What he said

The Rev nails it.

I’ve never understood the rabid anti-Olympics sentiment to start with, but it makes even less sense to me when protests spiral into violence or when protesters have so little class that they do things like this.

There are a lot of reasons to criticize the way things were done in the buildup to the 2010 Olympics, and if anyone could have foreseen the global economic crash I suspect different decisions might have been made a decade ago.  But that was then, this is now, and I hope the games are successful because otherwise they’ll end up costing us even more.  The protesters have made their point, so it seems a little futile to carry on protesting even as the games are in progress.

One of the primary goals of hosting an Olympics is to showcase the area worldwide and boost tourism — which happens to be a major source of revenue here.    Portraying BC as a haven of ignorant crybabies and violent flakes won’t do anything to encourage tourists to visit here, and for good or ill, that’s how a lot of us make our living.

That doesn’t mean those opposed to the games should suddenly do a 180 and become happy little Olympics Boosters — just that continued protests are a little self-defeating.  Anyone who’s truly worried about how much money this little shindig will end up costing us should be hoping against hope that it’s a success of epic proportions.

22 Responses to “What he said”


  1. 1 Bleatmop Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I wish they would have never chose to spend that money on the Olympics in the first place. I wish they would have taken those millions and millions (Billions?) and invested in their city and society. Try and fix the problems of the lower east side, build actual housing (not just temporary shelters) and address social ills. It’s too late to stop it (like they ever could), but it’s not too late to let people know you’re pissed about it. Were I there, I’d partake in the peaceful protests I knew about.

    I’m not in favor of violent protest, but I’m also not in favor of police bullying protesters. BTW, it seems that most of the violent protesters are from out of town/country anyway. Part of the same anarchist movement that protests the G8 I would guess. The vandalism against the Royal Bank was deliberate and planned.

    http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20071209193053119

  2. 2 Cornelius T.Zen Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    The real tragedy of the Olympics is not the money spent to host the events, but the money NOT SPENT to support the training and development of Canada’s athletes for competition. Every other country knocks itself out to make sure its athletes are at their best for each Olympic competition — except Canada, whose government turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the needs of its competing athletes. Unless, of course, by some stroke of luck, our athletes take a medal. THEN, you’ll hear nothing BUT HOW MUCH our governments support THEIR athletes. Yeah. Right.
    The proof is in the placings. – CTZen

  3. 3 JJ Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Bleatmop – Given the economy, it probably wasn’t the right decision to have the games here, but who could have known.

    It’s a shitload of money that’s being spent to put this thing on, but I look at it as investment spending that (hopefully) pays off over the long haul.

    There were a lot of things I didn’t like about the way it was done — ie. poor people getting turfed out of their hotels downtown and the clampdown on dissent (no anti-olympics signs allowed & all that). But it could turn out like Expo 86, which a lot of people protested, but which turned out to be pretty good for BC’s economy.

    Most of the protesters are the peaceful type, but it only takes a few assholes to make things go sideways.

  4. 4 JJ Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    CTZen

    The real tragedy of the Olympics is not the money spent to host the events, but the money NOT SPENT to support the training and development of Canada’s athletes for competition.

    Very true.

  5. 5 croghan27 Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Rev – that certainly is one position and far be it from me to say it should not be articulated. (here comes the) BUT you ARE suggesting that any anti-Olympic protester, or even anyone not in favour of holding them (economic situation bedamned) give up a thoughtful and purposefully held positions and cheer for success. An idea I see close to Harper’s idea of supporting the troops meaning supporting the policy.

    It has been my experience that demonstration will lead to vile consequences if the legitimate grievances of the protesters are ignored. (or, as in the case of the Quebec demo – there are establishment infiltrators – Police – there just to evoke the very response you are exhibiting). Calling the protesters: “ignorant crybabies and violent flakes” is something that will only increase their frustration and invite more radical responses. I am not going to try to justify violence, either against people or property, yet the violence I have seen (and experienced)in these situations is 2% demonstrators and 98% establishment response. Among other things it is part of the responsibility of the peaceful demonstrators to report and isolate violence.

    Suggesting that they go home because they might piss off the tourists is not a lot of helpful – BC is, as it has been mine in the past, their home. Perhaps they should adopt the organization of the Swiss, the public morality of Singapore and scrub the street outside their houses like the dutch: they should stop being who they are. Not being who you are to satisfy some visitors is like not organizing unions so corporations will not invest. You are suggesting they just enjoy being kicked when they are down. They are protesting not only the idea, but the action – to stop now would make them the ‘ignorant crybabies and flakes’ you so worry about.

    If the tourists never, never again come to an Olympics in BC, I suspect that BC will do quite well in the future TYVM.

    I am into my 60s and have a bad heart. The last time I tried protesting I was blown off my feet by a rushing Ottawa police officer as he snatched a piece of chalk away from another protester. I had to retire from the fray while half a dozen about me were detained until Pres. Bush left town.

    Did we stop Bush? No. Will another President come to Ottawa? One already has. Did we express a real, thoughtful and considered position? Most certainly, and I would do it again were my health to allow it.

  6. 6 JJ Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    croghan

    BUT you ARE suggesting that any anti-Olympic protester, or even anyone not in favour of holding them (economic situation bedamned) give up a thoughtful and purposefully held positions and cheer for success

    OK, not really. I don’t really care about the protests as long as they’re peaceful and organized. I’m pissed off about the protesters who started the violence, and also the ones who couldn’t find it in their hearts to step aside for the veterans. The protesters made their point, you would think out of respect they’d have moved aside. Those are the nuts and crybabies I refer to. Anyone who’s out doing a peaceful demonstration, that’s their right. But the violence and being thoughtless jerks isn’t good for anyone — the protesters or the games.

    I guess I just don’t understand why, if people are so worried about the games costing so much money, they would go out of their way to make them fail. It doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t like that kind of money being spent either, but I’m hoping it’ll at least be successful so it’s not a total waste.

    Or maybe I just don’t understand what all the protesting is about.

  7. 7 croghan27 Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Yes, it is a shame that the vets were blocked …. but shit like that happens. During the Great Winnipeg Strike the picketers actually attacked some veterans returning from WWI, believing they were sent by the government to suppress them – some of the vets actually joined the strikers upon being demobbed. (Is that the word?)

    Yet how many times have the well organized forces of law, order and some else’s idea of good government attacked peaceful picketers or protesters? I would suggest it happens a lot more often then the opposite. I recall being caught up in a Calvary Charge by Vancouver’s finest during a peaceful demo about American draft dodgers. They actually put the son of the American Ambassador in the hospital claiming he was a foreign agitator before they found out who he was.

    The classic definition of a military victory is possession of the battlefield when the battle is over. Do you really think those opposed to the waste of the Olympics should just go home and watch CSI, 22 Minutes and feel warm and fuzzy that they have ‘done their thing’?

    ‘Call me Lucifer’ if I suggest that perhaps the organizers should leave the field of battle, give it up, say ‘sorry it was all a big mistake’ we are going to redirect the funds to affordable housing and social services.

    We both seem to agree that any violence against people of property is disgusting, even if past history shows that it is the ‘official’ side of this equation that most often invokes and utilizes violence.

    I believe that Toronto put in a bid for the summer Olympics that went to London. The Vancouver Winters are underway – let us hope that Toronto can learn to get its’ ducks in a row before pulling a Campbell in Ontario.

  8. 8 JJ Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    croghan

    Do you really think those opposed to the waste of the Olympics should just go home and watch CSI, 22 Minutes and feel warm and fuzzy that they have ‘done their thing’?

    No — I just see it as a little futile at this point in time. But if they feel that it really helps to be out there, then sure.

    ‘Call me Lucifer’ if I suggest that perhaps the organizers should leave the field of battle, give it up, say ’sorry it was all a big mistake’ we are going to redirect the funds to affordable housing and social services.

    Too late for that. But I agree this is one place where the Olympics organizers could have been more creative — by directing some of their budget towards ensuring that nobody was put out of their homes and people had affordable housing, this could have been a positive thing for everyone. If you’re suggesting that the entire Olympics budget should have instead gone to social services, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    This is where I’m becoming increasingly disenchanted with what’s referred to as “the left” 😦 — I’m not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t believe the answer to every problem is for the government to throw money at it. Sometimes that’s the right answer, but just as often, it’s not. The gov’t has to be a little more creative and forward-thinking than just dumping money endlessly into social programs, and that’s where investment spending on projects like the Olympics comes in. That said, the Olympics might have been a little too ambitious, but we’ll see.

    We both seem to agree that any violence against people of property is disgusting, even if past history shows that it is the ‘official’ side of this equation that most often invokes and utilizes violence.

    Cops are authoritarian thugs, the government’s goon squad, so that kind of behaviour is to be expected from them. Not from people who supposedly have a legitimate beef that they’re taking to the streets, and want their protests to have some credibility. On the upside, it was a small minority, but those are the ones who get all the attention.

    I don’t believe Toronto will get the games anytime soon. Once a country has had them, that’s usually it for quite a while.

  9. 9 psa Monday, February 15, 2010 at 3:21 am

    the benefit of these games and the benefit of what has decayed into the modern “olympic movement” are benefits that accrue to a very few, very privileged individuals. i’m no fan of true believers like the snotty little shits that claim to be anarchists but are actually just vandals. i don’t think that’s indicative of the so-called left. no more so and no more fairly than the minutemen militia types that are horny to shoot latinos are indicative of the right.

    in terms of property damage and real damage, i think the argument is pretty simple. the windows will be replaced, the newspaper boxes set on their feet and the vandals will have damaged the efforts of thousands of the legitimate protesters, giving simpletons the stick to wave and bark, “see, see how rotten they all are”. but damage? what is the measure of damage to the souls of those who are explicitly held to be too unsightly or poor to be allowed to live in their own homes and neighbourhoods? what damage is caused to actual people and actual lives when they are rounded up, tossed on buses and shuttled out of the city and dropped off? meanwhile, i’m sure that the american owners of the hudson bay company slept perfectly well on their maximum thread count linens as hirelings cleaned the broken glass.

    the fact is that this owelympic build-up has been built on the backs of the poorest and weakest among us. every legitimate concern, at every step, has been brushed aside with complicity from every level of government and in collusion with some of the world’s very worst corporate bad actors. the supposed long term win is tourist dollars? i have friends that went to italy last year, they never breathed a word about being even remotely attracted by the echo of the turin games. vancouver has been a world class city for years. the meeting of spectacular mountains and beautiful ocean, a rich cultural centre with diverse peoples and a bountiful opportunity. balanced against the cost of this ugly spectacle amortized over the next number of years i doubt there will be anything like a positive benefit.

    and what of the olympic spirit that we are supposedly celebrating? multi-millionaire, american citizen gretzky, a man who never competed as an amateur in his adult (or late adolescent) life lights the olympic torch? the athlete’s own charity banished from the olympics in perpetuity for having had a relationship with a non-vanoc sanctioned sponsor? a smashed window is an ugly act by a very few stupid people, the greater harm is being and has been done by far more dangerous gang of committed evil doers who wwear the patina of respectability. well, fuck them says i, fuck their corrupt games and here’s to the decent folks that are out protesting because they don’t have the weight of corporate media behind them. here’s to the folks who care enough to try and bring the real issues, the actual and important issues to the attention of the world. if they hurt the bottom line of a few developers and speculators, well then that’s just fine by me. my sympathies will go to the vancouver and area rate payers, the provincial citizens and the rest of canada’s tax payers when we collectively assume the debt that this pig of an event will bequeath. rest assured the vanoc whores will walk away with their little pockets brimming.

  10. 10 Bleatmop Monday, February 15, 2010 at 6:27 am

    PSA – Well said!! Much better stated than my attempt.

  11. 11 JJ Monday, February 15, 2010 at 8:36 am

    PSA – Well, as a Vancouver area rate payer, pardon me for having a different opinion. OTOH I can assure you that all of us out here, regardless of where we stand on the games, are looking forward to them being OVER. It’s been non-stop bullshit from all sides from day one.

  12. 12 JJ Monday, February 15, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Bleatmop – Yes, he certainly told me. I hang my capitalist-corporatist military-industrial whore-head in utter, self-flagellating shame.
    //

  13. 13 Bleatmop Monday, February 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    JJ – I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware my agreement with PSA qualified as an attack on you. I’ll make a note for the future.

  14. 14 JJ Monday, February 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Sorry bleatmop.

    psa’s comment covered a lot of ground, much of which I agreed with, but most of which I hadn’t really touched on in my post to begin with (other than to vaguely suggest that VANOC hadn’t done this thing very well). But to suggest that I’m worried about VANOC’s profits is kind of undeserved, IMO.

    Ah, I’m getting brought down by a lot of things in the blogosphere lately — I don’t feel comfortable with either side, and it’s bumming me out.

    So please accept my apologies and forgive my moodiness.

  15. 15 Bleatmop Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 1:48 am

    JJ – My apologies too. I know I can come off as abrasive quite often on the internet too. I never intended to be abrasive to a person I consider a political leader and ally of reason, not to mention to someone I respect.

    To your comment about not feeling comfortable with either side; may I make a suggestion that you not worry about being aligned with either side. You have an influential blog that many people subscribe to. Keep putting your message out there and let both sides of the political debate worry about being aligned with you. You talk a lot of sense that isn’t often plagued by ideology and that’s what initially drew me your blog. I would guess that many here would agree with me on that point.

  16. 16 Bleatmop Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Clarificaiton on previous post – The “too” in the first sentence should be deleted.

  17. 17 Bleatmop Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 1:49 am

    double clarification, I meant the “too” in the second sentence.

  18. 18 Peter Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Chin up, jj. While you may hear voices from the left warning you that your Olympic heresy is the start of a slippery slope that will you lead right into a Tea Party Convention, I think your progressive credentials are pretty secure. But the blogosphere is a Manichean world where uncommonly virtuous alpha types who know precisely how the world works battle daily with the unredeemed evil and abject stupidity of the other side. They don’t do doubt and ambiguity.

  19. 19 JJ Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Bleatmop – Aw, shucks 😛 Thanks.

    Usually I’m happy to march to my own drum, in fact I insist on it. But there is Stupid on all sides of the political spectrum, and polarizing issues like the Olympics bring it out with this “with us/against us” mentality that I can’t stand. (Also, it forces me to recognize that I’m far more forgiving of goofiness on the left than I am of dumbness on the right, when I shouldn’t be.)

    That said, I’m not implying that the Black Bloc a-holes are typical of the left or even of the Olympics protesters — I think most of the protesters recognized that these guys weren’t helping them. (But there were also quite a few that felt the violence was bad but “so what?”)

    Oh well, it doesn’t matter… This thing just tops off a lot of stuff that’s been bugging me lately. More and more of what I see at Progressive Bloggers causes me to 🙄 (FTR, none of my old favourites, though). Maybe that’s why my posts usually drop off the page with nary a vote, ha.

  20. 20 JJ Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Peter –

    While you may hear voices from the left warning you that your Olympic heresy is the start of a slippery slope that will you lead right into a Tea Party Convention

    😆 I can always rely on you to make me laugh 😉 (We are all teabaggers now!)

    I am a progressive heretic on a few issues, this is just the latest one. My buddies at the bunker, who you know well, are in a similar ideological boat. Normally my differences with progressives don’t bug me, and I’m sure I’ll get back to that state of mind pretty soon. But the blogosphere’s black/white orientation sometimes makes gray a lonely place 😉

  21. 21 Peter Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I am a progressive heretic on a few issues, this is just the latest one.

    Cry me a river. You should try being a con questionning any of the right-wing playbook when some of them thar BT’s are hanging around.

  22. 22 JJ Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Peter – I’ve seen what happens when a conservative blog questions the presidential timbre of Sarah Palin… it’s not pretty 😯 At least I never got any death threats over differences of opinion about the long gun registry 😉 You conservatives are so emotional!


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