Aside from a YouTube clip of Mr. Bean’s appearance during the opening ceremonies (because I will always sort of love Mr. Bean), I haven’t purposefully watched a single moment of 2012 Olympics coverage so far.
I don’t hate the Olympics, but I don’t love them, either. There are certain Olympians I like a lot (Apolo Anton Ohno) and others who I secretly rooted against because they seemed rather crappy based on arbitrary rules of crappiness I’ve set up in my head (Sasha Cohen, Michael Phelps — but not because of the pot thing, just because he sorta seems like a jerk). But just about all exciting Olympic memories have been tempered by the remembrance of hours and hours of footage of waiting for something to happen.
The Olympics, for me, suffer from the same issue that the Academy Awards or Grammys or even the Super Bowl have in recent years: unless you’re excited to talk to the Internet about the events in real time, you can skip watching them because the next day, the Internet will tell you everything you need to know. Just yesterday morning I learned that Chinese badminton players were disqualified for throwing matches (I.E. losing games on purpose, not throwing lit matches at their rivals, which was my first take on the incident). I know there is a new swimmer guy who people like more than Phelps and apparently he wears grills on his teeth, which I thought were a thing we stopped doing a few years ago? And there is also something going on with ladies’ gymnastics. And NBC! Don’t get me started on that (apparently people are mad at them).
Having a baby due in a month has probably somewhat skewed my sense of time, because while I am objectively impressed by these athletes’ dedication and strength, I can’t get over the knowledge that in three weeks, few of us will care about any of these people anymore unless they’re caught doing something bad or end up making an appearance on Dancing With The Stars. I realize that this is a bum deal as amateur athletes, especially those in lesser-known sports, deserve more attention than they get, but to quote Kurtis Blow, these are the breaks. So if the Internet is going to tell me everything I need to know now and we’ll have moved on by Labor Day, why get more invested beyond that? There is still baseball and Louie to watch.
I didn’t purposefully set out to avoid the Olympics. It started off as an accident: Last week my husband and I went to a concert Friday night and we forgot to set our DVR to tape the opening ceremonies. The next day I realized that every funny observation or noteworthy act had already been recorded by my friends on Facebook or actual news outlets (and, most importantly, the outfits had been recorded by The Fug Girls.) So one day of tuning-out has snowballed into an entire week, and I haven’t missed a thing, probably because thanks to the combination of my apathy and living in a media echochamber, I haven’t really missed a thing.
I’m not bragging: People who boast about being out of touch are never my heroes. But it’s been interesting to learn that there are parts of the zeitgeist I can opt out of without feeling completely left out.