Tuesday, August 19, 2008

brava Alessandra!

Congratulations to Alessandra Sensini who took second at the Olympics in the RS:X windsurfing class.

Unfortunately the conditions weren't quite like the ones in the photo above, since they never planed and, for what I saw, they never even hooked in the harness!
They were desperately pumping huge and heavy sails all the way.
Congratulations to all the competitors for the incredible level of fitness.
Congratulations to the Chinese Jian Yin who won the gold (for just one point).
Congratulations to the British Bryony Shaw who won the bronze (and looked pretty cute to me).

I really enjoyed watching this race (and the previous sailing classes the days before), because there was no audio comment. Only the sound of the waves and sometimes the screams of the spectators... it was like being there.
On top of that, there was a very competent written commentary by Gary Jobson (who cracks me up!) for the sailing classes and by Platt Johnson (his blog) for the windsurfing.
AND, on top of that, there was not the usual biased and american centric comment that NBC offers on their TV channels.
So, big thumbs up to the webcast.

Here are a few general considerations about these Olympics so far.

Things I like:
- the mesmerizing level of the athletic performances
- the camera angles

Things I don't like: I can't stand all those celebrations with the flags after a victory. Specially in the individual disciplines.
Sure, my hate for flags is probably well known, but can somebody tell me what's the point in an age in which there are so many athletes that have been naturalized by other countries just to get a chance to participate?
I saw a table tennis match today between an austrian and an italian. Their last names were Li and Yang (or something like that) and they both incredibly resembled Mao Tze Tung... give me a break!
The medal ceremony is another jewel. Thank god they only play the national anthem of the gold winner... I remember when they used to play all three! So, it's actually getting better from this point of view... but still, what a pathetic thing to listen to those same old boring songs over and over again.
Do something different: just play the winner's favorite song or, even better, let him/her sing it! Now, that's entertaining.

I love to watch sport competitions, no matter what kind of sport (ok, ok, with a slight preference for surfing and wavesailing), but I hate the huge hype that the media put around the proudness of belonging to a country or another.
Hello-o, wake up you guys... it's all government propaganda!
It's one of the many means governments have to make the citizens proud of being such and be ready to support them next time they'll need to invade an innocent country in which they have some kind of interests.

Did you guys see that spot from ATT?
"Are you one of the many american fans that say WE have won eight golds medals?" and then it continues in a similar fashion...
Well, ask yourself the same question and if the answer is yes you need a good doctor... because who won eight gold medals was bloddy phenomenal Michael Phelps, not you!
You, instead, have been brain washed.

Well, I know I've pissed off a bunch of readers by now, but if I woke up at least one, I'm happy.

Sorry about the political rant. Once in a while, I gotta do them. Da hell, it's my blog...

PS. In other words, don't expect me to fly the italian flag next time I'll win the Aloha Classic... I'll fly the Peace one instead.
PPS. Talking about which, would somebody please try to bring a wave sailing competition back to Maui? I know it means crowded waves and Hookipa off limits for a week, but it's just too much fun to watch!


Bob said...

Bravo to all the athletes.

I understand your view of flags/governments cammar but the only thing worse would be one world government...that's a scary thought. Would be nice if we could cooperate instead of compete though.

Nelisblog said...


"Are you one of the many american fans that say WE have won eight golds medals?"

What do the Dutch say after a won / lost match of footbal:

We won!!
they lost :-(

haha recognise this one?

Andrew C said...

Totally agree with you on the biased American centric NBC coverage - it gets so annoying after a while. They would rather show a US athlete warming up than an amazing athlete from another country actually competing!

Where did you watch the webcast for the RS:X sailing? Can you post the link?

Anonymous said...

Hi GP,
Nice post indeed. I agree with you in most of your thoughts. It seems like we humans have an intrinsic need to 'label' others and usually relate to people that have the 'same' label, whatever this is religion, national identity, or skin color.
This, as we know, can bring horrible consequences.
However, as long as it contained in playing a game, it's fine with me. For example, the scottish and the english used to kill each other for centuries, now they just have very intense football or rugby rivalries. There are thousand of examples like this.
After all, you are doing the same in your own way. Granted, you did not post a pic of Italy's flag nor the soundtrack of the national song, yet your post is mostly about an Italian girl winning the silver medal. Why not to post a picture of the chinese gold medal winner or the argentinian who finished second to last? Because you relate to Alessandra, you talked to her in your own tongue, and also, winning is important at some level, even for a noncompetitive guy like you.
Finally, to organize a big sporting event is a lot about creating national pride and mass manipulation. Did you know that the nazis, the masters of propaganda, 'invented' the olympic torch relay in 1936? But this can backfire as well, since to became the center of the world will let the s**t to be seen as well. Many people now know what happens in Tibet thanks to the games. In 1978, we Argentineans were celebrating the world cup victory (that the Argentinean team won, not "us") while a few blocks away from the stadium the military dictators were torturing and assassinating thousand of disidents.
Many human right groups took the oportunuty to bring some light to the issue.
So now let me keep celebrating "OUR" 3-0 victory over our good neighbors, the brazilians, PLEASE!! I am wearing the argentinian national team shirt and think that this is way better than the war "we" had with Brazil a century ago. We just don't have to never forget that It's just a game!
Cheers from NYC,

cammar said...

Thanks everyone for the comments.

Andrew, the link to the online schedule is in the post previous to this one. The link for the RS:X medal races (the only ones that were webcasted) is this.
It's the first row, click on rewind. You will probably have to install a viewer called Microsoft Silverlight (totally worth it).

Hola Marcos, thanks a lot for all the interesting information and point of views that you bring.
I'm world famous for contraddicting myself, I'd probably win a medal in that...
I admit to have enjoyed and even mildely "celebrated" (pizza with countrymen at Casanova's) the Italy victory at the soccer world cup of... (when was it?).

My point in the post was more for individual sports though. Performances like Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt ones have, IMO, nothing to do with the nations they were born into.
The only proud countrymen should be their parents!

Yes, I made the post for Alessandra, because I met HER at Barbados and I noticed how much of nice girl she is. If she was a bitch, there would be no post.
But you're right, If I met the chinese one instead, probably there would be no post, because I would have not been able to comunicate much.
On the other hand, If I met the british one there might be a post even if she didn't win a medal! ;-)

Anyway, what also pisses me off is the astute and subtle (not that much) use of sentiment of citizenship that the media use to manipulate the average audience.
Budweiser came out with a new beer (or maybe just a new beer label?) just for the Olympics.
It's simply called "American ale"...

Anonymous said...

You said you are happy,....well a real happy person would not bother too much about flags and national anthems, just would not bother!!!!

Anonymous said...

you sound a little racist?

what's wrong with an austrian or italian being asian?

Anonymous said...

Still bitter about ww2? NBC is an American channel. I bet if you watched the Olympics in China or wherever they would focus their national athletes.

cammar said...


1) happy doesn't mean brainless opinionless dumb
2) absolutely nothing wrong with that in general. Too bad that 90% of the table tennis competitors not competing for China happen to be native Chinese and that makes me think (see point 1) that most of them HAD to chose a country that would naturalize them, just in order to compete. And that's already ridicolous by itself. But even more ridicolous is when the fake ABCcountry native Chinese dude wins a medal and celebrates with the ABCcountry flag.
And even more ridicolous than that are the ABCcountrymen celebrating with him.
Ah, what some people wouldn't do to feel like a winner...
3) True. And if I would live there I guarantee you I would bitch about it on my blog.

PS. Congratulations for your eight gold medals!

cammar said...

I just watched this phenomenal guy win the 10k open water swimming race.
Now, that's one of those stories that really touches my heart.
Big congratulations to this incredibly strong human being.

Oh wait, he's Dutch... I'm not supposed to celebrate! Damn, maybe I should get naturalized...

Anonymous said...

I do not think that someone who is proud of his/her country is brainless. I cry everytime my country wins a gold medal and when I hear the anthem. Plus said that someone is brainless just because is patriotic sounds judgemental and cannot be supported by facts.
Inductive reasoning: when the premises of an argument are believed to support the conclusion.

I am patriotic thus I am brainless!!

sorry but I does not make sense!

Robin said...

I'll celibrate for you G.P. Finally, I was pretty bummed out when I found out I wasn't supposed to celibrate for the Italian girl. ;)

cammar said...

Anon, it must be a misunderstanding.

I said that being happy doesn't mean being brainless and without opinions. So, even in happiness, I still have my point of views.

I never said: "someone who is proud of his/her country is brainless", like you probably erroneously infered.
That's your words, not mine.

I'm glad you enjoy the victories of your country so much. You must be tearless by now!
You should keep watching the games, instead of reading blogs that touch your nerves so much...

I, on the other hand, can't stand national anthems and flags.
See how wonderful and various the world can be?
You think you can live happily even if there's people that think different from you?

Can we move on now? Thanks!

fair trade. You celebrate the ducth guy for me and I celebrate the italian girl for you... eheheh.
Hey, you proposed it!

Robin said...

Bugger, you got me there!

Anonymous said...

You know you'd have to deal with offended american souls after making such comments...If you keep messing with the subject, they'll bomb Naples and take you to Guantanamo bay my friend!!!

To their credit, Visa credit card run an ad saying 'Go World!', since it's a global sponsor of the games.

Changing the subject, it's so sad that the PWA cancelled many stops this year, and there were no wave comps in Guincho/Portugal, Ibiraquera/Brasil, Tiree/Scotland, nor Maui... very sad because the tour looked great last year.... I can't believe that the Maui-based industry cannot get the funds to run the Aloha classic, just sad. At least they did run great one in Cabo Verde and Pozo.
I wouldn't like windsurfing to be as popular as soccer but popular enough to have a great world tour..

Anonymous said...

Anon .. no, not brain*less*, just brain*washed*... & frankly pathetic.

un-american American

cammar said...

you're right, they may well do that! Hopefully they will bomb Naples in August, so that they won't kill anyone... check this out!

Thanks to Domenico who just emailed me that Beppe Grillo (who is a very politically opinionated italian comedian who has the most popular blog in Italy) just came out with a similar post on his blog (it's in English).
Beppe, are you spying me??? ;-)
Anyway, stoked to be in the company of such a fine brain...

Back to wavesailing. What now? You don't like Sylt?!?

Brian said...

Regarding the flags thing, two years ago I was in Munich for the start of the world cup. The trains and plazas were full of crazy fans wearing their national colors, shouting and singing and waving their national flags. Gotta tell ya, I really enjoyed seeing all of that. It seemed like good fun. That's not to say that the chaos during a football match is fun, but I did like seeing everyone from around the world gathering for this kind of event and still proud of their countries. Of course, all that beer helped!

cammar said...

Just want to point out a new comment on the "Jibes" post that would go unnoticed otherwise:

"I saw the light!
I've attempted for 2 days sail first since reading your post.
I'm hugely nearer closing a planing jibe.

Thanks Gianpaolo.
Remember that I owe you a beer, when you come back to Italy :-)

You're welcome Paolo. I'm starting to realize that sail flip first jibes are for people that close already the other kind of jibes without exiting them on a plane.
Benjamin, any news from your side? Anyone else?

Anonymous said...

A world government would indeed be scary since we know that leaders often (almost always) fall short of achieving what the public desires.
Italian/U.S./Hawaiian or any kind of favoritism is unfair. Look at the judging in Women's platform diving! We aren't perfect people and most of us do have pride in where we are from. Some of us try hard to control this because it is often overdone. The media should show athletic skill before country loyalties.
Cammar, when someone told you a happy person would have no opinions I laughed. The Dalai Lama has an agenda and so do we. I haven't met Buddha yet. He would not worry about flags but the rest of us live in 2008. You take some heat from me (and others) for your stance on some things, but those that found fault with your comments on this post (racist, bitter about WWII, frankly pathetic, etc.) are picking on you hard. I would choose to hear your 2 cents worth anytime, rather than nothing offensive and always politically correct.
When Brian said he enjoyed all the hoopla in Munich with everyone wearing their flag colors I instantly recalled the images of the Nazis rallying the masses. Or in the U.S. the K.K.K. marching through the streets (which was huge after WWI). Here on the home front, Americans wearing the red, white and blue bother me because they rarely are the people you admire for their lifestyle and contributions, but often are underachievers and misfits; the fringe (not always).
On the gybe/jibe issue of whether to switch feet before or after the sail, you're not the only one who prefers after the sail, but almost all top sailors can do both. The step-jibe is prominent in slalom racing. Dunkerbeck and Bringdal (2 examples) can enter and leave with no noticeable loss of speed still doing a step-jibe. Mystery Bob

Ponobill said...

Not so much propaganda as just marketing. People root for things they feel a connection with. NBC would lose viewers by the millions if they tried to show an unbiased olympics. It would be boring, boring, boring because there is no connection. Would you bother watching a track and field meet if it didn't have the element of national pride? Your kid would have to be competing and even then I'd rather watch paint dry.

Everyone wants to complain, find a conspiracy, demonstrate their deep worldliness and political savvy. What crap. When did everyone get to be such whiny little bitches? It's a good show, enjoy it.

cammar said...

"Would you bother watching a track and field meet if it didn't have the element of national pride?"

OMG, totally!
That's what I always do considering how much the italians suck... :)
I don't care AT ALL where the people are from. I watch the olympics because they are an incredible display of the performances of the best athletes in the world.
The bond with the country that pleases you is what bothers me.

You (and many others I know) are not able to enjoy the pure athletic performances and need some countrymen to be involved in order to be interested?
Well, then you're not interested in that sport. You're only interested in your countrymen winning...
My question is WHY?
What is it?
What does it change for you?
What's the difference for you if the winner was born in Chattanooga, Tennesse or somewhere in Asia?
In both cases they have probably nothing to do with you. They both trained hard to get there and in both cases they displayed the best performance.
But only in the first case you're interested and happy...

...and I've been accused of racism!

nico said...

I'm following any post written here.. and I have to say that I totally agree with you GP. I really do not care where the atletes come from ( yesterday I watched the tennis table final - two chinese of course - and I really enjoyed watching the state of the art of the game.. absolutely the best performances on earth.
THAT'S what is important (to me).

Obviously , anybody is different and national TV "push" their Athletes to get tv audience. I can understand that; I can't bear but I understand...
For the same reasons I stopped following the italian football championship.. I only check the highlights (possibly without stupid comments) to see individual and team performance.
What else? About the "racism": it's simply ridicolous. I really do not know you but I follow your blog since the beginning and NEVER I read something which could me remind a Racism comment or something like that.

It's not a defense (you do not need it) but a fact. Or better: an opinion...

Ciao a tutti e scusate l'Inglese!!


chris said...

Ciao Cammar,

Lovely political ranting …
Ponobill, do you think the chinese factory workers of several sport brand company sponsors of the Olympics did enjoy the show as well ? When I heared about these “labor” conditions, the whole maketing maschine around the Olympics discusted me and gave me a good reason keeping on banning the shitty tube out of my therefore less brainwashed life.

Think about how unhealthy soft drink consumption has increased because of some total comercialised sport competition, the poor guys “laboring”in the the sugar porduction live the 2 dollar/day life. The coke sign is a sign of enslavement, if you consider where all the sugar is coming from. And the sicknesses related to permant high-sugar comsume will fill some Dick Chaney’s purse, when he is “partying” around dressed like a pussy, because he is coninstantly monopolist in that medical sector.

Paying by credit card, for sure if you live in the US, has a very bad image, just like the “political” system of the US…Visa is main sponsor, uha , the Olympics marketing is pretty close to propaganda/ brainwash to sell the image of a nice world, that you need not to look too close but consume by all means.

As for the flags, it wouldn’t be too difficult to proove that media events like the Olympics strengthen a nations feeling of we, if such an investigation anyhow would find a sponsor, the ├»nvestigation “world’s climate changed since ever and all days” doesn’t , sure not, nobody would let him/her self brainwash by all these hollywood productions on the issue anymore.

And what if not that feeling of “we and our country” motivates folks to go to wars, which fills since ever some government and lobbies purses...

Ponobill said...

I confess, I do prefer to watch the events that have Americans in them, I can't even really say why. I'm really making my comment as a marketer (even though I'm retired from that). In marketing you really don't care so much why people react as they do, it's just important that you understand what drives the majority of the people you target. Affinity is a big driver. People don't go to little league games that don't have their kids in them. My points (and I guess they weren't all that clear) were:

1. It's not some kind of propaganda conspiracy that drives NBC, it's understanding what the market wants. You are not the market. I'm not really either. The people who eat one meal a day at McDonalds and watch seven hours of television a day are the market.

2. Governments are overrated. People see conspiracies everywhere. Watergate is the norm--blundering nitwits that can't even lie convincingly. In other words, no smarter than you or I.

I didn't think I would watch much of the Olympics, but it turned out to be pretty fascinating. It's a really well done event, a monster show of incredible talent. I was even amazed at the Russian Synchronized Swimming team. Who have thunk it.

Ponobill said...

And of COURSE you are racist. Everyone is, it's just a matter of degree. You can be certain that when someone stoops to sticking you with any pejorative label that they don't have the intellectual depth to make a useful argument so they settle for something easy.

cammar said...

Thanks everyone for the comments.

the table tennis tournament has been one of my favorite too. Those guys played some unreal games...

Anonymous said...

GP you have issues with geography, which is a matter of fact. So it is good to say where one comes from because at least it is the truth.

In addition to that I have to get this straigh! In your post you use often the word "hate", and "pissed off". Then you say that you are happy??! How would you explain it?

chris said...

But Ponobill, if the market is for folks that don’t know McDonald’s didn’t do any good to the world and prefer watching sport on TV, instead of sporting themselves, their attitude towards the market is easy to shape for whatever and they will buy everything NBC is selling them. And still the olympic event will keep a lot of ultra-low paid labourers busy, IMO that’s not social just like such a “freedom and peace” spectacle taking place in country ruled by communistic dictators. Pushing that kind of economy and political system…but well, it is fact that communisme in Russia was established by international interestgroups. NBC covering that ? Are they covering that it would be fair eating less meat in times of global food crisis, that there’s a monopolist on the world’s grain supply, why do they not shape an informed, mental and physic healthy market ? Because there’s less profit to draw and that market wouldn’t be too motivated to go to imoral wars…

And that’s all no conspiracy… but while you talk about it, american history gives enough examples to consider conspiracy, that’s not only Watergate, I think still a lot of folk’s would welcome a proper investigation of the latest bizar happenings that leaded into two wars and maybe some more…

Racism might have it’s roots in bad education or/and shitty environment. If nobody teaches you that somebody is a minor presence, how can you develope this poor attitude ?

Bon nuit,

cammar said...

yes, I have issues with the arbitrary divisions of the planet's land that humans have done, very often as a result of bloddy wars.

And I told you already: happy doesn't mean opinionless. Some things bugs me. That doesn't mean I'm not a happy person.

Ponobill said...

Sad but true. I'm not saying I like the world the way it is, or America the way it has become. I do the little bits I can to try to make it better. But I don't tilt at windmills, and I don't believe there's some omniscient evil mind driving the things we despise. It has a lot more to do with human nature and the willingness of people to follow than anything else.