"This is not about a team; this is about a territory."
February 7, 2002 3:10 PM   Subscribe

"This is not about a team; this is about a territory." "If Americans can't light up the room during the next two weeks with a howl for a speedskater from small-town Wisconsin who lives in a mobile home and works at Home Depot and listens to the Dixie Chicks ... then when?"
posted by owillis (29 comments total)
 
I thought that was a great article. Yeah, I think we've gone a little overboard in the "rah rah USA" stuff lately, but the Olympics have always been a chance to cheer your country. Especially now. I've cried in the past when someone wins and the flag goes up and the National Anthem plays. Especially if the recipient is crying too. This time, I expect to be even more emotional.

I plan on cheering for everyone, but even more, I hope we kick some ass.
posted by aacheson at 3:16 PM on February 7, 2002


For the next 16 days, dancing fat guys with flags painted on their chests will be the rock-steady pillars that hold up this great nation, and as their bellies ripple and sway, it will be to our eyes as endless fields of amber grain waving from sea to shining sea.

Thanks for telling me that it's ok to support my country at the Olympics because we're at war, and that my support will make all the difference in this time of national tragedy. For good measure, I will probably support my country at the next olympics too, just to make sure the nation doesn't fall apart.

And so for these upcoming 16 days, it's OK to let the howls out.

When in the last 5 months has someone who publically and fiercely supported the USA, vocally or otherwise, been told to shut the hell up and sit down? After the 16 days are over, will they be told to?

Come on. Why did this article need to be written?
posted by Hildago at 3:30 PM on February 7, 2002


This was a fun and light hearted peace. And while the Olympics are about the global unity thang, they also emphasize the societal need for friendly competiton. And in competition I'm gonna root for the home team, though they're all great athletes.

Hoorah!
posted by evanizer at 3:31 PM on February 7, 2002


Come on. Why did this article need to be written?

That's exactly what I thought when I read the article. Then I remembered all the hoo-ha about that flag at the Olympics and I guess that I can see why some Americans might be apprehensive about cheering on their country too fiercely. There's really nothing untoward about supporting your own country in a sporting event though. Hopefully people realise that.
posted by MUD at 3:44 PM on February 7, 2002


Any chance the American networks are letting out that deep secret they've kept for so long: namely, that there are other countries(!) competing at the Olympics?

Last go-around, the Aussie games, anyone watching the American networks would have figured all the other countries had decided to stay home...
posted by five fresh fish at 3:54 PM on February 7, 2002


Amen to the author of this peace. Although I'm of the opinion that it's always cool to be proud of your home nation or town or whatever, in the olympics and sports fandom in general, chauvinism for your team is kinda the whole point.
I remember in college I was watching the movie "Wild Orchid" with a bunch of boho types. There's a scene where Mickey Rourke and his cohorts are riding Harley's through some foreign city(exactly which escapes me at the moment),a nd they pass a bunch of American sailors who pump their fists and chant "Harley Fucking Davidson! U-S-A!" Me and the guy next to me high-fived. These two girls turned around and looked at us like we had pissed in the punchbowl.

Some people get it and some people don't.
posted by jonmc at 4:05 PM on February 7, 2002


You know, I've always had serious trouble with any display of patriotism, at any time. It makes me queasy. Maybe it's because I'm German or something.
posted by muckster at 4:32 PM on February 7, 2002


Huh, for me the Olympics is a shining example of corruption - both for the money scandal and drug scandals.
posted by fleener at 4:33 PM on February 7, 2002


muckster: me too, and I'm not German. I think it has to do with how patriotism is so often and easily twisted by those in power into a mob-mentality.
posted by signal at 4:50 PM on February 7, 2002


Or maybe its because you are filthy pinko commies! ;-)
posted by evanizer at 4:58 PM on February 7, 2002


Evanizer: I vouch for their cleanliness personally. Those other traits? They're on their own.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 5:15 PM on February 7, 2002


can i ba filthy-pinko-anarcho-capitalist, instead?
posted by signal at 5:16 PM on February 7, 2002


if Pleading The 5th was an Olympic event, the USA would already be way ahead. damn.
posted by ssdecontrol at 5:33 PM on February 7, 2002


Do any other countries wrestle with the issue of too-much vs. too-little patriotism?
posted by acridrabbit at 6:20 PM on February 7, 2002


No, because other countries SUCK! WE RULE! YEAH!

Sorry. There's about ten thousand people going past my office on their way to the Medals Plaza right now, and, well, I just got caught up in the whole thing.

I'm feeling much better now.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:31 PM on February 7, 2002


Why I Won't Wave the Flag, via Common Dreams -- and there's more where that came from. Not to mention the juvenile yahoos who so jarred a postal worker with their insistence that they didn't want the American flag stamps that she overreacted and called the police. (Don't forget this was at the height of the anthrax scare. Don't tell me they didn't have pure genius in their choice of timing.) Heck, we had some very strangely conflicted people right on this website saying they'd rather fly the UN flag.

So, hell yeah, I'm gonna fly my flags. The flags I didn't need to buy on September 12. The flag of the nation whose soldiers protect my freedoms, and whose athletes represent us in our highest ideals. The country I am not ashamed to love.
posted by dhartung at 7:03 PM on February 7, 2002


She didn't scare the clerk so much because of the flag bit but because of the flag bit combined with paying in cash for 4,000 stamps. That's $13,000. That's also insane.
posted by raysmj at 7:53 PM on February 7, 2002


excuse me, $1,300 - $1,360 to be exact. Still insane.
posted by raysmj at 7:56 PM on February 7, 2002


"If Americans can't light up the room during the next two weeks with a howl for a speedskater from small-town Wisconsin who lives in a mobile home and works at Home Depot and listens to the Dixie Chicks ... then when?"

Maybe it's just cause I come from the same town as a Olympic gold medalist, or because I've had classes with Olympic speed skaters and happen to live in Wisconsin, but that line really pissed me off...

Name one Olympic speedskater from Wisconsin that grew up in a trailer, not to mention one that grew up in a small town... Sorry, didn't mean to go off on tangents, but Wisconsin stereotypes annoy me.
posted by drezdn at 8:18 PM on February 7, 2002


Definitely a double standard there, drezdn, I agree. Small towns and their inhabitants seem to be among the last groups that people are allowed to be publically derisive about without being called on it. Kind of pisses me off too.

And it is related to the article in that it is hypocritical of him to say that America needs to unite for a common goal and then to turn around and separate the country into stereotypical categories.
posted by Hildago at 9:03 PM on February 7, 2002


Our downhill skiers are not New York City or Pentagon rescue workers, but cheer for the freedom they symbolize.

How does a person rocketing down a ski slope symbolize anything other than an athlete who has worked hard for many years to master their chosen sport? What kind of sense is it supposed to make that one downhill skier is "my" downhill skier while another is "their" downhill skier, when I've neither met nor heard of either one?

There's never been a better time to cheer for complete strangers based on the sole fact that we are from the same country.

Why is this supposed to be a meaningful criterion? Why shouldn't I cheer for people with the same hair colour, or people whose last name happens to start with the same letter as mine? What on earth have accidents of birth and arbitrary political boundaries got to do with it?

What an overdone lot of sentimental rubbish this article is.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:12 PM on February 7, 2002


whose athletes represent us in our highest ideals

What, drugs and advertising? Hey, you're right!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:18 PM on February 7, 2002


Any chance the American networks are letting out that deep secret they've kept for so long: namely, that there are other countries(!) competing at the Olympics? - five fresh fish

You know, I've always had serious trouble with any display of patriotism, at any time. It makes me queasy. - muckster

and Mars' post (why did you feel the need to sign it, btw?) got together in a threesome and out popped my feelings.

blind patriotism never made sense to me. I went to college in Texas as an out of stater, and good lord if it wasn't four years of "texas rules!". I didn't get it. People there told me it was b/c i was from a "shit state" (oklahoma). It still makes no sense to me. Why take pride b/c your parents happened to be in one place over another when you came out? I couldn't name 5 athletes from any country going to the olympics (besides maybe hockey) so i feel like not rooting for anyone. I'll still watch certain sports, especially skeleton racing, for the sheer balls of it, but is it wrong to just watch?
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:42 PM on February 7, 2002


Best Olympic Flag-Waving Moments.
posted by dhartung at 9:46 PM on February 7, 2002


Why take pride b/c your parents happened to be in one place over another when you came out

So you don't love your hometown, or adopted hometown? It's just "any old place" to you?
posted by owillis at 10:49 PM on February 7, 2002


The flag of the nation whose soldiers protect my freedoms, and whose athletes represent us in our highest ideals.

I get the soldier part, but having a borderline obsessive-compulsive disorder to put your life on hold to pursue that fraction of a second that says to everyone else "I heard the pistol first" is not our highest ideals.

I'll spare you my bit on professional atheletes representing our highest ideals.
posted by skallas at 1:15 AM on February 8, 2002


When in the last 5 months has someone who publically and fiercely supported the USA, vocally or otherwise, been told to shut the hell up and sit down? After the 16 days are over, will they be told to?

Too many times to count, at least outside the US.

I'll be watching these Olympics from Vienna. Austrians tend to be rabid Winter sport fans (surprise, surprise).

In the next weeks, I will be dealing with rabid (Austrian) patriotism coming from some of the same whiners who have criticized recent US displays of patriotism.

I'll try to bite my tongue and keep quiet about the paradox, but I doubt I'll have much success...
posted by syzygy at 1:58 AM on February 8, 2002


Plaschke is a simpleton, never more so than when he tries to turn sporting events into Symbols of Life. This column is just more proof.

Many of the athletes are charming and admirable, but for decades, the Olympics as a whole haven't symbolized anything except the power of money.
posted by diddlegnome at 2:06 AM on February 8, 2002


So you don't love your hometown, or adopted hometown? It's just "any old place" to you?

No, it's not that. It's that i don't think people where i live are any better than people anywhere else. I don't think they deserve a medal any more than anyone else. Therefore, I wouldn't root for them more than anyone else, unless i knew them. I'd always root for a friend, but not for someone i've never met.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:39 AM on February 8, 2002


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