The XXXth Olympiad is in full swing, amid all the pomp and circumstance, the thrill of victory, and the agony of having to avoid all social media outlets so you can be surprised when the event finally airs several hours after it took place.
And I have to admit that I’m not enjoying them.
I’m not un-enjoying them, either.
In truth, I’m not actually watching them at all.
I didn’t plan it this way. Overall, I’m a big fan of the Olympics, as a competition. I have indelible memories of Bruce Jenner shaking his flags, Jim Craig scanning the stands for his dad, Greg Louganis cracking his head open. But it just so happens that the boys and I are in the middle of Media Blackout ’12, when we retreat into the wilds of New England and forget about just about anything that’s electronic. No TV, no games, and my phone spends most of the day stuffed in the sock drawer.
For me, it’s a question of sanity. My living is online now, and the temptation to stay on top of all things at all times is really strong. Which is why I’ve chosen these rustic cottages with such terrible cell reception that my battery level shrinks visibly while it strains to connect with the outside world.
Life is waaaay to in our faces right now. It’s stressful, artificial, and pointless, most of the time. And I want to impress on my kids (and remind myself) that there is real life beyond all the sparkly, interactive rectangles. Sometimes, you’ve got to get more elemental in life, quit flailing with your game controller, and pick up a real kayak paddle.
I’m violating my rule to write this, so of course I’ve been all over Twitter to check out all the #NBCfail tweets. It’s predictable that NBC would take advantage of the tape delay to package the prime-time broadcasts as cloyingly compellingly as possible, and that ratings would skyrocket despite social media’s most ardent attempts to screw it all up. I’m not surprised by all the backlash, but NBC’s decision to edit out a tribute to the 2005 terrorist victims in favor of an interview with Michael Effing Phelps is irredeemably appalling.
See, there I go again. This social media nonsense sure does a lot to angry up the blood.
I’m going back underground now, until the closing ceremonies next weekend. And if I don’t ever learn who took the bronze in synchronized diving, I suppose I’ll carry on somehow.
Things are going to be a lot better four years from now, when the Olympics are back in this hemisphere, and NBC will be able to show events live in prime time.
Then again, maybe not. I might be dead.
Read more from Doug on his personal blog, Laid-Off Dad.
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