This Daily Mail article that Drudge links to is headlined, “China’s ‘cruelty olympics’ causes international outrage“, and yet its photos–a monkey lifting weights, a bear balancing himself on the high bars, don’t look all that horrible to me. Instead, it looks like the sort of stuff Americans watched every Sunday night on the Ed Sullivan show, and later, pretty regularly on Johnny Carson for literally decades. (But I’m willing to parachute in Lancelot Link, Secret Squirrel, and Morocco Mole to investigate the situtation further, if you’d like.)
I linked to Julia Gorin’s essay on global warming yesterday, which began thusly:
It’s a peculiar thing that as the threat of global terrorism reaches a crescendo, so apparently does the threat of global warming – at least that’s what some would have us believe.
Tough language is borrowed from the war on terror and applied to the war on weather. “I really consider this a national security issue,” says celebrity activist and “An Inconvenient Truth” producer Laurie David. “Truth” star Al Gore calls global warming a “planetary emergency.” Bill Clinton’s first worry is climate change: “It’s the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it.”
Freud called it displacement. People fixate on the environment when they can’t deal with real threats. Combating the climate gives nonhawks a chance to look tough. They can flex their muscle for Mother Nature, take a preemptive strike at an SUV. Forget the Patriot Act, it’s Kyoto that’ll save you.
Substitute “animal ‘rights'” for environmentalism, and those points apply equally well with China’s “animal olympics”.
And it’s worth noting that the International Olympic Committee didn’t lose much sleep over China’s human rights record, when awarding them the real Olympics in 2008, of course. (It’s probably not a coincidence whom China then immediately hired to iron out the architectural details…)