As the Olympics Games rapidly approaches, so the mindless flag waving begins.
So after seven years of people endlessly dropping the two numbers ‘twenty’ and ‘twelve’ into conversation, the Olympic Games are finally about to get underway in London. Despite opting to get out of this soon-to-be-hellhole of traffic, gross profiteering and fascistic law enforcement to protect the sponsors’ commercial interests, the one thing I can’t escape is the tedious build-up.
It seems everywhere is awash with Olympic logos (where officially sanctioned) and Union Jacks (where not) and the media hums with white-noise about ‘pride’, ‘making it the best games ever’, blah, blah, blah – the sychophantic BBC seems determined to kiss all five of the IOC‘s rings. Switch on the television, click on a website or expose yourself to any other form of advertising and you will be instructed by big multinational companies (who squirrel all their money away in tax havens) to ‘support your country’ – something that by a happy coincidence means purchasing their products! Funny that…
I could go into a rant about how the Olympics is a nasty little cabal with a history of financial and social destruction of the host city, severely restricting citizen’s rights and building white elephants that will be used for a few weeks before rotting into obscurity, but the likes of Space Hijackers and Games Monitor do that quite well already.
No, what really annoys me about mass sporting events like these is the blind patriotism and jingoism that is stoked up.
I’ve always struggled with patriotism. I’ve never felt any great desire to see England/Great Britain win at major sporting events mainly because I can’t stand the resulting sight of people waving the flags, declaring pride at belonging to a manufactured institution and, on many occasions, boasting about the military outcome of the Second World War.
Growing up, my dad always taught me to sit down for the national anthem – a song that requests that a fictional wizard in the sky bestow exceptional favour to an extremely privileged monarch and that said monarch should ‘reign over us’ for a considerable amount of time. It also doesn’t help that this particular bunch of dynastic millionaires (with interbred ancestry and a little bit of National Socialist sympathy in their history, no less) like to do things like consider applying to a state poverty fund to pay for their heating bills and take a eleven per cent increase in their allowance for swanning around the world while the majority of the population is suffering under austerity. And for these reasons, I will always refuse to stand and show it any kind of respect.
Don’t get me wrong, I quite like living in the UK. There’s some great things about whiling away your days on this lump of rock. There’s some beautiful countryside, culturally rich cities and some great, films, art and music have been produced by many of its residents – and, ultimately, it’s where I have all my stuff. But my favourite things are that it offers its citizens things like free healthcare, education and the welfare state – although these things are being systematically destroyed by people born with silver spoons in their mouths who have consequently never had the need to use them. Truth is, loads of other countries have these great things as well, and often do them a lot better than Great Britain Inc.
And so it troubles me deeply that when people pick up a flag and cheer, it’s to salute myths and legends that have been created to disguise centuries of wars, oppression and banal political dealings that have created this particular state, and reinforce an idea that because of these myths, we are great people.
So why, when people put on sporting gear in a certain flag’s colours and try and run, jump and throw things better than others, does all this other national bullshit get brought up? Just because some of the people competing are subject to that same state structure as you, it doesn’t mean you should go all gooey and misty eyed about some imagined history, and unquestionably accept it as fact from those feeding it to you.
As you can see from the Olympics at the present time, the ultimate goal of those stoking up all this patriotism is to sell things; be it flags, memorabilia and cheap plastic tat, or an ideology.