A critic’s first Olympics

A reluctant critic finds that astounding athletics and human drama make the Games TV gold

For decades, I managed to avoid ever watching the spectacle of pommel horses and Lycra and white teeth and rubbery thighs that are the summer and winter Olympics. I remained an Olympics virgin for as long as I could, pure and unschooled in the ways of synchronized swimming, Greco-Roman wrestling, and various apparatus.

The Olympics are MMEs, Massive Media Events, and so I dodged them when I had to, in the way we all dodge ubiquitous pop-up ads online or movie-ad campaigns billboarded on fast-food wrap. MMEs are publicity drone attacks, seeking you out where you live, and inevitably they drive me into hiding. (Confession: I still haven’t surrendered to the blitz that was “Avatar.”) When I’d detect an Olympics ad or news clip with a bug of interlocking rings lurking in the fringes of my vision, I’d avert my eyes and click. Or change the channel. Aversion of the eyes and a fast hand, they are good skills to have these days. There should be an Olympics category for them — Pitch Blocking, maybe, or Ad-minton.

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