The day Oslo pulled its bid was one of those times all Olympics fans with a conscience had to look inside themselves and ask: should we really support this thing? This thing that takes taxpayer money that could do the taxpayers more good elsewhere, brings draconian rules upon the citizens of the city hosting it(I think there were a couple of horror stories in London), and lately costs so much the only countries willing to host it are the oppressive dictatorships that don’t care if their people don’t like it. When it’s in a better country, one where the people are willing and able to come out and say what the Hell, might as well enjoy the party we’re paying for, such as happened in both Vancouver and London, things are better, but then they land in a country like modern-day Russia, and if we watch, we do so with our guilt weighing us down.
We knew, on that day, that in 2022 we’d be in the latter situation, now that the choices were down to China and Kazakhstan. But then we had new IOC president Thomas Bach getting on it, starting to talk the talk about getting the costs down, trying to make it so the cities benefit more and suffer less, and he does genuinely seem to want to do some of it, unsurprisingly, because if things continue the way they’re going eventually the Games are going to run out of cities willing to host them, and he is no doubt aware that lately they’ve developed image issues that can ultimately do them serious damage. There is, perhaps, the lingering hope that if we can just get through 2022, things will actually improve for the hosts to come. Although it’s harder when the 2016 Olympics are now in the news for the wrong reasons too, and when their story had already been pretty ugly.
But Almaty would’ve been less bad than Beijing, especially in terms of human rights issues, although that’s very much relatively speaking. And when one reads about the fact that another Olympics in Beijing literally means people will die because of the way they will go about holding them there, well. And yet 44 members of the IOC voted for it, and only 40 voted against. It may be a narrow margin, but that’s not going to make much difference to those who will suffer and die as a result.
Will someone tell those rich, snobbish IOC members during their damn aristocratic coffee breaks that maybe they should look within themselves too? One wonders if it would be any use, of course, but still. Even if Mr. Bach really wants to save this mess, will enough people go with what he tries so that he can?
In this world where it seems everything on the news and most reality TV and really the world around us in general is ugly and petty and depressing and often warning of dire times ahead for the majority of the world’s people, the Olympics ought to be a relief. There is little as joyful as watching the men and women who have dedicated their lives to what they do fulfilling their life’s purpose, winning great victories and spinning great stories that we can remember when we need to remember the good things about the world. But when they have this level of nastiness behind them, we come to today, another day when we have to ask: should we support this?
(It does not help matters that given how most figure skating competitions in China have gone, it’s a safe bet that at the Olympics there, too, the ice will be of slipshod quality, and the results will be a skating competition most will want to forget.)
Honestly, this whole Marvel swearing everyone to secrecy is starting to go a little too far. They effectively forbade Chloe from letting the public see her between the pre-filming haircut and now! But at least we have now been teased with the Daisy Johnson Haircut:
I sympathize with her not wanting to lose her hair, though, since I’m someone who just *shudders* at the thought of losing my own. Although maybe getting to play what’s close to a lead character in the MCU is good compensation…
So I sampled the often sound-impeded stream that Skate Detroit had running this year, which it makes sense for it to have, since it seemed much like an early Canadian SummerSkate, what with most of the skaters participating being Canadian. Which is even funner when even the skaters representing Kazakhstan & Israel were announced as representing their Canadian skater clubs!
Speaking of which, nice as it was the see Elizabet Turzynbaeva skate so well tonight(and after all her difficulties Thursday night), one can definitely see the ways she’s a junior still; she had great jumps and skating skill but still has to grow her presence and other intangibles. In contrast to Netta Schreiber, whose intensity in her tango program explains how she’s managed to get attention even though her success has been limited, possibly due to the lack of jumps that was her downfall tonight.
As for the North American girls, although to some extent it amused me to see Selena Zhao be the highest-scoring Canadian of the night, it may well be a sign for her, because even if she doesn’t have all the goods yet, she has a lot of them, and this being the top Canadian skater thing certainly is going to happen again sooner or later. Honestly, I was a little surprised when Bradie Tennell trounced her; they both had falls, after all. Even if you’d *think* Kaetlyn Osmond is going to fight back and get herself back to the top of Canadian skating this year. Lots of mistakes at an early summer comp doesn’t necessarily mean anything, after all. And yet she probably would’ve liked to not give Zhao the chance to take this one.
Meanwhile, on the pairs side of things, it also feels a little alarming to watch Marissa Castelli & Mervin Tran make as many mistakes as they did. Partly because of what happened at 2015 Nationals, and partly because that Journey free will be a great one *if* they can stop messing up so much. And also because it’s never fun to watch a lift go haywire like the one they were lucky not to fall on did.
And speaking of music choices, I do not like this increasing use of Lara Fabian’s “Je Suis Malade.” If this new era of allowing lyrics for everyone causes it to become a skating music standard, that would be unfortunate, since it is a song you can get tired of, and also I have yet to see anyone take it on that could hope to match what Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Pojé did with it(and yes, that includes Adelina S; there may be a few surprising things she can do but match that pair isn’t something she’s indicated herself as being capable of).
So, among all the other details of Ant-Man, there was a second stinger after the credits which even before the movie came out became the most talked-about thing about it, sending a few people to the cinema to see just that scene, not even knowing whether it would even have much to do with the rest of the movie or not. Although since Ant-Man was a smart movie, it did. But it also indicates a possibility about Phase 3 that worries me a bit, namely, the timeline.
It was this week, when I started seeing all the positive comments, that I started to seriously wonder if Ant-Man might actually prove the better of the two Marvel movies released this year. Whether it has been or not I’m not sure. But of the two movies, it is definitely the smarter.
On a really shitty week even new photos of Pluto can’t make up for, where Marvel can’t even genderswap a character without whitewashing her too(nice as it’ll be to get Tilda Swinton into the movieverse, but couldn’t they have found an older white male mentor to genderswap for her?), one gets even more grateful for certain standouts from their collection of actors. Not the ones who go calling Natasha a slut, obviously, but the ones who do cool things like trying to one-up each other on dubsmash. Seriously, the dubsmash war was easily the best thing to happen at Comic Con, especially when the blooper reels weren’t leaking. So far the best of them is easily Hayley and James getting Chris in for their victory lap:
— Hayley Atwell (@HayleyAtwell) July 15, 2015
Also undermines a would-be strategy of Clark Gregg’s. Even if he gets his wife to join in this game, how are they to beat Jarvis in the corner?