A poor Olympic message
We recommend an article in the Saturday, Feb. 1, issue of the Wall Street Journal by the assistant books editor, Sohrab Ahmari.
It takes on the Sochi Olympics through the eyes of Arthur Koestler and his 1941 novel, “Darkness at Noon.” Ahmari reminds us that the Olympics, this orgy of brotherhood and goodwill (perhaps), is being held in a nation that was once, in his words, “at the center of a totalitarian empire straddling two continents that Russian communists introduced the term Gulag to the political vocabulary of mankind.”
And of course he needn’t remind us that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s charming president, would, if he could, put all gay people into Gulags.
The whole idea of the Olympics, it seems to us, is to be embraceable, to be welcoming to everyone, to show that brotherhood/sisterhood is possible.
But the Olympics are a farce and were so even before Hitler tried to use them as a way to show how masterful was his Master Race. Jesse Owens took care of that.
Today they seem to be more of a way for cities to make, or at least to hope to make, scads of money but it usually doesn’t happen that way, which is why we hope that Boston never tries to get them or, if the city tries, it usually fails. Montreal is still paying the bills from its 1976 summer Olympics.
The point here is that we recommend to you Ahmari’s article as a reminder of what Russia was and, if you ask us, still is, especially if you’re gay.
And we strongly recommend Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon.” It is full of anti-Communist propaganda, of course, and sometimes it’s over the top.
But it is a book that makes one think. And one of the things we should be thinking about is why we hold celebrations of brotherhood and goodwill in places where brotherhood and goodwill are hard to find.