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Martin Kelner, Journalist, Author and Radio Presenter.
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Bits and Pieces

Don't you just hate the fun fascists?
By Martin "letting the Olympo-Nazis have it" Kelner on Jul 15, 2012 - 2:10:05 PM

Recently, I was on the BBC News channel, ostensibly to talk about why, according to a survey, the provinces were less enthusiastic about the London Olympics than the capital itself. 

My view was that Yorkshire tends to cast a gimlet eye over lots of things (One of my favourite Yorkshire stories is of the comedian who went to the toilet after a storming gig, and overheard two of the punters, one saying "What did you reckon to t'comic?" the other responding, "Well, he were all right, if you like laughing."), but in the case of the Olympics, if you didn't join my adopted county in being a little cynical then you hadn't been paying attention.

Opposing me in this was the delightfully wacky Rosie Millard of PPP fame, acting as a cheerleader for the games, and we had a mild, reasonably good natured ding-dong, which I expect is what the producers wanted.

Imagine my surprise then, in the modest Twittering that followed - not so much a Twitter storm as a light drizzle - this from newspaper columnist David Aaronovitch:
'Oh God, but anti-Olympians - left or right - are a boring bunch of joyless, caviling no-marks. Just tune them out for a month.'

Who exactly does Aaronovitch think he is to pronounce me, Marina Hyde, Will Self, 68 per cent of people in the provinces, and quite a few in London as well as it turns out, no-marks?

You Mr Aaronovitch are a fun fascist, one of those guys who insist we all have a great Christmas, the type of chap who goes around saying, "Cheer up, it may never happen."

How dare you describe those of us - including sport lovers like me - sceptical about the games as joyless?  Do you even know who created the template for the overblown, overpriced, chauvinism of today's Olympics?  The Nazis, inventors of the torch relay, and as demonstrated in Leni Riefenstahl's brilliant film of the 1936 Berlin games, those behind the idea of the games as a national morale-booster, as we style it, propaganda for Aryan superiority as they saw it.  The Nazis even invented the idea of Olympian creative accounting, not adding in what Berlin as a city spent to the final bill.

It's not even the ridiculous cost that offends - if it's about boosting national morale, as Frankie Boyle says, for that price we could have written Fuck Off Germany on the moon - but the bullshit:  the schmoozing, and borderline bribery of the IOC suits during the bidding process, the special traffic lanes for them, the tickets for MPs but not mums and dads of athletes, the McDonalds the size of an aircraft hangar, Samsung the official mobile device of the games, Pringles the official snack food, Wenlock and bloody Mandeville, the copyrighting of the words London 2012, the Surface to Air missiles on people's flat blocks, the Seb Coe-ishness of it all.

In the light of all that, and much more, how are you joyless if you are less than enthusiastic about joining in?

I derive joy from all sorts of things - my children obviously, the Marx Brothers, Hancock's Half Hour, ska music, the eyebrows of comedian Jimeoin, most Woody Allen films, Artie Shaw's clarinet, walking across Waterloo bridge on a crisp, clear Autumn day as it happens - and I don't need anyone from the chattering classes to tell me where I should find it.

Incidentally, this is not to say I won't enjoy some of the sport.


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