Tag Archives: jingoism

Nations

National days of celebration leave me ambivalent at best

Happy enough to enjoy the music

But troubled by jingoistic patriotism and superlatives

We don’t have to be the best

It seems small-minded

Probably says more about our insecurities than anything else

Nation states are simply concepts that will disappear in time

They aren’t natural

In the future it will seem quaint to remember a time

When imaginary lines divided the planet

And flag waving patriots cheered their supremacy

Forgetting that capitalism knows no borders

Or that the oppressed take no shelter in flags

 

 

David Trudel  ©  2013

 

 

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Conflicted

I am experiencing conflicted feelings concerning the Olympics.  While I admire the display of talent and ability by gifted and dedicated athletes I wonder at the huge expense of staging this kind of spectacle when austerity is de rigueur throughout much of the world these days, with of course Europe its poster child.  Yet, every couple of years governments manage to find the enormous sums of money to build the venues and generally tart the place up, even as they chip away at social programs.  Let’s not forget the IOC and its financial scandals and gold-plated perks for the sports aristocracy, but perhaps, for the sake of my health I should put that aside until my blood pressure drops back to normal.   Then along comes a moment of drama and excitement and I lose my critical stance for a moment.  The men’s eights in the rowing competition is an example, with a stirring Canadian finish as they edged out Great Britain for a silver medal.  It’s always easy to slip back into being a fan again, particularly for sports that haven’t been tainted by scandal, at least as yet.  And then during a commercial break, I’ll have a moment to reflect on other Olympic irritants, like the chest-beating displays of jingoism in the opening ceremonies both in London and yes, also in Vancouver in 2010.  The nationalism and super patriotism has really gone overboard during the past few decades.  What happened to the pure celebration of sport, and global fellowship that the Olympics first aspired to showcase? Can’t we admire great feats of strength and endurance by the world’s best, regardless of which nation they come from?  Can’t we welcome the world instead of just riffing on the theme of “we’re wonderful” over and over? But against long odds, we do manage to find small pieces of that ideal, witness the global interest that the blind Korean archer received right at the beginning of the games. But for every heartwarming story, there seems to be some ugly truth around the corner, such as the badminton debacle that resulted in four teams getting the boot for attempting to throw their matches. So I remain in a curious state where my cynicism and criticism are counterbalanced by my appreciation for the high performance athletes and the level of play they achieve.  Rather than watching a lot of TV coverage I catch brief reports on the news, and pay attention elsewhere; print or online.  And so I celebrate the individual successes but grieve for the excessive cost spent on frills and puffery.

 

David Trudel   ©  2012

 

 

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Spectacle

Let the games begin

Just as two thousand years ago

The roman crowds were dazzled

Bread and circuses

And we are sucker punched

We suck it all in

Forgetting missile strikes against civilians

Forgetting melting glaciers

Drought

Riders of the apocalypse

It’s pretty

Dazzling

We’re about as smart as a kitten

Playing with a ball of wool

Even if it’s the trademark rings

We’re dupes

But we watch it anyway

Drawn moths to watch the flames

That burn away

Consuming our humanity

Tonight

Watching jingoism conspire with competition

To engender a distraction

While the world hurtles down the path

Destruction

Alarm

But we anticipate a good medal count

Which will trump survival

When it comes down to it

Here

In your lazyboy, tonight

David Trudel  © 2012

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