Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Afghanistan, Patriotism and the Olympics

I came in to Toronto on the daily turnip-truck from Hamilton a couple of days ago and I noticed all the subway station posters (sponsored at least in part by Coca-Cola) celebrating the Olympic torch and Canadian patriotism about same.

The images are pretty inane, with a torch-bearer surrounded on either side by one or two cheering Canadians. One dude has a maple-leaf painted over his face. Other people are simply pumping their fists or waving Canadian flags.

I've always thought patriotism was pretty stupid on the face of it. What? Are we supposed to imagine that Canada is awesome because GOD blessed this particular area of the world? Are we genetically superior (despite the fact that we now come from all over)?

And corporate-sponsored patriotism is a fucking joke. It's akin to all the cynical, shallow corporations that made money off the cynical, shallow Tiger Woods, slithering away now that their corporate mascot turns out to be an affront to the moronic concept called "family values." (They were fine with the obviously greedy sociopath!) Corporate patriotism is best typified by those nauseating "I am Canadian" ads shat out by Molsons right before they let themselves be purchased by hyper-US American asshole Joseph Coors. Corporate patriotism is like corporate ethics, which is to say, not a real thing at all. Coca-Cola doesn't give a shit about Canada except insofar as Canadians are relatively affluent and can buy a lot of goddamned Coke.

So what does this campaign of empty-headed banality add up to? Why are we supposed to be proud of Canada? If I have any patriotism it is for the ideals that the Canadian experiment is supposed to represent in the eyes of its inhabitants and the rest of the people of the world. A democratic, tolerant, peaceful place where the individual's human rights are respected.

And to that extent, when Canada brutalizes a country for eight years, ass-kissing the psychotic bush II regime in order to not have any problems with trucks crossing the Canada-USA border, foisting a corrupt, brutal, drug-lord government, I lose heart in my country. And when powerful evidence appears that shows that our political and military elites, at the highest levels, were repeatedly warned that we were so careless in our prisoner scoops that we were detaining scores of innocent people and turning them over to a prison system widely and credibly accused of systemtic torture, I become angry. And when some people try to argue that these detestable scum-bags are going to walk free despite deliberately trying to hide their complicity in torture, I say if that's true then this government and this system have no legitimacy.

What I don't do is slather on some red face paint in the approximation of the maple leaf and cheer like some stupid idiot when the Olympic torch is trotted across this land-mass, just because our government gave the biggest bribes to a bunch of fascists and fuckwads on the International Olympic Committee. Especially if some stupid soda-pop vendor wants me to, since it means turning off my brain, which will then make me more receptive to their soda-pop selling schemes.


double nickel said...

I read that Manitoba is apparently the most patriotic province in the country. I can't find the link for that story now, but read it somewhere yesterday. I have no idea how I'm supposed to feel about that. Um, go Canada?

no_blah_blah_blah said...

double nickel, I think that means go Manitoba... or something...

thwap, that's perfectly true. People need to consider what it is that makes Canada worth their patriotism. It's definitely not simply being good at sports. Personally, I'm more interested in how to strengthen the checks and balances in government... and in what Parliament will do next. (Yeah, I'll admit to being burned out before, but now I'll also admit to having a sliver of hope... 'tis the season?)

As for the Olympics, it claims to promote international unity, but really, it's just nations getting a chance to thump their chests. Otherwise, why bother with a national medal count? Furthermore, I'm flabbergasted with regards to the bylaw passed to prevent dissent for the benefit of the VANOC and the IOC. How is that even constitutional? I suppose that Vancouver is just assuming that any legal challenges will require more time than the time till the the end of the 2010 Olympics.

I guess 2009 was like some kind of misguided limbo competition for Canada: how low can you go?

thwap said...

It appears that in 2009, Canada will be on the medal platform for the misguided limbo competition.