Olympic boosterism and American cultural narcissism

If you would like a graphic (literal and figurative) demonstration of our nation’s greatest failing, sit in front of your … Continued

If you would like a graphic (literal and figurative) demonstration of our nation’s greatest failing, sit in front of your television set and watch NBC cover an international sports event, the Winter Olympics, as if only Americans were participating. Every time the Today show’s Meredith Vieira stumbles over the name of the Russian figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko (it’s pronounced exactly as it’s spelled, Meredith, with the accent on the second syllables) and giggles to show that it’s OK to be ignorant, I think about all of the announcers from Canada and Europe who pronounce everyone’s name correctly. Their employers care about getting it right, and NBC doesn’t. Not if the athlete isn’t one of us, contributing to the mounting total of “American” medals announced breathlessly every day. Why, anyone would think that these medals were more important than the performance of American students on international comparison tests of achievement in school. In case you’re interested, Finland was No. 1 and Canada No. 2 in the most recent international assessment of reading comprehension. The United States was No. 15. U.S.A., U.S.A….

This Olympic coverage matters because it offers a window into a deeply provincial, reflexively nationalistic mindset that hampers our understanding of the rest of the world and prevents any realistic assessment of American weaknesses and strengths in comparison to other countries. In a truly emblematic moment in the “We’re No. 1″ extravaganza, NBC showed a recap of the medals ceremony for the Men’s Super-G, an Alpine skiing event. Americans Bode Miller and Andrew Weibrecht won silver and bronze, respectively, but the network simply blanked out the gold medal podium, which was occupied by Norwegian Aksel Svindal. Well, who cares about a Norwegian? He’s just an athlete from one of those unhappy countries cursed by secularism and universal health care.

The conviction that the United States is morally and culturally better than other
countries–including other developed democracies–is a real social disease that hurts us more than it does anyone else. It is also a profoundly anti-intellectual. This cultural narcissim is what impelled Brit Hume to urge Tiger Woods to convert to Christianity because Buddhism (in Hume’s view) is an inferior religion that does not offer enough opportunity for forgiveness and repentance. Ours is the most religiously diverse nation on earth–our secular Constitution guarantees that–but Buddhism isn’t quite good enough, not quite American enough, for people still living mentally in the days when nearly every American (except, of course, for the people who were here when the first pilgrims landed) was a Christian.

One of my favorite examples of this arrogant provincialism appears in Justice Antonin Scalia’s 2005 dissent in one of the Ten Commandments cases. The Supreme Court majority ruled that displays of the commandments be removed from all courthouses in McCreary County, KY, and Scalia disagreed. [McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky.]

He opened his argument with a slap at secular Europe–though only the gods know what that has do with biblical displays in American courts. “On September 11, 2001,” Scalia wrote, “I was attending in Rome, Italy, an international conference of judges and lawyers, principally from Europe and the United States. That night and the next morning, virtually all of the participants watched, in their hotel rooms, the address to the Nation by the President of the United States concerning the murderous attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, in which thousands of Americans had been killed….” (I particularly like that capitalization of Nation.) Scalia noted that Bush’s address concluded with what he termed a prayer–”God Bless America.” In the same weird judicial opinion, Scalia went on to claim, “I was approached by one of the judges from a European country, who…sadly observed, “How I wish the Head of State of my country, at a similar time of national tragedy and distress, could conclude his address, `God bless_____.” I presume Salia knows that this so-called prayer was the title of a song written by Irving Berlin. Whether this incident actually happened or whether Scalia just made it up to serve his rhetorical purposes, the point is clear: our government is more godly than European governments and Europeans envy us our endless obligatory displays of public piety.

A twin of this delusion about superior American morality is the conviction that we have nothing to learn from the way any other country does things. The dire warnings that “Obamacare” was going to turn the U.S. into Europe or Canada–as if the inferiority of European and Canadian medical care were self-evident–has been very much a part of the non-debate over health care this year. And here is why the NBC coverage means more than the jingoistic flag-waving that always surrounds international sporting competitions. This has been a lost opportunity for a little bit of education that could have been sandwiched in between the medal counts. Since the Olympics are being held in Canada, would this not have been a perfect opportunity to do a feature on the Canadian health care system to go along with the endless time-filling blurbs on what the American athletes are listening to on their iPods? There were certainly ample news pegs, since injured athletes were being carried off the slopes to Vancouver hospitals every day.

Moreover, the first Canadian ever to win an Olympic gold medal on his home soil, Alexandre Bilodeau, has a medical and human backstory that would have been made for TV–had he been an American. Bilodeau, a French-Canadian from Montreal, won the Men’s Moguls. He has an older brother, Frederic, with cerebral palsy, and Alexandre — in addition to being a champion skier — is a strong advocate for the rights of the disabled. NBC, to give it its due, did use a clip of this story form the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (which at least prevented Meredith from mangling the name “Bilodeau”), but that was all. It might have been interesting to hear what the frightening Candian health care system does for the disabled, since if the Bilodeau family lived in the United States, they would have been ineligible for most health insurance plans because their son has a pre-existing condition.

Another story you’re not likely to hear on NBC is that Canadian students outperform Americans on every international test. In the same report that ranked American students No. 15 in reading comprehension, released in December by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. was down at No. 14 in science and No. 19 in math.

Pay attention to what you are hearing and seeing from Vancouver, even if you are not captivated by ski jumping, snowboarding and figure skating (which, alas, I am). American television has unwittingly, by omission more than commission, presented a portrait of a nation clinging to the stories it tells itself about the superiority of American morality, culture, and education. These illusions have played a crucial role in placing us way down in the standings that really count if we are to function effectively in a world in which neither the self-congratulatory “God bless America” mantra nor a gold medal on a slippery slope are measures of national excellence. And it’s impossible to Photoshop away the test scores of students in other countries who are beating us where it matters most. Oh, how I wish that every teacher could say “God Bless America” when his C students are outperformed once again by those non-Christian Asians and those secularly corrupt Europeans.

About

Susan Jacoby Susan Jacoby is the author of "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism"­ and is completing a secular history of religious conversion.
  • YEAL9

    Susan J, A suggestion: stop watching the Today Show since it appears to irritate you so much.We assume you watched the Canadian’s win the ice dancing championship this evening to include the gold medal ceremony with the winners singing O Canada along with the other medal-starved Canucks. Shame on NBC for showing this to us crazy and proud “United Staters” with our 25 award metals and counting!!!By the way, last time I checked, it is the good old USA with its “superiority of American morality, culture, and education” keeping the world safe!!! God bless America and that includes Canada.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Susan,I have not given this subject as much thought as you have, but I have a sense about the Olympic coverage which many of my friends and aquaintances seem also to feel, so I know it isn’t just me.For the past several Olympic cycles, I have found the NBC Olympic coverage to vary from off-putting to obnoxious. Mainly, I would like to watch the sporting events with minimal commentary. But often, the little “montages” and back stories seem to dominate. This is especailly so when the Olypmics is held many time zones away, so that none of it is shown to us live during the evening hours. Thank God, at least, Vancouver is only 3 time zones away, so NBC is forced to show some of the events with abbreviated editing and comment.Alot of these side / back stories are a little on the sappy side, aren’t they? One or two, or even a few of the stories would be bearable. But, there are so many; when one of those stories comes on, I want to barf. I’m sure that making the audience barf was not NBC’s intent. In addiiton to that, NBC portrays the entire Olympic experience as a sort of religious rite. But come on, NBC, it is just another sporting event. I believe this entertwining of the Olympics with the mysticism of nationalism is what gives it this religious aura.The problem is, somehow, some way, NBC has got a monopoly on the Olympic coverage. Why? Wouldn’t the coverage be better if a single network did not have a monopoly? Wouldn’t competition make the Olympic coverage better?I have thought, that maybe they could have a “Video Olympics.” That is an Olymics in which the judges do not get to see an event until all of the events have been videoed and all of the flaws and error edited out. For things like speed skating, where the timing of the race is what determines a winner, nothing should change. But for alot of the events, the USA could really increase the medal tally.Also, maybe the United States could get a rule passed where only Americans could be awarded gold medals; everyone else would be elegilbe for silver and gold, but only Americans could get gold. That would also increase American prestige, with even MORE gold medals.Seriously, however, it is amazing that American competitors are getting more than 40 percent of all the medals awarded. What does this indicate? That God has blessed America more than all the other countries?To me, it is an indicator of what I already knew, that America is immensely wealthy (even with our hard economic times) and that America is a highly developed country with a highly organized society; more than any other country in the world, America has got sports of all kinds figured out.

  • Schaum

    CounterW(ith)W(hining):At last I understand your name. Unable to counter with logic, reason, or “truth” (whatever that is), you counter with whining. “It is interesting that you put yourself up so high and mighty Schaum. At least you admit that you are a elitist person.”Both statements are false. I have never put myself us as anything. It is true that I do not suffer fools, or whiners, and it is true that I call them out on the superstitions and unproven “beliefs” that they would force on us all, but that does not make me elitist. And I admitted no such thing. I said that “its possible—I’ll think about it.” Evidently there is no more truth in you than there is any ability to use reason.“What I notice from the atheist crowd- and there used to be nice atheists-“More whining. I assume you refer to atheists who were not willing to call you stupid when you believe and say stupid things? Well, times have changed.That seems to make you very defensive and fearful, and whiney. Actually I think you will find most atheists are perfectly willing to let christers and god-believers continue to dwell in the darkness they have imposed on themselves, but are not willing to let them push their superstitions into positions of control over the whole. “You believe anyone that believes differently than you about God , especially Christianity, is , in the words of the “great” Schaum- that he should treat people that are “Christers” with disdain. There is no back and forth here. It is Schaum saying things like -”you lose”- or is he looses? You can’t even use the english language , sir- is it lose or loose?”Speaking of an inability to use the English language! Where did you study grammar – at the Jack-and-Jill Maximum Security Day School? But you are right about one thing – I consistently write ‘lose’ when I mean ‘loose’. However, in this instance, you need to check a dictionary. The word is ‘lose’, as in ‘lose weight’, not ‘loose’, as in ‘loose bowels’.”You really are like a child- and having taken computer classes- I remember the professors that were full of themselves. You could not learn as well from them as the ones that were – patient , kind, forgiving, etc etc. Oh, look at that- its the fruits of the Spirit! The very thing that if mankind listened and adhered to the New Testament, there would be much more peace, tranquility, and all around good in the world.”If mankind adhered to the “new testament”, the human race would already be extinct. Remember your beloved “Saint” Paul – you know, the one who got struck by lightening, and had an electro-convulsively induced hallucination – it was he who suggested that people would be better off not marrying and encumbering themselves with families, because jesusgod was coming right back.You lose again. Whine on, whine on in majesty!

  • Schaum

    OOPS! Posted the last on the wrong thread. Sorry.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    In the previous thread on this “Spirited Atheist” blog, there was quite alot of comment on an organizaiton called “World Vision.”I know that I consistently receive spam-type emails from an organization called “Christian World View” or “World View.” They are lunatics, right-wing- conservative-Republican-born-again Christian-Evangelical-Obama-haters; perhaps there is some confusion between these two orgaizations, World Vision and World View; I am certain that World View has chosen its name to piggy back on the reputation of World Vision. There is a definite confusion here.

  • acebojangles

    The NBC olympic coverage is terrible. If you want to watch events to see great competition and find out who is the best in the world at a particular event, good luck. What you get instead is 80% human interest junk and a nightly 3 hour mishmash of tape delayed events designed to maximize NBC revenues. I understand NBC is a business, but I can’t imagine this is the best way to broadcast the olympics.

  • haveaheart

    Well, as they say in the best Republican circles, “God bless America…and no one else.”

  • justillthennow

    Hello Yeal, “By the way, last time I checked, it is the good old USA with its “superiority of American morality, culture, and education” keeping the world safe!!! God bless America and that includes Canada.”You have got to be kidding with this comment. That or you love painting the illusion. America is not keeping the world safe, we are blowing up parts of it as an exercise in self supporting self-aggrandizing ego fixes, and the world is watching with little to no applause. We are the ones that propagated a worldwide financial meltdown felt from Europe to Singapore to Dubai. Do you think that Islamic extremism has nothing prodding it along? For generations America the Home of the Brave has played a starring role in fanning the flames of those that despise it’s own arrogant egoism and delusions of entitlement.Wave a flag for that. It is more real than Superman in red, white and blue.

  • JohninMpls

    Thanks for this, Susan. I wince every time I hear NBC announce the medal count. Such a concept seems to fit neatly with NBC’s coverage, in that it’s diametrically opposed to the Olympic spirit it’s supposed to espouse.These games are supposed to bring us together, after all.In the end, I agree with comedian David Cross: “The terrorists hate our freedom. You know what? I hate our freedom. Little old me, I’m an American. That’s all we’ve done with it?”

  • dnjake

    In the real world, NBC’s coverage of the Olympics is on the high end of the quality scale both in terms of visual quality and the quality of the commentary. NBC has actually learned to do a particulary good job with special event athletics. Admittedly on an absolute scale the commentary is not great. But it has gotten much better over the last few Olympics. On a world scale, US boosterism of our athletes is not excessive. Particularly since our athletes have performed unusually well at this Winter Olympics, I don’t think there has been any particularly excessive expression of nationalist emotion. As far as intellectual competitions go, the US still does pretty well with Nobel Prizes.

  • mhr614

    Jacoby wonders about the alleged superiority of the United States. Immigrants who came from Germany in the millions in the 19th Century, and from Ireland, Italy, Russia (which gave us the music of Gershwin and Berlin) Sweden and Norway did not share Jacoby’s cynicism. Despite the whining from liberal Jacoby, immigrants the world over still clamor to get into this country, to become Americans. When I was a liberal Democrat, I began to think and talk about my country the way Jacoby does, that oh so sophisticated way liberals talk about the US. That’s when I rethought the wisdom of being a liberal. Wisdom and liberalism are oxymorons.

  • silencedogoodreturns

    Are you another self-loathing Jew? Why do you hate America so much?Newsflash…NBC focuses on American in the Olympics because it is broadcasting to and for America. Other nations have their own networks in Canada, and they focus on their own countries just as NBC does.I think YOU are the provincial one, Ms Jacoby.

  • steveboyington

    Some truths here, but a little too strident. One thing that makes me laugh is people of a certain political persuasion LOVE to loathe the French. Why, do you ask? Because the French think they are superior. The fools!!!! WE are superior. Hee hee.

  • Schaum

    Silencedoogoodreturns2:”Newsflash…NBC focuses on American in the Olympics because it is broadcasting to and for America. Other nations have their own networks in Canada, and they focus on their own countries just as NBC does.I think YOU are the provincial one, Ms Jacoby.”Newsflash: YOU are the provincial one.I’ve lived in, and am returning to, Europe, where both print and video media report extensively on activities in the US, in politics, sports, human rights, pollution, etc. In addition, they report with equal vigor, on the same things going on in the rest of the world, including their own state or nation. Their reporting is much more balanced, fair and informative than media in the US ever thought about being! A viewer/reader in Europe has infinitely more, and more accurate, information about the ENTIRE world, upon which to base his evaluation of reality. Americans expect, and have come to need, to be spoon fed, and will swallow anything so long as they don’t have to become involved, and their lives are not inconvenienced. Mercifully, more civilized places in the world are less self-centered. Or, if you so choose, be as intellectually constipated and delusional as CCNL1/YEAL9.

  • Schaum

    MHR614:”Immigrants who came from Germany in the millions in the 19th Century, and from Ireland, Italy, Russia (which gave us the music of Gershwin and Berlin) Sweden and Norway did not share Jacoby’s cynicism.”In the 19th century (and earlier — virtually every one came here as an immigrant, accept American Indians!) America was still America, owned by the people of America. Today it is owned by the Chinese. Cynicism? Bloody long overdue! The republithugs and christers have sold this country down the tubes.

  • jacktar2001

    Speaking of the political aspeects of Olympic medals: We can understand a lot about China, after the latest Olympics. When everyone belongs to the State, and when everyone in that State is working towards a common goal, we have a plethora of Gold Medals. Catch my drift? In the long-term, Communist China will probably surpass the United States as the Big Dawg on the Block. Our diversity, and our freedoms, divide us in many ways, even though we are a great and noble experiment.

  • dmalham

    Thank you, Ms.Jacoby, for a thoughtful and necessary article about a provincialism that “prevents any realistic assessment of American weaknesses and strengths in comparison to other countries.” Many of us are so busy chanting “We’re Number 1″ to each other we’ve become unaware of the serious disrepair of our “home.”

  • Cthulhu3

    Jacoby: “…presented a portrait of a nation clinging to the stories it tells itself about the superiority of American morality, culture, and education. These illusions have played a crucial role in placing us way down in the standings that really count…”I assume part of the story it “tells itself” is the superiority of secular, democratic materialistic, humanistic culture and values over, say, theocratic ones in a nation like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Certainly, those nations have suffered the hubris of a secular democracy trampling all over their cultures and right to self-determination, and still do with no let up under the Obama Administration.

  • jfv123

    The “USA/USA” national focus is required because most Americans don’t really care about these sports, except for two weeks every four years. Americas follow other sports.There really isn’t any sustained substantial market for most of these sports in the USA/USA with the possible exception of women’s figure skating and men’s hockey, which are both dwarfed by football, basketball and baseball. Most of our Olympic athletes will blend into the general population as soon as the Olympics are over with little name recognition, unlike their European counterparts. It’s nice to see these athletes get the attention that nationalism brings them for two weeks, which also helps to pay for the training between Olympics.Without that national focus, Olympic TV viewership in the USA/USA would drop/drop/drop.Since USA/USA TV rights are the Olympics’ biggest revenue source, the Olympics would go broke without our USA/USA enthusiasm. Someone has to pay the bills.Of course, the Europoean “countries” this aticle champions have embarked on a process of national disintegration. They started as parts of empires, broke down into feudal domains and city states, briefly became nation states and now have ceded much control over to the “Eurpoean Union.” That’s their historical path. Our path is different.America is a nation forged together by blood, steel and ideas. Our nationhood has been hard won and preserved by struggle. We won’t give it up lightly. So, I hope the international citizens of the world (both domestic and foreign) forgive us poor provincial Americans for chanting “USA/USA.” We don’t intend to follow the Europeans into national oblivion. I may live on planet earth, but I’m a US citizen and not a “citizen of the world.”By the way, the BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China, seem to not be ashamed to exhibit their national fervor in sports and other areas (and let’s not forget the Korean passion for their short track ice racers). Seems like these countries are doing pretty well globally. So, if we doubt the value of the nationalism model, we might consider which countries are rising and which are fading away. Americans can choose to join the Europeans in their fading away act, or live in the future with the BRICs.Let’s learn from the rising nations, not the ones that are disappearing.

  • scadolph

    As a Canadian who spent the first 9 days of Olympics watching NBC affiliates in DC and the past few days watching CTV in Canada, I feel qualified to point out a few differences.The Canadian media shows most every event live. This includes every curling and hockey game, downhill, figure skating, speed skating, etc. And what isn’t shown live is offered in full with On Demand. Everything.To take one example of the NBC coverage, the women’s downhill. Due to the tape delays, NBC is able to neatly crop out the entire downhill race except for a half-dozen skiers: the Americans (not even all of them), a spectacular crash, and the gold/silver/bronze races. It was as if no other skiing representative existed.My girlfriend (an American and a Virginian) was embarrassed by the coverage – she wanted to learn about other countries and competitors but wasn’t given the information, except a few, rare scraps.Try watching a curling match on NBC that doesn’t have a US team playing. They have been few and far between. Thankfully it’s still exciting watching the US play, but I’d like to watch some of the other teams, like Canada and Sweden.

  • justillthennow

    Hello MHR614,Well, we do all have our prejudices, eh?”That’s when I rethought the wisdom of being a liberal. Wisdom and liberalism are oxymorons.”A bit like Einstein, perhaps. Perchance akin to Jesus, that barefoot and ignorant revolutionary. Alike our Founding Fathers, divining and manifesting, along with the other civilian, yet free, minds, a liberal democracy that has been a beacon of light to the rest of the ig-nobility of the common man across the planet for centuries. That kind of oxymoron? That type of ignorance is what you are getting at?Luckily you cannot accuse the conservative counterparts of lack of wisdom! No need, I shall!Conservatism’s erstwhile favorite sons GW Bush and DV Cheney did a bang up job (literally!) with the stellar brilliance of their combined wisdom, along with their legions of neo-cons, proving there was no oxymoron there! Nay, nay. Just morons. Gangs of morons. Never has such a surplus of moral and monetary treasure been as squandered in our history. Conservatism alone and used appropriately can be an essential and fabulous virtue, maintaining viable systems in their functional forms. Likewise fundamentalism, in it’s time. Without liberalism we are lost in a static hell, imprisoned by the forces of orthodoxy, and assigned to the death of non-movement and adherence to the past.Anyone that does not see the value of contrary positions is a bit blind and afflicted with tunnel vision. Well, at least that is certainly the case with conservative eyes. Liberal eyes tend to have a much wider lens. We all have failings. If I have a preference it would be to see more as potential good, over more as evil and less as valuable.

  • RogerNoVa

    I have dual citizenship—

  • spidermean2

    Stupidity is self destructive. What else do you expect from Susan Jacoby and her ilk except to loathe the country they are supposed to love?Tim Mc Veigh, Joseph Stack, Von Brunn, teeange school shooters, etc all have liberal, atheistic, evolutionist ways of thinking.In the case of Jacoby, she is destroying America thru her pen.What these people don’t understand is that their stupidity will culminate to the destruction of their own “beloved” liberal cities. It is surprising why these idiots don’t leave America and go to their foreign “dreamland”.

  • spidermean2

    What Jacoby seems to miss is the fact that without America, the whole of Europe will be under Germany and Asia under Japan. The rest of the world will be a toss-up between who among the two is stronger.If Europe hates America, it is precisely because of ignorance of what America has done for this world. Jacoby is the most ignorant coz she should know this better than non-Americans.This lady is never short of crazy ideas. Evolution has made this woman to be crazy. She should begin asking when Natural Selection started when all there was was only water and soil or mud.

  • Ombudsman1

    Goodness, I’ll bet Susan is a real joy to be around. If I see her husband, I’ll give him a hug.

  • staterighter

    Ms. Jacoby I suggest you move, say to France. You will fit right in.

  • staterighter

    Oh one last comment. Had you just taken the line that we do not have any professional journalists and that the people covering the Olympics though owning a college degree failed to receive an education I might agree with you. But targeting the US, pretty stupid.

  • onofrio

    Yeal9,Thee:The slain myriads of several -grads might beg to differ. And it is still an open question whether Nazi-like “tyranny” is entirely extinguished within America’s own borders.This “salvation” fixation will just get you Hell, in the end.

  • onofrio

    Spidermean2,Thee:America’s contributions to “this world” are not unalloyed blessings. As for ignorance and hatred of the Other, there is plenty of that to go around Stateside, n’est-ce pas?Ain’t none of us clean, Spider.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    I find these statistics re the reading test scores quite interesting in view of the dire straits of millions of Canada’s First Nations people, whose lives are a living hell. The same is true of Native Americans; however, there are far fewer of them.I have posted extensively on Canada’s First Nations, and, if necessary will do so again. I mean no disrespect to Canada. However, I’ve seen enough educational data to know that things aren’t exactly as they appear at first glance.The current Christianism of this country is alarming, threatening our commitment to a secular state. This much I admit. That said, having spent time in England on two occasions, I can assure anyone that we are far ahead of the Brits. They are among the least self-conscious bigots I have yet to encounter. The racism against Pakistanis, Indians, Carribbeans is astounding. The diversity we see on BBC broadcasts is nowhere to be seen in their media.Their sexism would land them in jail here. And as antisemitic as this country is, England is far worse.France: Ditto, ditto, and double ditto.In neither country have I seen evidence of the ongoing critique that I see here. Go to France, and talk to the Algerians. Go to France, and talk to whatever Jews are left. The English Jews are slowly leaving.Pleez. EUROPE? I don’t think so. Not interested. Not models for us. No sir. And, frankly, who is more critical of US policy than I? But don’t tell me about Europe. As I read in a recent scholarly article, the phrase “European civilization” is oxymoronic.”

  • onofrio

    Staterighter,Before you sound off about the educational failings of others, you need to learn how to use commas.

  • nsemple2

    What nonsense! What tripe! In a remarkable bit of critical “analysis’ Ms Jacobs cites NBC’s admittedly inconsistent coverage, a quote from Justice Scalia, and our relatively low ranking in an OECD sponsored international comprehension test as evidence of our country’s national narcissism and misplaced “superior’ morality.Ms. Jacob’s intellectual rigor is impressive! I won’t go into detail debunking her silly comparisons, suffice to say to use an international student assessment as evidence of our country’s misplaced egoism is risible.By by the time Americans graduate from college and enter the workforce they far outstrip their international counterparts, and enjoy the best ongoing life long education in the world. Unlike Europe, our system does not stop at the end of high school. it is remarkably adaptive and underlies our consistently more productive economy. but who woild know that? It does not fit into the script.As for Justice Scalia, while I am a great admirer of his, generalizing from one quote from one justice of the Supreme Court as a reflection on all Americans is just intellectually dishonest. NBC’s coverage can be a bit chauvinistic, especially in prime time, but it has been great during the day and on its affiliate channels where they shown numerous events without any notable American involvement. And a number have included vignettes on by golly) athletes from other countries! (Great hockey game today between Switzerland and Belarus)!Finally,the last time the “superior’ Americans won a winter medal count was 87 years ago. The Americans are indeed having a great Olympics and, unlike one Russian skater whose name some people can’t pronounce (how does one pronounce “jerk?”), they are winning with grace and humility. Its too bad so many of our pundits in the press can’t show a little of their own. If Ms. Jacob’s article is an example of a “new age of reason” we are, indeed, in trouble.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    As for US achievement stats, they are actually better than they were decades ago. (I study this stuff.) That said, there is no question that our commitment to public education falls devastatingly short of what it should be. With that, I have no disagreement. On the other hand, I would not chalk the problem up to nationalism. It is far more complex than that. New York City is not the right-wing capital of America. Take a good look at the appalling educational system, which, alas, represents an improvement.As for the media, it is a joke. OnFaith has dropped one of its ongoing Tiger Woods blogs, but quite frankly, if I see one more Tiger story, I wlll throw up. I could go through the columnists here one by one with respect to hypocrisy, backbedaling–you name it. And the liberals are as bad as the conservatives.The reporters do not report. Obviously missing facts are never questioned. There biases are self-evident. And I’m talking about WaPo. If we want to step up the government critique, part of our Puritan heritage (the better part), then we should look to the media, including the Times, which is in bed with US corporations, advertising agencies, the government, and transnationals.Americans are being lied to, misinformed, and disinformed on a daily basis. Do recall the early praise of “Donny Rumsfeld” (Dianne Sawyer was fond of the diminutive), when the rest of us were mortally afraid of said “Donny.”Tired, I am, of some of the self-delusion.

  • Schaum

    NSEMPLE2:”If Ms. Jacob’s article is an example of a “new age of reason” we are, indeed, in trouble.”We are, indeed, in trouble, evidenced by your inability to read for comprehension. Her name is Jacoby, not Jacobs. And Jacobs does not use an apostrophe.

  • nsemple2

    What nonsense! What tripe! In a remarkable bit of critical “analysis’ Ms Jacoby cites NBC’s admittedly inconsistent coverage, a quote from Justice Scalia, and our relatively low ranking in an OECD sponsored international comprehension test as evidence of our country’s national narcissism and misplaced “superior’ morality.Ms. Jacoby’s intellectual rigor is impressive! I won’t go into detail debunking her silly comparisons, suffice to say to use an international student assessment as evidence of our country’s misplaced egoism is risible.By by the time Americans graduate from college and enter the workforce they far outstrip their international counterparts, and enjoy the best ongoing life long education in the world. Unlike Europe, our system does not stop at the end of high school. it is remarkably adaptive and underlies our consistently more productive economy. but who woild know that? It does not fit into the script.As for Justice Scalia, while I am a great admirer of his, generalizing from one quote from one justice of the Supreme Court as a reflection on all Americans is just intellectually dishonest.NBC’s coverage can be a bit chauvinistic, especially in prime time, but it has been great during the day and on its affiliate channels where they shown numerous events without any notable American involvement. And a number have included vignettes on by golly) athletes from other countries! (Great hockey game today between Switzerland and Belarus)!Finally,the last time the “superior’ Americans won a winter medal count was 87 years ago. The Americans are indeed having a great Olympics and, unlike one Russian skater whose name some people can’t pronounce (how does one pronounce “jerk?”), they are winning with grace and humility. Its too bad so many of our pundits in the press can’t show a little of their own.If Ms. Jacoby’s article is an example of a “new age of reason” we are, indeed, in trouble.

  • Schaum

    Farnaz!A magnificent scottie b!tch won best of show at WKC! Did you see it?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Farnaz!A magnificent scottie b!tch won best of show at WKC! Did you see it?Yes, I did. Am I right that she is ten years old?

  • Schaum

    Farnaz:Yes, I think you are right. There were three different kennel shows this weekend that scotties won! Kind of unusual for one that old. I guess they will be all the rage now.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    SUSAN:For some reason, I’m being blocked from posting on your OnFaith thread. Although these comments are somewhat out of context here, I spent too much time composing them to let them go, so here they are:Back atcha.I, personally, would recommend that diplomats talk with the representatives of Vatican Nation to discover why William Cardinal Levada is now no. 2 man in Rome. That would be the Levada, who, as Archbishop of San Francisco, obstructed justice and lied under oath, protecting the largest pedophile priest group then in America, the Salesians, known to law enforcement as “Levada’s boys.”This Levada walked in on a molestation scene, shut the door, and walked out. This Levada lied under oath and tried to destroy the career of the one whistle blower among the Salesians. Said priest won a 750,000 dollar award in a law suit. That amount was the tip of the iceberg. Levada bankrupted the archdiocese just as he had done earlier in Portland for the same reason.For his service to humanity, he was summoned to Rome, where he now oversees pedophile priest complaints worldwide. This Levada is the man to whom disaffected Anglicans will apply.This Levada belongs in an American jail.Diplomats dealing with Vatican Nation might also inquire into the 200,000,000 they have been accused of laundering for the mafia. This hideous offense (not the first Vatican Bank scandal)makes Vatican Bank complicit with that mafia which has gunned down, repeatedly, mayors and prosecutors attempting to stem Italy’s organized crime.Diplomats dealing with Vatican Nation ought to coordinate efforts with the UN, where the Vatican has an ambassador, to inquire why Vatican Bank refuses to settle with the victim survivors and survivor heirs of the 200 Franciscan priests who ran concentration camps, tortured and murdered thousands of Serbian Orthodox, Jews, and Roma. These nazi Catholic priests stole what these people had and deposited the loot in Vatican Bank, where is resides.As WaPo reported a few weeks ago, the plaintiffs were, on appeal, denied the right to sue Vatican Bank since the Vatican is a foreign nation. The law suit against the Franciscans will continue. In the meantime, I would like our diplomats and the United Nations to address the matter with the “religious group” known as the Vatican.Finally, I would like our diplomats to inquire of said Vatican why it continues to hide its records from the Nazi era.When said diplomatic efforts cease, I would like our government to explain to the citizens of the United States how an institution of a foreign nation, which its court declared the Vatican to be, merits tax exempt status in the United States.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Schaum,Unno, I’m getting tired of having difficulties posting. Now, I can’t post on Susan’s OnFaith thread for some reason.I think I’m going to do what CCNL1/Yeal9 did. We talked about this, and I recall your saying I wouldn’t have to change my email address if I changed my moniker. But, somehow, when I signed up for OnFaith picked up my full email address name instead of “Farnaz,” which is what I wanted.At all events, I’m a fast typist but don’t like to waste time composing comments that are then blocked. Sometimes David Waters can fix the problem quickly. Sometimes, he can’t fix it at all.So, I guess I’ll have to go for it. Maybe, I’ll call myself Alberto Rios.

  • persiflage

    Spidermean goes deep in his arsenal of questionable facts:’Tim Mc Veigh, Joseph Stack, Von Brunn, teeange school shooters, etc all have liberal, atheistic, evolutionist ways of thinking.’They really do breed alot of idiot spiders in Spiderland, don’t they? Mass murderers and serial killers often nurture wacky religious beliefs and display various kinds of religious symbolism at the scene of their crimes. These extreme mental abberations leading to homicide may or may not include some form of psychosis i.e. paranoid schizophrenia and extreme paranoia. Apparently you’re missing too many episodes of ‘Criminal Mind’….the fact that teen murderers may have a liberal parenting background simply means the parenting failed – the inevitable personality disorder, sense of personal injustice and accompanying rage couldn’t be suppressed – even by Jesus hisself……..so they killed as many as they could, and then killed themselves, often as not. Chances are, the last thing they heard on their radio before slaughtering innocent people was Rush Limbaugh, rather than a quote by Charles Darwin. Planned Parenthood style physician killers and unibombers are all obsessed by paranoid religious ideation – and God.When are you going to start reading books??

  • persiflage

    Spidermean goes deep in his arsenal of questionable facts:’Tim Mc Veigh, Joseph Stack, Von Brunn, teeange school shooters, etc all have liberal, atheistic, evolutionist ways of thinking.’They really do breed alot of idiot spiders in Spiderland, don’t they? Mass murderers and serial killers often nurture wacky religious beliefs and display various kinds of religious symbolism at the scene of their crimes. These extreme mental abberations leading to homicide may or may not include some form of psychosis i.e. paranoid schizophrenia and extreme paranoia. Apparently you’re missing too many episodes of ‘Criminal Mind’….the fact that teen murderers may have a liberal parenting background simply means the parenting failed – the inevitable personality disorder, sense of personal injustice and accompanying rage couldn’t be suppressed – even by Jesus hisself……..so they killed as many as they could, and then killed themselves, often as not. Chances are, the last thing they heard on their radio before slaughtering innocent people was Rush Limbaugh, rather than a quote by Charles Darwin. Planned Parenthood style physician killers and unibombers are all obsessed by paranoid religious ideation – and God.When are you going to start reading books??

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    From her article, I did not get the impression that Susan hates America. People are so touchy about every little thing. Why is being ignorant something to be proud of? Just being interested in “stuff” that happens in other countries makes a person anti-American? What is wrong with being bright-eyed and interested? Isn’t that the mark of American excellence?American wins, wins, wins medals, medals, medals becauser we are rich, rich, rich.Big deal.God Bless America for being richer than everyone else.I don’t care very much for NBC’s Olympic coverager now, and in the past several cycles for both Winter and Summer Olympics. I’m a consumer; that’s my judgement; no medal for NBC.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Farnaz,I have always liked the name Marquessa Leverage. I’m not sure if I heard it somehwere or just made up up. (I think I may have made it up). You can use it, if you like.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    DITLD,I have no problem with anyone being critical of this country when it merits criticism. However, I’m not sure I follow the logic of Susan’s piece here. The French, the Brits, the Germans are not suitable role models for us. Neither is Canada. Ask the people of the First Nations. This remains the nation to which people from all over the world wish to come.Could we do with improvement? God, yes. An honest media would be quite helpful with that. Perhaps, they will report the facts before we start a war with Iran, for instance. That would be good.We need to look to ourselves, to deal with the growth of that which threatens us from within and without. The Olympics is not our biggest problem. Neither is the Today Show. Perhaps, Susan could simply email Meredith to correct her pronunciation. I’m actually not joking. What Susan describes is idiotic. That’s about it. It doesn’t proclaim the parochialism of America; other things do.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Scham,Marquessa Leverage? I wonder if I should ask, but how did you come up with this? Leverage?

  • thgirbla

    BTW: How is the Mexican Boobsled Team and the Mexican Alpine Ski Team and the Mexican Figure Skaters and the Mexican Ice Hockey Team doing at the Olympics ???I haven’t heard much about their performances ???

  • Aprogressiveindependent

    I agree, the NBC coverage of any Olympics, summer or winter is excessively nationalistic and a reflection of some of the worst chauvinistic, anti-foreign elements in this culture. Many people and most politicians, including Bush II and Obama, seem to consider the United States far superior to any other nation. The idea of American exceptionalism though goes back to at least the 18th century, probably earlier to the Puritans, all the while, glossing over or ignoring ethnic cleansing of the native Americans, slavery, a war of aggression against Mexico, segregation, mistreatment of immigrants, denying females equal rights, etc. Being patriotic and proud of one’s country is usually fine, but considering one’s nation to be the chosen country, inhabited by the chosen people, often divinely blessed, almost always leads to arrogance, as well as imperial adventures. Look at the ancient Romans, 2Oth century Japanese and Germans as other examples.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    I do agree with Susan on health care. Again, however, the media needs to own up. When the Canadian and English health care systems are held up as bogey men, one would like to see respected columnists report on the facts.To date, one not see this. We watch Paul Krugman struggle valiantly on. But surely, he isn’t the only American columnist who (a) thinks clearly and (b) speaks the truth?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    I think the notion of America as “God’s people” stems from the Christian and Catholic usage of the phrase as nauseum. To be fair, it comes more from the pulpit than anyone else. These priests and ministers say it during services, on TV, and probably to themselves in the bathroom.The rest of the world views this nation as Christian, sees its policies as motivated by Christianism. This is worth thinking about.As is Weber. Elective affinities….Again, the Olympics is beside the point.

  • persiflage

    The athletes are remarkable but the hyper-nationalism is nothing new, and is just the usual expected All-America media spin, but with an atypical feelgood twist. It takes everyone’s mind off of the financial tsunami that’s still making it’s way through our economy – for about 5 minutes. As for Scalia, hopefully we’re seeing the last of a breed of theist/jurists that the country is starting to outgrow – but not, I think, for another generation.And of course we’re terminally pre-occupied with ourselves….ask any former Tiger Woods fan. How can we forget him when he won’t go away??

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Hi Persiflage,And of course we’re terminally pre-occupied with ourselves….ask any former Tiger Woods fan. How can we forget him when he won’t go away??An inquiring mind would like to know. :]

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Hi DITLD,At first, I thought it was Schaum who came up with Marquessa Leverage! How did you think up this remarkable name?

  • onofrio

    Marquessa Leverage?Echoes of my esteemed compatriot Dame Edna Everage of Moonee Ponds.

  • persiflage

    ‘Speaker, Trainer, Communications Expert, Coach and Author Marquesa … Marquesa Pettway offeres training and coaching programs, Speaker, Coach, … How and why personal branding works and identify how to leverage it for career …’Leveraging for success… Where shall I apply the brand? Will it hurt??

  • FarnazMansouri

    Onofrio, Persiflage,Gee.Regards,

  • onofrio

    Persiflage,”Leveraging for success… Where shall I apply the brand? Will it hurt??”(chortles)Won’t feel a thing…

  • silencedogoodreturns

    So, reading the comments, Ms Jacoby is not the only self-loathing Jew here….Schaum seems to have significant self-esteem problems as well. Too bad they have to blame the country that gave them everything in order to make themselves feel better.

  • FarnazMansouri

    See what happens, Susan and Schaum. Now, according to Silencedogoodreturns, you are both “self-hating Jews.”This is the sort of crap Jews have to put up with on a daily basis. Only one way to keep it away from one self, if one self is a J. But ’tis a pain.Wonder when we Js will finally succeed in educating….The centuries do march on.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Anyway, I’m tired of fighting. From now on, I will greet lunatic bigots of whatever degree as such, and move on.I will simply write, “Hello! Lunatic bigot!” Sincerely, Farnaz (Marquessa).Adieu

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,Chère Marquise,It would be a shame to see your moniker alter. If it must be so, might I suggest something riddlesome, like DeLaQ, or perhaps MayNon.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Farnaz,Chère Marquise,It would be a shame to see your moniker alter. If it must be so, might I suggest something riddlesome, like DeLaQ, or perhaps MayNon.Hmmm…DeLaQ.The problem is that David Waters has been looking into why I can’t post on two or three threads—since August. Then up comes another problem with Susan’s other thread. All this has given me difficulty as I’m not exactly an computeratistically savvy. :[

  • onofrio

    Oops, I seem to stumbled into the insolent unsilence of a Dog of Odd Returns.Well may you kick the cur, Farnaz!

  • onofrio

    Missed “have” as I tripped on the critter, too.Farnaz, by whatever name, you are magnificent.

  • Schaum

    Farnaz:”See what happens, Susan and Schaum. Now, according to Silencedogoodreturns, you are both “self-hating Jews.”"I have long been aware that there has never been a shortage of stupid things to believe, nor a shortage of stupid people to believe them. My question is, why do they all have to show up here?

  • silencedogoodreturns

    Posted by: Schaum

  • onofrio

    Silencedogoodreturns,Thee to Schaum:Who is the “we”, Silencedog? Or are you royal?Your air is that of an habitué, yet your moniker is parvenu.Perhaps you’d like to match Schaum’s considerable and formidable commentary with some counter-wisdom of your own.Or you could just return to your puke.

  • silencedogoodreturns

    Your air is that of an habitué, yet your moniker is parvenu.

  • onofrio

    Is that the best you can do?

  • FarnazMansouri

    Your air is that of an habitué, yet your moniker is parvenu.But know this: Susan Jacoby was raised a Roman Catholic and quotes the NT (sic) with abandon. Schaum was an Episcoplian and quite knowledgeable about Christianity. Now, he he an atheist like Susan.Onofrio is a scholar of ancient religion, an accomplished poet, and student of Wagner. Schaum has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and is knowledgeable about music, art, and many other things. He also builds harpsichords.These are two extremely intelligent, well-educated threaders. They were offended by your post. As was I.What has Judaism got to do with the thoughts of Susan and Schaum? Again and again, I read bloggers associating this or that columnist’s opinions with his Judaism.So, what are they, Silence? What are they?

  • jprfrog

    Generally I find it a waste of time to be provoked by some of the profound ignorance flaunted in these columns, but the outright disdain of historical fact sometimes pushes me past my limit.The US did not save the world from the Nazis: this we owe mainly to the despised Russians, who paid the price of 26 million dead (our total for the entire war, including the Pacific, was less than 500,000). You can check that by looking up the comment of that arch-liberal Winston Churchill, who acknowledged that the Russians tore the guts out of the German Army. And not small was the fact the Britain managed to avoid being overrun — without the Britiah “unsinkablke aircraft carrier” and base for the invasion force it’s hard to see how there could have been a Second Front at all for decades, if ever. Of course we had our not small part (which included boots and trucks sent to the Soviets…they provided their own armaments, including a tank — the T34 — that was better than anything we had on our side)) and we should be proud of that. But the claim that we saved the world is false and self-deluding, and illustrates Ms. Jacoby’s point perfectly (although her point of departure, the coverage of the Olympics, was a bit of a stretch). Simply put, we are not No. 1 in everything and unless we get “right-sized”, correctly assess, and honestly address our problems, we will be far from No. 1 in anything. To believe it is anti-American to say this is to be anything but patriotic. Self-delusion is the prerequisite for self-induced disaster, and we don’t have unlimited time to get things on the right track.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Actually, that is the case. The Russians defeated the Nazis. I don’t know about “despised,” though.As for me, I have no trouble critiquing this country’s policies as I have said ad infinitum, and as has yeilded me quite a bit of hostility.The Olympic coverage is not a good point of departure. The Europeans are not our superiors in anything. Canada has its own big, big problems.Again, the media sell-out, now decades old, helps nothing and no one. We need the fourth estate now more than ever. It would be helpful if it came before WWIII.As long as the media is in bed with the government, US corporations, advertising agencies, transnationals, we can expect ongoing misinformation, disinformation, and lies. Outright lies. I have posted them here not infrequently.This is not the 1960s. We have no great libertaion movement on the horizon. We have a corrupt Congress, a Court that just issued one of the most insane rulings of the century, and a president who does not encourage confidence at the moment.The media is essential now. When right-wing conservatives waive the bogeymen of Canada’s and England’s health care systems, we might hear from the media, for example. They do not need the occasion of the Olympics to report on that or on anything else.Again, I have to ask whether Paul Krugman is (a) the only clear-headed columnist in America and (b) the only one capable of speaking truthfully.Note that Tiger Woods is not high on his agenda, as it has been on WaPo’s.

  • silencedogoodreturns

    So, what are they, Silence? What are they?I’m not impressed that they have been Christians, like music, art, dogs or whatever. I’m glad there’s a mutual masturbation society here, good for all of you. I can recite my own educational background and interests, but comparing peni s size is a bit juvenile, no? All that is irrelavent to their views. Actually, I know little of THEIR views…it’s Jacoby’s views that OFFENDED me. She’s shallow, small, immature and clearly lacking something. This column is one of the most pathetic I have ever read (though I have not read her before, so maybe this is typical?). And I don’t care how many PHDs she may have or how many poems she’s written…she should get some therapy to get over herself.

  • jimgarvey2009

    Susan is right on the mark!!! We Americans had better wake up, we are not the best in the world in everything, and falling behind every day. We have to stop behing “Headline readers”, and read the whole story,plus check out the facts!!!

  • FarnazMansouri

    Gee, Susan,I haven’t looked up to check the status of the moon tonight. Maybe, I should.I have to disagree with Silence. I don’t think you should “get over” yourself. Maybe, you could sometimes give more thought to the complexity of things. It’s become de rigeur for American liberals to cite European opinions of the United States. And not only Europe’s.I objected to that from the beginning, thought it insane. But France had another thing in mind: Iraq was France’s playground, and they didn’t want to stop playing. There was no moral issue whatsoever. Yet, no one in the government mentioned this not unimportant fact, until one official accidentally let it slip in a brief interview that the media did not pick up on.Again, ask the Algerians about France. Ask the Jews. Ask the Protestants. I’m not going to repeat myself about the other nations.WE need to look at ourselves. We don’t need models. The opinions of the nations you mention will not guide us. We know what we need. We must see a decline in religionism. WE need to get the churches out of Congress. WE know we must stop exploiting other nations. We know we should not invade Iran. ETc.And,equally important, we need to contemplate where our ideology comes from. In this, the analytic arena, other nations may be helpful; their analysis of our policies could be instructive. To many of them, we are just as much a Christian nation as Pakistan is Muslim.Elective affinities….beyond the dreams of the man who coined the phrase..

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    FarnazOften my posts do not go. Sometimes they get held for review; sometimes they just disappear. This is what I do: I ususally type directly into the comments box (that is why there are so many spelling and grammatical mistakes) and then before I click on the submit button, I copy the comments, so in case they disappear, I still have them; then if I spent alot of effort on what I wrote, I might paste it onto a new document, and try again later. It is less frustrating. (don’t go away, there’s more … )

  • onofrio

    Silencedogoodreturns,Thee:Playing the phallic card, eh? A tactic beloved of the self-hating miniscule. “I’m glad there’s a mutual masturbation society here, good for all of you.”Well it’s clear what’s on your mind, Silencedog. No need to rub it (in).”it’s Jacoby’s views that OFFENDED me. She’s shallow, small, immature and clearly lacking something.” There you go again, projecting your anxieties about your appendicle’s dimensions onto others. It’s what you do with it that counts, Silencedog. “This column is one of the most pathetic I have ever read (though I have not read her before, so maybe this is typical?).”Congratulations on your cogency. Less is more, eh?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Farnaz, Onofrio, SchaumDon’t worry about ole’ Silence-Dog, the bomb thrower! I find there’s always a maniac in every crowd!

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    FarnazRegarding Marquessa Leverage:That was one of those posts that didn’t seem to go, and I thought, “well that is probably for the best … “So imagine my suprize when I come back later, and its posted and commented on by several people. I have had this name in my head so long, that it is lost to me where it came from. I believe that I was trying to invent some charaters for a novel or a short story. I got the names, just not who they are, or what they are doing. I know I thought of it long before I had ever heard of Dame Edna.

  • onofrio

    Danielinthelionsden,The Dog has lobbed the bomb on himself, having stopped to lick his own cojones.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    OnofrioHonest! I used the name “Silence-Dog” before I read your comment. Must be some of that transmorgrification that we’ve all heard TTWSYF tell of.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Hi DITLD,Marquessa Leverage is a lively name. Maybe, you could write a comic mystery–make her a character….It could be fun!

  • FarnazMansouri

    Onofrio,”Playing the phallic card”My hat, if I had one, would be off to you. Bons mots. Perfect for any number of occasions.My compliments!

  • onofrio

    Ma Marquise,Were I wearing it, I would now doff my sage green chapeau to thee. Please accept a bald bow instead.

  • onofrio

    Good Dan-de-Lion,I would hope that said transmogrification might endow me with a little more of your irenic good sense.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Speaking of the Olympics,… so what is the luge? Is that just going down a hill on a sled? Is that really a sport?… what about snowboarding? Isn’t that just a skateboard on snow? I mean, they’re very impressive, but is it a sport? Maybe it is, I don’t know; it would be nice if the NBC commentators would fill us in a little on all of these mysteries, which they have not…. what about when they go skiing along, and then they stop, and shoot the rifle, and then start skiing some more? Is that a sport? I mean, sure skiing is a sport; but what about shooting the rifle?Couldn’t they do that in any sport? Couldn’t the figure skaters do a triple axle, double cammel, cross-wised snow plow, and then pull out a gun and start shootin’? I’m sure they would be quite dizzy, so it would be a real accomlishment to hit the target…. what about icecream making? couldn’t that be an Olympic winter sport? You have your creativity with the recipe, and you have your everyman-riding-down-the-hill-on-a-sled with the handle-crankin’. And of course the USA would always win the gold medal, because we have the best ice-cream in the whole world.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    During the recent snow storm, the neighbors (grown men of college age) were sliding off the roof of their house and plunging harmlessly into the snowbanks below. People in the neighborhood were enrpatured, taking cell phone pictures and videos; could that be an Olympic Winter sport?

  • onofrio

    Danielinthelionsden,Seems to me like a good use for a snowstorm. One need not Olympicise it to please Zeus with it, methinks.Imagine that: Zeus on a roof, hallooing into a snowdrift, to the tune of a fiddler a la shtetl.Lightning shtick…

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    OnofrioThe other night, you wrote out instructions for the root of all good.It was super imperial.I tried making it in my workshop, but it didn’t come out too well. I think it was my poor craftsmanship.I could see why God created the world flat. In his original design, as a sphere, it kept rolling off the table, so he let all the air out to make it easier to work with.Then, later, after he told Adam and Eve to get their clothes on and get the Hell out of the Garden of Eden, he blew it back to a sphere, and that is why it is round, now.

  • gadstian

    Sally,With all due respect, you have no idea what you are talking about and have obviously never lived abroad and watched Olympic coverage outside the United States.I am a Foreign Service Officer and have been in Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Japan, and Finland during various Olympiads. All nations root and cheer for their “home” team and focus to a tremendous, even exclusive extent upon them. The Olympians are heroes, there are local television spots and ‘slice of life’ vignettes, the press rabidly follows the daily medal count for their country, each and every event (with “home country” participation) is covererd.I would go so far to as to say that in Brazil and Finland, coverage was even more extensive and all-encompassing than in the States, and focused even more narrowly on Brazilian and Finnish athletes.In Finland, when the hockey team plays each and every game, it is the equivelent of the Super Bowl as far as the country “shutting down.” I recall well during Torino the difficulty we had finding results or coverage of certian “big” competetions with well-known Americans because of other competetions involving Finns being on constantly (combined Nordic shooting, etc.). Finnish television (YLE) focuses narrowly on Finland; then the Nordics; then EU athletes. You had to go to an international cable station or NBC on international cable to see more U.S. results. Which, by the way, is fine. YLE is a Finnish network. Globo is Brazilian. NBC is American. Why should they not focus on their home-country men and women? So again, with all due respect: no, you’re wrong, quite wrong. To flesh out your thesis of American narcisissm and exceptionalism, you need to look elsewhere.

  • FarnazMansouri

    DITLD:During the recent snow storm, the neighbors (grown men of college age) were sliding off the roof of their house and plunging harmlessly into the snowbanks below. People in the neighborhood were enrpatured, taking cell phone pictures and videos; could that be an Olympic Winter sport?

  • spidermean2

    It’s amazing how idiots interpret the Bible. Their brain power with regards to analogies like that of the Garden of Eden is soooo poor. What a pity.They don’t realize that it is part of a long drawn prophecy. “Paradise lost”. Does it sound familiar? To give them a clue, it is not lost YET.

  • johnholmes69

    Speaking of the Olympics,… so what is the luge? Is that just going down a hill on a sled? Is that really a sport?… what about snowboarding? Isn’t that just a skateboard on snow? I mean, they’re very impressive, but is it a sport? Maybe it is, I don’t know; it would be nice if the NBC commentators would fill us in a little on all of these mysteries, which they have not…. what about when they go skiing along, and then they stop, and shoot the rifle, and then start skiing some more? Is that a sport? I mean, sure skiing is a sport; but what about shooting the rifle?… what about icecream making? couldn’t that be an Olympic winter sport? You have your creativity with the recipe, and you have your everyman-riding-down-the-hill-on-a-sled with the handle-crankin’. And of course the USA would always win the gold medal, because we have the best ice-cream in the whole world.————————And what about airline food? I mean, have you seen this stuff? Am I right people?

  • corco02az

    Yawn.You need to get out more.Here’s an idea. Pick 3 countries at random that have qualified for the soccer World Cup and visit them this June.If you think between the games there’s going to be touching stories on how the world is coming together or on how the great Fernando supports an orphanage in his home country, you’re completely out of your mind.It’s going to be a panel of middle aged former players berating their own team’s players and coaches for not winning every game 4-0.In every country in the world.And as for those test scores you keep returning to, America has never been at the top of these lists. This is because America has always had a large minority of students who don’t speak English in the home and obviously aren’t going to do as well on a test conducted in English.Looking forward to your column on how we can get those test scores up by cutting off immigration.

  • Schaum

    Farnaz:Schaum has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and is knowledgeable about music, art, and many other things. He also builds harpsichords.”Actually, I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science. My graduate degrees are in education.Silencedogdoo may not know what a harpsichord is. That would not be surprising. He seems a bit vague and underdone….

  • onofrio

    Danielinthelionsden,I do believe you’ve got it, mon frère. Worlds can be whipped up, flattened, fattened again, as you’ve seen. Yet despite our very best efforts, the root of all goodness is devilish tough to tap….yea, even with clear instructions…

  • Schaum

    Silencedogdoo is OFFENDED!

  • dgw1091

    “The conviction that the United States is morally and culturally better than other If proof were offered to support that other nations were also profoundly anti-intellectual because of the belief that their countries were both morally and culturally better than other countries, would you be willing to abandon your position of calling it a “real social disease” and instead call it for what it is- patriotism?I like what I have and where I am. I have a job, I have good family, and I enjoy the weather where I live. I have creature comforts and material possessions, friends and family right here in America. I don’t have these things in Germany, Egypt, or India. I have been to other nations. They do things differently, but not necessarily the wrong way. However, I like the way we do things. This is a symptom of a “real social disease?” This makes me “anti-intellectual?”The other delusion, the shadow of the one that we have nothing to learn from the way other countries do things- is that we have something to learn from them. You ignore that many people that immigrated to America for a significant portion of time came here to escape the oppression of their own countries, or take advantage of the opportunities their own countries wouldn’t give them. Others, particularly European intellectuals, look down on the backwards United States. And why shouldn’t they? We’re just cast-offs and rejects that lucked out.Susan, saying we have something to learn from other countries is code language. It was pushed on me in the heavily multi-cultural public education that I received. And inevitably, all the things we had to learn were socialist or communist in nature. I found that funny; I was being taught in a public school that we should embrace the trappings of socialism, yet on television we watched people from East Berlin crying and cheering because they could finally leave.Comparing our educational statistics to the rest of the world is interesting, but hardly ever provided with context. California used to have one of the best educational systems in the country, but currently rank in the bottom 5 states. No one there except those Jesus-freaks point out that it’s because of the massive amounts of children of illegal aliens that are not encouraged to speak English or learn other skills.Not all other cultures are superior, and not all are equal. So then, which specific cultures are superior to us? They wouldn’t happen to all have a strong socialist leaning to them, would they? If that’s the case, just say so. Own up to what you’re trying to promote, and get to the point- you really would prefer to tax the rich heavily to fund and promote social progress.

  • persiflage

    Spidermean implies that he has read John Milton – something I have grave doubts about. ‘They don’t realize that it is part of a long drawn prophecy. “Paradise lost”. Does it sound familiar? To give them a clue, it is not lost YET.But ignore the brilliant ravings of a god-smacked English poet, and turn instead to our own down-to-earth brilliant transcendentalist and social commentator, Ralph Waldo Emerson – he gives a different and decidedly All-American spin to the idea of paradise regained…..in the real world of here and now.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Spidermean2I had Paradise Lost.Then the other evening, I was reclined on the couch; I was watching the Olympics on TV; it was a large flat screen HDTV; truely, I felt as though I was on those ski slopes; I had all of the benifits of skiing in the Olympics, only I didn’t have to train or be skilled, or go on a plane to Vancouver; all I had to do was just sit there and watch my HDTV. And I thought, the American Olympic team is the best, the very best, and I did’t have to settle for the second best, when I have the best.Then, I reached down behind the couch cushions, and felt something. I pulled it up, and guess what it was?It was PARADISE! I found Paradise Lost. It was down behind the couch cusions, all along. (There was some change down there, too; I sent that to Haiti).

  • Schaum

    Previous post was addressed to Silencedogdoo.

  • persiflage

    ‘…..our own down-to-earth brilliant transcendentalist and social commentator, Ralph Waldo Emerson….’I intended that ‘other’ transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, of course.

  • onofrio

    Persiflage,”But ignore the brilliant ravings of a god-smacked English poet,”In that regard, I concur with William Blake:”The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devils party without knowing it.”

  • bobmoses

    Jacoby has to be one of the least tolerant people I have ever encountered.Jacoby is not religious, so religious people are flawed.Jacoby does not like sports, so people who do like sports are flawed.I hope that Jacoby likes ice cream. I would hate to find out that doing so makes me a bad person.Thanks for that famous liberal “tolerance”.

  • bobmoses

    Most of the America hating liberals here seem to be unaware about the much poorer sportsmanship of their beloved Canadians.The Canadians made no secret of their attempt to “dominate the podium” and even restricted access to certain venues for foreign teams in order to give their athletes the edge.I know liberals hate America, but perhaps they should investigate a little before hurling their screeds.

  • bobmoses

    ” I believe in fighting ignorance and superstition wherever I find it. You provide a fertile battlefield.”No. You believe in demonizing those who dare not share your narrow minded views. I am sure there are plenty in the Klan who think that they are educators too. You are all just intolerant and ignorant bigots.

  • onofrio

    BobMoses,Thee:That implies a very narrow life experience on your part, or perhaps a rich one ill-received and strained through narrow chinks.”Jacoby is not religious, so religious people are flawed.Are you suggesting that religious people and sports fans should only be seen as flawless?Jingoism, chauvinism, and triumphal galumphism are ugly, even in Americans.

  • onofrio

    BobMosesThee, shrill:All bigots? What, then, are you, O Bobby Prophet? The last Good Man?

  • spidermean2

    Schum wrote “I believe in fighting ignorance and superstition wherever I find it. You provide a fertile battlefield.She then gave a long list of books based on ignorance. Ironic, isn’t it?

  • buckminsterj

    “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of mankind is man.”Heresy for an actual pope, of course (or those who would aspire to be). but neoclassical cleverness is lost on people like spider. really more of a medieval sensibility . . .

  • onofrio

    BobMoses,Thee to Schaum:No demonisation, just a sharp rap across the knucklehead.Demonology and the Narrow Way are specialties of Christmongery.

  • onofrio

    BuckminsterJ,Thee, re Spidermean:You slight the Middle Ages! And sensibility, too!

  • buckminsterj

    onofrio, apologies! i try to keep my anti-medievalism from spilling into the public square, but like any reformed bigot, i slip from time to time. stone ages maybe? a slight to our cave-dwelling ancestors? is it possible to compare spider to x without unjustly insulting x? best to just stay away, i guess.

  • spidermean2

    “Paradise lost”. We live in “paradise” now but because of man’s ignorance exemplified by atheistic liberal thinkers, it is about to be lost.In other words, doomsday is coming.The ignorant fools should realize their ignorance and should start thinking when and how Natural Selection started at a time when there were only soil and water or mud. Unless they have a clear answer to this, evolution remains the biggest HOAX in modern history. This type of ignorance is what will destroy almost half of mankind.Stupidity is self-destructive.

  • katem1

    thank you Susan, for an article with insight and self-revelation. If only it would be better received by your countrymen/women. Everything you stated supports the very reasons that your new Prez is so loved by the world- he has a world view, he is a world citizen. Blind arrogant patriotism got you into quagmires like Iraq, and the world watches your country as it seems to be at war with itself. No other western nation lost three national leaders to asassination in a 5 year period last century, no other western nation had domestic terrorist attacks like Oklahoma City, Ruby Ridge, etc…no other western nation has as many citizens dying and going bankrupt from treatable medical conditions. Canada, with it’s banking regulations, has not almost collapsed because of WallStreet. The world watched and acted before the Fed government during Katrina.

  • onofrio

    BuckminsterJ,Thee, re Spider:”a slight to our cave-dwelling ancestors?”I’m afraid so, good Buckminster. I would not wish to foist him even on Neanderthals.

  • spidermean2

    Doomsday is coming and America will remain as the ultimate victor. That’s the prophecy and no idiot can change that.In other words, whatever these atheistic leftists say, America will remain number 1 for more than a thousand years.”God bless America”. What Jacoby don’t know is the fact that that statement is sooooo true.I’m not so sure if God wants Jacoby and her ilk to be part of that new America. The prophecy says that He does not.

  • wturecki

    Great column, Susan. If you want to witness another example of American cultural narcissism try watching a PGA event with or without Tiger participating. Woods could be dead and buried and there would still be an endless ticker tape running at the bottom of the screen monitoring his trials and tribulations in the process of decomposing.

  • gary928

    It’s the Olympics – that means sports, sports, and more sports. That’s what I want when I tune in. Not the rankings of global SAT scores or equivalent. And if I wanted a health care debate, I’d like to see it on the floor of the House or Senate where it belongs. Funny how you used the Olympics to push home your anti-american anti-God points of view. Guilty of the same offense you rail against.

  • clay11

    I know this is a religious column, and therefore you need religious tie-ins, but I find your points on religion to be uneccessary or at least under-developed. The basic point that Americans (or at least NBC) don’t really bother to care about other countries is something I agree with for the most part, but seems to me only loosely connected to your religious examples.

  • Schaum

    BOBMOSES:”I know liberals hate America, but perhaps they should investigate a little before hurling their screeds.”You need anal sex, the feel of a man inside you, worse than anyone I’ve ever met.

  • spidermean2

    Hate for America is what feeds doomsday. As I always say, stupidity is self-destructive and as this hate turns destructive, ironically, the liberal parts of America are the most vulnerable by virtue of their location.Wow. Seems like Jacoby is building her own self-destructive brick tent.

  • Schaum

    Clay11:”I know this is a religious column”Then you know nothing. This is a forum for atheists, not religion. Those who espouse religion — and even the mentally disabled such as Spiderstupid– are free to post, of course, but this is NOT a religious column.

  • mhr614

    Poor Susan! She feels so lonely in a country where most of people are proud to be Americans and who believe, narcissistically to be sure, that their country is Number One. She must miss the days when the Soviet Union vied for that honor competing with athletes who represented a new order built on atheistic sensibilities and bent on demonstrating to the world the superiority of communism. Communism sought to fulfill the promise built not on freedom but a governmental ethos whose goal was state-imposed equality and social order. Susan must gag when she sees and hears Americans, clearly inferior to her, boost their country with the phrase, “God and Country!”

  • Schaum

    Onofrio:”"a slight to our cave-dwelling ancestors?”I’m afraid so, good Buckminster. I would not wish to foist him even on Neanderthals.”Think troglodyte….trog·lo·dyte   [trog-luh-dahyt] Show IPASo many ways to define Spiderstupid!

  • Schaum

    BOBMOSES:”No. You believe in demonizing those who dare not share your narrow minded views.”Ah! You presume to speak for me. How very christer of you.

  • spidermean2

    You guys are becoming funny. You can’t compete using reason so you end up playing with the dictionary.Since you’re at it, find the meaning of Natural Selection and see if it fits or explain how water and soil or mud can turn into brains. Ahh, truly the Age of Unreason. A deluded people. Evolution : What a Hoax.

  • buckminsterj

    “explain how water and soil or mud can turn into brains”by consuming, spidermean. were you never taught that? our public schools fail yet again! a steady diet of mud and soil results in higher brain mass. give it a try, if you don’t believe me!

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    How much does the world (especially France) hate America?A few years ago, I went to France for a vacation. It was the first time I had ever been to a foreign country (except Canada, which doesn’t really count).Since I had taken French in high school and college, one would think I could speak French, wouldn’t one? But it was very difficult trying to understand and reply to people in French. It was probably more tiring than not knowing any French at all.So, I decided to go see a movie, where I could just sit back in a dark movie theater and relax, and listen to spoken French, without struggleng to understand or reply.What do you think happened? I was in Paris, don’t forget, so there were lots and lots of movie theaters. But the only movies that I could find were American movies in the original English. After trying about eight movie theaters, finally, I found one where a real French movie was playing in French.But I was very suprised. How anti-American can these people really be, I thought?America is actually very well-thought-of all over the world. But it is like your mother-in-law, always leaning over your shoulder telling you what to do. Sometimes, you just feel like saying, “Will you just drop dead?” even though you don’t really want her to die.

  • Virginian8

    This is the more ignorant article I have ever read. There are dozens of Olympic events going on at the same time. The networks can only air one at a time per channel, so when an American wins bronze they skip to another American event rather than show the silver and gold rounds. American athletes are primarily amateurs that do not get a lot of airtime. They work their tails off for 4 years to compete. I’d like an American to get their 15 minutes of fame for their efforts than to be politically correct for you. Also, every nation on the planet broadcasts coverage of their own athletes over the athletes of other countries. This is not American narcissism, it’s a worldwide practice. Your America bashing is not only disgusting but it is incredibly uninformed. Susan, never write another article again.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    You can go blind from playing with the dictionary.

  • ThomasBaum

    bobmoses You wrote, “I know liberals hate America”.I have two questions:1. What is a “liberal” in your opinion?2. Have you met every “liberal” that is on the planet?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • JoeMc

    At a time when champion Canadian skaters train in America under a Russian coach, American-born athletes compete for countries they’ve never been to, and the myriad of other cross-nation permutations, viewing the Olympics as an “us versus them” is a fairly quaint notion. Medal counts are almost meaningless, now. It’s better to just enjoy the high level of performance provided by athletes, regardless of where they’re from.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Virginian8Of course, there are so many things going on at the Olympics at the same time, that it would be impossible to show them all on a single network.So, how come, with all this new modern stuff, can’t they give us ALL of the events on SEVERAL different networks? After all, I pay to have several golf channels (which I have never watched, even once) and I pay to have several variations of ESPN, and I pay to have 5 or 6 Christian channels, including a Catholic channel.So, why not, somehow, some way, figure a way to let us see all of the Olympic events, live? We are stuck in yesteryear’s technology and yesteryear’s paradigm. This is the … uh, … this is the … the … you know … the two-thousand-and-tens … is that you we’re calling it? … anyway, it should be do-able, it is just not done.Maybe next time.(If wanting to be innovative and modern makes me an America-hater, then let me condemned for it, for I am guilty!)

  • loved1

    I am not understanding the point of this article. How is rooting for the home team during a sporting event a symbol of our nation’s failure. Are DMVers ignorant because we have local shows that focus on the Redskins and not the Green Bay Packers.

  • permagrin

    I find most amusing the moral superiority of the grammar nazis on message boards. Really folks, your sitting there, reading comments and criticizing grammar. I understand that you are pissed of that no one asked you to the prom, but come on.

  • permagrin

    Susan is spot on. Her observations are in stark contrast to the super duper awesome countries that get pissed off whenever they win and loudly cheer the other team.

  • kert1

    Sooooo, we should be using the Olympics as an opportunity to scold our C level students and find why other countries are better than us. Why didn’t I think of that. It is amazing how people can watch the same thing and come away with a completely different perspective. I’ve been watching the Olympics and NBC seems to split coverage pretty evenly between US and other countries. It highlights the events the US does well in prime time and covers the other events in less watched slots. I don’t really see the problem with this. I’ve always felt that the big draw to the Olympic was seeing your country do well, since many of the events simply aren’t all that compelling to watch regularly. Seriously, does anyone actually complain about the lack of Norwegian skiers in prime time?I certainly would welcome some more controversial pieces in NBC’s coverage, but lets just keep in mind what happened with Tim Tebow’s super bowl commercial. The complaining wouldn’t be worth it and most people watch for the sports. It’s probably better to just leave this stuff in the news.I also think the problems that she discusses are much bigger than she alludes. I doubt Finland has any real solutions to the tough situations in inner city school that we face. From what I see we have some of the Best schools and some of the worst and most of this is by choice. Certainly we need to work for a solution but pretending we are Finland won’t work.

  • rodlang

    Give me a break. Every country roots for their athletes. You don’t think the Canadians are rooting like crazy for their hockey team?? Same with the Russians or the Norwegians in the ski events, the Germans in ski events and bobsled and so on. Damn right I’m pulling for our men and women and proud to do so. I also respect and admire the other athletes but there is nothing wrong with patriotism or pride and pulling for Americans at the Olympics.

  • Schaum

    Permagrin:”Really folks, your sitting there, reading comments and criticizing grammar. I understand that you are pissed of that no one asked you to the prom, but come on.”Correct grammar and language usage are the ways in which we can completely communicate ideas, your lack of interest in which is obvious.

  • ka_albion

    Originally, “The Games” were established as contests among individuals.

  • crue241

    This article pisses me off. I’m sick of hearing it. Now we can’t root for our country in the olympics or we’re arrogant?

  • GuyThompto1

    So you have a very big chip on your shoulder. Leave the Christians alone. It is very clear that you are not an atheist but a statist. Every argument you have points back to how a more socialist nation is superior and that anyone who does not see this is clearly an idiot. There is no argument that would be convincing enough to you that you would be willing to change your position as to the superiority of socialism and how government should be the every-man’s god. This is a religion for you and your defense is dogmatic belief.Don’t tell me you don’t believe in god.

  • Grabski

    Since the Olympics are being held in Canada, would this not have been a perfect opportunity to do a feature on the Canadian health care system to go along with the endless time-filling blurbs on what the American athletes are listening to on their iPods?Excellent suggestion. A good start would be how the Newfie Premier came to FLA for a heart operation he could not get in Canada

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    kert”Sooooo, we should be using the Olympics as an opportunity to scold our C level students and find why other countries are better than us.”Who said any of that? I think the point was about mindless nationalism, and the value of gold medals versus general education as a measure of national pride.I do not think that Susan was scolding children for getting low grades; nor was she scolding television viewers for watching the Olympics; she was being critical of how the Olympics is presented as a matter of national pride, when maybe we might measure our greatness as a nation by other things than these “games.”You got all that didn’t you? You don’t really need me to explain it, do you? This is a bad habit taught by Republicans, deliberately to misread a true intention whenever possible, and then to react with pretentious indignation.How is it possible to argue with insincerity and bad faith?

  • Schaum

    DITLD:”This is a bad habit taught by Republicans, deliberately to misread a true intention whenever possible, and then to react with pretentious indignation.”Speaking of which, whatever happened to TTWYSTed? Did he finally get taken to a rubber room?

  • gheckse

    Ms. Jacoby, Why are you bothering to watch US programing? No doubt you have cable or satellite TV…watch Aljesira, or French or Russian, Venezuela or Chinese coverage. The you can sit back and really enjoy the games from the “proper” perspective. How pathetic you are. USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

  • Schaum

    Guythompto1:”There is no argument that would be convincing enough to you that you would be willing to change your position as to the superiority of socialism and how government should be the every-man’s god. This is a religion for you and your defense is dogmatic belief.”Flummery. Is there an argument convincing enough that you would be willing to change your position?”Don’t tell me you don’t believe in god.”No rational person does. The key word is ‘rational’. Google on it.

  • KatK21

    You are right about how American children do on international tests. So why don’t we give parents the “CHOICE” such as vouchers or having the money follow the student to the school they would like to attend? Oh, but you would be against that because that would mean U.S. teachers would have to produce or lose their jobs. Right now, they just hide behind the teachers unions. It’s a sad day when much inferior countries do so much better in educating their children than we do here.

  • Athena4

    Hmmm…Could Yeal9 be our missing Crossanite, CCNL? Could he be doing what he accuses others of doing – hiding under a new identity? Seriously, get over your nationalism, people. I did when I was in Australia. I found that they knew more about American politics than most Americans did. Even cab drivers asked us about President Obama when they found out we were Americans. I have to agree, NBC’s coverage SUCKS. And the on-demand and on-line coverage is the same commentary-filled garbage as they broadcast. For example, I wanted to see the other British ice dancing pair, who did something from Riverdance. I can’t find a recording of them on any of the on-demand or NBC Olympics sites. Thank you, BBC, for showing everything on YOUR site. NBC = Nothing But Commentaries (or Commercials)

  • Love-em-or-leave-town

    Couldn’t disagree with you more! I’ve stopped watching because they are not covering just the Americans. I don’t care about athletes from other countries. And the reason the U.S. scores lower on standardized tests is because of illegal aliens and African Americans. I say this with no bias whatsoever. Remove these two groups from the equation and WE are far superior and EXCEPTIONAL!!! You Godless, self-loathing miscreant.

  • kert1

    DanielHonestly this piece was pretty poorly written. I have disagreed with Ms. Jacoby before but she generally holds an argument, but this was everywhere. We start with a speech by Scalia that is out of context, and then jump between, Olympics, bad schools, Canadian Health Care, and Socialist countries. I think we all got where she was going but it wasn’t a smooth journey. I did the best I could with the ideas presented and took a little creative license. You might want to take blog post a little less seriously.“This is a bad habit taught by Republicans”

  • Jake43

    “Why, anyone would think that these medals were more important than the performance of American students on international comparison tests of achievement in school.”My guess, Susan, is that if our athletes were trained by unionized progressive bureaucrats, they would be as awful in sports as our kids are in schools.And I forgot how civilized other countries are when it comes to sports such as soccer during the World Cup. No, they never cheer for their own team, do they Susie?”The conviction that the United States is morally and culturally better than otherSorry to break it to you, Susie, we are.

  • Love-em-or-leave-town

    KA_ALBION: That’s because they were all Greeks, moron. We still do this today. It’s called the National Championships.USA! USA! USA! Praise be to Jesus!!!

  • notbuyingit

    This is clearly written by someone in a vacuum. I am currently in Canada, and the Canadian hosts are screaming, at times, when Canada wins. Screaming in the background. And, you can sometimes hear the contempt or frustration when an American wins.Get a clue. A big clue.I am so proud to be an American, and always will be.

  • notbuyingit

    To add to my comment, ALL DAY LONG are interviews and replays of Canadian winners on Canadian TV. ALL DAY LONG. Interviewing the winners, replaying the event, highlighting the Canadian crowds.get a clue

  • StewartIII

    NewsBusters — WaPo’s Jacoby: American Coverage of Olympics ‘Profoundly Anti-Intellectual,’ Proof of America’s ‘Arrogant Provincialism’

  • OklahomaBound

    This Newsweek columnist is just another left-wing America hater which is best expressed when she said, “The conviction that the United States is morally and culturally better than other countries–including other developed democracies–is a real social disease that hurts us more than it does anyone else”. Guess what princess, WE ARE BETTER than any other country in the world and the lefts hate for America and love affair with the socialist countries around the world won’t change that. It is no surprise that the indoctrination our kids receive in public schools includes the same hate for America that this Newsweek writer shows. Our founding fathers and the explorers who helped start this country are now eliminated or demonized in the classroom. Our countries great accomplishments and history is revised by the left to diminish our leading role in the world so patriotism, sovereignty and nationalism can be replaced with The One World Order the left wants so the US can be thrown into the dust bin of forgotten history and replaced with the enlightened world government. Well go F-yourselves, since you hate this country and its Constitution so much get the F*%k out! By the way, I’m sure it is ok for citizens of all those socialized countries you love so much to give more TV coverage for their athletes and to cheer on them on, only we arrogant Americans should refrain from loving our country and the athletes that represent us.

  • canucklehead

    As a Canadian I can confirm that the NBC coverage of the Olympics has been sub-standard. We have 4 networks covering the events all day long so we see almost every event live.

  • Schaum

    Kert1:”this is the best I could come up with. You also might note the tone of sarcasm. Truthfully, I’m not sure what she is really suggesting, since she really didn’t suggest anything.”Lets see…you admit you don’t understand what she said, that she didn’t suggest anything, and you, instead of quoting her words directly to show how MUCH you really don’t understand, have decided to use your own words to paraphrase what you don’t understand.It amazes me how many functionally illiterate people buy computers and insist on invading blogs to explain how much they don’t know.

  • big-pete

    Susan, it must frustrate you to be so brilliant yet remain so unappreciated. I can understand your envy and hatred of those people who strive, overcome, succeed and are (and oh how this must dig) recognized as great. No worries. I’m sure after a few skinny cinnamon dolce lattes you will regain your innate superiority and feel as right as rain again.

  • YEAL9

    NBC spent (overspent, it turns out, since the network says it’s going to lose about $250 million on the show) $820 million for the rights alone. Total coverage cost should go over $1 billion. The network has every right to try to recoup that money by aiming its best stuff at its biggest potential advertising audience. The inordinate amount of American money, relative to every other country, powers spectacular Olympics TV coverage around the world, just as it does original programming in all other facets of television. Without it, or with a lot less of it, the extent and quality of the pictures themselves would be severely diminished across the planet. It’s ironic, but perhaps understandable given the incredible pre-Olympics buildup of Vonn, that the grousing comes during a Winter Olympics that has more live, prime-time coverage in the Eastern and Central time zones, which contain by far the largest chunk of the American (and Canadian) population, than any Winter Olympics in history. In 2014, the Olympics will be in Sochi, Russia, where the sun will go down at 10 a.m. EST. Will people complain that they can’t watch live coverage in Philadelphia at 3 a.m.? And if the grumbling is loud here this year, imagine what it must be in Seattle, which has pulled the fourth-highest Winter Olympics ratings so far, after Milwaukee, Denver, and Salt Lake City. As it is with the Oscars and other awards shows that nobody on the West Coast seems to complain much about, all the prime-time Olympics programming is on tape delay there. “The fact is, our extensive research shows that the West Coast has a love affair with the Olympics,” said NBC spokesman Chris McCloskey from Vancouver, “and also that they want to watch the Olympics when they’re available to watch them, which is when they’re at home, and in prime time.” The research shows that the overwhelming number of Olympics fans elsewhere feel the same way. “

  • kls1

    U-S-A! U-S-A!This is fun. Because everything’s not all roses in this country. It’s a break.This writer seems to be so sure that the U.S. is in fact in a position to consider itself superior that she feels the need to scold those around her, “Now, now, we’re really not the very, very best in the world at everything. Stop that cheering, you sound like you think you’re best. We’re really not so great. Got it?”Thanks, Nurse Ratched.

  • buckminsterj

    “Susan, it must frustrate you to be so brilliant yet remain so unappreciated. I can understand your envy and hatred of those people who strive, overcome, succeed and are (and oh how this must dig) recognized as great. No worries. I’m sure after a few skinny cinnamon dolce lattes you will regain your innate superiority and feel as right as rain again.”bigpete’s reading comprehension is superb! yes, susan’s column clearly reveals her envy of american olympic athletes. an interpretation worthy of kert1! (for those of lesser critical capacity, my comments above are about, oh, i don’t know, the estate tax?)

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Kert1You really think Susan was scolding children for making bad grades?I’m sorry; I just didn’t see that anywhere in her essay. How in the world did you come up with this? It really is true that you hate Susan, no matter what she says, and if she doesn’t say something that you object to, then you just make it up? Why don’t you just be honest and say you hate her and everything that she thinks, before she even thinks it?That’s the truth, isn’t it?You self-righteous, pretentious, snobs make me so mad!

  • silencedogoodreturns

    It amazes me how many functionally illiterate people buy computers and insist on invading blogs to explain how much they don’t know.

  • Schaum

    “Yes, indeed. And you’re a prime example.”Ah, Silencedogdoo returns to shake her little fist in impotent anger! Have another drink Silence…it will help numb the reality of being you.

  • onofrio

    Posted by: Love-em-or-leave-town | February 24, 2010 3:03 PM”USA! USA! USA! Praise be to Jesus!!!”So, a 1st century Aramaic-speaking thaumaturge who preaches solidarity among Jews in preparation for God’s imminent judgement,by and by, millennially, having been apotheosised by his sect a la Caesars and pharaohs,adopts a rapacious Anglophone settler society as his special project, having turned an indulgent blind eye to its foundation on dispossession, Freemasonic deism, Mammon, and imperialistic hubris,then gets all worked up into a holy lather of enthusiasm as reps from his favoured nation scoot milliseconds faster down snowslopes and whirl prettier on skates than others…And this is the Way, the Truth, and the Life?

  • Schaum

    Onofrio:”And this is the Way, the Truth, and the Life?”HAHAHAHHAHAHAH! You are a genius!

  • YEAL9

    Previously noted: “The Winter Olympics have the largest female percentage of viewers of any TV sports event.) Certainly the network covering the Olympics isn’t about to wreck their fun to appease the relative handful of hard-core fans who can watch TV at 2 in the afternoon.” Obviously, Susan J. does not agree with the majority of females.

  • onofrio

    Schaum,re genius:Huzzah! Now I can stand proudly alongside the prodigious Daniel12!;^)

  • deanowade

    Oh, good, just what I was looking for after a hard day at work; a condescending scold for being proud of my country.What pap. I now feel the need to scrub my eyes with a Brillo Pad.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    In her essay, Susan said that she was “captivated by ski jumping, snowboarding and figure skating …”So how come people think she is anti-sportsse?It is amazing that any of us can communicate any thoughts at all, isn’t it, when so many people got from Susan’s essay only what they have read into it, and have not seen at all what she really wrote.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Alot of people who post here about how much they love America are a little confused. What they love is white people and white people stuff. There is a difference between loving America, and loving white people.

  • athuberty

    I just love how she glosses over the ultra-petty-nationalism of the Canadians in insisting on their right to, “Their first gold medal on home soil.” There are many, many nations, who have won many, many gold medals, and will never see one on their home soil, as the IOC would never agree to allow their country to host the Olympics. I guess the Canadian aren’t morally reprehensible for that supreme bit of egotism. Who’d have guessed.What, for example, are the realistic odds of Argentina or Poland securing an Olympics, either Winter or Summer? How about Kenya getting a Summer games? It has 24 gold, 24 silver and 24 bronze medals in its history. And, what about a really controversial country; when will we see the Jo-burg Olympics or the Tel Aviv games?The Canadian provincialism isn’t, at best, despicable, she quietly says. Mispronouncing a Russian name is.

  • djmur2

    Ok this is arguably the most absurd article I’ve ever read. In an article about American narcissism in the WINTER OLYMPICS, we have an author alluding to health care and education. This makes sense.She then goes on to discuss Aksel Svindal, the most notorious downhill skier mentioned in the skiing portion of NBC’s coverage thus far. Perhaps she missed the NBC special on him. Perhaps she confused the “N” in NBC with “Norwegian.”Of course, this is coming from an author who believes that, in NBC’s finite time coverage of the Olympics they can cram the 46th finisher in the Super G into coverage. That’s what people (notice I didn’t say AMERICANS) want to see.Now wait a second. This is probably an American just confirming the belief that we are “culturally and socially’ better. Wait, NO. IM ARGUING WE ARE ATHLETICALLY BETTER BECAUSE IT’S THE OLYMPICS!!!!! Current medal count at the writing of this post: Americans are 7 9 10 (G S B), and leading the medal count.This all coming from an author who claims Canada and Europe have perfectly pronounced all the Olympic athletes’ names correctly. Keep in mind the country and CONTINENT mentioned above represent the majority of languages spoken by the Olympians. And we stand wondering why the WaPo is broke?

  • HelenofSydney

    Reading this from Australia I thought, “what a joke!” As if we’re not rapt in our sports success here as well. We’ve only got 2 medals in the Winter Olympics (not having much snow) and we all went crazy and replayed them over and over on TV. People everywhere are proud of their sportspeople and their country but somehow according to Susan, Americans aren’t allowed to be.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Of the gold, silver, or bronze medal winners, which end up the happiest with their accomplishments?The gold medal winners have a lot of pressure on them to cash in on the award, and live up to a reputation, and to have their lives turn out all happily ever after, but maybe sometimes, it doesn’t work that way.And the silver medal winner lives with the eternal regret that just a little more effort would have won the gold medal.But the bronze medal winners have the feeling of just making it into the inner circle of celebrated medal winners, and afterwards, all that they have to do is tell and retell their story to their children and to their grandchildren.So, it’s the bronze medalists who end up, ultimately, most satisfied.I didn’t make this up, but heard it somewhere. But, it seems possible.

  • Athena4

    Sorry… the interface didn’t put in my sarcasm tags on the previous post.

  • daniel12

    Comments on the Olympics…I love Alpine skiing–especially the Super G and Downhill. Aksel Lund Svindal was fantastic, and his story is even more amazing. He had a terrible crash a few years ago and broke I believe four bones in his face. It took a year for him to recover. But his nerve remained intact. He never let the crash affect him psychologically. That is a man.I also like women’s figure skating. The South Korean woman (Kim Yuna) was the best but the American Rachel Flatt was surprising because although when stationary she appears stocky and not at all elegant she had great artistry in movement which made up a great deal for that. What was incomprehensible in women’s figure skating is how the tall, extraordinarily elegant and sophisticated Japanese woman (Miki Ando) failed in artistry, seeing as she has incomparable natural advantages. I can only conclude Miki Ando’s coach is an idiot. I should have been coaching Miki Ando for the Olympics–virtually anyone could have done better than her present coach.

  • daniel12

    On Kim Yuna of South Korea doing the James Bond thing…did anyone notice that she was wearing an outfit heavily influenced by Gustav Klimt? She not only has great qualities as a skater, someone knew exactly what to do with her what with the Bond theme and the Klimt outfit. Maybe Jacoby has a point out about anti-intellectualism in American life because Yuna presented a terrific opportunity to mention Klimt and give an art lesson to the average American.

  • FarnazMansouri

    I believe they have the internet in Austria.The simple fact is that countries root for their nations’ athletes, some of them with a degree of chauvinism that is scary. That is not the case with the US. France, Belgium, indeed, most of Europe, etc., make us look quite generous as fans.If we want to take up issues in sports, we might consider doing away with team names like “Redskins” which are violent in and of themselves and which promote violence against Native Americans.As for sports and education, the single most important problem is the abuse of student athletes. In both colleges and high schools, there is a tendency (a euphemism) to put athletes’ sports performance way above their academic progress.In addition, many of us would like to see an end to female-only cheer leading, less revealing cheerleader dress, etc.A little less celebritizing of high school and college athletes, less emotional investment from school administrators would be salutary.

  • Schaum

    CounterW(ith)W(hining):At last I understand your name. Unable to counter with logic, reason, or “truth” (whatever that is), you counter with whining. “It is interesting that you put yourself up so high and mighty Schaum. At least you admit that you are a elitist person.”Both statements are false. I have never put myself us as anything. It is true that I do not suffer fools, or whiners, and it is true that I call them out on the superstitions and unproven “beliefs” that they would force on us all, but that does not make me elitist. And I admitted no such thing. I said that “its possible—I’ll think about it.” Evidently there is no more truth in you than there is any ability to use reason.“What I notice from the atheist crowd- and there used to be nice atheists-“More whining. I assume you refer to atheists who were not willing to call you stupid when you believe and say stupid things? Well, times have changed.That seems to make you very defensive and fearful, and whiney. Actually I think you will find most atheists are perfectly willing to let christers and god-believers continue to dwell in the darkness they have imposed on themselves, but are not willing to let them push their superstitions into positions of control over the whole. “You believe anyone that believes differently than you about God , especially Christianity, is , in the words of the “great” Schaum- that he should treat people that are “Christers” with disdain. There is no back and forth here. It is Schaum saying things like -”you lose”- or is he looses? You can’t even use the english language , sir- is it lose or loose?”Speaking of an inability to use the English language! Where did you study grammar – at the Jack-and-Jill Maximum Security Day School? But you are right about one thing – I consistently write ‘lose’ when I mean ‘loose’. However, in this instance, you need to check a dictionary. The word is ‘lose’, as in ‘lose weight’, not ‘loose’, as in ‘loose bowels’.”You really are like a child- and having taken computer classes- I remember the professors that were full of themselves. You could not learn as well from them as the ones that were – patient , kind, forgiving, etc etc. Oh, look at that- its the fruits of the Spirit! The very thing that if mankind listened and adhered to the New Testament, there would be much more peace, tranquility, and all around good in the world.”If mankind adhered to the “new testament”, the human race would already be extinct. Remember your beloved “Saint” Paul – you know, the one who got struck by lightening, and had an electro-convulsively induced hallucination – it was he who suggested that people would be better off not marrying and encumbering themselves with families, because jesusgod was coming right back.

  • Schaum

    CounterWithWhining:How christer of you to rewrite the “new” testament to suit your purposes.

  • Schaum

    CounterWithWhining:How christer of you to rewrite the “new” testament to suit your purposes. Paul said it was, if unavoidable, better to marry than to burn with lust. Paul had many sexual hangups. I think he was gay and tortured about it. But I think the same thing about you. I think that is the source of your anger, which you cannot directly address and express your anger and frustration about. So you transfer your anger to those who expose the emptiness, lies and superstitions of the christer faith. Psychiatrists call this “displacement”, and you are a textbook example, as is Silencedogdoo.How christer of you to speak for other people and their thoughts and ideas. I have never said christers should not be allowed to practice their “faith” or their dark superstitious mysteries until they turn blue. I have the right to expose the christer faith, and christers, for the frauds they are. And I will, all the while acknowledging that christers have the right to think what they want, just as I have the right to oppose their efforts to force their superstitions and untruths on everyone else.As for my move to Austria, I am in Austria at the moment, for a week. Obviously the distance does not prevent me from keeping track of you and your delusions and exposing your BS. So when I move here in August, I’ll still be on the WaPo blogs. So sorry to disappoint. You lose again.

  • Schaum

    CounterWithWhining:Perhaps I can explain it in simple terms you can understand:I don’t hate christers. I love christers. I hate their superstitions, delusions and untruths.Get the picture?

  • Schaum

    Farnaz:”As for sports and education, the single most important problem is the abuse of student athletes. In both colleges and high schools, there is a tendency (a euphemism) to put athletes’ sports performance way above their academic progress.”I was born in an area of the country where it was not a rare practice to hold physically-athletically promising grade schoolers for a year, sometimes two — so that when they got to high school they were ready to play football immediately, and were physically bigger and more developed for the sport. I have not been back there in many years, but it would not be surprised to discover that this practice continues.

  • ThomasBaum

    Schaum You wrote, “”Don’t tell me you don’t believe in god.”No rational person does. The key word is ‘rational’. Google on it.”Why would anyone need to “Google on it” to find out what they believed in?Do you really believe that for someone to be “rational” they have to believe or not believe exactly what you believe or not believe?Is this omniscience on your part or just something to make you feel superior to others with different beliefs or non-beliefs than you have?As I have said before, I used to believe in God until I met God so now I know that God Is.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Arminius

    Hi, Thomas Baum,You made a really decent – and to the point – reply to Schaum, and I am in agreement. I, too,

  • FarnazMansouri

    Schaum,I was born in an area of the country where it was not a rare practice to hold physically-athletically promising grade schoolers for a year, sometimes two — so that when they got to high school they were ready to play football immediately, and were physically bigger and more developed for the sport. I have not been back there in many years, but it would not be surprised to discover that this practice continues.

  • Lawrence_Kelley

    Susan, As Raskol1 has pointed out, the skater’s name has the accent on the first syllable. However, it is actually pronounced PLYUSH-chenka.

  • ThomasBaum

    ArminiusGood to hear from you, hope you’re doing fine.You wrote, “Can it be proved? No.”I have written before and you may have seen it, we can not prove that God Is or there would be absolutely any reason for faith but I have said that God can and does “prove” it at times.You also wrote, “Where is it written that everything must be rational to have meaning?”Actually, some of the most meaningful things in life would not be considered “rational”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • shepardmk

    Forgive my response, but it seems the most appropriate one to this excellent editorial is”Amen”.

Read More Articles

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

shutterstock_186686495
The End of Surveillance for New York Muslims — For Now

How American Muslims modeled the right response to systematic injustice.