With three days to go, the Olympic propaganda machine is popping more than a few bolts to get everyone to “Believe.”
“Believe” means something like: Forget that these games are billions over budget and will put British Columbia in a deep hole for generations. Concentrate instead on winning the gold medal in hockey, and make all the bad feelings go away.
Under the circumstances, “Believe” comes perilously close to “Drink the Kool-Aid.” I already have a hangover and the party hasn’t even officially begun. Looking back, it’s hard not to believe that Vancouver would have been better off if the games had gone to PyeongChang, South Korea, after all.
In honour of the Olympic rings, here are five reasons to believe in PyeongChang:
5) The Olympic mascots are endangered or non-existent species. Miga is a cross between an Orca and a Kermode bear, one threatened, the other rare; Sumi is a complete non-entity, Quatchi is a variation on the quasi-mythical Sasquatch, and Mukmuk, the only “real” animal in the menagerie, (only a sidekick to boot, not a full-fledged mascot) is a near-extinct Vancouver Island marmot. Somehow this says it all.
4) The games will cost at least $6 billion. But, we’re asked to believe, the net economic benefit of the games will be $10 billion. If you believe that, would you like to buy one of these cute, cuddly Sasquatches? And speaking of legacies, what are we going to do with a $104.9-million toboggan slide once the games are over?
3) The entire world now knows our dirty little secret: The best city on Earth has one of the poorest neighborhoods on Earth – the Downtown East Side. Imagine what it would look like if we spent $6 billion on housing the homeless, treating the addicted and providing care for the kids? Here, kid, want a cute, cuddly Sasquatch?
2) Why hold the winter Olympics where there’s no winter? Vancouver is the warmest venue ever for the winter games, with an average February temperature of 5 degrees. So they’re trucking in snow from the interior and dumping it on the daffodils of Cypress Bowl. What’s wrong with this picture?
1) What does it avail a city to own the podium and lose its soul? Vancouver is a billion-dollar police state: surveillance cameras and armed sentinels on every corner, public buildings barred to public access, dissenters turned away at the border in violation of the Charter of Rights. This is our home, and instead of “believing,” we should spend a minute and actually think: about what we’ve given up…and what we get in return.