Okay. So. The Olympics.
I’m not watching. I’m getting my news via the interwebz and a little something I call a newspaper. I am not watching because of Russia’s anti-gay laws; I am not watching because the IOC will sanction any Olympian who does anything pro-gay; I am not watching because they’re killing stray dogs in Sochi, not because they’re attacking people, not because they’re rabid, but because they’re a nuisance. I find the symbolism between killing nuisance dogs and banning gays a little too uncomfortable.
I am also not watching because NBC has a nasty habit of deciding what we should be watching in this country. First, we only get to see American medal ceremonies, and we only focus on the American athletes. Time was, when I was a wee queerling and watching the Olympics, I loved seeing the other countries, hearing their anthems and seeing all the teams participate. Now, with NBC in charge, it’s become the Sochi Winter Olympics starring America.
I’m as American as the next gay, er, guy, er gay guy, but I likes to see some diversity, something new. Add to that that, well, as a Shallow Gay, I’m kinda missing the hot guys in bikinis so prevalent at the Summer Olympics.
But, mostly there’s this:
While Russia’s anti-gay laws have been a major focus for over a year now, I was kind of pleased to hear that during the opening ceremony IOC president Thomas Bach made a strong statement against "any form of discrimination" and in favor of tolerance.
Nice to have those words heard around the world and hopeful —
Television viewers watching the games here in the US of A on NBC didn’t get to hear those parts of Bach’s speech because the network edited it out.
Good evening, dear Athletes. Mr President of the Russian Federation, Mr Secretary General of the United Nations, Good evening Olympic friends and fans around the world! Welcome to the 22nd Olympic Winter Games! Tonight, we are writing a new page in Olympic history.
What has been achieved in seven years is a remarkable achievement. I would like it thank, in again, the president of the Russian Federation and his Government. The Sochi organising committee. The Russian Olympic committee. And the IOC members in Russia.
Thank you to all the workers for your great contribution under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thank you to all the people of Sochi and the Krasnodar region. Thank you for your patience, thank you for your understanding during these years of transformation.
Now you are living in an Olympic Region. I am sure you will enjoy the benefits for many, many years to come. Thousands of volunteers have welcomed us with the well-known warm Russian hospitality. Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers. Bolshoi spasiba, valantyoram! Thank you very much to everyone.
Russia and the Russians have set the stage for you, the best winter athletes on our planet. From this moment on you are not only the best athletes, you are Olympic Athletes. You will inspire us with your outstanding sports performances. You have come here for sports. You have come here with your Olympic dream.
The International Olympic Committee wants your Olympic Dream to come true. This is why we are investing almost all of our revenues in the development of sports. The universal Olympic rules apply to each and every athlete- no matter where you come from or what your background is.
You are living together in the Olympic Village. You will celebrate victory with dignity and accept defeat with dignity. You are bringing the Olympic Values to life. In this way, the Olympic Games, wherever they take place, set an example for a peaceful society.
Olympic Sport unites people. This is the Olympic Message the athletes spread to the host country and to the whole world. Yes, it is possible to strive even for the greatest victory with respect for the dignity of your competitors.
Yes, Yes, it is possible - even as competitors - to live together under one roof in harmony, with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason. Yes, it is possible - even as competitors - to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society.
Olympic Games are always about building bridges to bring people together. Olympic Games are never about erecting walls to keep people apart. Olympic Games are a sports festival embracing human diversity in great unity. Therefore, I say to the political leaders of the world - thank you for supporting your athletes. They are the best ambassadors of your country. Please respect their Olympic Message of goodwill, of tolerance, of excellence and of peace. Have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful, direct political dialogue and not on the backs of the athletes.
To all sports officials and sports fans I say - join and support our fight for fair play, the athletes deserve it. To you - my fellow Olympic Athletes - I say, respect the rules, play fair, be clean, respect your fellow athletes in and out of competition.
We all wish you joy in your Olympic effort and a wonderful Olympic experience. To all of you - Athletes, Officials, Fans and Spectators around our globe - I say, enjoy the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games! And now I have the honour of inviting the president of the Russian Federation, Mister Vladimir Putin, to declare open the 22nd Olympic Winter Games.
Perhaps because NBC was airing commercials to pad their bank accounts and the idea of anti-discrimination and tolerance doesn’t pay the bill.
M’kay, you might say I’m over-reacting, and I do have a tendency to the dramatic, but this is not the first time NBC has decided what should air during a live broadcast.
During the 2012 London Summer Olympics opening ceremony there was a performance of the sporting anthem "Abide With Me" by Scottish singer Emeli Sandé. The song and the accompanying dance performance were a tribute to the victims of the July 2007 terror attacks in London that claimed 52 victims in the days following the announcement of London as the host city for the 2012 Summer Olympic .
It was a significant, emotional and important moment in the opening ceremony — especially for the host city — and came just before the parade of nations. But it wasn't aired in the United States. Instead, American viewers were treated to a lengthy Ryan Seacrest interview of Michael Phelps.
Hmm, honoring victims of terrorism — or as some also said, it was a tribute to England’s war dead — or listening to Ryan Seacrest gush about Michael Phelps. Now, to be fair, NBC cuts out small portions of the opening ceremonies to make room for commercials—and to make that money—but to cut out an entire segment is quite ridiculous.
NBC has never commented on why they cut out that piece of the London Games and I doubt they’ll comment about their special editing this time around.
NBC. No Body Cares.