Colorado real winner of Games
February 13, 2002 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Colorado real winner of Games Besides possible event fixing or the exhaustion of SLOC's 400,000 hot dog supply on DAY 5, what other Olympic donnybrook might be worth mentioning? This will probably not seem interesting to anyone outside of Utah or Colorado, but Denver Post columnist Woody Paige wrote an inflammatory column that has many Utahns, uh, losing their religion.

(You'll note that the link isn't to the Denver Post website -- that's because they yanked the Feb. 12 column from their site earlier today, without comment. A mailto link was posted on their splash page for complaints about the article, but even that's gone now.)

Talk about sour grapes.

I suppose that if the games are ever held in Tel Aviv, Woody will fill his column with references to "funny" Jewish apparel, hair styles, dietary habits, or worse.

FWIW, Barry Newman's column in today's Wall Street Journal was a lot more balanced . Sorry, no link -- subscibers only :(
posted by Big Dave (13 comments total)
Brave writer.
posted by fleener at 6:51 PM on February 13, 2002

I have to wonder how any column comparing Salt Lake to Atlanta and then comparing Atlanta to the '36 games in Berlin ever got into the paper.

(Although, personally, I did find it sort of amusing.)
posted by mrbula at 7:09 PM on February 13, 2002

If you know Utah, you see the truth amid the writer's sarcasm. If you're not Mormon, Utah is not a place you want to live, work or visit.
posted by fleener at 7:14 PM on February 13, 2002

Woody often writes columns like this. I understand there is a standing "shoot to kill" order if he ever makes it back to Nebraska.

Like mrbula, I also found the article sort of amusing. I actually had to dig my Post out of the recycle bin to read it.

I'm sure he's enjoying the attention.
posted by jazon at 7:28 PM on February 13, 2002

I don't know, fleener - my favorite vacation ever was to Lake Powell. Of course, we were in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, without another soul around for miles. But I'm just saying . . .
posted by Chanther at 7:30 PM on February 13, 2002

I have to take exception to this article. Most of my extended family are Mormons, living in St. George and Provo, Utah, so this is kinda close to home. I'm not personally a Mormon; I don't subscribe to their system of beliefs, nor am I fond of some of the practices of the church, but I think Woody went a bit far here.

My exception really stems from the fact that there is a bit of a double standard. If someone wrote a column about their trip to Peshawar, Pakistan and remarked about the stupid practices of the Muslims there, and how awful it is that the Muslims have a stranglehold on affairs there, he would be beaten to a pulp, both figuraively and probably literally. Not to mention the beating he would take here at Metafilter. So I don't think it's right to allow people to make fun of and ridicule one religion but not another. But if you insist on doing it to Mormonism, then every other faith is fair game. 'Hey, what about those wacky Jews' or 'Those ignorant Buddhists and their silly chanting.' Personally, I'd hate to see any such thread.

And Matt, if you don't allow anti Semitic or Anti Muslim threads to roll out of control, anti Mormon or anti Christian or anti whatever ones shouldn't be allowed either. I'm not saying this thread is out of hand at the moment (thank Big Dave's thoughtful wording of his post for that) but I can sense that it might take a decidedly Mormon-bashing direction.
posted by evanizer at 8:20 PM on February 13, 2002

I think the Mormon slant was only a part of this article. Evidently Salt Lake has really dropped the ball on accommodations and transportation. This is a seriously big deal, when hosting an event that is the scope of this, you have to be ready to handle the hordes of people. This is embarrassing.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 8:29 PM on February 13, 2002

Here's a link to Woody Paige's column. It's typical stuff for him -- he's the newsprint equivalent of a Usenet troll -- but the removal of his column from the paper's Web site is pretty amazing.
posted by rcade at 5:49 AM on February 14, 2002

Today's paper includes Paige's apology.
posted by rcade at 5:53 AM on February 14, 2002

If you know Utah, you see the truth amid the writer's sarcasm. If you're not Mormon, Utah is not a place you want to live, work or visit.

Actually, if you know Utah, you'll also know that non-Mormons outnumber Mormons in Salt Lake. Sure, state-wide it's at 70%, but that takes into account all of the places you'll never visit. Ever. Like Panguich. LaVerkin. Kanab. Mexican Hat. Blanding (I mean, who would visit a place called Blanding unless they had to?)

It's not a perfect place (were you expecting it to be?), but I'd choose anywhere in Utah over LA, or NYC, or Miami, or Dallas, Atlanta, London, Paris, Rome, Lisbon, Cleveland, or San Fran.

The history of Utah is a history of mockery and persecution. Even the name of the state is a joke. Brigham Young wanted to call the state "Deseret", but Frederick Douglass said that Brigham Young (with his polygamist wives) wouldn't have time to keep his pants on, like the Ute indians (Slandering two groups in one comment! What a guy!), so the state should be named "Utah." Congress laughed at the joke, and granted statehood to Utah.

You may disagree on the belief system, and you might have issues with the individual Mormons you've known. But prejudice is prejudice, bigotry is bigotry.
posted by terceiro at 7:30 AM on February 14, 2002

Most people would be offended by a columnist bashing a place and its people. I thought that stuff was cheap. Reminded me of the ex-Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle, who would take a grunting peanutty shit on New Hampshire about every six months, when he ran out of materiel to cut-n-paste into his column.

But what about the points Paige tried to make about lack of transportation and the other ways that foreigners who paid big bucks to attend got screwed? Have there been other reports critical of systematic problems, or is this misanthropic crank the only one with a gripe?
posted by sacre_bleu at 7:39 AM on February 14, 2002

People that don't have a leg to stand on shouldn't kick.

I think that if the apparently isolated problems Woody alludes to were a real problem, we'd be seeing more reports in other, er, more reputable news outlets...

Until we hear otherwise, we gotta draw out own conclusions. Maybe Woody's just mad his paper didn't spring for nicer accomodations. Maybe he's gone out of his way to find a negative story (it appears that Colorado's ski resorts do have cause to worry about losing future business). Maybe it's the liquor talking.

sidenote: Denver won the bid for the 1976 Winter Olympics, but after much soul searching that involved environmental considerations, they decided against it, so that year the games were held in Innsbruck, Austria.
posted by Big Dave at 10:29 AM on February 14, 2002

There was a snaffu with the transportation... but I haven't heard anything about problems with accommodations.

Moreover, the transportation snaffu went something like this (if I understand everything): ticket holders were not guaranteed transportation to the venue (which is alright: you buy Superbowl Tickets, and don't expect the airfare to be included); transportation was handled separately... and the initial price for it was steep. So few bit, assuming they'd find another way to get to the venues. After some time of poor sales, someone had the bright idea to lower the price... but instead of setting a reasonable price, they lowered it all the way to $5. Needless to say, the tickets sold out almost immediately... but mostly to folks who wanted to just be at the venue, and not to the ticket holders.

So there you go.

(I think.)
posted by silusGROK at 12:52 PM on February 14, 2002

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