I often tout the great Slate.com’s Political Gabfest as one of my favorite podcasts. I usually love the interesting legal insight of Emily Bazelon, the timely and often historically-based (and poll-based) comments from John Dickerson and the quick wit of David Plotz. However, this week was a sad exception. John is exempt from my criticism because he was absent. His stand in, Josh Levin seemed as perplexed as me, so he’s also excused.
Emily and David spent a considerable amount of time lamenting the Olympics – using words like “boring” and “tedious”. As they wondered aloud why someone hadn’t come up with a better way to move through water than the butterfly or backstroke, I was thinking, “idiots.” As they went on and on about “who cares if the gymnasts are too young? The older gymnasts better come up with a new program!” I knew that had not seen the heart-warming story of the 33-year old German gymnast. I knew they didn’t know that Micheal Phelps has double-jointed knees, which helps him achieve that perfect butterfly – a ridiculously difficult feat of coordination and timing – but it’s really his life-long dedication that’s made him the most-medal winning Olympian of all time.
They seem to be missing the point. The Olympic spirit, if you will. It’s not about sitting through each heat – unless that’s your thing. It’s not even about these awesome photo finishes – like when Phelps won the gold or Torres won the silver (which both made me cry!), it’s about appreciating the life long dedication and awesome athletic skill of these Olympians. The fact that they represent our country to the world, when we could really use the good press and the good will! The fact that they work their asses off not just for their own glory but also for ours.
I totally hated David and Emily’s lame, small-minded, decidedly un-athletic commentary on the Olympics. I’ll be glad when they get back to talking about politics.