The Olympics captivate me. I watch and for a moment forget the notion of earnest Utah folks paying to get the games, or the sad toll of drug test failures upon the various teams. I like the way that folks earnestly pursue excellence. I met the world tiddlywinks champion once. He was an earnest, intense fellow--a consultant. I am not sure if he was "the" world champion or just a top player. But it was such a conversation piece: "I'm a 'winks player!".
I like the idea that some people are gifted by in-born talent and hard work to achieve a "ribbon" such as a medal. I like to see the woman whose dejection Tuesday turns into triumph on Thursday.
I like swimmers named "The Thorpedo". I like to see gymnasts concentrating. Heack, I even like the box scores of the rifle shoot in the newspaper. I like the way that for a couple of weeks, my wife and I are drawn into a milieu we resist the rest of the year.
But the whole hoopla of the thing makes me ponder, just a bit, about this whole obsession with celebrity thing. The idea troubles me that "we all" aspire to be "uber-people", whether Olympic atheletes or supermodels or millionaire moguls or even grace-filled divines or misunderstood artists.
I suppose it's not enough that folks consume enough products to bury a subcontinent each year. It's not enough that we consume the fossil fuels at a rate that nobody in the world can contemplate, much less match. Now we have to be groupies to corporate executives, and to the flashy phenomena they create.
I'm neither a fan nor a non-fan of that fellow Josh Groban, who, like many similar folks, occupies a space in my mind I reseve for trivia rather than any real opinion or depth of knowledge. A recent local interview during a tour stop had him talking about how "nice" women were on this 'now famous' tour era of his life. It's curious how a man with a good voice and a winning appeal is considered far better date material than, say, a man who does social work with mental patients for a salary in the high 20s. Money, power, the primal allure of fame--none of them bad things in themselves,all quite useful. But all aphrodisiacs for both genders.
I am weary after a very long day. But I have in my mind some idea that while aspiring for gold is a very good thing, we nonetheless live in a gold-obsessed time.
Our infant mortality rate is higher than Cuba's. The headline in the news last week? The Chapter 11 plan for a Trump casino. There's a kind of fascism, of
celebmachismo, in what we worship and what ensnares us. It's like the new minister who wants to build a gold=filigree church.
I saw an earnest man try to fund-raise for a college building once. Someone whispered that they were gonna name the building after him. Then someone later donated more money,and they named it after the donor.
I am too tired to know what I am. But I think I am tired of aspiring to be supermen.