Can we now please have our sanity back?
The closing ceremony is upon us, and we can heave a sigh of relief. At last, we’ll stop being offended by alternately vulgar and deranged displays, including so many by those who normally don’t show symptoms of madness.
Here’s Dominic Sandbrook, writing in The Mail: ‘To see so many British athletes wiping away the tears as the National Anthem plays… has been a tremendously moving experience,’ especially as this came ‘so soon after the triumph of the Diamond Jubilee, which reaffirmed the deep bond between the British people and our Royal Family.’
The deep bond was reaffirmed yet again even before the Games, when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France and then responded to Her Majesty’s congratulatory letter by saying, ‘F*** the Queen.’ I few days later he was on the Olympic podium, courageously fighting tears to the sound of God Save the Queen.
May one be allowed to suggest that Bradley’s emotiveness was caused by something other than unbridled affection for our monarchy? And that he would have wept even harder had the band been playing one of his beloved pop tunes instead?
What he, along with the other gold medallists, heard in the deep recesses of his soul was the rustle of banknotes, millions of them, raining into his coffers. After all, the days when the Olympics highlighted sporting amateurism are long since gone. Youngsters who dedicate their every waking moment to pushing pedals or punching faces expect to be paid for it. A bit while they learn, a lot when they succeed.
Some of them, like those hideously tattooed American female boxers or our own gorgeous Victoria Pendleton don’t mind supplementing their income by posing nude. But even champions who usually keep their clothes on expect fat endorsement contracts. They’ll do anything it takes to get them.
According to the chap who’s serving time for flogging steroidal concoctions to such model Olympians as Dwight Chambers, 60 percent of them use illicit substances. That means just about everybody, since no more than that proportion can actually benefit from building up their muscle mass and stamina beyond a natural level. The smart ones stop in time to be able to pass the doping tests. The dumb ones, like Chambers or the American sprinter Ben Johnson, get caught. And even if the pusher exaggerates by half, what emerges is a pretty sordid picture.
To The Telegraph’s Charles Moore, ‘our Olympic success’ shows ‘where our genius lies, and how we could foster it better’. That’s right: we needed this vulgar spectacle to show where the British genius lies. Obviously this hadn’t been demonstrated convincingly enough by Shakespeare and Donne, Bede and Hooker, Newton and Maxwell, Nelson and Wellington. Those men can’t make enough of a point without being assisted by Nicola Adams punching the living daylight out of other girls.
Nicola will undoubtedly provide a shining example for other British girls, who now outfight men in pubs all over Britain. She shows what a woman can achieve when she dedicates her life to brawling. Nicola can also further advance the ideal of femininity that, it must be admitted, has changed somewhat from the time of Venus de Milo. In this undertaking she’ll be assisted by female discus throwers and shot putters. They’ll be well paid, but even their glorious achievement in throwing things is unlikely to increase their pulling power, at least not with men.
The hypocrisy of the Games was highlighted by the PC displays accompanying them. A German rower left London before her time because in the last election her boyfriend had stood for the National Democratic party, which he has since left. Though she herself has never uttered a remotely extremist statement, the rower was found guilty by association and thrown out.
There’s now talk that subsequent German Olympians will be made to swear an oath to democracy. Deutschland is no longer über alles; democracy is. Now that’s a brilliant idea, especially if extended to all teams. We can vow loyalty to constitutional monarchy, and the Chinese… well, perhaps this isn’t such a good idea after all.
Meanwhile a Greek triple jumper was kicked out for tweeting a comment on the epidemic of Nile fever. ‘We have so many Africans in Greece that the mosquitoes will have plenty of home food,’ she wrote, sealing her fate. And then a Swiss footballer got in trouble for twitting something uncomplimentary about his South Korean adversaries. No silly jokes will be allowed to besmirch this celebration of crass commercialism and vulgar tastes.
The medals will be soon followed by gongs. ‘There are so many new heroes and heroines, how they are all going to be recognised without completely upsetting the system is going to be a challenge,’ commiserates Dave Cameron. You’ll find a way, Dave, I have all faith in you. Have the lot of them knighted – why are bikers any worse than pop stars? One wonders though how Wiggins will respond to ‘Arise, Sir Bradley’. If he’s true to form, he’ll say ‘f*** off, M’am.’ Go on, Bradley, I dare you.
Our brave leaders Dave and George were pushing each other out of the way to be photographed next to David Beckham, that walking exhibition of body art. Beckham, you see, is the Games’ mascot, even though he has never won anything representing either England or GB. Clearly such a photo opportunity was too good to be missed.
Dave and George, along with their hangers-on, ought to be congratulated for pushing the country down the path charted by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Sports are now used as proof of the nation’s greatness, what with more tangible proofs being in short supply under Dave’s and George’s leadership.
We really do live in a virtual world, where trivial and meaningless achievement is celebrated more enthusiastically and rewarded more lavishly than real attainment. There’s only one consolation, or rather two: the next Games are four years away, and they won’t be held in England.