The spirit of the Olympics

In case you missed it, a great comment from my former student,The Jones:

I have decided that I do not appreciate the Olympics as a sports event. I gain unmatched joy from watching the U.S.A. beat the ever living daylights out of other countries through the medium of sports. My interest in sports wanes, but the love of country inspires interests I never held before. I am now a swimming fanatic, a fencing aficionado, a gymnastics critic and commentator, a beach volleyball analyst, and a militant track and field extremist. Outside the Olympics… …these things don’t really have much appeal.

Visa has these commercials celebrating the Olympic games, with good music and inspiring montages, that conclude with “Go World.” But I don’t want to say “Go World.” I want to say “Go ‘Merica! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Sometimes, when there’s no America to cheer for, I choose the most cooperative nation on America’s foreign policy radar and pull for the Ally. That’s what I found myself doing in the Great Britain vs. Pakistan Field Hockey match. Although field hockey looks like the dumbest sport on earth, this was an opportunity to take out my frustration of the sinister motives of the Pakistani ISI. No rooting before reform!

This is nationalism at its best.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Last night it was so maddening to watch the cheatin’ Chinese team beat the USA women gymnasts. Yep, nothing brings out a sense of nationalistic pride than watching the Olympics. Thanks The Jones, great comment!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Last night it was so maddening to watch the cheatin’ Chinese team beat the USA women gymnasts. Yep, nothing brings out a sense of nationalistic pride than watching the Olympics. Thanks The Jones, great comment!

  • Joe

    At one point last night I turned to my wife and said (only half joking), “I miss the Cold War. The Olympics were a lot more meaningful then.”

  • Joe

    At one point last night I turned to my wife and said (only half joking), “I miss the Cold War. The Olympics were a lot more meaningful then.”

  • CRB

    Perhaps in these posts it might be more accurate to use the term that Rush Limbaugh uses when referring to the host competitors: “Chincoms”!!

  • CRB

    Perhaps in these posts it might be more accurate to use the term that Rush Limbaugh uses when referring to the host competitors: “Chincoms”!!

  • CRB

    Correction: “Chicoms!”

  • CRB

    Correction: “Chicoms!”

  • The Jones

    Funny story:

    I was driving back from dinner after eating out with some friends, and I realized that it was the opening ceremony of the Olympics going on, so I started saying, “We’ve got to watch the Opening Ceremony! We’ve got to watch it!”
    “But Jones, it’s just the opening ceremony. There aren’t any medals or anything exciting.”
    And I said, “No! This is the OPENING CEREMONY! I want to see a million Chinamen holding up signs while in formation to make cool pictures with the different colors on each side. They’ll all be in the stadium coordinating and making pictures, doing crazy acrobatics, and I mean these guys freakin’ INVENTED fireworks, so you KNOW they’re going to deliver.”

    They thought I was so racist and stereotyping and profiling. But we finally started watching the ceremony, and what happened? Thousands of Chinamen in perfect coordination doing crazy acrobatics, karate, and putting on a super well-coordinated color show. I felt so justified.

    I can’t wait for Track and Field to start, because we’ll probably dominate in those events almost as good as we’re doing in swimming. And as far as the medal race goes, has anybody ever heard of fast Chinamen? I don’t think so. U.S.A.! ALL! THE! WAY! I think we’re going to catch back up in Gold Medals.

    The Olympics also spurs on the assignment of nicknames. I was disappointed at the silver medal last night with the girls gymnastics, but I’m eager to see Nas-T, IceQueen, and SpunkMonkey go for gold in the all-around. That should be good. I’ll let you figure out who is who.

  • The Jones

    Funny story:

    I was driving back from dinner after eating out with some friends, and I realized that it was the opening ceremony of the Olympics going on, so I started saying, “We’ve got to watch the Opening Ceremony! We’ve got to watch it!”
    “But Jones, it’s just the opening ceremony. There aren’t any medals or anything exciting.”
    And I said, “No! This is the OPENING CEREMONY! I want to see a million Chinamen holding up signs while in formation to make cool pictures with the different colors on each side. They’ll all be in the stadium coordinating and making pictures, doing crazy acrobatics, and I mean these guys freakin’ INVENTED fireworks, so you KNOW they’re going to deliver.”

    They thought I was so racist and stereotyping and profiling. But we finally started watching the ceremony, and what happened? Thousands of Chinamen in perfect coordination doing crazy acrobatics, karate, and putting on a super well-coordinated color show. I felt so justified.

    I can’t wait for Track and Field to start, because we’ll probably dominate in those events almost as good as we’re doing in swimming. And as far as the medal race goes, has anybody ever heard of fast Chinamen? I don’t think so. U.S.A.! ALL! THE! WAY! I think we’re going to catch back up in Gold Medals.

    The Olympics also spurs on the assignment of nicknames. I was disappointed at the silver medal last night with the girls gymnastics, but I’m eager to see Nas-T, IceQueen, and SpunkMonkey go for gold in the all-around. That should be good. I’ll let you figure out who is who.

  • Don S

    LOL, Joe @ 2! Who can ever forget those East German “women”! But the U.S. was never first in the medals count in those days.

  • Don S

    LOL, Joe @ 2! Who can ever forget those East German “women”! But the U.S. was never first in the medals count in those days.

  • http://ballpointblog.blogspot.com Fred

    I, too, have come down with a case of shameless nationalism, though I am not quite sure why. My pecking order:

    1. USA
    2. UK
    3. Australia
    4. Canada
    5. Mexico

    The rest? Who cares?

  • http://ballpointblog.blogspot.com Fred

    I, too, have come down with a case of shameless nationalism, though I am not quite sure why. My pecking order:

    1. USA
    2. UK
    3. Australia
    4. Canada
    5. Mexico

    The rest? Who cares?

  • Michael the little boot

    The Jones,

    “Chinamen”? Really?

  • Michael the little boot

    The Jones,

    “Chinamen”? Really?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The Chinaman is not the issue here, Dude. I’m talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. Across this line, you DO NOT… Also, Dude, “Chinaman” is not the preferred nomenclature.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The Chinaman is not the issue here, Dude. I’m talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. Across this line, you DO NOT… Also, Dude, “Chinaman” is not the preferred nomenclature.

  • Michael the little boot

    Asian-American, please…

    …you’re like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie…

    Nice, tODD. *clouds part, sun shines through*

  • Michael the little boot

    Asian-American, please…

    …you’re like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie…

    Nice, tODD. *clouds part, sun shines through*

  • The Jones

    Well, we call them Frenchmen. And it seemed to flow. I know “Chinks” is a racial slur, but Chinamen? “Orientals” seems totally unnatural and too broad for people specifically from China, and “Chinese People” might be acceptable, but seems unnaturally laborious to say or type. That’s why I went with what I went with.

    But manners are not what *I* think they should be, they are about having deference to those around you in society as a sign of kindness and respect. So, if I erred, I’m sorry, and I’ll try not to do it in the future.

  • The Jones

    Well, we call them Frenchmen. And it seemed to flow. I know “Chinks” is a racial slur, but Chinamen? “Orientals” seems totally unnatural and too broad for people specifically from China, and “Chinese People” might be acceptable, but seems unnaturally laborious to say or type. That’s why I went with what I went with.

    But manners are not what *I* think they should be, they are about having deference to those around you in society as a sign of kindness and respect. So, if I erred, I’m sorry, and I’ll try not to do it in the future.

  • Don S

    Michael: I don’t think the Chinese will be appeased by you calling them “Asian-Americans” do you? :) I think they would prefer “Chinamen”.

  • Don S

    Michael: I don’t think the Chinese will be appeased by you calling them “Asian-Americans” do you? :) I think they would prefer “Chinamen”.

  • The Jones

    This begs the question. What is the proper noun for people born and living in China? Can you use the adjective “Chinese” as a noun in all cases? Is Chinamen really a slur? If it is, then I’m totally embarrassed, but I can honestly say right now that I’m totally clueless.

    Preferably, if an Asian American with more insight than myself would speak up, that would be very helpful.

  • The Jones

    This begs the question. What is the proper noun for people born and living in China? Can you use the adjective “Chinese” as a noun in all cases? Is Chinamen really a slur? If it is, then I’m totally embarrassed, but I can honestly say right now that I’m totally clueless.

    Preferably, if an Asian American with more insight than myself would speak up, that would be very helpful.

  • CRB

    Why not, “Chicoms”? They ARE a communist country!

  • CRB

    Why not, “Chicoms”? They ARE a communist country!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@12), Michael (@10) was completing the quote I started (@9), from The Big Lebowski. Sorry, bit of an in-joke (though I don’t know Michael). I actually truncated the quote where I did because in this case, as you point out, “Asian-American” wouldn’t be the proper term, either.

    I don’t see why you couldn’t say “Chinese” as a noun, as in “Thousands of Chinese in perfect coordination.” Merriam-Webster says you can, for what that’s worth.

    I’m not Asian, so I don’t know if “Chinaman” is perceived as a slur, but I think it makes one sound, well, archaic. Might as well talk about Mahometans, too.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@12), Michael (@10) was completing the quote I started (@9), from The Big Lebowski. Sorry, bit of an in-joke (though I don’t know Michael). I actually truncated the quote where I did because in this case, as you point out, “Asian-American” wouldn’t be the proper term, either.

    I don’t see why you couldn’t say “Chinese” as a noun, as in “Thousands of Chinese in perfect coordination.” Merriam-Webster says you can, for what that’s worth.

    I’m not Asian, so I don’t know if “Chinaman” is perceived as a slur, but I think it makes one sound, well, archaic. Might as well talk about Mahometans, too.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    CRB (@14), do you append abbreviations for the form of government to every nationality’s proper adjective?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    CRB (@14), do you append abbreviations for the form of government to every nationality’s proper adjective?

  • Anon

    The speech-controllers like to change which words You May Not Use and Must Use every few years. We ought to ignore them. Newspeak is not a valid, organic language, but one designed to control thought. Bar-bar-bar to it! “Chinaman” is cognate with “Frenchman”, Englishman and “German” Probably why the PC tyrants are opposed to it.

    Chicom is the traditional term for Red Guards Terrorist oppressed mainland China.

    I suppose one could refer to the Han Empire, since the Uighur Turkmen, the Tibetans, the Manchurians and the Mongolians likely don’t consider themselves Chinese.

  • Anon

    The speech-controllers like to change which words You May Not Use and Must Use every few years. We ought to ignore them. Newspeak is not a valid, organic language, but one designed to control thought. Bar-bar-bar to it! “Chinaman” is cognate with “Frenchman”, Englishman and “German” Probably why the PC tyrants are opposed to it.

    Chicom is the traditional term for Red Guards Terrorist oppressed mainland China.

    I suppose one could refer to the Han Empire, since the Uighur Turkmen, the Tibetans, the Manchurians and the Mongolians likely don’t consider themselves Chinese.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anon (@17), much as I am amused at the idea of being a “speech-controller” — and I appreciate that you’ve read 1984, really I do — your comment might be just a bit over the top. Might as well rail at the dictionary for adding all those new words every few years, too*. Best to go sulk and read some Indo-European texts. And don’t let those Mahometans or Negroes tell you you can’t! Meanwhile, this is one Americaman who believes that language is continually changing, whether you like it or not.

    I’m interested, however, in your notion that, if a group doesn’t “consider” themselves part of a group, we shouldn’t refer to them as such. So Abkhazians and Ossetians are not, then, to be called “Georgians”?

    *Speaking of new words, there is Chicom, a term that, in spite being the “traditional term”, as you claim, did not make it into Webster’s Third New International Dictionary as of 1961. It did, however, manage to make it into the Addenda by 1993. Also, if ever a word was Newspeak, it’s “Chicom” (cf. “Ingsoc”, “Artsem”, “Ficdep”, etc.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anon (@17), much as I am amused at the idea of being a “speech-controller” — and I appreciate that you’ve read 1984, really I do — your comment might be just a bit over the top. Might as well rail at the dictionary for adding all those new words every few years, too*. Best to go sulk and read some Indo-European texts. And don’t let those Mahometans or Negroes tell you you can’t! Meanwhile, this is one Americaman who believes that language is continually changing, whether you like it or not.

    I’m interested, however, in your notion that, if a group doesn’t “consider” themselves part of a group, we shouldn’t refer to them as such. So Abkhazians and Ossetians are not, then, to be called “Georgians”?

    *Speaking of new words, there is Chicom, a term that, in spite being the “traditional term”, as you claim, did not make it into Webster’s Third New International Dictionary as of 1961. It did, however, manage to make it into the Addenda by 1993. Also, if ever a word was Newspeak, it’s “Chicom” (cf. “Ingsoc”, “Artsem”, “Ficdep”, etc.)

  • Joe

    For the record the only Chinese person I know (and I mean someone who lives in China) does not like to be called Asian any more than I would want to be called North American. It is just not specific enough. I also have a very close friend who does not want to be called African-American because he knows where his family is from. He also prefers the more specific. I think you should only use Asian, African, European etc in two settings: 1. You don’t know the actual country or 2. you are talking about a characteristic that is shared by people from the entire continent.

    That is the best this Norwegian-Ukrainian-American-Wisconsinite can figure out. ;)

  • Joe

    For the record the only Chinese person I know (and I mean someone who lives in China) does not like to be called Asian any more than I would want to be called North American. It is just not specific enough. I also have a very close friend who does not want to be called African-American because he knows where his family is from. He also prefers the more specific. I think you should only use Asian, African, European etc in two settings: 1. You don’t know the actual country or 2. you are talking about a characteristic that is shared by people from the entire continent.

    That is the best this Norwegian-Ukrainian-American-Wisconsinite can figure out. ;)

  • Michael the little boot

    I don’t think the point is what the “speech-controllers” want so much as what a person from China would like to be called. As has been suggested, “Chinese” would be inoffensive and accurate, so seems the logical choice.

    And I was just finishing tODD’s quote with the Asian-American thing. Thought we could get on a roll if there were other fans around. :)

  • Michael the little boot

    I don’t think the point is what the “speech-controllers” want so much as what a person from China would like to be called. As has been suggested, “Chinese” would be inoffensive and accurate, so seems the logical choice.

    And I was just finishing tODD’s quote with the Asian-American thing. Thought we could get on a roll if there were other fans around. :)

  • Don S

    Unfortunate, American pop culture was always my worst Jeopardy category, so I missed that connection when I read your post :)

  • Don S

    Unfortunate, American pop culture was always my worst Jeopardy category, so I missed that connection when I read your post :)

  • The Jones

    A toe? I can get you a toe. With nail polish!

  • The Jones

    A toe? I can get you a toe. With nail polish!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X