I’m finding the whole kerfuffle about the Olympics increasingly weird. For me as a Londoner it is basically a lot of inconvenience but I can accept that it is something some people are excited about and I live with that. I find it harder to accept the corporate takeover of an entire city, what with Olympic lanes, exclusive rights to sell fries on the Olympic site, fascistic control of logos and so on – all that seems very dystopian to me and expressive of the general state of the world in which the 1% are getting away with murder (metaphorically).
The weird thing is how many people have let themselves get swept into a groupthink mood of excitement and fervour about this and the way that the media is completely ignoring events elsewhere in the world. Someone winning a canoe race really isn’t more important that the Eurozone crisis or Syria or the UN in turmoil. And it’s not just the people you would expect to be swept up in this kind of thing (the easily enthused Blue Peter types) – even reliably curmudgeonly media commentators like Charlie Brooker or Petrie Hosken seem to have gone from being sceptical in advance to being converts overnight – maybe it’s because there is nothing else to talk about and their editors don’t want “I hate the Olympics” pieces, but it’s still disappointing.
It all feels a bit like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers or the Stepford Wives, where everyone starts behaving the same way – or more pertinently, the last time I saw the British public and media behave like this was possibly when Diana died – then it was de rigueur to be publicly sorrowful and the TV stations weren’t allowed to show anything that might seem frivolous. Now instead of a hysterical mood of mourning, we have a hysterical frenzy of excitement – I’m sure I’m not the only one finding it alienating and peculiar, but I will certainly be glad when it is all over.