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[qi:004] Liz Miller says that these days all people are talking about is Michael Phelps, the winningest Olympian, and a former presidential candidate’s lover. Eric Schmidt, director of media and advertising evangelism at Microsoft, tells Beet.tv that nearly 2 million people tuned in to watch the […]

[qi:004] Liz Miller says that these days all people are talking about is Michael Phelps, the winningest Olympian, and a former presidential candidate’s lover. Eric Schmidt, director of media and advertising evangelism at Microsoft, tells Beet.tv that nearly 2 million people tuned in to watch the Beijing Olympic Games on NBC’s web site, making it one of the much-watched online events. The interest is peaking elsewhere as special Olympics-oriented sites created by Yahoo, AOL and others are experiencing a big bump. I am not one of those 2 million, and probably won’t be. I am giving the Olympics the pass (not that anyone cares or should care), as a silent personal protest against China and its policies against Tibet.

My silent protest is also against the impotency of the global corporations that kowtow to China in the hope of someday making money off the booming Chinese market, or the world media that seems to be playing along with whatever limitations China seems to have imposed. I am glad to find that there is at least one other person who shares my feelings.

Today, for instance, YouTube took off a video of a protest held outside the Chinese consulate in New York City at the request of International Olympics Committee, because the video shows the five interlocking rings. Is beaming five interlocked rings on the screen a copyright infringement? Is the IOC looking for royalty payments or did the Chinese make them put some pressure on YouTube? Has the IOC become a collection of shylocks, looking for their next pound of flesh and having sold their Olympian ideals in the process? In comparison, somehow the dalliances of former presidential candidates seem less dirty.

  1. YouTube–

    Along those lines, could Sesame Street really have these photos removed: http://www.snopes.com/rumors/bert.asp

    Nah.

    CG

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  2. Did you boycott the Olympic when it was held in Soviet Union? Just checking for consistency here.

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  3. just sour grape on what China can achieve and India cannot.

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  4. The IOC jealously guards all use of their symbols and the Olympic name. When Nancy Greene, a former gold medal Olympic (and Canadian) skier, named her new hotel at Whistler in the mid-80′s as the Nancy Greene Olympic Lodge, the IOC forced her to change the hotel’s name when IOC became more aggressive in the early 90′s about protecting use of the “Olympic” name. Not that they wanted any money in this situation, they just did not want their name associated with “lodging” establishments as it would impugn endorsement under unregulated circumstances. (Somehow the Greek airline of the same was “grandfathered” using this name when IOC decided to get more aggressive.) Bottom line: the rings cannot be used anywhere without their approval – they are not a public property.

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  5. The modern games (and the IOC) are more focused on ‘monetizing attention’ than authentically promoting the values dignitaries preach from podiums (at opening/closing ceremonies). At the end of the day the Olympics are literally and figuratively just about the “gold”.

    Sure global corporations appear to be kowtowing to China in search of a piece of the economic action but a bigger issue looms. With US government surveillance of it’s own citizens at an all time high and China holding record levels of US debt there’s a disturbing kind of ‘harmonization’ underway between the two countries [more specifically, their respective governments] and the stakes, particularly for Americans, are incredibly high.

    Let the games begin…

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  6. We are definitely not surprised by this and we definitely agree with your sentiments.

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  7. Did you read this article out loud before you hit publish?

    “special Olympics-oriented sites”

    I’m thinking that “niche” would have worked better there. :)

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  8. Good call on the silent protest. I think a lot of people are fairly upset with the current Olympics charade. The IOC and corporate sponsors have done a lot to kowtow to and appease the Chinese government. A common refrain has been they want to avoid making China “lose face.” But a simple threat of face loss is probably the only thing that would have precipitated any real change in China. Since none of the official sponsors stood up for western values the situation is now worse in China than it was a few years ago. Watching the Olympics would make me feel like I went along with all this and it’s okay. I think it’s not okay.

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  9. @Milton actually I was too young and living in India at the time. so probably the only time i saw Olympics was in the local news paper and that too barely. But point taken.

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  10. @an reader

    This is not about India and China. Actually, the fact that you would think that is, speaks a lot about you.

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