bit of handwringing as well.
And finally, here's someone who argues that the Olympics turned out the way the did because Torino is a highly paranormal city. Oooh, spooooky. And it's not just because of that creepy shroud thingamajig, either.
I was going to say a few words here about why I like about the Olympics, but it's getting late, so I think I'll save that for tomorrow. So arrivederci for now...