The London Olympic Games kick off on July 27 and already British authorities have pretty much everything in place.
The poor have been swept out of nearby areas, sponsorship money has been collected from corporations like Dow Chemicals (which coughs up for sporting events but not the victims of the Bhopal disaster, one of the deadliest industrial catastrophes ever), and missile defence systems are being placed on rooftops of London residential apartments.
The British government says the anti-aircraft missile systems are to protect against a potential air attack by terrorists. However, furious residents have formed Stop The Olympic Missiles in protest, saying they are a serious threat to human life.
But, should a feared fatal accident occur, at least they won't have died in a terrorist attack. Because say what you will of David Cameron's government, any Londoners blown up during the 2012 games are going to damn well be blown up by British bombs.
As well as enjoying a wide range of high quality sport, we can expect to be bombarded by the usual nationalistic jingoism. It seems the more Australia has to be ashamed of ― with Amnesty International savaging the apartheid laws in the Northern Territory and both sides of government rushing to tear up international obligations to those seeking asylum ― the greater the fever pitch nationalist hysteria in sport.
Because, sure, we might abuse, torture and abandon desperate people seeking safety, we might impose racist laws to further dispossess the original inhabitants of this land who already die 20 years sooner than the rest of the population, and we might even take part in a criminal occupation helping further destroy the poorest nation on Earth as a junior partner of the world's largest terrorist state. But some total strangers can swim quite fast, so it's not like we don't have plenty to be proud of.
This desire to seek grounds for national pride in sport can go to ludicrous extremes. Recently, we were confronted with gushing front page articles containing straight faced quotes insisting that, by winning a race in England, Black Caviar “has done Australia proud”.
This is just getting desperate. Black Caviar is a goddamn horse. She doesn't even know what Australia is. The horse has no grasp of the concept of the modern nation state. Black Caviar can recall even less of the national anthem than the rest of us. And if the horse is a such a proud Aussie, where the fuck is her Southern Cross tattoo?
And, for that matter, why do we always have to seek national pride in sporting events rather than our artistic and cultural achievements?
Rather than seeking pride in the fact that a horse born here can run fast, I say we should be much more boastful of things like some of the great works of Australian fiction. Like, for instance, Sydney's bus timetables. We should be nominating them for a goddamn Nobel Prize for Literature. And as for the train system, that is a work of absurdism to make Samuel Beckett proud.