McLympics 2012

(Apologies for no science – normal service will resume shortly. Spleen needed venting)

To be fair, I should have caught the early warning signs when they released the official mascots. Stopcock and Vaudeville or whatever the hell they’re called. The most uninspiring, crappy, and useless mascots I’ve ever seen for anything. Primary schools around the country have done better jobs of creating engaging corporate personalities. The tragedy here is that one of the UK’s most successful cultural exports over the decades has been cartoons and characters.

And of course, we can’t forget the logo fiasco. The day it was published hosted two things that have stayed with me.  First, they Photoshopped a new logo in a goatse* theme which not only looked better than the official one, but even got onto the BBC as a ‘replacement submission from a child’.

The second thing they did is point out how much the official logo looks like Lisa Simpson giving head.  I literally have not been able to look at the logo once since that point without seeing it that way. So now you can all share that joy with me (assuming you weren’t already).

In fact, the first clue should have been when the highlight of the London presentation at the Beijing closing ceremony was a professional footballer – considering the olympics is an amateur competition.

That all should have been enough of a warning.

However, I can be an ignorant soul at times, and when I caught a whiff of the news that the esteemed institution at which I work was going to become an olympic village to host the rowers and flat-water kayakers, I was even a little bit excited. I’m a gullible fool.

Serious question – when was the last time you heard anyone talk about the olympics in terms of actual sport? The entire thing appears to have become a massive corporate carnival of crap. I know 4 people who were nominated as torch-bearers in the ongoing marathon around the country. The torch relay itself is a lovely idea, as is the idea that it gets within range of so much of the population. What is less great is that the procession basically consists of a whole load of huge buses with corporate advertising on, one person going along with a torch, then another queue of advertising buses. With a load of tannoy broadcasts trying to get people ‘excited’. Oh, and why in buggeration did Will.I.Am get a go on it? He doesn’t strike me as a Somerset local, so I can only presume that his sponsors couldn’t find a single other appropriate member of the UK population. Either that, or it’s a massive advertising scheme dressed up as a relay…

But that’s just endemic of a whole corporate whoring extravaganza. Have you read about the brand exclusion zones around all the sports areas? Presumably you also already know that the only branded food being sold inside the olympic parks are McDonalds, Coca Cola and Cadbury’s Chocolate?

But it’s not even just the companies. The branding madness goes far further. A quick peruse of the official branding document makes it eminently clear that the phrase ‘summer 2012’ is a protected term.  Which presumably is why it hasn’t bothered turning up here in the UK.

Not content with ruining our weather, they’ve gone to all sorts of extraordinary lengths to be a bunch of dicks about it. How about the town that was forced to rename an annual musical olympics? And of course the O2 Arena can’t possibly be allowed. They even consider puns fair game for censure – the idea to call a hog roast the the ‘Olympig’ was inspired.

I’m also really looking forward to seeing how their policing of this little gem will go down.  No photos or video footage to be taken inside the stadia.

There were some genuinely good ideas for some of the celebrations, but even these seem to get stymied. My favourite (and the only one I might have had any real interest in going to see) was the sailing of a trireme down the Thames. That got booted from the schedule just a couple of months ago.

Between all of that, the missiles, olympic lanes, ticket sales debacle, cost, and nonsense, I’ve had about enough.

I’m not even going to go into the massive ballache that working on campus has become now that LOCOG have got their greasy mitts (barriers, fences, patrols, security checkpoints, no-go-areas, et al.) all over it. Suffice to say remote desktopping and mobile phones are a wonderful thing. I certainly have no intention of struggling my way in and trying to find anywhere to park so I can come and watch the Coca Cola bus queue come past for the torch relay next week.

So apart from a bit of a whinge, what was the point of this post? Basically to voice my considered opinion that this Olympics is nothing but a huge misadventure in corporate douchebaggery. “The People’s Games” my arse.

Not once in this article have I mentioned sport, which at least puts me on a par with the way the entire event seems to have been organised. To close, I have only one thing to say, and I don’t *think* the following falls foul of the branding document:

“2012 sucks”.

* Do NOT google what goatse is if you don’t already know. Have a look at the wiki if you must, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Suffice to say it is a horrific image which made something of a meme of itself over 10 years ago


About Pete Rowley

Earth Scientist with a background in volcanology and sedimentology. Enjoys a good rant, beer, and games. Dislikes reality TV, crowds, and unreasonable people.
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One Response to McLympics 2012

  1. I guess them idi*t want me to rename the conference I am organizing, too. It’s DigitalFossil 2012 – uh-oh! 2012! They got me…


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