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Posts Tagged ‘Olympic Games’

The Politics of Pleasure and Distraction

In Rajiv Gopie on August 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

What do the Olympics, Paul Ryan’s abs and gay marriage have in common? No it’s not that they are all great trivia but rather that they have been the central focus of much of the mainstream media for the past month. As the world burns and economies continue limbering, driven only by the dying gasps of industry across Europe and America, the political class along with the easily amused media have pulled their ace: distraction and pleasure. Wine and Games for the people!

Admittedly the Olympics celebrate the best that money can buy…… I mean “the human spirit,” as long as those humans are well paid professionals and good little ambassadors for their respective sponsors. As far as London 2012 was concerned, the events turned out well, the UK people….. well Londoners were temporarily distracted, not nearly as much by the games more than the fact that many had deserted the capital city and the country for warmer climates. Bumbling Boris Johnson was made a star and the much maligned David Cameron, was left alone for a few days to enjoy his vacation. Across the pond Paul Ryan’s abs are making waves and the left wingers have been blinded by the shimmer of his flat stomach, even the Huffington Post seems flattered. Gay marriage continues to be the lurking spectre that has the right hot and bothered, how dare two consenting adults dare to affirm their commitment to each other in the eyes of the state and their loved ones. It is an abomination… we cannot let people have their right to life and equality, this is America!

The political class can teach Hollywood a thing or two about good entertainment. Most people, and more so the media, have fallen for it. In the midst of a presidential campaign which has money pouring in like never before the best thing that they can do is speculate on the number of crunches Paul Ryan can do. This is the guy who had and probably still has posters of Ayn Rand and is committed to axing a large number of social programmes in the USA and his abs are focused on. The UK is dying, the seat of the largest empire the world has ever known is crumbling into ruin and as millions struggle to find a job and many millions more eke out a living; all glory is given to the Olympics, where corporatism ruled supreme and glowed more than the sacred flame.  Miserably poor states in the USA, struggling under unemployment and low productivity, are all being distracted by their Republican masters who use gay marriage to rile up the masses. It does not matter that we cannot run the state, it does not matter if you have lost your jobs, as long as we can stop those damn gays from marrying then God will provide, when we get to heaven our cups will overflow, never mind the journey from now until heaven may see you living in squalor and handouts.  And once again the people fall for it hook line and sinker.

There are innumerable political, social, cultural and religious research programs into why people care about cultural issues and non-issues over the ones that have the ability to affect them, such as the economy. All those amount to is academic fluff, I say the masses are too easy to distract and the media is not helping. The media in the UK and the USA both left and right should be focusing on grilling the respective opposing candidates and politicians to have them on their toes. They should be focusing on the issues and informing the public. A little distraction is good but it does not have to come at the expense of the national interest. Is it too much in 2012 to ask the media, the politicians and the people to multitask?

-Rajiv Gopie