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Another Reason to Boycott the Sochi Olympics

I will not be watching the Olympics and I urge all of my readers to boycott them as well, the reason being:

A live orca display is reportedly planned for the Sochi Winter Olympics. Although the report has not been confirmed, the possibility has environmentalists concerned. White Sphere reportedly captured eight killer whales off the northeast coast of Japan. The whales were then transported to Nakhodka, Russia, where they were kept in “small tanks.” According to reports, The Sochi Dolphinarium plans to display two of the orcas during the winter games.

It’s one thing for SeaWorld to keep, breed and display their orcas already in captivity but there is no good reason to capture them wild for the entertainment of humans. Sorry, no good reason at all. This is 2014. We’ve evolved. Let it end.

97 Comments on this Post

  1. I can understand people who don’t want to watch or participate in the Olympics because of the law against gay propaganda. But to go ahead and skip that issue and move on to Orcas. That’s something.

    I’m a huge fan of the Winter Olympics and wouldn’t boycott them for any reason that I can think of. I’ve always loved the Olympics and what they represent in the world coming together to set aside political agendas and see how far the human body can push itself forward and basically evolve. If we were to boycott the Games because of the political issues within a host country we’d never find a place to hold them. Everybody sucks. All the time. Except when they play together. That’s the Olympics. A peaceful gathering of athletes.

  2. PatrickR

    I agree with Antoinette. We learned in the 80s that boycotts of any kind only hurt the athletes. Plus – I have a feeling that this event is going to be a giant gaffe for Russian PR and I just don’t want to miss it. The first athlete to hold a rainbow flag up at the podium will be my hero!

  3. But, Antoinette, how can anyone set aside political issues when the Russian government itself will not? Its persecution of the LGBT community has ensured that its voice will be muted and its influence stymied, for the whole world to see.

    The gay issue is despicable, but it’s receiving a lot of international attention. This issue may not, and that’s equally despicable. For this reason, I too will be boycotting the games.

  4. I won’t watch and I wish USA would sit this one out. Between the anti-gay stuff and kidnapping Orcas, Sochi is bad news and bad karma all the way around.

  5. This Olympics is going to be a disaster I just know it, it’s horrible about the orcas and the gay issues but even worse is threat of terrorism. I wouldn’t be there for all the tea in china!

  6. Sasha Stone

    I can understand people who don’t want to watch or participate in the Olympics because of the law against gay propaganda. But to go ahead and skip that issue and move on to Orcas. That’s something.

    They’re both important issues, that’s why the post is called “another reason to…”

  7. Sasha Stone

    As American citizens we can apply pressure by viewership dropping that might make them change their minds – who knows.

  8. Paddy, you’re looking at it differently than I am.

    My favorite sport within a sport is Men’s Figure Skating. There is a good chance I will be watching Brian Orser watch two of his pupils, Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez climb the podium. Perhaps I’ll also be listening to Johnny Weir commentating. Maybe Brian Boitano will be in the stands watching. In my view, that’s a win win win win win. Especially since Vladimir Putin is a huge figure skating fan. Why in the world would I want to miss that?

  9. It’s hard to act shocked anymore when Russia is involved, they could literally ban hugging babies at this point and it would elicit no more then a shrug out of me.

    Having said that, this is a travesty, the Olympics are supposed to be about unifying countries, we all know that’s not true, we know it’s about money and propaganda, but it doesn’t even seem like they are trying this time around.

    I agree with PatrickR, I can’t wait for the first athlete to wave a rainbow flag or protest in some way, and then see how Russia deals with it.

  10. As American citizens we can apply pressure by viewership dropping that might make them change…

    5 years ago I programmed my remote control to skip right past FOX as if it doesn’t exist. But y’all Simpsons/American Idol junkies make all my brave sacrifice for naught.

  11. A good friend has qualified for Team USA this year after sacrificing so much and working her ass off for 16 years. I hate, hate, hate, hate that the Olympics are in Sochi. That said, I can’t turn my back on my friend or the other athletes. I just can’t. Besides, Patrick R is correct, there will be protests from athletes. Several members of Team USA, including a prominent figure skater, are planning their own subtle protests of Russia’s anti-gay legislature. Wouldn’t miss it. Did I mention how much I hate that the Olympics are in Sochi?

  12. As American citizens we can apply pressure…

    I’m always proud of how well American citizens can control American media … :?

  13. Tero Heikkinen

    According to the city mayor, Sochi doesn’t have any gay people… but at least they have orcas.

  14. Christophe

    As long as the orcas are straight, I guess they’ll be all right.

  15. Bryce Forestieri

    OT: Heads up, the did a flawless job with this transfer <3

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAE5vkmS_4A

  16. Boycotting the Olympics is certainly a perfectly valid response. But speaking for myself, I’d rather see Team USA and others subtly and perhaps not-so-subtly flip their birds at the Russian government and watch those oppressive, reactionary ****sticks squirm in the world spotlight.

  17. Buford T Justice

    You folks seem to know nothing about the history of Russia and Eastern Europe …they are a very conservative , traditional culture and ”Gay Rights ” is not something even remotely interesting for the vast majority of their citizens ; furthermore , they are not even slightly sympathetic to protests by Westerners and generally approve of their governments stance …if you folks in the West want to boycott the games then go ahead because they simply don’t give a toss !

  18. …if you folks in the West want to boycott the games then go ahead because they simply don’t give a toss !

    Absolutely true, same as the attitude would be for any games, held anywhere. China’s occupation of Tibet, USA’s war-of-the-month club, Russia’s anti-gay stance, all the way back before Hitler’s shenanigans – the host country doesn’t give a shit what anybody else thinks and never has.

    The added orca business in this case is terrible, but so are the aquariums around the world. Hunting safari parks in Texas, the Aussie shark cull, the “cove” dolphin massacres in Japan, and the damage done everyday thru bogus traditional medicine that is wiping out tiger and rhino populations probably match easily Russia’s lousy lack of respect for the natural world.

    If teams want to participate in Sochi, go ahead – I wouldn’t call for a boycott of the athletes. If a twenty-something rich kid wants to put on a skintight suit and fire themselves down a hill clinging to a tiny board, go for it. But personally, I don’t have to watch or buy anything from the list of corporate sponsors.

    It’s hard to throw stones when all of our countries are involved in it.
    *I may take a peek at the hockey, though, if they don’t get blown up by local terrorists :)

  19. Just when the Sochi Olympics can’t sink any lower. I hope the whales don’t die due to the stress of their unnatural imprisonment.

    Humans suck.

  20. Christophe, I think there’s a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy with the whales.

  21. You know the city where I’m from has the nickname The Whaling City. We used to be really prosperous from killing whales and selling their oil. The city never really recovered from that economic loss. But when we stopped we didn’t stop to be nice. We stopped because everyone started using petroleum instead. So when I see that places like Japan still do it I could wag my finger in disapproval as long as I’m not wearing my high school ring that has a whaleman on it.

    Yes now we’re nice and we re-route shipping lanes to avoid them and we go on whale watches. But we weren’t always wonderful. I just feel like we need to be patient with people who don’t agree with us because we’ve all been horrible.

  22. Antoinette… um… “We’ve all been horrible… so be patient”? Nope. Time’s up. Patience ran out. I know you would not be saying we should be patient with the KKK if they were still lynching black men.

  23. humans suck …

  24. Great example, Ryan. I’m sure if people had boycotted the Olympics back then the Klan would have stopped lynching people.

  25. rufussondheim

    If you boycott the Olympics you will miss the biggest travesty of all. You will miss the girl in the red coat from Schindler’s List triple lutzing/triple toe looping her way to the medal stand, just like she did in Auschwitz.

    Javier Fernandez is too dreamy to boycott.

  26. Antoinette, I’m not going to tangle with you about whaling and lynching and the merits of being patient and tolerant of whalers and lynchers until they get in touch with their souls and join the rest of humanity and stop being evil.

    You’re entitled to be understanding toward your ancestor whalers. Heck, my own grandfather raised tobacco most of his life — at least until he died an agonizing death from the same cancer he helped give to thousands of other people.

    But when I was in middle school my father wanted me to go help my grandfather harvest cancer weeds – (I could earn $1000!). I said No Way, I wasn’t going to participate in that filth. So from then on out, everyone on my father’s side of the family looked down on me.

    It didn’t stop cigarettes from being made. That wasn’t my goal. I just didn’t want to contribute to the financial success of giving people cancer, that’s all.

    You say, “we’ve all been horrible” — speak for yourself. I’m no angel, but I can say haven’t slaughtered whales or bought whale oil, and I haven’t helped give people throat cancer when I had a chance to make a lot money doing so.

    I never expected that my own personal feelings about Orcas or gay-hating Russian society would bring about an Olympic boycott. But I’ll be keeping track of the companies who sponsor shit like this and I’ll do my best to avoid giving any of my money to them.

    Enjoy your Olympic figure skaters. Fine with me. I’m not going to try to convince you to care about Orcas. I’ll never convince you that caring matters. Why make you angry trying? I’m just saying how I feel about it, same way you were.

    When I was in high school I went to a local jeweler and had my own class ring custom made — it was more stylish, classier and it only cost me $10 more than the ugly design my school came up with.

    Then I lost the damn thing at some point and I didn’t blink an eye. It was a big deal for a couple of months but it meant nothing to me as soon as I graduated.

    I do know one thing for sure, I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing a class ring that featured engravings of cigarettes or slaughtered whales or Negroes hanging from trees. But that’s just me. You should do whatever you choose to pay tribute to your town’s heritage — if you’re proud of it, wear it festooned right there on your finger. That doesn’t bother me at all. We can still be friends.

    You were only saying how you feel about driving whales to extinction. Now you know how I feel, alright?

  27. Al Robinson

    I just hope that the “Black Widow” doesn’t strike and kill innocent people. I feel bad that this Olympics already has a negative undertone going. I love animals of all kinds, and I feel really bad for the whales, but I will still watch because I will root for Americans, who didn’t capture defenseless whales and throw them into tanks.

  28. Al Robinson

    I may be straight, but I am all for gay rights. People like Putin are just ignorant and stupid.

  29. I appreciate your opinion but don’t try to act like I’m a villain here with stuff like

    I’m not going to try to convince you to care about Orcas. I’ll never convince you that caring matters.

    I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing a class ring that featured engravings of cigarettes

    You’re insinuating that I don’t care and you know that’s not the case. You guys trying to constantly make your militant points when most of us are on the same side as you is tiring.

    But I’ll be keeping track of the companies who sponsor shit like this

    Whatever companies you intend to boycott aren’t sponsoring “a gay-hating Russian society”. They’re sponsoring the Olympics which is like it’s own traveling country that is housed in another country which at this time is Russia. But the entire society of Russia is not gay-hating. And if you consider the Olympics shit, great. Don’t ever watch it no matter what country it’s in.

    But the fact is the world is not all black and white, good and evil. Good people do bad things and bad people do good things. Taking a militant stance all the time won’t work. It just won’t. You end up pushing your “enemies” away and in boycotting you push yourself away until everyone is segregated into groups where everyone is the same. No one blends and no one mixes and then you’re back where you started. And white people and black people, and gay people and straight people, and Republicans and Democrats will never break bread together again. If that’s what you truly want, then keep pushing.

  30. Whatever companies you intend to boycott aren’t sponsoring “a gay-hating Russian society”. They’re sponsoring the Olympics which is like it’s own traveling country

    They’re just turning a blind eye to the gay-hating. Because their eyes are only the money. That’s all they care about.

    Those companies are the only entities on Earth that had the power to push the IOC to find another snowy town someplace where gay people aren’t taunted and mocked, where gay people don’t have to stay hidden for fear of being violently attacked

    There’s a reason the Olympics have never been held in Myanmar, Afghanistan and North Korea. Nobody wants to funnel money into those hellholes.

    These benevolent “sponsors” could’ve pushed to move the games to another venue. They didn’t do it. They already had too much MONEY involved. They made a dumb decision to pick Sochi in the first place, and then they stuck with their dumb decision for one reason: MONEY.

    I blame the IOC too. They’re all in it for the money, Antoinette. It’s an enormous cash-generating business venture. Whenever I can possibly avoid it, I don’t support companies and organizations who pump my paltry amounts of money into that machine.

    I’m not militant about it. I just personally don’t want anything the fuck to do with it, alright? If 10 million people felt like I do, these Olympics would not be happening in Sochi. There’s nothing ‘militant’ about that. It’s a choice.

    A simple choice. The choice is easy for me. If it’s all so much more complicated and difficult for everybody else to make that choice, then there’s nothing I can do about that. I can only do what I do.

    You end up pushing your “enemies” away…

    I like to have my enemies pushed far way so they can’t do me harm up close. Fuck my enemies. The enemies I have in Russia I’ll never have to worry about meeting because I’ll never put myself myself in a position where I can be beaten to death in Russia because I’m gay. To hell with any country’s government that SUPPORTS THAT. Fuck Those Enemies, alright? Do you think those gay-hating people are going to change because the Olympic circus has come to town? Why should they change? They got everything they wanted without changing.

    Isolate their ignorant asses and let them feel what’s it’s like to be treated like an international pariah. Because that’s how they treat gay people. Like pariahs. Let them fester in their own isolated hatred.

    Republicans and Democrats will never break bread together again.

    I hope I live to see the Republican Party destroy itself and it’s well on its way. Political parties are not sacrosanct to me.

    Who cares if the GOP goes extinct? Orcas will be extinct before the GOP. That’s my concern.

  31. julian the emperor

    I can’t find a lot of positive stuff to say about the IOC. For all I know it’s a corrupt organization where nepotism and worse rules the day (the Danish crown prince is a member of the board of the IOC, which is deeply suspect for two reasons: 1) a member of any royal family should stay the fuck out of politics 2) IOC seems to thrive on royals taking an interest in their activities, which makes sense since IOC is as much an anachronism as your average monarchy)

    BUT, having said that, I can understand why sometimes you have to keep sports (and the truly global event of OG and world cups etc.) and politics separate. Big sporting events don’t really make sense if they only serve to bolster the Western societies’ sense of what’s right and fair. Should the Olympic Games NEVER take part in any part of the world where our conception of human rights aren’t somehow put under pressure? That would kind of annihilate the whole idea of the OG in the first place. The OG is for nations to come together despite differences.

    If I were to follow the anti-Sochi brigade’s example, I would have to say, that I wouldn’t support an OG event to take place in the US. Why? Because you execute people. To me, that’s an abomination far worse than the Russians’ shady anti-gay legislation.

    I’m giving you this example merely to say this: maybe we shouldn’t resist participating in OG because of political differences. If on the other hand we go the “militant” route (as Antoinette calls it), I don’t see why we should support any major sporting event in any country that supports the death penalty (I do, after all, care more about people than about orcas)

  32. byron e. gray

    Ryan, are you advocating a one party dictatorship?

  33. Bryce Forestieri

    “Javier Fernandez is too dreamy to boycott”

    [...googling...]

  34. byron e. gray of course not. we should have 3 or 4 political parties. we just need to get rid of the party that never does anything and never allows any other party to do anything.

  35. julian the emperor, To be more specific, you care more about rapists and murderers than you care about orcas. I don’t like like the death penalty either and I don’t like states in America that excute people with abandon. States like Texas executed more people under governors like Perry and Bush than the Federal government has executed since I790. There have only been a dozen or so Federal executions for federal crimes on the past 100 years. If it bothers you enough then by all means you shouldn’t spend your money on the wide variety of shit America sells. You should do something – ANYTHING – other than writing blog comments about your dissatisfaction. Stop showing support for countries you disdain. For the record, there are states in America where i will never set foot because of their state policies and statewide reputations. States like Florida and Texas and Utah and others will never see a dime of my money until those states stop policies i believe are repulsive. I never watched a minute of the Utah Olympics. If the Olympics were in Florida I’d find something else sporty on TV if I even watched sports TV at all.

  36. All this bullshit about nations coming together to play together is bullshit. At the Olympics, nations come to beat each other and defeat each other. Nations come together to see how many young people can drag home how many prizes showing how they defeated the young people of other countries. (Apparently and undoubtedly, countries send athletes to other countries to meet each other, hang out together, and often to fuck each other. I’d watch that. What channel is the Olympic fucking? As long as it’s not sponsored by some carcinogenic substance, I’d watch nations come together in bed. Otherwise, I don’t see how Olympic games are much more than an expensive display of jingoistic pride).

  37. rufussondheim

    I just like figure skating and biathlon and curling and some other stuff. But mostly those three.

    Boycotting these Olympics will do nothing. Everything’s already all paid for. I guess if you really wanted to do something, you just keep writing. And maybe provide some links for reputable non-profit organizations that are waging the war so those inclined can donate some cash.

    It’s fine and dandy to boycott NBC for airing this stuff but is that realistic? There’s probably no bigger mega-company with such an extensive presence in the US, cultural or otherwise.

    (And Bryce, still photos don’t do him justice, just watch him skate)

  38. rufussondheim, naturally boycotting the Olympics will do nothing as long as it’s just me boycotting all by myself. Thanks for all the help, Rest of the World.

    So I’ll be over here watching movies and reading books and looking at porn while you all enjoy the pepsi and doritos ads and tight fitting shiny pants on nice asses. Did I mention I have porn?

  39. julian the emperor

    Ryan: Damn right, I care more about ALLEGED rapists and murderers (alleged, since frankly I don’t think I trust the American system of justice) than orcas! Why? Because I care about human rights first and foremost (animal rights is a very worthy cause, but orcas are not humans) and because behind every alleged murderer or rapist there is a family having to live with the consequences of their father, son, brother etc being killed by the state. They are humans too, who should have the right not to see the state kill their father, son or brother obtained.

    You failed to notice my point, which is this: I don’t think you should mingle politics with sports at all costs. Because the latent hypocrisy behind every oversight or every boycott will be all too obvious. That’s why NO, I would NEVER boycott US products, because I don’t think the US’ failure to live up to international standards of human rights should interfere with my consumption of culture or sports. The same goes for the way Russia deals with orcas or anti-gay legislation. Besides, the OG is a splendid opportunity to raise awareness about Russia’s dubious record with human (and animal) rights. Putin will have an anxious two weeks!

    Yes, for some the OG is a simple “display of jingoistic pride” (and that IS part of the appeal, I guess), but for others it’s more about watching good sports in an atmosphere of communal celebration. It’s like with the Oscars, you know, some watch it so get a glimpse of some nice dresses on the red carpet…

  40. rufussondheim

    when someone on seancody.com can do a quad salchow perfectly timed to the beats of Peter Gunn, I’ll subscribe.

    Figure skating isn’t only about nice asses in tight pants (go Charley White!) it’s about the perfect combination of athleticism and artistry. I’ve revisited great figure skating programs as much or more as I’ve revisited great films or books. Watching Torvil and Dean’s Bolero is akin to watching perfection.

    But the Olympics is not just about figure skating or any one sport, it’s about people toiling away for years in obscurity hoping to participate in the world’s greatest sports festival, the emotional highs and lows within the competitions are more compelling and more immediate than any film I’ll probably see this year.

    And as Antoinette pointed out earlier, the gay presence within North American figure skating is being showcased to the world. This is the most visible homosexuality gets in the world of sports, and it’s celebrated at this level only once in every four years.

    And at some point there will be a protest worthy of comparisons with the raised fists of Mexico City. And I want to be there.

  41. if you folks in the West want to boycott the games then go ahead because they simply don’t give a toss !”

    You’re right, I guess we should just sit back and not give a shit and never ever attempt to push for change on behalf of the millions of gay Russians who have to live a lie everyday. But don’t worry, you still get to watch glorified sports every 4 years.

  42. rufussondheim

    I like figure skating for all the reasons you do. I can see figure skating without watching it on NBC.

  43. it’s about people toiling away for years in obscurity hoping to participate in the world’s greatest sports festival, the emotional highs and lows within the competitions are more compelling and more immediate than any film I’ll probably see this year.

    All the more sad to me that these dedicated athletes have to do whatever the Olympics system tells them to do. All the more sad that their dedication to their sport is more important to them than any other concern they might have about going to Sochi. All the more sad that many of them don’t give a fuck whether they have to go to Sochi or go to Auschwitz to strut their stuff and chase their glory.

    I get it, rufussondheim: hardly anybody cares about this as much as I do. Believe me, I get it.

    Everybody just wants to watch TV and be on TV and sell ads on TV and that’s the only thing that matters. These great kids have worked hard all their lives and this is their big worldwide spotlight and there’s no amount of disgusting stuff happening a mile away that can stop any of you from having your fun. I get all that.

  44. julian the emperor

    “All the more sad that many of them don’t give a fuck whether they have to go to Sochi or go to Auschwitz to strut their stuff and chase their glory.”

    Tactless remark of the day? I know you like to be catty and all, Ryan (and you’re mighty good at it as ever), but this is more than a little off.

  45. ok, I’m wrong. I’m sure every athlete going to Sochi is mad about the fact that they have to go to Sochi. I’m equally sure that there’s no such thing as a homophobic athlete. A hardworking teenage athlete with iffy morals or an undeveloped sense of ethics? Impossible!

    Is that better?

  46. So where does Auschwitz come into play? What the fuck is that about?

  47. rufussondheim

    Auschwitz comes into play here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QyFQXxeTnk

    I’ve been offput by Lipnitskaia’s program since I first saw it, but in a subtle, beautiful way it’s starting to get into my head. Will there be any better protest this Olympics, intentional or not? By taking the character of a slaughtered young girl and bringing it to life could it be an expression of human rights that we all need these Olympics?

    I hate to read too much into it, but when she turns her head and looks behind her, there might be no better moment.

  48. So where does Auschwitz come into play?

    Just trying to think of another ridiculously bad venue. Trying to come up with a worse place on Earth to have the Olympics than “We-don’t-have-any-gay-people-in-our-city” Sochi.

    Anatoly Pakhomov, mayor of Sochi: “It’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city.”

    Sochi, a city of 350,000 and several suspiciously looking gay clubs, Has No Gay People.

  49. One thing – you are comparing Sochi to a place of a fucking genocide. I find that ultimately fucking disrespectful to the people who lost their lives over there.
    Second – right now Auschwitz is a memorial place, not a very upbeat one, but a very important landmark that should be visited by as many people as possible. So comparing present day Auschwitz to present day Sochi is another half-witted remark you didn’t spend much time thinking about.

  50. Awesome that there’s flowers and memorials and good vibes in Auschwitz now. So it’s actually a better venue for the Olympics than Sochi, I agree. Good idea.

    The point is THIS: Whereverthefuck the International Olympic Committee decides to take the Olympic Circus Corporation every 4 years, that’s where everybody will gladly go, happy as clams for the invitation.

  51. You should visit sometimes and stop being a fucking ignorant.

  52. julian the emperor

    Kolés: How about accepting Ryan’s sort of-apology. It was one stupid remark. We’ve both been highlighting it. Now let’s get on with the substance.

  53. “All this bullshit about nations coming together to play together is bullshit.”

    I want to make a bumpersticker from your quote Ryan. Right on!

  54. I “watch” the Olympics via twitter. Just reading some of the highlights, but I could care less about watching it. The happiest Olympic win for Summer 2012 was when that Irish boxer girl , Katie Taylor, won the Gold. That whole country was so proud and happy, and I was happy for them too. This USA! USA! USA! crap is so 2001 and I can give a rat’s ass.

  55. You should visit sometimes and stop being a fucking ignorant.

    There are over 4000 other places on Earth I’d rather visit first before I spend $2000 to travel to the site of Germany showing us how they’ve cleaned up Auschwitz quite nicely, but I’ll put it on my dream-tour itinerary, alright?

  56. Ok, right now I’m 100% sure you jack shit about any of this, so I’m just gonna stop now and let you continiue to be an ignorant douche. Have fun.

  57. Oh, one more thing. When you eventualy DO come to Auschwitz, please drop a line and visit me. I live only about 30 miles from that very spot. Better yet, we can go visit my girlfriend’s grandmother. You two could swap stories, she could tell you how she remembers cycling to the city center and passing dozens of corpses thrown in the ditches, and you coult tell her how you think that what’s happening in Sochi right now is basically the same thing.

  58. you could tell her how you think that what’s happening in Sochi right now is basically the same thing.

    Koleś, I can’t tell her that because that is not what I believe.

    What I believe is exactly what you tell me: Auschwitz is now a happier place than Sochi.

    But Auschwitz didn’t become so pleasant because the Olympics came to suck its tit. Auschwitz was cleaned up because the world wasn’t afraid to see the hellhole there and say ‘Enough,’ so noble forces converged to eradicate the hellishness — not to go ice-dancing there and make a quick buck.

    I sincerely do believe if the Olympics were held at Abu Ghraib in 2016, thousands of athletes would eagerly fly to Abu Ghraib and millions of sports fans around the world would tune in to watch. They do not care where the Olympics are held — clearly very few people anywhere care.

    Did anybody really care in 2008 when China got to pretend it was a Happy Dragon Garden Panda Family Golden Paradise for 15 days? Did the presence of the Olympics make China stop any of its human rights abuses?

    Of course not. The main effect of the Beijing Olympics on China was to pump billions of dollars into the pockets of Chinese billionaires and wreck the lives of any regular Chinese people unfortunate enough to be trying to struggle in the neighborhoods demolished so all the pretty stadiums could be built.

    The main political effect of gay athletes boldly flaunting their gayness in Sochi before they all fly safely back home is to enrage the homophobic people of Sochi — so as soon as NBC dismantles its money machine, the hateful society Putin has authorized can harass and torment any gay residents of Sochi not lucky enough to be gold-medal-winning figure skater celebrities. Make no mistake: There are gay people who will be killed in Sochi during the Olympics — but the HD cameras will all be looking in the other direction.

    Give your girlfriend’s grandmother a hug and tell her I said hi. Tell her about the gay kids in Sochi who will undoubtedly be beaten to a bloody pulp by pissed-off Sochi thugs as soon as the Olympics cash in, pack up and leave town.

  59. Ok, but where exacly are the gas chambers they’re going to be using?

  60. Koleś. Jesus Christ. Are there any two cities I might name without you trying to claim I believe the two cities are identical?

  61. I’m sure you made the comparison to Auschwitz because of it’s various similarities to Sochi in architecture and beautiful landscape. I’m sure it’s just that. I’m sure you didn’t mention Sochi and Auschwitz in one sentence because you believe both places are (or will be) places of hedious crimes. I’m sure you didn’t make that comparison because of that fact, and you know why? Because it makes no fucking sense. Because no matter what happens in Sochi in the next couple of weeks/months/years, no matter how horrid it may be, it doesn’t even slightly compare with what happened in Auschwitz. Unless of course they wheel out the gas chambers they’ve got prepped up somewhere.

  62. Looks like we’re going for the death penalty for Tsarnaev. I think Boston wanted to bid for the Olympics in the future too. So for anyone against the death penalty, they might want to boycott a Boston Olympics. Meanwhile, gay marriage has been legal in this state for 10 years. So are we a good place or a bad place? We’re just a place. That’s been my point.

  63. I’m sure you made the comparison to Auschwitz because of it’s various similarities to Sochi in architecture and beautiful landscape

    Koleś, I already told you EXACTLY why I brought up Auschwitz:

    Just trying to think of another ridiculously bad venue. Trying to come up with a worse place on Earth to have the Olympics than “We-don’t-have-any-gay-people-in-our-city” Sochi.

    See? I deliberately choose a WORSE PLACE than Sochi. Do you not understand? I’m saying it does not matter to anybody if the Olympics were held in Sochi, Auschwitz, Abu Ghraid, Qatar, Dhaka, Lagos, Texarkana, Gotham City or Bons Temps Louisiana — it does not matter to TV audiences if the Olympics were held in the 9th Circle of Hell. People would still watch and ignore what a rancid reputation those places have. Why is this so damned hard for you to understand?

    Good Lord, I’m so sorry that I named a city where your girlfriend’s grandmother lives, but the point you made to me is this: Auschwitz is a now a better place for the Olympics than Sochi, with more normal attitudes than Sochi. And I agree with you.

    I am however stunned to hear you say “no matter what happens in Sochi in the next couple of weeks/months/years, no matter how horrid it may be” — and yet you still obviously have no problem with the Olympics happening in Sochi?

    “No matter how horrid it may be,” it’ll never be as bad as Auschwitz. That’s your standard for an appropriate Olympics venue? “Come to Sochi! We’re better than Auschwitz!”

    So thanks. I believe this makes you a bigger asshole than I am.

    On the other hand, if all you care about is teaching me that Auschwitz has the shittiest reputation of any city on Earth, then please stop trying to get me to come visit you and your girlfriend’s grandmother there, and don’t tell me I’m ignorant if your invitation doesn’t sound too enticing.

  64. julian the emperor

    “We’re just a place. That’s been my point.”

    And it was really my point as well (talk of death sentence notwithstanding), Antoinette.

  65. Thanks to Blackfish killer whales are the cause of the year.

    I don’t remember there being any call to boycott the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in Canada. YEA YOU KNOW THE NATION THAT CLUBS SEALS FOR SPORT!!!

  66. Learning something isn’t allways pleasent and nice, that’s the case with visiting Auschwitz. What do you think, that people go there for fun? To buy some souveneirs? To take a selfie in a death cell? No, it’s far from being anything pleasant, but that’s not why you go there. You visit the museum to find out how inhuman can a person be to another person. It’s a grimm reminder that this awfull shit sadly happened and we as a human race are responsible for it. These weren’t the aliens or ghosts, but just people who build the gas chambers and put other people in them. We need to remember and need to be constantly reminded that the human race is capapble of doing these kind of things so it doesn’t happen again. So if you wanna have a good time, Burbon Street during Mardi Gras might be more suitable for you.

    And stop putting your goddamn words in my mouth. I never refered to Auschwitz as a potential Olympic venue nor did I say I’m ok with what is happening in Sochi right now. That’s something you said. Stop being a dick.

    I understand you’ve made this comparison for a reason, and I even understand the reason. However don’t feel it’s appropriate, on the contrary, I think it’s fucked up beyond any recodnition to compare the Holocaust to the current repressions happening in Sochi.

  67. Every place is just a place. I think I understand that.

    Can you two understand that there are places I’m ok with and other places I will never go? Places where I’m happy to spend my time and money, and places where I wouldn’t be caught dead?

    Are there not any places on the planet you have mixed feelings about? Given the choice of supporting those places or avoiding those places, don’t you ever make decisions like that? Don’t we all make decisions like that every time we plan a vacation and choose not to spend a week in Chernobyl?

    If you want to tell me you don’t have a problem with Sochi, fine, so now I know. I’m doing the same thing, only opposite. I’m just telling you I do have a problem with Sochi.

    You can’t convince me Sochi is a great place for winter sports festivities any more than I can convince you that Jardim Gramacho is a great place to build a house and raise a family, ok?

  68. julian the emperor

    That’s fair, Ryan. But it wouldn’t be fair to expect the IOC to rule out any host city that you might have a problem with. If at some level (EU, UN, whatever) an understanding could have been reached that the international community should somehow overrule IOC and discard of Sochi, fine. I would have supported that, because that would presumably have been a well-informed decision. But because of orcas…? Just no.

    As it is, the athletes will get a perfect opportunity to make pro-gay statements (french kissing on the podium?) and generally try to speak their mind if they feel like it. I’m looking forward to that and I will applaud it. But to close down the OG two weeks prior to the whole thing because of Putin’s policies with the added extra spice of mistreated orcas, I don’t think that’s the way to do it.

    In OG terms a place is a place and it can take place anywhere in the world, because that’s the whole idea of the OG. That it’s a truly global undertaking. It would be weird to rule out the worlds’ largest country because we don’t like aspects of his policies. Russia is an ancient nation with a proud history. It’s more than just simple-minded bigots, Trust me, I’ve been there five or six times the last 20 years.

    We don’t bring Russia closer to us by excluding them. We bring them closer by including them AND telling them how we feel (and, as I said, I expect that quite a few athletes are ready do take advantage of their profligacy over the next couple of weeks).

  69. That’s fair, Ryan. But it wouldn’t be fair to expect the IOC to rule out any host city that you might have a problem with.

    I probably should not expect the IOC to do exactly what I want them to do.

    The IOC might consider that every major city in the world wants to host the Olympics. Why? Because of the money and prestige. That’s it. So those are valuable things, yes? Why shouldn’t a city have to earn it?

    Why can’t the IOC say, “well sure, you can host the Olympics. Can you maybe admit that there are gay people living in your city> No? You can’t admit it? ok, then you think about that and we’ll ask you again in 4 years.”

    It doesn’t always have to be a gay question. They can ask about murder rate or homeless population or income inequality too. See how that might work?

    Meanwhile, I’d be perfectly happy with the winter Olympics in Switzerland every 4 years. Why not? It’s a nice country. THEY EARNED IT.

  70. julian the emperor

    Switzerland should probably be banned, though. For playing a more than dubious role in bringing the financial crisis upon us… naughty Swiss people.

    I humbly suggest Copenhagen (only problem, there is no snow and not nearly cold enough and as a host country we would be embarrassingly bad, with no chance of even a bronze medal)

  71. It would be weird to rule out the worlds’ largest country

    See, I don’t think so. Why does the size or clout of a country matter?

    Want to host the Olympics? Join the 21st century.

    Meanwhile, Russia, while you’re trying to figure out how humane you want to be, there are dozens of lovely little countries who are way ahead you.

    See you at the Copenhagen Olympics, Mr Putin. Send your hotties to the Amsterdam Olympics. We’ll send them back with an education about all kinds of modern attitudes.

  72. julian the emperor

    And wasn’t it Switzerland that did that awful thing to Oprah?! Have they no shame?

    Oh, that AND nazi gold…

  73. Whoa! hold on, my friend. I fear you’re perilously close to comparing Oprah to Auschwitz — and, trust me, that’s not how you want to make your case on this page.

  74. It’s posts like this — along with the hateful responses from this website’s esteemed writers to their commenters — that have made InContention my go to site for awards news. I really just need to break the years-old habit of typing in this website’s name because, like Hollywood Elsewhere, it just irritates me every time I venture over here.

    (I realize this is adding nothing to the subject at hand — of which I agree that it’s ludicrous to simply capture these orcas to be on display in an Olympic setting — but you guys really take things a bit too far much too often.)

  75. julian the emperor

    Maybe, just maybe, Jeff – you should come here more often and divulge. It’s messy, but it really is a lot of fun (and hell, you learn stuff too once in a while). Maybe we don’t all hate each other with a vengeance, maybe we’re just bored on a daily basis? Maybe Ryan even likes Kolés and vice versa?

    I go to InContention for news too (hell, for reviews and analysis). But the discussions are simply better on AD. The passion too. You really can have the best of both worlds. You just need to bookmark both sites.

  76. Tero Heikkinen

    I already boycotted Russia in my own way. I was going to see a show in St. Petersburg last November (just a 3,5hr train ride from Helsinki), but then I thought twice and decided that I will not give one cent of my money to that country as a tourist, and we Finns are not too fond of Russian government anyway (Putin really is a dick). Gay Russians are welcome here to be who they are publicly anytime. Party, party, party.

  77. Bryce Forestieri

    Wow someone hating on America on this thread. Watch your step.

  78. I know this has been a very serious discussion and I’ve been poking in throughout the day to check out the latest score.

    Then this:
    “I fear you’re perilously close to comparing Oprah to Auschwitz — and, trust me, that’s not how you want to make your case on this page.”
    **Coffee out the nose!**

    Just a word to Jeff : we’re all friends here and comfortable to say whatever is on our minds. if the Oscars were in two weeks instead of the f***ing Olympics, we’d be talking about them instead. Hey – one more reason to boycott!

  79. Well Russia’s cruelty to animals is not limited to those in the sea:

    http://www.ctvnews.ca/sochi/sochi-crews-cleaning-the-city-of-stray-dogs-with-poison-traps-1.1661136

  80. Tero Heikkinen

    Bryce, we need that 2002 podcast soon, AND I want to hear what you thought of The Man Without a Past ;)

  81. Bryce Forestieri

    Tero, I absolutely loved it. You referred to it as deadpan and nailed it. I figure it’s impossible to get a translation that doesn’t squander the musicality of Finnish, but often if felt like Kaurismaki, Peltola, and Outinen are taking turns slapping you on the face and it feels delicious. Outinen is particularly gifted at this style and -in all fairness- the stand out performance! Yeah, when’s that 2002 podcast happening?

  82. Tero Heikkinen

    YAY! Where would you place it on your 2002 top list? Top 20 material?

  83. Tero Heikkinen

    Yeah, and Outinen won Best Actress at Cannes, so yeah.

  84. Bryce Forestieri

    Deff. Here’s a preview :)

    1. THE SON, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
    2. CITY OF GOD, Fernando Meirelles
    3. ROAD TO PERDITION, Sam Mendes
    4. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Steven Spielberg
    5. RUSSIAN ARK, Alexsander Sokurov
    6. INFERNAL AFFAIRS, Wai-keung Lau, Alan Mak
    7. 28 DAYS LATER, Danny Boyle
    8. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS, Peter Jackson
    9. MINORITY REPORT, Steven Spielberg
    10. BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESSE SEAMTRESS, Sijie Dai
    11. FAR FROM HEAVEN, Todd Haynes
    12. SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, Park Chan-wook
    13. TALK TO HER, Pedro Almodovar
    14. ADAPTATION, Spike Jonze
    15. THE MAN WITHOUT A PAST, Aki Kaurismaki
    16. CABIN FEVER, Eli Roth
    17. THE CAT RETURNS, Hiroyuki Morita
    18. TWILIGHT SAMURAI, Yôji Yamada
    19. SPIDER-MAN, Sam Raimi
    20. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, Paul Thomas Anderson

  85. Tero Heikkinen

    You make every year look really great with your top lists.

  86. Just a word to Jeff : we’re all friends here

    lolololololololol XD

  87. It’s posts like this — along with the hateful responses from this website’s esteemed writers to their commenters —

    ah, Awards Daily. So infuriating. Right, Jeff?

    Sasha speaks up: “Be kind to Orcas!”
    I chime in: “yay Orcas! boo Sochi!”
    a reader says: “no, be patient with whalers!”
    a reader says: “no, love your enemies who want to gay-bash you!”
    I get riled up: “fuck my enemies. I’m not watching this Sochi bullshit”
    I make a stupid remark: “I’ll bet some people would watch the Auschwitz Olympics.”
    a reader says: “I’m 100% sure you know jack shit about any of this”
    a reader says: “stop being a fucking ignorant, Ryan!”
    a reader says: “enjoy being an ignorant douche, Ryan!”
    I explain what I mean: ““come to Sochi! we’re better than Auschwitz!”
    a reader says: “stop putting your goddamn words in my mouth, Ryan!”
    a reader says: “stop being a dick, Ryan!”
    a reader says: “you’re fucked up beyond any recognition, Ryan!”
    a reader says: “you’re so hateful, Ryan!”

    But it’s me and Sasha who are the hateful ones in your eyes, Jeff?

    Alright. Sorry our “hateful” and “ignorant” defense of violently abused orcas and violently abused gay Russians upsets you.

    Are you sure you don’t want to call me a hateful ignorant dick and a hateful fucking douche before you leave?

  88. julian the emperor

    Road to Perdition at number three, Bryce? Really? Tell me, why you like it so much. To me, it’s a movie equivalent to a cold, dead fish.

  89. Bryce Forestieri

    Emperor,

    I’m partial to father/son stories and this is one of the most resonant I’ve ever seen. Plus it has everything else going for it visually, aurally, one of the best set pieces ever, catholic kicks, one of the very best villains of that decade, Paul Newman’s haunting performance, one of my favorite dramatizations of how we try to salvage our offspring from traveling our own wretched paths all while in the backdrop of a vengeance tale? Up there with ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS.

    “There are only murderers in this room. Michael, open you eyes! This is the life we chose, the life we lead, and there is only one guarantee, none of us will see heaven.”

    What can I say? My kind of jam.

  90. julian the emperor

    Hmm, I’m gonna have to give it another go, then. Haven’t seen it since 2002. I’m probably in a different headspace these days…;)

  91. Road to Persition rightfully won cinematography and I believe it should’ve won original score. It was one of my favorites ever and the best from Newman.

  92. And violently abused and killed stray dogs. (see my link above)

  93. Just in – Russia has caved to the pressure and will NOT be putting the captured orcas on display in Sochi.

    The next step is to “convince” them to release them back into the wild.

  94. I wont watch them because Russia is facist and the gay issues are the least of it: Pussy Riot, Snowden, Dagestan, etc. i wont particpate by watching. America is morally obligated to boycott and not revise shades of 1936. Hell with u Russia, evil asses!!!

  95. It is just a fish, who cares?

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