27 April 2008

Doing God

I ask my martial arts pals if they spot any actual skill or menace from the Chinese thugs in blue 'escorting' the flame under their guise as the 'Olympic Holy Flame Protection Unit'.

Does not the sight of these goons banish once and for all the idea that the Olympic Games are not ‘political’?

Since the Olympic Games do not do God either, the idea that the flame is ‘holy’ is also rather rich, especially coming from China.

The ancient Greeks did god in a big way at the Olympic Games, since the Games were held in honour of Zeus, god of Olympus (not that Mount Olympus was anywhere near the site).

Zeus, having come to power by destroying all his rivals (including his father Cronus), was thought of as being especially keen on humans doing the same in the ‘purest’ of all arenas.

The image of Zeus in Olympia, thunderbolt in each hand, terrified the participants into keeping it clean.

The ancient Olympic Games were not ‘political’ for two reasons:

  1. Cities did not compete to stage them in an effort to showcase what wonderful go-ahead investment opportunities they offered.
  2. The Games were held at the same place every four years, the site of the far-away sanctuary to Zeus Olympios in the north-west Peloponnese, where basically nothing else happened.

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