Olympics-Jingoistic, Nationalistic or Patriotic?
Posted on August 7, 2012
I see that ageing Smiths singer Morrisey has launched a withering attack on the Olympics by describing it is as “blustering jingoism”. Morrisey goes on to say that “The ‘dazzling royals’ have, quite naturally, hi-jacked the Olympics for their own empirical needs, and no oppositional voice is allowed in the free press. It is lethal to witness.” Morrisey even went as far as comparing the Olympics to a nationalistic parade similar to that of 1930’s Germany.
Morrisey: Out of Touch?
Now, throughout my adult life I have been a been a fan of The Smiths and Morrisey and a long time sceptic of the Royal family, but this assessment that the London Olympics are nationalistic or representative of Nazi Germany are quite preposterous; for a start I really can’t imagine that the likes Mo Farrah or Jess Ennis would have featured for Germany in Berlin 1936, Hitler would have had them executed. Morrisey is well wide of the mark on this one and apart from a semi amusing acting role in the opening ceremony, I think the Royals have thankfully taken a low profile and allowed the multi-cultural GB team their deserved days in the spotlight. I would have thought that the very people enjoying the Olympics the least are the nationalists and jingoists themselves; I wonder what Nick griffin makes of it all?
I have always struggled with myself over jingoism and national pride as I am never sure where to draw the line, things like St Georges Day and The Last night at the Proms make me cringe, yet if England or the UK are in sporting action I am a totally different animal, though I have learnt that to be anything approaching jingoistic in sport always results in a metaphorical custard pie straight in the face. As for “blustering jingoism” at the London Olympics, I just don’t see it. To quote Wikipedia: Jingoism refers to excessive bias in judging one’s own country as superior to others – an extreme type of nationalism. I’m sorry Morrisey old chap, cheering on British athletes who have dedicated years of their lives for Olympic glory is not jingoistic, it is appreciation of someone who has achieved sporting heroics.
I felt nervous indifference to the Olympics before it began, I couldn’t understand the fascination with the torch and I was concerned that it may be hijacked by the likes of the Royals and David Cameron, but the simple fact is that it hasn’t. I sat in a pub in Wareham and watched the opening ceremony in awe, it was an occasion that expressed modest national pride and plenty of self depreciation, it was at that moment when anyone sat on the fence knew that the Olympics in London 2012 was going to be a great occasion featuring iconic sporting moments that will stay with us forever. I blubbered like a baby when those two girls won the pairs rowing and again when the two lads had a physical and mental breakdown after “only” getting a silver.
Golden girls: My favourite Olympic moment
Just as I became concerned that maybe Morrisey was right and everyone else was wrong, I read this paragraph by the socialist songwriter Billy Bragg, a well known hater of nationalism:
“Yes, the home crowd are very enthusiastic when our athletes perform, but they’ve also shown a warmth towards those from other nations and not always the winners – witness the supportive response to Liu Xiang crashing out of the 110m hurdles this morning. When the British National Party do it (wave flags) it symbolises their bellicose, divisive views. When Jessica Ennis does it, however, it speaks of a different society, one in which all can reach their full potential no matter what their background. When our fellow citizens wave their flags with her, I feel that they are expressing their pride in the possibility of that diverse, open society.”
I wish I had written that, but I didn’t, however it makes me feel safer with my theory that sadly, Morrisey has becoming a fading star with an obsession for seeking attention, which is fair enough if any of his comments it made any sense.