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All That Glitters

Gold, gold, golden, gold. Gold of British hope and corporate gold making golden dreams of golden cherubic children raised on golden competition.

I despise competition. I don't think it has helped humanity at all. Correction: I don't think has helped all of humanity. Instead it benefits some at the expense of others. For there to be a winner, there has to be a loser, but it won't be their faces plastered over today's papers. Instead it's the media friendly visage of Olympic poster girl, Jessica Ennis, who has already sold her soul to a particular brand of female skin cream. She obviously knows how the game is really played; you can bet her gold medal, with perfunctory union jack waving, will not be accompanied by any profound insights into the human condition or even the nature of professional sport. That's not to say she's stupid or ill educated, but that these athletes are just puppets. Her career would be over faster than Usain Bolt if she spoke out about Dow Chemicals' controversial involvement in this corporate lovefest. In fact I've no doubt she, or any other athlete, would seek to separate sport from politics. Ironically that's the complete opposite goal of the event's organisers.

So if gold medal winning athletes aren't really in a position to speak out who else can? Us? Try it and see how far you get swimming against the currents of the moment. This year has seen our society take a quantum leap inside itself. We have embraced nationalism on a most unprecedented scale. Flag waving has always been easier in times of austerity but with a domineering media operating in almost every sphere of existence 24/7 we are increasingly led by the nose, reeled in by the marketing arm of big business. Anyone that dares to criticise the 'olympic spirit' will face a barrage of criticism. They will be placed in the 'scrounger' box of the 'saints and scrougners' worldview. They will be a leech on society; a drain on the collective will. Its a view born out of an almost corny view of communism: we should all strive forward, flags in hand, and then Britain will be Great again. It's nightmarish.

'Lord' Pigby Jones, tax avoidance apologist and city stooge, added to this silly notion on the radio by arguing that if more young men specifically) took up sport there'd be less trouble; less antisocial behaviour caused by angry young blokes (never mind the girls of course). Never mind all the trouble young men cause through football (on and off the pitch, I might add). He seemed to ignore that.

The last thing that corporate society wants is more athletes. That means there's less chance of the likes of Jessica Ennis getting picked for a competition in the future as there will be more people to compete against to earn the few places. The Olympics, like all competitions, isn't open to everyone. Ironically the athletics oprganisations don't really care so long as the person they choose can sell the product and win the medal (which is the same thing, ultimately). It's all money to them. And if we're all running and jumping and throwing, who will be left to do the workfare? Who will be left to consume the product that these events have become? If there was no market for the Olympics it wouldn't exist. Perhaps then we wouldn't have that buffoon of a mayor gliding down zip wires with the grace of a tired hippopotamus.

Then you have the nature of these people. These athletes we champion as cultural heroes - icons of the values that corporate society wishes to inculcate within us - have lifestyles that are totally alien to the rest of us. If you saw what Michael Phelps eats just for breakfast you'd think he was a different species altogether (a Gannet perhaps). If you tried to follow his diet you'd probably be in hospital within a week. is there any difference between that and performance enhancing drugs? These people are moulded by their regimens to become tools. They aren't people and so their worth as competitors is lessened. I certainly can't relate to someone that gets paid to eat five roast dinners and swim three hundred hours a day. They are just puppets; people talk about how they sacrifice a lot. But they sacrifice no more than anyone else that does something they enjoy. They are puppets of the corporate masters though: the real power behind these events. The burger joints that sponsor the Olympics, the banks that sponsor golfers, or the anti ageing creams happily sold by golden girls. 

I can't relate to their world, I don't want to be a programmed consumer and I do not respect athletes that are happy to be swallowed by this machine, especially when companies like Dow Chemicals and Rio Tinto are welcomed into that circuitry. The only values that matter are subservience and consumption. True ethics get you nowhere: compete or die. It's not enough to do your best, you have to win. I don't believe that sticking your head in red white and blue coloured sand, blind to corporate reality, will help us at all. It just sets us back while Spandau Ballet enjoy increased royalties from the constant playing of that fuck awful song. 



  1. Add to this these are professional athletes, rather than the amateur ones, they get hundreds of thousands a year to run.. they dont need a job.

    There are more important things in this world. War in syria where they have chemical weapons that can be used on their own people. Suicide bombers in yemen, and so on.. The olympics does not add to the human world, it doesnt create cures, or helps people it is all about making money for people to run and jump. It was better before we had professional sports people.

    1. the olympics was always supposed to be amateur. But that got shoved aside in favour of profit.

      We've paid for it (not through choice), then the corporations get to sponsor it and dictate terms, and then members of the public that want to watch have to also pay again!

  2. Saw you asking on a Grauniad thread yesterday about the upcoming £50 fine - saw this on the My Legal forum and thought it answered your question:-

    Looks like it's a fine for failing to notify change of circs' and/or giving incorrect info to the Council or whoever is dealing with housing/council tax benefit. Shame it has no mention of fines for the council, given how many times they've witheld information or given out the wrong information!


    1. It's just another way to scam claimants. That's all this is. I suppose we can be thankful it's not the Work Programme fining people for non-compliance on top of the sanction regime. There's no way they could have enforced that.

  3. I think Jessica is a beautiful and talented young woman. I'd never heard of her before these games, as I think the majority of Brits hadn't.

    She says that her sucess won't go to her head. Ummm... I hope so, when you see the roll call of dubious sponsers she is signed up to be a mouth piece for I seriously wonder.

    No money in the world would ever let me be persuaded to front BP's message. Come on Jess, be true to your word.

    1. I have nothing personal against her at all. However these people do not seem to want to be in a position that questions the corporate aspect. They all seem to think signing contracts to sell crap on the tv is part of being a sportsman and that's sad.


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