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Sochi is the Florida of Russia
February 6, 2014 1:25 PM   Subscribe

The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus “Sochi used to be much prettier... These days crooks from Moscow come here to build and sell skyscrapers and apartments, although it used to be such a small, lovely town." via The New York Review of Books article on "Why Sochi"
Putin explicitly links the Games to the humiliations of the recent past: “There is also a certain moral aspect here and there is no need to be ashamed of it,” he said. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the dark and, let us be honest, bloody events in the Caucasus, the society had a negative and pessimistic attitude.” The Olympics, he explains, are a necessary part of an effort to “strengthen the morale of the nation.”
posted by spamandkimchi (89 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm hoping these games go off without a hitch even if it means a propaganda victory for Putin. Nobody needs another Munich '72.
posted by Renoroc at 1:38 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I hope nobody gets hurt but they're a PR disaster and lead to widespread interviews with dissidents (without prison terms for the interviewer or interviewee, please).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:45 PM on February 6 [10 favorites]


If the recent online news stories I've seen are to be believed, this thread is illegitimate without a picture of the double toilet.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:46 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


P.S. Part I "The Summer Capital" (the main link) is mostly light hearted slice of life about Sochi as a resort town (with fantastic photos of course) but subsequent sections focus on security and Caucasian militancy, the construction boondoggle amidst cabbages, and some additional context on the "Wild West" Caucasus. The parallax format shows off the photography.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:46 PM on February 6


Nobody needs another Munich '72.

I think there are gradients here. I'm not hoping for a terrorist attack on the Sochi Games, but I am hoping for something to happen here - perhaps a moment like this or something that acknowledges and protests the problems and human rights abuses in Russia, without it being violent.
posted by nubs at 1:51 PM on February 6 [7 favorites]


Is that what they call that style of site design, spamandkimchi, "parallax"?

I like it on my PC. I bet I'd like it on my tablet, too.
posted by notyou at 1:52 PM on February 6



I can't imagine that after seeing this (there you go Holy Zarquin) that anyone is going to take Russia seriously for very long.

They blew their opportunity. I blame the fact that there are no homosexuals in Sochi.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:54 PM on February 6


When people talk about how the budget for these games is skyrocketing (the article seems to indicate it went from $1.5 billion to $12 billion, then later references $50 billion) - who is paying for that overage? Is it coming from the IOC (do they even have it?) From Russia?
posted by Mchelly at 1:56 PM on February 6




It most definitely does not come from the IOC.

It mostly comes from the government:
The foundation is led by Alexei Navalny, a popular blogger, opposition leader and one of Putin's most outspoken critics. His research puts the overall cost of the Games at more than $45 billion.

Almost $25 billion of that amount came directly from the state budget, the report estimated. About $10 billion came from state-owned companies, $7.6 billion from state-owned banks and $1.6 billion from private investments.
posted by notyou at 2:00 PM on February 6


Is that what they call that style of site design, spamandkimchi, "parallax"?

Parallax is a general term that refers to the difference in apparent motion between two objects that are at different distances from an observer. For example, as you drive your car at high speed, a nearby telephone pole might seem to whip past you, while objects on the horizon seem to crawl past. Parallax scrolling is when different layers of visual content move at different rates as the viewport moves so as to imply different distances from the viewer- notable in the 16-bit gaming era and, nowadays, some websites.
posted by Jpfed at 2:02 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Speaking of toilets, or bathrooms, anyway:
Dmitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister responsible for the Olympic preparations, seemed to reflect the view held among many Russian officials that some Western visitors are deliberately trying to sabotage Sochi's big debut out of bias against Russia. "We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day," he said. An aide then pulled a reporter away before Mr. Kozak could be questioned further on surveillance in hotel rooms.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:03 PM on February 6 [37 favorites]


I've been reading up a lot about the Sochi games. The whole thing just seems so... ugly. But on top of all of the very real and serious human problems (and those poor dogs!), I keep getting more and more incensed by the IOC's attitude about the whole thing. They can't even bring themselves to tactfully acknowledge that there are real problems. They'd rather just say, "OMG, guys, shut up, you'll totally ruin it for everybody!"

I don't think we need a terrorist attack for these games to be something between a fiasco and a disaster. It's bad enough already and the games haven't even really started. I just hope there's no violence on top of all this.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:19 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


"We know people are using the double toilets! We have plenty of video of them doing it!"
posted by Big_B at 2:20 PM on February 6 [12 favorites]


Is it coming from the IOC (do they even have it?)

It may oversimplify, but it's useful to think of the IOC as a roving graft collector. It exists to generate the graft, which in most cases comes from public debt owed ultimately by the citizenry. Perhaps another oversimplification: a Tobin tax in reverse.
posted by dhartung at 2:22 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


"We know people are using the double toilets! We have plenty of video of them doing it!"

"...that came out wrong."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:24 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


The Olympics, he explains, are a necessary part of an effort to “strengthen the morale of the nation.”

The other part of that effort is apparently centered around brutally attacking and murdering gays & lesbians, and filming it to put on YouTube for entertainment.

(link goes to the GQ article that was discussed here on the blue recently but I felt like linking it again in case anyone missed it. Because it made my blood boil.)
posted by dnash at 2:29 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


"We know people are using the double toilets! We have plenty of video of them doing it!"

"...that came out wrong."


Ew. How can it come out...wrong? Yuck. Ew.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:37 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I think I'm done with the Olympics. The other night, after the Super Bowl ended, CBC-TV had a preview of the games and it barely even mentioned sports, what with all the security concerns, budgetary overruns, human rights abuses, dog culls and unfinished buildings and infrastructure. I'm sure it's fun for the athletes and spectators, and in theory it's great that the nations of the world get together to compete peacefully, but the Olympics have just grown too large and become too much of a political football. And then there's the IOC; corruptastic!

I fear the Qatar World Cup may be my breaking point for that particular event, which is a shame.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:39 PM on February 6


Heading towards 1996 many people around the world were asking "Why Atlanta?"
posted by vicx at 2:40 PM on February 6


Heading towards 1996 many people around the world were asking "Why Atlanta?"

And for years after, too.
posted by dng at 2:46 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Perhaps a little humour will change a few minds …


posted by Pathos Bill at 2:59 PM on February 6


I'm still a sucker for the Olympics. I think there is still value in having formal settings in which people from around the world meet for sport and cultural reasons. Sure, we know that such exchanges don't magically solve our global problems, but I think they are useful on the margins. I also think there is some value in having non-violent ways for countries to be competitive.
posted by Area Man at 3:02 PM on February 6 [7 favorites]


hmmm clearly i suck at posting links. google "canadian gay sochi ad"
posted by Pathos Bill at 3:02 PM on February 6








By far, BY FAR, my favorite Sochi travesty yet is the shower surveillance Kirth Gerson linked above. It's a beautiful piece of political ineptitude. Re-read that quote from the deputy prime-minister, won't you? Here, I'll requote it for you. He said "We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day," and was immediately diverted by an aide to go on a "media tour" instead.

He added, in response to the compaints, "As we say in Russia, victors don't get blamed." MOST RUSSIAN STATEMENT EVER.

In short, Dmitry Kozak is my new favorite Russian politician.
posted by maryr at 3:57 PM on February 6 [11 favorites]


....Russia is the Florida of countries and Putin is the killer of the poor Sochi dogs. Screw that guy.
posted by chance at 4:08 PM on February 6


They're going to have to have a guy start following Dmitry Kozak around with one of those giant vaudeville hooks.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:17 PM on February 6 [7 favorites]


I was thinking about the IOC today and specifically how laughably terrible they are at evaluating the weather of chosen locations (Atlanta, Sochi) -- or, you know, pretending to evaluate it, and I thought to myself, "You know, I bet the Olympic Games site selection process would be considerably better-run if it was left to the TV networks who bought the rights, who would come up with some hyper-elaborate but mostly fair contractual system of awarding the games to different regions in some reasonable rotation and who have a much greater interest in seeing the games succeed than the IOC does."

It's a sad, sad day when you think to yourself that NBC is definitely the more competent option to manage something.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:19 PM on February 6 [9 favorites]


Ew. How can it come out...wrong? Yuck. Ew.

"In Soviet Russia,..."
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:25 PM on February 6


Here's a pretty good roundup of some of the fuckery to-date. (Ignore the unlikely URL; it's a good collection of links.)
posted by mudpuppie at 4:25 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


We know people are using the double toilets!

They're not that far apart. One person's using both simultaneously for different bodily functions might be an interesting challenge.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:41 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]




> Sochi used to be much prettier

I dunno; I was there in 1971 (for eleven endless days—my roommate and I wound up spending our time playing cards) and it seemed like a dump to me. But then, I was used to Southern California, not Murmansk or Novosibirsk.
posted by languagehat at 5:07 PM on February 6


One person's using both simultaneously for different bodily functions might be an interesting challenge.

World-class athletes will not shrink from a challenge!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:12 PM on February 6


The mirror-ceiling toilet cubicles are the result of a translation mixup around live streaming.
posted by xiw at 5:28 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Sochi gave Bob Costas an eye infection. (He actually opened the coverage tonight explaining about why his eye was messed up and he was wearing glasses.)

After showing some snowboarding, Costas is* doing a fifteen minute segment with two experts on Russia right now, talking about Putin, Russian foreign policy, and LGBT oppression in Russia. It's a reasonably thorough primer and a serious discussion with two serious academic guys (as opposed to screaming talking heads) giving fairly lengthy, multipart answers. Costas notes they will be back several times throughout the Olympics, sometimes for longer interviews where they can delve into these questions in greater depth.

I increasingly admire Costas's willingness to engage with these complicated political and cultural issues that surround sports, and his refusal to cover only the "sports" part of the sports, and his insistence on taking a moral stand. And I think he reaches a lot of people (who might otherwise be dismissive of issues like the Washington NFL franchise's name or gay rights in Russia) because he does it in a thoughtful way as someone who loves and respects sports but who is also engaged in the larger culture.

(*was ... it took me so long to type this comment that it's over now)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:51 PM on February 6 [15 favorites]


Vice magazine did an interesting piece on why the Sochi Olympics are the most expensive ever.

The interviews with the people displaced for this debacle are heartbreaking.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:20 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Elias Groll on the Foreign Policy "Passport" Blog: "Get Ready for an Olympics filled with Potemkin Village Metaphors"
posted by koeselitz at 6:46 PM on February 6


Every time someone says "The Olympics need to go," there is an impassioned outcry and stories of all the athletes who have suffered and sacrificed to go to the Olympics, how dare we deprive them? And I am sympathetic. But they themselves are often exploited and impoverished by the system, and of course, if you don't even medal, which a lot of athletes won't, you aren't going to get lucrative sponsorship deals to make it all worthwhile. You might get to be a coach for some other kids who want to succeed where you didn't. You might not even be able to do that.

And I'm just not convinced that it is really worth it, that we are actually celebrating athletes and achievement and what have you in a way that justifies the kind of corrupt, destructive shit that surrounds the games.

The ceremonies are always beautiful. There are always stories of heartbreak and triumph. The homeless are always rounded up and displaced. There is always bribery and corruption. The cities that host always seem to end up holding the bag and stuck with useless facilities. There are always a few who become famous, and a whole lot who don't.

As a Thing Worth Doing, the Olympics has made a dodgy case for itself.
posted by emjaybee at 6:48 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


I recommend this read:
Winter Olympics in the Subtropics
posted by robbyrobs at 7:06 PM on February 6


"Get Ready for an Olympics filled with Potemkin Village Metaphors"

In which the author, while grudgingly admitting to the possibility of a "shred" of truth in the metaphor, tries to assert that it's mostly just a lazy press falling back on old tropes, instead of, say, there being something pretty legitimate about the concept of Russia's chronic combination of wanting to be well-respected (if not feared) among nations while still being extremely stubbornly insular.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:06 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


The biggest investor in the construction of the Olympic facilities in Sochi is the state corporation, Olympstroy.

Olympstroy. Olympstroy. Oh-limp-STROY. Oh-LIMP-stroy. OH-limp-stroy. Best new word out of Sochi so far.
posted by telstar at 7:53 PM on February 6


Reading the Sochi Project article really makes me want to go to Russia. Riding the train for days at a time! Tea plantations! Red Army veterans! Russian food!

I know that right now it is not politically correct to be interested in Russia, but it seems like such a fascinating country.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:15 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I think it's perfectly fine to be interested in Russia - the politically incorrect bit would be approving of the politics there. You can certainly appreciate the land and culture without doing that.
posted by maryr at 8:18 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Russia IS a beautiful, fascinating, and complex country with an incredibly rich and deep culture and endlessly interesting history. Part of what's so terrible about Putin for us Russophiles is the damage he and his kleptocracy are doing to such a wonderful country, coming out of a 20th century of incredible upheaval. I was there in 1994, and it was fairly dangerous by western standards and involved a lot of bribery, but there was so much HOPE. Now it seems that hope's been displaced by anger and fear (and the particularly Russian conviction that no matter who their leader is, be he Czar or Communist or President, he will run things into the ground because bad government and despots are their destiny). It is very, very hard to watch happen to a place that romaced you with its cathedrals and its Rasttrellis and its energetically splendid composers and the eternal sweetness of Pushkin.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:05 PM on February 6 [8 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: “I increasingly admire Costas's willingness to engage with these complicated political and cultural issues that surround sports, and his refusal to cover only the "sports" part of the sports, and his insistence on taking a moral stand.”
As I said in the other thread, it was worth watching tonight solely to see Costas say "Pussy Riot" on national television.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:20 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: “Russia IS a beautiful, fascinating, and complex country with an incredibly rich and deep culture and endlessly interesting history. Part of what's so terrible about Putin for us Russophiles is the damage he and his kleptocracy are doing to such a wonderful country, coming out of a 20th century of incredible upheaval.”
When history reviews the end of the Cold War period in a few centuries in the future — presuming something like civilization still exists — the failure of Bush the Elder and his Ford administration cronies to extend the hand of friendship to Russia and spend the "peace dividend" on forging an alliance with them will go down as one of the top foreign policy blunders of all time.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:38 PM on February 6


A friend of mine was over and we were talking about the Olympics and I said something, probably wondering why it seemed like everything was disastrous, and she (whose matrilineal heritage is Russian, I guess, and who has traveled there a few times) suddenly shouted, with seething rage, "Russia is a fucking CESSPOOL and it's always been a cesspool and it always will be." I just stared at her, because I was afraid she would hurt me. Then I burst out laughing, and she appeared to calm down.

Now whenever I'm around people and there's any kind of mention or advertisement for the Olympics, I shout, "Russia is a fucking CESSPOOL!" I don't want to laugh at all these horror stories coming out, especially the dogs and the horrific way people are being treated, but I keep hearing her voice and it makes me giggle.
posted by emcat8 at 10:14 PM on February 6


One thing I've been thinking about a decent amount is how much the Cold War created a context in which so many other things could be meaningful. When you're trying to stop nuclear armageddon, a lot of things from NASA to the Olympics to the American brand as the beacon on the hill for the rule of law, have very specific meaning and import.

In the absence of the cold war, do they still matter? Yes, of course, but maybe not like they did.
posted by effugas at 1:00 AM on February 7


I wish they would just erect permanent Olympic stadiums (somewhere warm for summer and somewhere cold for winter) and let nations share the costs of keeping them running permanently. They could jointly build and maintain perfect facilities that would have guaranteed crowds every four years and probably never-ending use for training and non-Olympic events and recreation.
posted by pracowity at 2:13 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Google goes rainbow: www.google.com.

Also, Caucasus? Georgia, shurely?
posted by marienbad at 3:59 AM on February 7


That google doodle made me get a little teary. Note the quotation from the Olympic charter below the search bar.
posted by winna at 5:07 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Google goes rainbow: www.google.com.

Even on www.google.ru. Huh, hope no one gets made an example of for that.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:00 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Google was co-founded by a guy who was born in Moscow and has talked pretty extensively about how antisemitism limited his parents' career opportunities and such. I wouldn't be surprised if Sergey Brin feels a personal investment in Russian-government-targeting-minorities-to-stir-up-nationalism type issues.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:10 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Since Soviet times Sochi has had a reputation as a brash and seedy resort, a hotspot for holiday sex and a place where black-marketers and underground entrepreneurs from across the Soviet Union spent their not-always-honestly-earned roubles. "If I knew a card trick, I'd live in Sochi," runs an old saying. This makes it arguably the perfect place to hold the Olympics, which have become a model of Russia's crony capitalism and a world championship of corruption.

The Economist explains why Sochi is the perfect place for the Olympics.
posted by bukvich at 7:02 AM on February 7


Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas - one of 6 openly gay athletes at Sochi - raises a rainbow glove.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:04 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


What gets me (and bothers me) is that what happens after Sochi? After all athletes have left, the corporate sponsors are gone, and the media finds some new shiny story elsewhere, what happens to only the city itself and the persecution of LGBT folks? Because while I really want to think it's good that there is more pressure or at least backlash to what's going on while the world is watching, I'm concerned about what happens the world finds something else to look at.
posted by Kitteh at 7:17 AM on February 7




This jerk (Part II) seems to think the most important thing about the whole mess is that he'll be able to say "I told you so! Nothing went wrong at Sochi!"
posted by languagehat at 8:35 AM on February 7


OK - I have the live stream up from the CBC of the opening ceremonies (as much as I'm disillusioned/disgusted by the Olympics in general, I'm finding breaking the habit of watching is difficult). Anyways, apparently half the stadium is empty - the announcers aren't sure why, and you can see blocks of empty seats as the athletes come in - and they've killed all cell phone/mobile connections, so no one there can tweet/social media out. Interesting times.
posted by nubs at 8:41 AM on February 7


I noticed yesterday during the brief clips of the Slope Style events that the stands were pretty empty, and there wasn't a lot of cheering going on either.
posted by Big_B at 9:06 AM on February 7


Live link from Russian TV for people in the U.S. (at least it's working for me)

http://smotrisport.tv/event/sochi2014/sochi-2014-tsyeryemoniya/56599-tsyeryemoniya-otkrytiya-olimpiady-2014-smotret-online.html
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:08 AM on February 7


Twitter is pretty great too for those that can't stream. Apparently one of the five rings won't light up?
posted by Big_B at 9:14 AM on February 7


I noticed yesterday during the brief clips of the Slope Style events that the stands were pretty empty, and there wasn't a lot of cheering going on either.

It was just a preliminary qualifying round, I don't find it too odd that it had sparse attendance. In fact it's odd that NBC even showed it, usually they only show actual competition rounds. I'm guessing maybe because the skating added the team competition and last night was a real part of that, NBC wanted to fill the evening out and the slopsestyle qualifier was the only option.
posted by dnash at 9:17 AM on February 7


Apparently one of the five rings won't light up?

It didn't expand out of the snowflake shape.

Hope nobody gets in real trouble. :/
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:18 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


In fact it's odd that NBC even showed it, usually they only show actual competition rounds.

Good point, and something I considered but it was kind of striking. Might have been aired because of the whole Shaun White pulling out of it issue, and the one heat I watched had Chas Guldemond in it.
posted by Big_B at 9:23 AM on February 7


apparently half the stadium is empty - the announcers aren't sure why,

To clarify, the announcers were not referencing the seats left open for the athletes.
posted by nubs at 9:29 AM on February 7


I wonder if it's the same kind of thing that happened in London. (I forget the reason, but the stadiums were empty there too.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:47 AM on February 7




Missing the point completely, Rob Ford orders pride flag removed from Toronto city hall
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:52 AM on February 7


Missing the point completely

Is that Ford's new campaign slogan?
posted by nubs at 10:58 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


This jerk (Part II) seems to think the most important thing about the whole mess is that he'll be able to say "I told you so! Nothing went wrong at Sochi!"

Not Just a jerk, but an idiot:
Confidence in your knowledge in any topic can skew your view and make major media reporting frustratingly simplified, but I think I have figured out the problem with even the best reporting about Sochi is lacking.
He's figured out that the problem is lacking! If the reporters would just avoid lacking, all their reporting would come up to his standards.
I imagine someone living in the US pictures Russia as a vast land inhabited by three categories of people: oppressed gays, reactionaries who like to beat them up, and parliamentarians who implicitly support the reactionaries. Oh and Putin. And nobody in between.
I, for one, am interested in hearing more about this imaginary person and his or her unique views, but I suspect it's just the author's clever way of insulting everyone who has concerns he doesn't share. Because of his expertise and association with NYU, and all.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:24 PM on February 7


Missing the point completely, Rob Ford orders pride flag removed from Toronto city hall

Yes, but Brother Campaign Manager Doug explained that RoFo is not homophobic. In fact, some of his best friends are gay. Admittedly, this was in response to Wednesday's declaration that the Half-Mayor will never attend a Pride parade, but presumably RoFo is exactly as open-minded now as he was then. Indeed, as he "can't change who [he is]", I see no way for him not to be the same.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:32 PM on February 7


Indeed, as he "can't change who [he is]", I see no way for him not to be the same.

"Was born this way", surely.
posted by jaduncan at 12:35 PM on February 7


Putin’s Sochi and Hitler’s Berlin: The Love Affair Between Dictators and the Olympic Games, Gary Kasparov, The Daily Beast, 07 February 2014
Intentionally or not, the Putin regime has followed the Berlin 1936 playbook quite closely for Sochi. There have been the same token concessions in response to international outcries over bigoted laws. A few prominent political prisoners were released right before the journalists arrived. Even the tone of the propaganda has a familiar ring, as brilliantly illustrated by the writer and journalist Viktor Shenderovich this week. He quoted a statement by Putin loyalist politician Vladimir Yakunin accusing the western media of anti-Russian hysteria and hostility and condemning these foreign critics for attempting to disrupt the Olympics. Shenderovich then revealed that half of the statement was actually by Karl Ritter von Halt, the organizer of the Berlin Games, only substituting “Russia” for “Germany” throughout. The transition was seamless.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:53 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Rofo has acquiesced on that and is flying the rainbow flag from city hall, thankfully.

Of course, that's small potatoes compared to the fact that 4 GLBT* rights activists were arrested in St. Petersburg as they quoted the Olympic Charter.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:56 PM on February 7


Russia does not have a deep well of internationally recognized pop acts to draw upon, which is why the opening ceremonies featured t.A.T.u.
posted by ckape at 2:33 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I wonder if it's the same kind of thing that happened in London. (I forget the reason, but the stadiums were empty there too.)

IIRC for some events, large proportions of tickets were reserved for corporate sponsors who didn't bother to use them. I think they eventually solved this partway through the games by offering deeply discounted tickets for events with empty seats to spectators already in the Olympic village.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:45 PM on February 7








I wasn't kidding - NATO Raps Russia Over Border Move.
posted by marienbad at 6:02 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Potentially at the far end of the bell curve as far as tweaking Russia on LGBT issues while being simultaneously exploitative, Norwegian sports retailer XXL made this ad. But I do like the fact that it uses Seinfeld's useful reframing of sexual preference.
posted by dhartung at 11:10 PM on February 9


Seinfeld came up with "batting for another team" as a euphemism for gay? Somehow that doesn't ring true to me – I feel like I heard it before then – but who knows. Wiktionary lists it as being from cricket or baseball as "bat for the other team," anyway, and lists it as "in print c. 1990," so the timing's just about right; the Seinfeld episode was apparently in 1993.
posted by koeselitz at 11:35 PM on February 9


Stephen Colbert sends a uniquely qualified reporter to get to the ahem bottom of things.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:51 AM on February 11


This may be the first time I've agreed with something Mitt Romney has said.
posted by arcticseal at 4:02 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


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