IOC will not allow WTC flag at the SLC Olympics.
February 5, 2002 2:15 PM   Subscribe

IOC will not allow WTC flag at the SLC Olympics. A flag was found in what was left of the World Trade Center. It was going to be flown at the opening ceremonies but the IOC says that the flag is too political. What does everyone think about this?
posted by Keen (111 comments total)
 
As for what I think of this:
Its an American flag (oopps, should have said that in the front post) and the Olympics are in SLC, which happens to be in the USA. I see no problem with the country who is hosting the Olympics to fly their flag. It being too political sounds like a sorry excuse to say its not allowed.
posted by Keen at 2:17 PM on February 5, 2002


I guess as long as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda athletes (mostly figure skaters, I think) aren't allowed to fly their flags they recovered from cave rubble, I don't have a problem with it.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:20 PM on February 5, 2002


Translation: Bribe the IOC to fly the flag.
posted by TacoConsumer at 2:22 PM on February 5, 2002


It's going to fly. What are they going to do, inspect every flag that comes into the stadium? I'd love to hear that conversation:

(IOC official) "Is that the flag from the World Trade Center?"
(American athlete) "Yes, it is."
(IOC official) "You can't bring that in here."
(Heavily-armed National Guardsman) "Step out of the way, please."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:23 PM on February 5, 2002


Keen: It's not a matter of flying the U.S. flag. It's more like if the Israelis wanted their flag to be one that was riddled with holes by the explosion of a Palestinian suicide bomber. It's an extra, and potentially inflammatory, politicial statement added to the simple gesture of just displaying the flag.

Look, folks, let's get over it. Plenty of countries have been hurt and psychologically tortured by the course of world events. It's best to move on and stop making a constant ritualized memorial to how much we've been hurt.
posted by argybarg at 2:26 PM on February 5, 2002


If flags are at the Olympics, why not that one. Stupidity on both sides.

It would be nice to not have a "we're #1-style Olympics. Americans: be modest for a change, ok?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:27 PM on February 5, 2002


The Olympics are meant to be a time where we all set aside our political differences and play together. It is supposed to be a time where countries' atheletes compete to the best of their ability. It is a time when we send our best and brightest people to compete against the best and brightest people of other countries. It is not a time to beat our breasts about an event that is any number of things, most of them bad or difficult to deal with, and that is also mostly personal to the americans. We all know about the world trade center. I doubt there is an afghani or a pakistani or and american or a single soul of any flavor nationality or creed who is going to go to the olympics who DOESN'T know about the WTC.

Obviously I agree with the IOC. Then again I am still grumbling about the "Dream Team". The atheletes were also supposed to be amateurs, as well.
posted by ottergrrl at 2:29 PM on February 5, 2002


argybarg: "It's an extra, and potentially inflammatory, politicial statement."

I don't see how it's "potentially inflammatory." Who exactly would be "inflamed"? The Taliban? Al-Qaeda? Chomsky? I don't think they're invited or interested.

But I really don't disagree with your suggestion that we "move on."
posted by pardonyou? at 2:35 PM on February 5, 2002


It is not a time to beat our breasts about an event that is any number of things, most of them bad or difficult to deal with, and that is also mostly personal to the americans.

Oh! You're talking about the WTC attack. This sounds like the Olympics to me...
posted by plaino at 2:37 PM on February 5, 2002


Sorry, but I think that's the only flag which can fly. I hope this becomes a big issue. Because it's arrogant for the IOC to direct that said flag should not fly.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:38 PM on February 5, 2002


ottergrrl : "The Olympics are meant to be a time where we all set aside our political differences and play together. "

I don't know where you watch the Olympics, but it seems to me a time of unbridled jingoism. The good old days it used to be "our system" versus "their system" .. but of course, they used steroids and we didn't (?) so the USSR and East Germany would win.

In terms of American jingoism, this will make the Superbowl look tame.
posted by Mondo at 2:39 PM on February 5, 2002


P.S.: Why are there flags at the Olympics at all? And on uniforms? I agree that the US is too jingoistic, but as long as the flags are there, the IOC is looking for a fight on this one...
posted by ParisParamus at 2:42 PM on February 5, 2002


Here's a related link I read earlier today.
posted by vbfg at 2:43 PM on February 5, 2002


The top of the Drudge site now says:
The International Olympic Committee's coordination commission told USOC president Sandy Baldwin that many nations had suffered and that allowing the American team to carry the flag would not be proper... MORE...

So why can't other nations carry their flags out too? Don't they do that anyway? I know they do medal counts on TV broken down by countries, and they have pictures of flags on tv. Its insane that this flag isn't allowed!
posted by Keen at 2:46 PM on February 5, 2002


The atheletes were also supposed to be amateurs, as well.

Funny how that only seemed to apply to the US for quite some time.

Americans: be modest for a change, ok?

Why should we? To make everyone else feel better at a SPORTING event? There will be winners, there will be losers. But flying the flag (ANY flag) of our country is not about modesty, its about pride in our nation. Every other country will do the same, but we're not suspossed to for some reason. Screw that. We have a right to be proud of our destroyed landmarks, our fallen dead, our ability to surviveas a nation, and our spirit that many of us feel when we see our flag. And if any advocate that we bury that pride so as not to offend the ultra-sensitive, then the terrorists really have won.

Purhaps its others that need to move on, and realize that most Americans LIKE where we live, and when the Olympics come to our cities, we will proclaim that.

I've never pledged my allegience to the IOC.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:50 PM on February 5, 2002


This is the next non-news news story. It will dominate cable tv for the next three weeks. Spectators will begin sneaking in replicas of the flag in question. Athletes will covertly do so. At the very least, the IOC should have known this would happen. What asses.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:50 PM on February 5, 2002


I don't personally see how it matters. It shouldn't be an issue, and now regardless of what happens it will be one.

I don't quite see where the IOC wields such dictatorial power.

Is there some statute or law that the IOC can present as of which the display of this particular flag is a violation ?
posted by Mondo at 2:52 PM on February 5, 2002


The Olympics have always intended to be apolitical. This isn't saying that flags can't be or aren't flown at the games, just that the flags are intended to be a handy indicator of nationality (and consequently the grouping of athletes) and only of nationality. Because flying that particular American flag would send a political message (indeed, that is exactly why they want to fly it) beyond merely identifying what country is present, it could not be allowed in the spirit of the games.

The only way of justify flying that flag would be to prove that either the olympic games are intended to allow overt and conscious political statements in them, or that the audience would not react to that particular flag any different than they would to another American flag. I can't think of a way to do either.

I suppose a third option would be to say that America should get a freebie rule violation due to the fact that we suffered a terrorist attack. Of course this is a special exception to the rules, and presumes somehow that our suffering is more important than the many, many countries who have suffered more than we have but have not been able to use the olympics as a pulpit. But it wouldn't be the first time we've made such an assumption, so it really wouldn't surprise me if that's what ends up happening.

Also, I would like to point out that Salt Lake City is merely the games' host. From what I understand, they are not "in control" of the games any more than a city which hosts, say, the Republican National Convention is in control of official GOP policy.
posted by Hildago at 2:52 PM on February 5, 2002


I don't think it should fly, because this isn't a memorial event, this isn't a political event, this is supposed to be a celebration of sportsmanship and athletic ability.

I do believe in remembering the dead of September 11th -- make no mistake about that. But I'm tired of "September 11th" coming into every. single. thing. since that date. I feel beaten over the head with it. And, frankly, it's losing its power to affect me because of it -- I don't want to get to that cynical "Oh, more stuff about September 11th, blah blah, who cares" because I've seen it so many times. I'm becoming desensitized to it, and I don't want that to happen.

Please, can't we leave September 11th out of something for once?
posted by metrocake at 2:54 PM on February 5, 2002


[insert comments about unnecessary sentimentalism that got me flamed back in September]
Let's go for a theme here. Japan can fly an irradiated flag with a little nuclear mushroom on it or something. Israel can get their bullet-riddled one, and so on. Because, after all, the Olympics are about politics and picking scabs if nothing else.
Since I'm not generally in the habit of talking prettypretty nicenice, I'll just say, "What Ottergrrl said." before I get myself in trouble.
posted by Su at 2:55 PM on February 5, 2002


And if any advocate that we bury that pride so as not to offend the ultra-sensitive, then the terrorists really have won.

Is there some corollary to Godwin's law that covers this statement?
posted by Hildago at 2:56 PM on February 5, 2002


Good piece in today's NYT
posted by ParisParamus at 2:59 PM on February 5, 2002


It was obnoxious when the Yankees flew that flag during the World Series, and it's many times more obnoxious to beat our chests about flying it at the Olympics. If every nation wanted to bring in their own artifact of their suffering, we'd have a competing gallery of self-righteous political claims, instead of an even-handed display that all the nations are here.

Of course, this is going to become a macho thing -- we won't back down, goddammit, and how you gonna stop us, huh?

It's not enough that we suffer, we have to be beligerent about our suffering?
posted by argybarg at 3:02 PM on February 5, 2002


Let's hurry up and finish this thread while those awful Europeans are asleep!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:02 PM on February 5, 2002


Got to go with Hildago on this one. The Olympics should transcend politics, and reflect national pride, but not act as a memorial.

If the IOC wanted to fly the flag as a symbol of man;s inhumanity towards man, along with some of the other flags Su alluded to, that would be a different story.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:15 PM on February 5, 2002


finish this thread while those awful Europeans are asleep!
ParisParamus, thats funny.
posted by tomplus2 at 3:18 PM on February 5, 2002


i'm not going to watch the stupid olympics anyway.

It's all a pile of crap as far as I am concerned.....and frankly it is going to be one big fat security risk, and it always has been ...
I wouldn't kick a hog in the butt to go see them, they are a waste of time and effort better spent to improve the world in more tangible ways, and ever since they got rid of my favorite theme music my last excuse for watching got flushed.

I will be surfing the net, as always...y'all do what you want.
posted by bunnyfire at 3:19 PM on February 5, 2002


I wouldn't kick a hog in the butt to go see them

That's one you don't hear every day.

And you, my friend, have never experienced the drama of Curling or that Skiing and Shooting Event That I Think Is Called Biathlon But Could Just As Well Not Be.

To say they are a waste of time and effort is to miss the point of the Olympics entirely. As has been said before, the Olympics are intended to be something above politics, an opportunity for the world's nations to rise above petty squabbles and embrace pure competition. Intended to be. And that's the reason to watch them as far as I am concerned. Pure competition. I don't care where the athletes are from...I just like to see the pure competition.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:28 PM on February 5, 2002


That is my entry in the "How Many Times Can You Use the Phrase 'Pure Competition' In One Post?" Contest 2002.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:29 PM on February 5, 2002


I wouldn't kick a hog in the butt to go see them



that's north carolina talk...sorry, i forgot mefi'ers aren't always bilingual....
posted by bunnyfire at 3:38 PM on February 5, 2002


If every nation wanted to bring in their own artifact of their suffering, we'd have a competing gallery of self-righteous political claims, instead of an even-handed display that all the nations are here.

What the fuck do you think makes us a nation? I can burn the flag of our country because the rule of law has said I can. This isn't about self-rightious political claims. The IOC has said that the United States of America doesn't have the rights allowed it by the Constitution. Will you accept that? Constitutionally guarenteed rights should be the issue in an Olympics held in our country. If any don't like that then let them boycott (1986).
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:38 PM on February 5, 2002


September 11 will, from that date on, be the only thing that people remember. It will be the only requirement for anything. Crucifixes will give way to two towers wrapped in a tattered American flag.

Hell, let's go ALL the way...let's require Israel to fly the flag that they brought to the '72 Olympics. At least that's somewhat on topic.

And, um, people will be flying the American flag and the Canadian flag and all sorts of flags. It's just that particular flag, you know, the one that can cure the blind and inspire Bono and Paul McCartney and is this close to being a piece of the True Cross.

Non-issue pressed by puffy "patriots" who can't understand why people might want to move on with life.

P.S. Wulfgar, what the hell are you talking about?
posted by solistrato at 3:40 PM on February 5, 2002


that's north carolina talk...sorry, i forgot mefi'ers aren't always bilingual....
Hey, I'm in North Carolina! My favorite piece of NC talk is, when referring to people you say "He/she doesn't know corns a bushel!".
posted by Keen at 3:42 PM on February 5, 2002


kick a hog in the butt

Silly, that's a Summer Olympics event.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:45 PM on February 5, 2002


It is sort of silly to fly the whole flag, it feeds into our ever-growing "continual grief" culture.

That said, why the heck should we be modest during the Olympics? The Olympics exist for countries to kick each other's asses. Lord knows the world would be a better place if we resolved our disputes during the luge than on the battlefield.

We're America, we don't do "modesty".

Hell, Jamaica could have a chance at being a superpower under that structure.
posted by owillis at 3:56 PM on February 5, 2002


Speaking as an awful European, resident and wide-awake in the wonderful U-S-A:

The Norwegians held a good Winter Olympics, that managed to advertise their culture without rampant nationalism. I seem to remember the opening ceremonies of the Albertville Winter Games in France being pretty classy, too.

The athletes were also supposed to be amateurs, as well.
Funny how that only seemed to apply to the US for quite some time.


Compared to athletes from all the non-communist countries that don't have sports scholarships, many US participants always struck us as semi-professional.

As for the flag in question, the point is not whether it can be smuggled in, but whether, at a sporting event, a specific flag symbolic of national defiance is as appropriate as a generic flag just symbolic of the nation. If we must have flags at all, that is.
posted by liam at 3:58 PM on February 5, 2002


Adding the WTC flag makes the whole thing seem like an american event, I mean, more than it already is. It should be a worldwide event, where every country is of equal importance, wartime or not. It politicizes something that's supposed to be about sports.
posted by mathowie at 4:00 PM on February 5, 2002


P.S. Wulfgar, what the hell are you talking about?

Its so very simple, I'm amazed that others don't get it. This is our country. The Games are being held here, and as with all Olympics before, must follow the laws of the host nation. My nation gives me the right of free speech (that nation would be yours as well, I believe). And the IOC wishes to take that from me out of a misplaced sence anti-nationalism, or global acceptance when we're competing against everyone else, or of something I don't understand? BS.

If other nations wish to feel that we are participating in "rampant nationalism" TOO FUCKING BAD. I actually like the fact that I live here and can call Bush an idiot. I do not believe at all that some fucked up sporting organization should be able to trump the Constitution by which my life is, as I choose it, governed. I can fly whatever flag I wish, however I wish. But the IOC thinks they can change that? Not hardly.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:14 PM on February 5, 2002


Since the flag would only displayed during opening and closing ceremonies and medal events, I'm not sure the WTC flag would exhibit a major effect on the game's atmosphere. But the IOC deserves what it's going to get for its edict (should it be maintained).
posted by ParisParamus at 4:16 PM on February 5, 2002


(on the other hand, if Sean Hannity is upset over this, maybe I should think again: what a simpleton.)
posted by ParisParamus at 4:19 PM on February 5, 2002


Isn't the whole point to be a host country? What makes a good host? Rampant self absorption? It's basically discourteous to try to make this Olympics more about us, simply because we're hosting it. For God's sake, countries around the world volunteered really touching displays of support. (Playing our anthem, etc.) Let's leave it at that, why don't we?

Wulfgar, the Constitution has dick to do with this. I mean, get real.
posted by Wood at 4:19 PM on February 5, 2002


It should be a worldwide event, where every country is of equal importance, wartime or not. It politicizes something that's supposed to be about sports.

mathowie, I really do hate to have to disagree with you, BUT ... whether we fly a WTC flag or not has nothing to do with the competition. There will be winners, and losers. A nation's prideful claim that we are who we are has nothing to do with the competition, and everything to do with the parade that begins the games. Why should we at all be more survile than any of the nations who will trot their pride out for all to see? We shouldn't.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:20 PM on February 5, 2002


Let's leave it at that, why don't we?


Good question, you got an answer? I didn't think so.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:21 PM on February 5, 2002


The IOC has said that the United States of America doesn't have the rights allowed it by the Constitution. Will you accept that?

Oh, in the name of all that is good and decent ...

Wulfgar, what is wrong with you today?

The Constitution does not grant rights to "The United States of America" or any other country -- it grants rights to its citizens.

A private, non-governmental organization can allow or disallow anything it wants at one of its events.

Your bizaare notion of constitutionality would mean the the IOC could not prevent one team from painting racist slogans on its flag, or flip off the judges, or wave blow-up dolls from the flagpole, or whatever the hell they want.

They're organizing the games; it's their decision. The Constitution has absolutely nothing to do with it.
posted by argybarg at 4:22 PM on February 5, 2002


Wulfgar, the Constitution has dick to do with this. I mean, get real.

Absolutely not true. The host country sets the laws by which the Olympics will be governed. The basis of American law is the constitution. Get real.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:23 PM on February 5, 2002


The Constitution does not grant rights to "The United States of America" or any other country

WTF? Want to rethink that?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:25 PM on February 5, 2002


I would agree the Constitution has zero to do with this. Particularly since the IOC is "not disallowing" display of the flag; just one in particular. And the Olympics are a private affair. (but I do think NBC's fragmented, awful coverage has been, and will be unconstitutional!)

Wulfgar: go home with your tail between your legs. You're wrong.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:28 PM on February 5, 2002


Wulfgar, what is wrong with you today?

Its really very simple. I don't like to be told what to do, in the name of making others feel better, when those others don't tend to give a fuck about what I feel. I like my country, alot. We have a bastard president, a questionable Supreme Court, and a congress that doesn't seem to get it. But to have a sports organization the tells me what I can or cannot hold dear just pisses me off more than I can express.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:30 PM on February 5, 2002


The Constitution does not grant rights to "The United States of America" or any other country

WTF? Want to rethink that?


Read it again. Slowly. Get back to me.
posted by argybarg at 4:32 PM on February 5, 2002


Wulfgar: go home with your tail between your legs. You're wrong.

You've yet to show it, puppy.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:32 PM on February 5, 2002


But to have a sports organization the tells me what I can or cannot hold dear just pisses me off more than I can express.

How is the IOC preventing you from holding the WTC flag dear?
posted by argybarg at 4:33 PM on February 5, 2002


argybargy, how can you possibly say that the Constitution of the US doesn't grant rights to the US? I'm really confused by your stance here.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:34 PM on February 5, 2002


Wulfgar: go home with your tail between your legs. You're wrong.

Actually, it's your burden to show the Constitution creates the right you speak of. Every wrong in the world, assuming it's a wrong, is not automatically unconstitutional.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:34 PM on February 5, 2002


The host country sets the laws by which the Olympics will be governed.


If this is meant to be a demonstration of the sort of obnoxious self-righteousness that leads to these decisions in the first place, it's a roaring success.

It's not like they've been told not to bring the flag; according to the Washington Post, "it will be raised next to the Olympic flame during Friday night's opening ceremony at Rice-Eccles Stadium, serving as the official U.S. flag." They've just been asked not to use that particular flag as an overtly political statement during the opening ceremonies, when other nations aren't using particular flags as overtly political statements. Get it?


posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:35 PM on February 5, 2002


ParisParamis, you're being dense and willfully disregarding what I've said in context. If you wish to disagree that the Constitution grants the right to display what you will as an expression for Americans then please feel free to argue that. Otherwise, you're just mis-directing for no reason.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:38 PM on February 5, 2002


One thing everyone is forgetting here....more than just US citizens died in the towers.....there were individuals from all over the world affected by that tragedy.....if someone could stop and THINK for a moment this could be turned into something unifying and not just "an american moment"....but we all know what the chances of that are.
posted by bunnyfire at 4:41 PM on February 5, 2002


P.S.: Wulfgar: if the Mormons can't do missionary work during opening ceremonies, is that unconstitutional too?

I think the law school you went to should lose its accreditation
posted by ParisParamus at 4:42 PM on February 5, 2002


Wulfgar, try to spot the difference between these two statements:

1) The Constitution grants rights to the citizens of the United States.
2) The Constitution grants rights to the United States.

The first is true; the second makes no sense.

Secondly, consider this case. I organize a regional 3-on-3 basketball tournament. You enter a team with the name "The Rochester Shit-Eaters." I tell you: "I'm sorry; you can't enter under that name; we have to enforce standards of decency."

Now: Have I violated your constitutional rights?
posted by argybarg at 4:44 PM on February 5, 2002


They've just been asked not to use that particular flag as an overtly political statement during the opening ceremonies, when other nations aren't using particular flags as overtly political statements. Get it?


Yes, I do. The IOC has reserved to itself the right to interpret what is a political statement and what is not. I don't think they have the right.

Don't ask me again if I get it. That's insulting in the worst way and hardly deserving of response of credit. Many might call it a troll, yes?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:45 PM on February 5, 2002


whether we fly a WTC flag or not has nothing to do with the competition

Yes it does. Instead of simply acting as a symbol of our country, like all the other flags being flown, this is our war-battered flag, and reminds everyone at the Olympics that we're at war, and brings all sorts of baggage with it (If a bobsledder beats an american for the gold, did terrorism win?). I think the US should make an effort to keep things neutral and let other countries feel equal importance at the start and end of the games. Just because the US is fully immersed in a new sense of patriotism, we shouldn't go out of our way to boast about it to the world.

If you support the WTC flag in this year's olympics, did you support the 1968 olympics medal stand protest by african american atheletes as they raised their fists into the air? Although I support their act of protest, what they did politicized the event somewhat.
posted by mathowie at 4:48 PM on February 5, 2002


P.S.: Wulfgar: if the Mormons can't do missionary work during opening ceremonies, is that unconstitutional too?

Still mis-directing, aren't you? NO one has come out and claimed that the LDS church can't recruit during opening ceremonies. We're talking about presenting a national symbol here, not a religion.

The US is its citizens.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:50 PM on February 5, 2002


The IOC has reserved to itself the right to interpret what is a political statement and what is not. I don't think they have the right.

Why shouldn't they have the right to set and interpret policy at their own event?
posted by muckster at 4:54 PM on February 5, 2002


"1) The Constitution grants rights to the citizens of the United States.
2) The Constitution grants rights to the United States.

The first is true; the second makes no sense."


Actually, either is correct:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:57 PM on February 5, 2002


If you support the WTC flag in this year's olympics, did you support the 1968 olympics medal stand protest by african american atheletes as they raised their fists into the air?

Oh shit, Yes. I hate to admit my age, but yes, I did support that.


Although I support their act of protest, what they did politicized the event somewhat.

I agree. But this, to me, isn't about politicization (is that even a word?) of the Olympics. Its about organizations that feel they are extra-constitutional telling Americans what we can and cannot do in our own country. I would lie to think that America is a good host, but if I have to betray the fundamental beliefs that underly what America is to do so, then I say "get the fuck out". You're not welcome here. If America wants to display a trophy of its pain and honor, who is the IOC to tell it "no"? This isn't a private organization like the Masons. This is a world organized group that hosts an event for all who wish to come. To dictate the rules by which they symbolically do so is arrogant, and foolish. If they wish to call cheater on a country, so be it. If they wish to call "proud", well then its time to just call the whole thing off.
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:04 PM on February 5, 2002


Why is everyone so unwilling to see Wulfgar!'s points? It all boils down to whether the IOC has the right to tell the U.S. which U.S. flag to fly in its own country. I don't think it has. It's all a matter of opinion. Let's lighten up, guys!

My two cents: what would be so offensive about this flag? Who would it offend? The terrorists and their sympathizers? Why should the U.S. be ashamed of what it's achieved in the fight against terrorism?

Put another way, what are the IOC - a ridiculous little organization - afraid of? That the Iraqi steeple-chasing team will walk out? That the flag's evil magic will sap the strength of Islamic athletes? ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:16 PM on February 5, 2002


An interesting link on the Olympic Truce.
posted by signal at 5:23 PM on February 5, 2002


Crash:

That's "powers," not "rights." As I understand it, the clause you cite is concerned with the division of powers between the states and the federal government. The Bill of Rights applies to individuals and not the entity of The United States of America. (i.e., the "United States" does not have the right to legal representation, cannot be a victim of cruel and unusual punishment, etc.)
posted by argybarg at 5:30 PM on February 5, 2002


argybarg:

That's kind of nitpicky, don't you think? The Tenth Amendment is commonly referred to as the "State's Rights" amendment.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:43 PM on February 5, 2002


I told myself that I wouldn't join this debate, a little too heated/opinionated for my taste, but eh, what the hell. The US economy and its market are very much based upon consumer confidence. The economy wasn't doing so hot before 9/11, and the ensuing destruction didn't bode well for the economy's quick and speedy recovery.

People in the US, as seen thus far, love to portray themselves as victims. This is actually a universal feeling, but just happens to be made especially clear because Americans are feeling it. Five months later, the US economy is still sputtering and Americans want to blame people. They don't have their usual, woo-hoo American confidence(perceived by others as arrogance), and the people want a scape-goat. The answer: 9/11 has really destroyed this country.

So how do Americans release themselves from a sputtering economy and lack of confidence? Nationalism, in its best form: waving the flag. Wave the flag and the economy will fix itself. Wave the flag and the terrorists will go away. Wave the flag and America can once again become innocent and ignorant to world politics. This specific flag? The icing on the cake...

Flying this flag is the ultimate form of nationalism...the problem is, this SPECIFIC flag is like when they strung Mussollini's body in Italy and let villagers stab his corpse: one step too far. Let's take it back a notch, folks; the US is the world's leading hegemon because we have a hard-working middle class and lots of money...our confidence comes from our ability to compete on a global scale, not some flag.
posted by BlueTrain at 5:46 PM on February 5, 2002


the problem is, this SPECIFIC flag is like when they strung Mussollini's body in Italy and let villagers stab his corpse: one step too far. Let's take it back a notch, folks;


Bullshit. Its a flag. Nothing more, nothing less. Its not a corpse. Its fabric that symbolizes, period. Its the same as if the Nipponese flew an irradiated one, or the Israelites flew a bullet shredded one. Its a symbol of national pride, not a worn and bloody corpse. Its a flag, and its our right to fly it.
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:58 PM on February 5, 2002


So Wulfgar:

You wouldn't mind if the Japanese flew a flag that had flown in Nagasaki; the Chinese flew a flag that the Japanese had shredded in Nanking; the Pakistanis flew their version of the Kashmir flag; the Argentinians flew the flag of the Malvinas (a.ka. Falkland) Islands; the Irish flew the flag of the IRA?

Or are you only granting rights to the U.S. in this matter?
posted by argybarg at 6:05 PM on February 5, 2002


Is there some statute or law that the IOC can present as of which the display of this particular flag is a violation ?


Yes. It's the U. S. Federal Flag Code. Public Law 94 - 344 Section 4k:

The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

The IOC doesn't need to "tell the US" what flag to fly. U. S. law is specific on that point. Political baggage aside, this is no longer a flag. It is a historical item, a national rallying symbol, a patriotic artifact, or, if allowed to fly at every sporting event from now until the Indianapolis 500, a gradually cheapening sideshow exhibit.

It should be preserved and displayed respectfully where it can be viewed by people who aren't eating chili cheese fries at the same time.
posted by Sallyfur at 6:06 PM on February 5, 2002


You wouldn't mind if the Japanese flew a flag that had flown in Nagasaki; the Chinese flew a flag that the Japanese had shredded in Nanking; the Pakistanis flew their version of the Kashmir flag; the Argentinians flew the flag of the Malvinas (a.ka. Falkland) Islands; the Irish flew the flag of the IRA?


No I wouldn't. Would you?

The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display

And the IOC decides that? I think not.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:12 PM on February 5, 2002


Its the same as if the Nipponese flew an irradiated one, or the Israelites flew a bullet shredded one.

So this strikes you as a good way to symbolize the "Olympic spirit", the opening ceremonies turned into a political pissing match between nations?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:12 PM on February 5, 2002


That's an awfully interesting interpretation of "no longer a fitting emblem for display".
posted by smackfu at 6:20 PM on February 5, 2002


So this strikes you as a good way to symbolize the "Olympic spirit", the opening ceremonies turned into a political pissing match between nations?


Its you who seem to believe so, not me. Feel free to back your point.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:24 PM on February 5, 2002


Actually, Sallyfur, I believe that you are incorrect (although this comment does not go to support Wulfgar!). Specifically:

It {The Flag Clode} does not impose penalties for misuse of the United States Flag. This is considered a flag until someone specifically retires (burns) it.

On a side note, Wulfgar!, you are obviously passionate regarding this subject, and I can appreciate that, but you don't need to address every comment that disagrees with yours. You aren't on trial here.
posted by BlueTrain at 6:30 PM on February 5, 2002


That the flag's evil magic will sap the strength of Islamic athletes? ;)

Or Christian athletes or Jewish athletes...what's your point?

Are you equating them all with "The terrorists and their sympathizers"?
posted by Saima at 6:33 PM on February 5, 2002


Its you who seem to believe so, not me. Feel free to back your point.

Oh please. If you can't see why many of the examples given are utterly inflammatory and would most likely lead to an environment antithetical to what the Olympics are supposed to be about, there's no point in debating it further.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:38 PM on February 5, 2002


Wulfgar: why are you so intent on having the U.S. defy the IOC? I don't think anyone disagrees with you in saying that a foreign group shouldn't come to the U.S. and dictate to us our rights. But we are voluntary participants in the Olympics which have certain ideals that as participants we subscribe to. (Whether or not those ideals are corrupt is another arguement.) Why can't we respect the ideal of non-politicization that we supposedly support? Its as if we're inviting them here just to piss on everything that their about. While no one is going to tell anyone in SLC to piss off for displaying the WTC flag, or preaching their faith, or wearing hammer and sickle Doc Martens (nor should they), this is the IOC's show. For better or worse. We should either play by their rules for two weeks, or shut the whole thing down and tell everyone to go home.

And since this is your show, Wulfgar, I wanted to say that you come off like a passionate undergrad as opposed to the grizzled vet you are. How do you keep your youthful complexion?
posted by thebigpoop at 6:52 PM on February 5, 2002


What about this flag?

Or, just out of curiosity, is the Rainbow Flag allowed? Or the Confederate Flag?
posted by Poagao at 7:07 PM on February 5, 2002


Those other flags should be allowed by spectators (in this, I'm with ya Wulfy) but not be presented by any country's delegation in an official capacity.
posted by thebigpoop at 7:10 PM on February 5, 2002


Let's forget about the World Trade Ctr. shall we...
posted by {savg*pncl} at 7:31 PM on February 5, 2002


We should either play by their rules for two weeks, or shut the whole thing down and tell everyone to go home.

Exactly. The flag will be displayed at the Olympics. If we can't compromise on the opening ceremonies for the sake of visibly observing the Olympic's non-political stance, we shouldn't have offered to be a host in the first place.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:33 PM on February 5, 2002


On a related note, I think we should take a strong look at using our national anthem as being possibly an extra and inflammatory statement. "The rockets red glare- the bombs bursting in air - gave truth to the night that the flag was still there..."

It's the same flag.

It's the same message.

Maybe "Barney's theme" would be acceptable.
posted by Perigee at 7:42 PM on February 5, 2002


I think it's actually much better that the WTC flag is raised ceremonially at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies to fly next to the Olympic Flame as a symbolic show of world support for the victims, and not just carried in by a few US athletes and then forgotten about at the end of their lap around the track.
posted by SenshiNeko at 7:42 PM on February 5, 2002


I know I'm in the majority here, but Wulfgar!, really, your position makes no sense to me, from an ideological or pragmatic standpoint.

Full agreement on other points brought up, such as the fact that this is maddeningly arrogant at worst and discourteous/inconsiderate at best. But the Olympics are not our ballgame. Yes, we're hosting this year. Hosting. As many have said, this is not the time nor the place to air our wounds. Everyone has seen. I promise. From a purely practical standpoint, as I understand it, this is a privilege. Cities (and countries) all over the world clamor for the opportunity to host the Olympic games. They build new stadiums, clean themselves up, and receive state funding in preparation for the event. It can have a positive effect on a city for years after the ceremonies are over. How many millions of tourist dollars will this bring into Salt Lake City? The US is shooting itself in the foot if it takes a hegemonic position on this issue. Will the IOC want to bring the Olympics back to a country that feels it can exert undue control over the way the ceremonies are run?
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:44 PM on February 5, 2002


And since this is your show, Wulfgar,

No, its not. I just feel, as has been noted, very passionate about the topic.

I wanted to say that you come off like a passionate undergrad as opposed to the grizzled vet you are. How do you keep your youthful complexion?

Quite simply, I believe that people, as people, should be allowed to hold the national/tribal symbols of their culture against all who would denegrate them. I believe in world community, but ... I have watched the retreat from Siagon, I have seen the shameful episodes in Grenada and Panama. And I still (dammit, believe you me) have faith in the Constitution of the US which tells me that I have a voice in who controls what I can do. I believe so strongly that the IOC cannot dictate what I hold as a national symbol.

The US flag is just that, a symbol of cloth. But, to me as a philosopher, it stands as the red for blood of heroes, the blue for the trust and faith, and the white for the purity and equality of the justice that my country strives for. The US isn't perfect, by any means. But how can any say that we're not allowed to show what we stand for, in the face of tyranny, in the face of terror? If other countries wish to join that exhibit (even if its our terror they decry) then great, let's do it, let's be honest. But for cripes sake, lets not hide behind the ideal that we need to remove emotion from the Olympics. Its a case of national games, my country against another's. Hiding from the national spirit behind that is rediculous.

A certain black man in the 1936 Olympic games put nationalist spirit to shame; because the nationalist spirit was so exclusive of freedom and acceptance. This isn't the case, its just based on the fear of such. How arrogant.

Despite Bush, the USA is about freedom of belief and freedom to belong. Its about freedom to hold up symbols of defiance without the fear that others might be offended by our strength. I love this country, and if any want to know what keeps me radically young in the face of advancing age its the loving faith in what was done 225 years ago. Dammit, any flag that the free want to fly is good enough for me.

The Olympics are not a-political. they've never been a-political. What they are is effort against effort. If that effort is symbolised by faith against destruction then I welcome it. And if that effort is symbolised by what has flown over a tragic venue, then so what? Let the flag fly, period.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:55 PM on February 5, 2002


Its a case of national games, my country against another's. Hiding from the national spirit behind that is rediculous.


From the Olympic Charter (http://multimedia.olympic.org/pdf/en_report_122.pdf): "The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries." Whether it's achieved or not, that's the explicitly stated Olympic ideal. Your understanding of the Olympics is apparently counter to its stated fundamental principles, so it's not surprising you object to the way those principles are applied.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:10 PM on February 5, 2002


Let's forget about the World Trade Ctr. shall we...No, never. We should either play by their rules for two weeks, or shut the whole thing down and tell everyone to go home...We already did play by their rules,to the tune of over One Million Dollars of bribes; we bought the right to have the games here, so they are our games. Its the same as if the Nipponese flew an irradiated one, or the Israelites flew a bullet shredded one...or the swasticas flying at the 1936 Olympics, which no one snivvled about.
posted by Mack Twain at 8:50 PM on February 5, 2002


Wulfgar wrote: Quite simply, I believe that people, as people, should be allowed to hold the national/tribal symbols of their culture against all who would denegrate them.

I find this sentiment scary... I typed up a post in my weblog yesterday about this Guardian article on the reconstruction and reintegration of Sarajevo (and the importance of 'stripping the ethnic crap' from a new multicultural Bosnia) - noting how 'symbols' as innocuous in most countries as license plates could get you murdered in Bosnia simply for sporting the wrong shield or county/city code (at least in 1997 when I was a US intelligence analyst there).

The very argument that Wulfgar is making is the exact same one promoted by ultranationalists on all three sides of the conflict in Bosnia, where 'symbols' were aggressively employed as attempts to undermine a fragile peace and block halting attempts to stitch their country back together. The hard-liners would loudly proclaim their 'right' to display national symbols (whether it be the Serb four-c cross, the Croat checkerboard savonica, or the Bosniac fleur-de-lis), though more often than not the true purpose for their display was not to celebrate their own cultural uniqueness but calculated to strike fear into and create anxiety within the other ethnic groups.

It's similar to the argument made here in the United States in relation to Confederate symbology, where decendants of Southern combatants in the Civil War still, to this day, insist on their 'cultural' right to fly the Stars and Bars even when it's seen as a symbol of hatred and slavery to a significant portion of our population.

The Olympics are not about pushing any one country's narrow national agenda or viewpoint, and the symbology of flags should be there only as representation for the athlete delegations. Otherwise, in two years we'll see a proliferation of 'sacred' flags being carried by athletes... imagine the howling of many of those now demanding the IOC allow the WTC flag to make a lap around the stadium in Salt Lake City if the People's Republic of China made the similar request of wanting their entrance at Athens to be led by the flag that flew over the Chinese Embassy bombed in Belgrade to commemorate their 'victims of terrorism', or India desire to carry the flag that flew over their Congress when (alleged Pakistani supported) terrorists attacked that site, for just two possible examples...

Like I stated above, I consider it a much better and more meaningful show of support by the Olympic community to have the WTC flag raised at the Opening Ceremonies and fly next to the Olympic flame in commemoration.
posted by SenshiNeko at 8:54 PM on February 5, 2002


Assertion A: Its a case of national games, my country against another's. Hiding from the national spirit behind that is rediculous.

Assertion B: A certain black man in the 1936 Olympic games put nationalist spirit to shame; because the nationalist spirit was so exclusive of freedom and acceptance.


Well, it wasn't quite two opposing thoughts in the same single sentence, but our judges give that little Orwellian lutz a 9.6 out of 10 -- they were technically adjacent sentences. Now try a Salchow.

It's not the American Olympics...it's the International Olympics. Give it a rest.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:55 PM on February 5, 2002


Your judges obviously can't interpret what they read. Hiding from what is leads to a spirit that can be put to shame. Sad how others may have realized that and you didn't.

Go away, troll.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:00 PM on February 5, 2002


Psst, just make Sept. 11th a holiday and move on already. K? Thanks.
posted by yupislyr at 9:35 PM on February 5, 2002


It's similar to the argument made here in the United States in relation to Confederate symbology, where decendants of Southern combatants in the Civil War still, to this day, insist on their 'cultural' right to fly the Stars and Bars even when it's seen as a symbol of hatred and slavery to a significant portion of our population.


Welcome to America. It's about freedom, see?
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:41 PM on February 5, 2002


They are allowing the flag at opening ceremonies, which is the right balance. I think.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:41 PM on February 5, 2002


I still don't understand how anyone is restricting your freedom Wulfgar. Our country has *volunteered* to be part of these games. Do you also get a paycheck from a job then when you don't go to work and they threaten to fire you, do you complain about indentured servitude?
posted by thebigpoop at 10:21 PM on February 5, 2002


Wulfgar, again, the Olympics are not an Assembly of All Humanity Organized by God; they are a private event, publicly viewed. They are run by a private organization.

Once again -- since you never addressed this point -- if I ran a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, and you wanted to enter a team named "The Rochester Shit-Eaters" and I told you you had to change the name, would I be violating your right to free speech?

The IOC has the legal and ethical right to disallow whatever it wants. It is -- please, look at this, just read it once and try to let it sink in -- a private organization. You may disagree with its decision (I certainly don't) but calling it "unconstitutional" is plainly ludicrous.

Just being "very passionate" is nothing laudable in itself. You also have to be right, and you've gone so far off the wrong edge so many times you're becoming the voice of Angry Middle America. Clearly, turning to row of flags representing the participating nations into a venue for political diatribes is an unwelcome outcome.

And this:

I have watched the retreat from Siagon

is either a non sequitur or something more disturbing.
posted by argybarg at 10:43 PM on February 5, 2002


Just being "very passionate" is nothing laudable in itself. You also have to be right, and you've gone so far off the wrong edge so many times you're becoming the voice of Angry Middle America.

You have to be right?? I'm no fan of Wulfgar! in this thread, but that's ludicrous! This is a matter of opinions until someone points to unarguable evidence that one party here is incorrect. Thus far this entire thread has been opinions and rhetoric; not one solid fact has been used to back up either position. I have no problem agreeing with you, argybarg, but you have to be ::ahem:: right.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:53 PM on February 5, 2002


Okay, not right. You have to have a worthy argument. You can't just rant and expect respect.
posted by argybarg at 11:06 PM on February 5, 2002


"I believe so strongly that the IOC cannot dictate what I hold as a national symbol."

I can't believe you're so thick that you haven't gotten this yet...

The IOC is not dictating, or trying to dictate, what you hold has a nation symbol, or what you "hold dear," or what any of us hold dear.

The IOC is not telling us we cannot fly the WTC flag.

The IOC is telling us they don't want us to fly it at an event which is owned and operated by the IOC. The Olympics is their event. They make the rules.

Just because they're hosted in our country doesn't mean we can tell them how to run their own show. (As long as they stay within our laws, anyway, and I don't see them breaking any of our laws.)

If it's still not clear, go re-read argybarg's post that's a couple posts up from mine, I think he was clearer about it than I was.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:22 PM on February 5, 2002


Wulfgar!, let me piss on your argument with a few facts for once. First, a quote from this page

"The International Olympic Committee and each of its members, the candidate cities for the Olympic Games, the Organising Committees of the Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees concerned restate their commitment to the Olympic Charter and in particular its fundamental principles. The Olympic parties affirm their loyalty to the Olympic ideal inspired by Pierre de Coubertin. Consequently, within the organisation of the Olympic Games, the Olympic parties undertake to respect, and ensure the respect of the rules cited in the Code of Ethics."

Then, check out the International Olympic Comittee (IOC) Code of Ethics, in which it states :

Under Dignity

"All forms of harassment against participants, be it physical,
mental, professional or sexual, are prohibited."


Under Relations with States

"The Olympic parties shall work to maintain harmonious
relations with state authorities, in accordance with the
principle of universality and of political neutrality of the
Olympic Games. However, the spirit of humanism, fraternity
and respect for individuals which inspires the Olympic ideal
requires the governments of countries that are to host
the Olympic Games to undertake that their countries will
scrupulously respect the Fundamental Principles of the
Olympic Charter and the present Code."


The US signed up to host the games. In so doing, they agreed to respect the Olympic Charter. Trying to force a particular flag which symbolizes MORE than our collective nationalism not only comes off as a bit of US harrassment, it can be construed as going against that Charter. The IOC is not being the bully here. They are simply trying to preserve the fundamental principals of the games. It is not a matter of tarnishing the games with nationalism. The games are full of nationalism. It is more a matter of tarnishing the games with the baggage that the WTC flag would bring with it. You have to admit that THAT flag has more meaning associated with it. And it's the possible interpretations of THAT particular flag that the IOC may deem objectionable in the spirit of the games. According to the Charter, I can see the IOC being perfectly within their rights to ask the US not to bring that flag.
posted by mikhail at 12:37 AM on February 6, 2002


Looks like the flag will fly after all:
A TATTERED flag from the World Trade Center will fly over the Winter Olympics, but US athletes won't carry it into the opening ceremony as planned.

The IOC has rejected the US Olympic Committee's request to have five athletes and an official carry the flag, which was recovered after the September 11 attacks on New York.

Instead, it will be raised next to the Olympic flame during Friday night's opening ceremony at Rice-Eccles Stadium, serving as the official US flag.
posted by robcorr at 1:11 AM on February 6, 2002


If other nations wish to feel that we are participating in "rampant nationalism" TOO FUCKING BAD.

That's sporting of you Wulfgar!. (Get it? :)
posted by vbfg at 3:21 AM on February 6, 2002


The Olympics suck. Flags suck. I say they go together just fine.
posted by Outlawyr at 6:04 AM on February 6, 2002




... the IOC arrogant? say it ain't so!

Remember when Grand Poobah Samaranch withheld his traditional "best Olympics ever" statement at the closing ceremonies in Atlanta? Because, you know, Atlanta *wanted* and *planned* for some psychotic redneck to plant a bomb in Centennial Olympic Park? I'll tell you where you can put your "most exceptional", buddy...

*ahem* I'm sorry, what?
posted by Sapphireblue at 10:23 AM on February 6, 2002


Its so very simple, I'm amazed that others don't get it. This is our country. The Games are being held here, and as with all Olympics before, must follow the laws of the host nation. My nation gives me the right of free speech (that nation would be yours as well, I believe). And the IOC wishes to take that from me out of a misplaced sence anti-nationalism, or global acceptance when we're competing against everyone else, or of something I don't understand? BS.


The right to free speech only means that the government does not have the right to impose prior restraint on your speech, or put you in prison for that speech. Freedom of speech does not apply to private events or publications. So this is not a freedom of speech issue. If you attended a sporting event and chose to protest that sporting event, the organizers are within their rights to have you removed from the stadium. Freedom of speech also applies to the International Olympic Committee's right to choreograph their opening and closing ceremonies.


Personally, I do not wish as an American to be represented by a flag that only gains meaning through the deaths of more than 3000 people. I do not wish for the tragedy to become the defining face for our country.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:25 AM on February 6, 2002


Actually, Sapphireblue, Grand Poobah Samaranch withheld his comment because of the rampant commercialization of the Olympics. I live here, and when I witnessed what was happening (even down to the mascot, chosen not to represent Atlanta or the spirit of the games, but to be an easily sold plush smurf-sperm) I declined to attend any of it. I just couldn't support the brashness of it all.

Well, sort of. On my way to church we got stopped by traffic police and watched some of the marathon go by.

Oh, and good words, KirkJobSluder -- that's the issue, exactly!
posted by dwivian at 2:30 PM on February 6, 2002


Should Afghanistan be allowed to carry its new flag in the opening cermonies?

The can of worms is officially open.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:59 PM on February 6, 2002


Wulfgar, high-five!

(U-S-f***in'-A!!!)
posted by StOne at 9:23 PM on February 6, 2002


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