An Olympian gold leaf out of a politicised book

An interesting thought came my way a few minutes ago:

Note to ALL political tweeters: How about you congratulate Olympians, rather than try to politicise their fantastic achievements? #indyref

And this I find myself agreeing with.

The truth of the matter is that environment often conditions our behaviours.  If people are tending to politicise sporting achievements, there may be a number of wider reasons for this.  Today, on the day that Andy Murray wins the Olympic gold against Roger Federer, I am minded to remind us all that Olympic committees are tied to sovereign nation states; that sovereign nation states do not always find it easy to rise to latterday expectations of equality; and that whilst the Olympic Games as such has an ideal the participants will continue to subscribe to, it also has a business model which leaves much to be desired – especially when it cedes as it does the physicality of the Games to globalising corporations hardly given to treasuring localities and regionalities with any degree of gusto.

That the Games are political is nothing new.  That they need to be political is another matter.  It might require a complete and utter change more in how we see the world than how we pay for it, but such a change would surely benefit everyone.  If both small and large could take advantage of their beauty and majesty, wouldn’t that send a far more egalitarian message to their spectators and participants?

As a final thought, the most curious thing for me in all of this, and this is me now reflecting at a broader level, is how these large and omnipotent business “partners” – the Coca-Colas, McDonalds and Adidases of the world – strive on the one hand in their processes and procedures to depoliticise all social and cultural discourse and yet on the other encourage division and an almost serf-like ownership of these inconsistently private spaces of public usage.  In reality, whilst they appear to be the most apolitical of all institutions, their impact on how we run our lives is about as profound as it could ever get.

Perhaps we need a new way of looking at this 21st century politicking: the politics of hide and seek participation; the politics of pretending one doesn’t do politics at all – even as one spends millions of pounds on affecting the directions societies take.

A coward’s politics.

A politics – as the Spanish would say – of “tirar la piedra y esconder la mano”.

In other words, a politics of “throwing stones and hiding hands”.

Now that indeed, these days, is the task of Olympians – that is to say, the boardroom Olympians who literally rule over us from up on high.

How history does indeed re-establish itself from generation to generation …

Sad, ain’t it?

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