Thursday, March 4, 2010

Own the Immodium

Well the Olympics are over and despite all those people who said Vancouver would be hell during the Olympics, things seemed to work out pretty well. In fact, it seems all the premature judging of everything Olympic has so far proven to be wrong. The last hope for the doomsayers to be right is that the Olympics lose a lot of money and the taxpayers get stuck with the bill. And my money says they'll be wrong about that one too.

Meanwhile once the media stopped covering all the pre-Olympic concerns, they got onto the job of telling us how the "Own the Podium" program was falling short of expectations. In the end Canadians did pretty damn good. Maybe we didn't own the podium, but we did get to hear Oh Canada played at medal ceremonies an amazing 14 times. The media response during the games was akin to the half-time show of a football game declaring one team the winner. Whatever happened to waiting for the final result before proclaiming something a success or a failure.The media needed to take a collective dose of immodium to stop the analytical diarrhea. Okay, I'll admit the mascots did suck.

All of this pre-judging negative analysis is not surprising, but it is annoying. The same thing happened in the lead-up to the games in Athens and Beijing. The weekend that the Vancouver games were ending there was an article in the paper saying how bad an idea it is to hold the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Does the media think its job is to be negative or are they just incredibly inaccurate prognosticators?

There is plenty to be concerned about when it comes to the I.O.C., but it seems a lot easier to write a story predicting certain failure of the local organizing committees than it is to dig into the questionable antics of the I.O.C. Just like it's easier for the media to cover polls and the popularity of leaders in an election than it is to dig into the issues and differences between the contenders.

Yes, that's right. I am annoyed at the media. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.


  1. Oh Jack, I guess you didn't notice the first half of the Olympic bill, only $7 Billion? And like all "crap fests" there will of course be things for the citizens of BC to pay for later. Now how can I get a job on the IOC ? AH A GOAL FOR MY RETIREMENT, the ultimate feedbag, shuffle up to the trough, job! Why be mad at the media? Too a large extent they are only a mirror of what we want to hear, usually in one or two minute bullets. Cheers, xelA.

  2. And I suppose all the arts cuts don't count as a cost of the Olympics?


  3. Gentleman, where in my post do I say anything that contradicts what you are saying? Whether we should be putting on such an expensive event is a different argument.

    I was speaking to the doomsayers who predicted how horrible the Olympics were going to be for the people of Vancouver. It seems to me they were a success. Other doomsayers think Vancouver will be stuck with a Montreal like bill for the Olympics. I'm saying I don't think that will happen.

    Now as for the $7 billion, that's a fine example of spin. I've enjoyed both the Canada line and the Sea to Sky highway and will again many times in the future and that's a big chunk of this number the anti-olympic crowd likes to foist on us (which until now I'd heard was 6 billion, but Xela has managed to stretch the spin by another billion). I can see making an argument against the highway, but many think it was a good idea regardless of the Olympics and the rapid transit line was a no brainer, so I scoff at your $7 billion.

    Double Harumppffff...

  4. I think you'll find a shifting basis for criticism. When something they predicted doesn't come to pass, they'll find something else.

    I have no idea if the Olympics had anything to do with the arts cuts, but I doubt it. There are cuts to all sorts of things every year. I think it's more just a case of the Conservatives being philistines. They've never favoured government support of the arts.

  5. But they choose to make these cuts in an Olympics year because they love coincidence?

    I think not.

  6. It is possible that without the Olympics there would have been no cuts to the Arts. It is also possible that without a huge recession that greatly reduced government revenues there would have been no cuts to the Arts.

    It's a bit easy to just say it is the Olympics.

  7. They've known the Olympics were coming for years and no doubt there were financial obligations before this year. No one knew the recession was coming, though.

  8. No one knew WHEN exactly it was coming, but most aware economists knew it was coming. There was a HUGE mortgage bubble waiting to burst. I had been reading about the impending collapse in mags like HARPER'S many months before it occurred.

    So, for any politician with access to the same information to argue they didn't see it coming is disingenuous at best.

  9. Hind sight is 20-20. I don't think the consensus view predicted such a big crash. Even so, if the politicians of B.C. knew it was coming how would this have saved Arts funding? Once the revenues declined the cutbacks were sure to follow, even if they knew ahead of time the decline was coming.

    The current round of cutbacks has everything to do with the downturn in government revenues and not so much to do with paying off Olympic costs.

  10. And you can prove this how, exactly?

  11. I could probably prove it, but I'm not sure you'd believe it if I did. I didn't notice you backing up your opinions with proof, so I'm just countering with a sensible argument. Not only that, but we're way off on a tangent from my original post that was about how wrong the naysayers proved to be regarding the success of the Olympics.

    But since you asked, here's what I could find.

    According to the B.C. Finance ministry, revenues are down about $2.8 billion this year relative to the peak revenue before the economic slowdown. Additionally expenditures are up by about 2.8 billion at the same time. This includes about 1.4 billion for health care.

    I'd think those numbers might have something to do with the governments decision to make cuts in other areas. Between the revenue loss and the health care increase that is 4.2 billion.

    Even given the cuts to Arts, the government is still running a deficit this year, so I find it hard to see how it is that the Olympics can be blamed for cutbacks. There just isn't as much money as before and health care is demanding more and more. That's a big problem that we haven't yet come to terms with. A way bigger problem than a one off party that was mostly paid for in previous budgets to this one.

  12. Going back to the first comment on this thread. Why be mad at the media?

    For the same reason that the media points out and the public jumps on cops and politicians when they don't do their jobs the way they are meant to be done.

    If the media is just a reflection of what we want to hear then they aren't living up to the level of journalism that a democracy should be entitiled too. And don't get me started on dentists and the justice system.