February 21, 2014

Call Off The Wild.

Crying wolf was crying wolf.

The reason I put this up without an I'm skeptical tag is that a U.S. Olympic Team member put her name on it. America's team as a group would not pull a prank that disrespects the host country, and I would have thought that individual team members would be under some sort of ethical constraint not to appropriate the group's reputation to do something like this. I expressed that opinion to Meade just now, and he said athletes aren't that good.

ADDED: Scrolling through my recent "I'm skeptical" posts, I think that I see that I'm most skeptical of artists — the small-penis movie, the Ai Weiwei vase-breaking. I'm also skeptical of scientific studies and politicians. As for lawyers and judges... and journalists, I don't trust anyone whose milieu is words.

But I guess I had some credulity about athletes, some desire to see them as embodying an ideal of honor. Especially Olympic athletes. Ceremony, loftiness, deep dedication — that's the stock in trade of the telecast of The Games. If I'm not falling for that fantasy, why am I watching? Especially luge.

31 comments:

MayBee said...

It's better and more respectful as a prank than as a real posting with that hashtag.

The Drill SGT said...

"athletes aren't that good."

fixed

athletes aren't that smart

Ann Althouse said...

I would have thought the U.S. team would enforce discipline about things athletes can do that disrespect the host country or that collude with entertainment media.

Why is one team member able to appropriate the reputation of the team and boost her profile on line and on American TV? It seems like she stood on the shoulders of scores of dutiful, respectful teammates.

Bob Ellison said...

I only watch the curling.

MayBee said...

I don't think it's disrespectful, because it's part of a joke. She wasn't doing it to generate buzz for herself, as the other examples Althouse gave did.

In part, it is making fun of how much hyper-ventilating Americans have been doing over the "failures" of Sochi. I think Russians can understand that.

Michael said...

Why would the presence of a wolf "disrespect" a country? Are there no wolves near the Olympic city? In Russia?

Russians have a sense of humor, why would you disrespect them for thinking they would be offended?

Micro-sensitivity, academic deconstruction.

Ann Althouse said...

"She wasn't doing it to generate buzz for herself…"

She wasn't?

Did you click through to the USA Today article, the one that begins "U.S. luge star Kate Hansen…."?

Luge star?

Mary Beth said...

“Honestly, there was a little more backlash than I thought there’d be,” Hansen said. And then later in the interview: “Security started freaking out, because technically there was a breach. You know, athlete safety. It kind of went a little crazy over here.”

She sounds like a twit.

Ann Althouse said...

@Michael You've got to be kidding. I don't want to fall for another hoax by responding to your question as if you are serious, but Hansen put this up as part of the flood of #SochiProblems material that has been all about what a crappy job the host country is doing. It's been fault-finding since before the Games began.

I guess those glasses of urine-colored water and man trapped in a bathroom and so forth might all be hoaxes too. How would you like it if you had guests who put up photos and videos of what they said they found in your house? Even if it's not a hoax, it's disrespectful.

Ann Althouse said...

@Mary Beth Yes, she appropriated the time of the security professionals on the scene. That endangers other people and steals resources.

Kimmel's show ought to have to pay damages. They raked in their publicity at the expense of people who must actually worry about the athletes' safety.

Meade said...

Careful -- Bob Costas's rose-coloured glasses might be contaminated.

chickenlittle said...

"The bigger the Lüge, the more it will be believed."

The Russians know that saying.

Bob Ellison said...

That would be an interesting court case. The IOC v. Jimmy Kimmel. It might play well in The Hague.

Michael said...

I believe the #SochiProblems was responding to her post. I dont read the article as saying she posted as a part of that "flood" or intended to contribute a drop to it.

MayBee said...

The video was labeled #SochiFail, which I objected to. It is better that was not real.

Yes, she didn't do it to generate buzz for herself- it was Kimmel who created the prank to generate buzz for himself.
And yes, people who create hoaxes need to remember their joke may have consequences.

BUT our government and media created a disaster buzz around Sochi which was more harmful than this hoax. There was going to be terrorism! There is a war nearby! They hate gays!

Illuninati said...

Althouse said:
" America's team as a group would not pull a prank that disrespects the host country, and I would have thought that individual team members would be under some sort of ethical constraint not to appropriate the group's reputation to do something like this."

They wouldn't?

Biff said...

The big tipoff for me (aside from the robustness of the dog) was that the athlete in question was Kate Hansen. Hansen had already become a minor celebrity due to videos of her practice of dancing during warmup exercises going viral. As soon as I heard that she was the athlete in the "wolf" video, out of all the athletes on the team, I suspected that the video was an ad campaign.

As for Olympic Teams/Committees enforcing discipline, I think their power isn't nearly what it used to be. The Olympics have become little more than marketing opportunities, and star athletes are the biggest draw. What power does an Olympic team truly have over athletes who, even in minor sports, are no longer amateurs, but can make a reasonable income through professional sponsorships? What 21 year old semi-celebrity is going to find the Olympic Committee more compelling (and better for her long term career prospects) than the super-hip Jimmy Kimmel?

Throw in the occasional doping scandal and figure skating judging scandal, and what you have is farce. We live in a time where a social media savvy, 21 year old member of the luge team is bigger than the Olympics.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Was the host country being punked?

Jimmy Kimmel is on ABC. The Oympics are on NBC. Jimmy Fallon is trying to use the Olympics to promote his new Tonight Show gig on NBC.

Well played, Jimmy.

Ann Althouse said...

"Jimmy Kimmel is on ABC. The Oympics are on NBC. Jimmy Fallon is trying to use the Olympics to promote his new Tonight Show gig on NBC."

Too many Jimmys.

When it's all pranks-and-social-media all the time, no one will want to watch anything. But meantime the Jimmys will jape I'm the Jimmy.

Putting the meeee in Jimmeeee.

Hagar said...

Well, I was right about it being a wolf-dog hybrid - and an American one at that.

And it was not wearing a collar.

Ann Althouse said...

Do you put on your jimjams and watch the Jimmys?

Or do you go to bed naked and early and figure if the Jimmys do anything truly good it will be streamable on-line tomorrow?

Hagar said...

And the yellow water is real - at least somewhere.
Bob Gates complains in his memoir that he got his white hair stained yellow from the shower in his hotel once, when he went to Russia to see Putin, and it might have been Sochi - Putin has a dacha near there.
(Gates did not index it, and I am not going to re-read the whole thing to find it again.)

David said...

Althouse commenters were on to this. Sometimes a dog is just a dog.

William said...

She's literally the girl who cried wolf. It would be ironic beyond measure if, on a trip to the Australian outback, a pack of wild dingo dogs ate her child and she was subsequently imprisoned for murder because no one believed her story. The chances of that happening, however, are somewhat remote. There's very little justice in the world. She's now the most famous luge player of all time. Hard working, decent luge artists will be ignored in favor of her.

Trashhauler said...

"[S]ome desire to see them as embodying an ideal of honor. Especially Olympic athletes. Ceremony, loftiness, deep dedication."

And belief in all of this is undone because of a joke? Can't they do all that and be human, too?

I don't watch the Olympics because none of the sports appeal to me. But it's always nice to see that any particular set of "heroes" can also be human.

This reminds me of standing in formation at the regular Saturday parade for the tourists at the Air Force Academy. An always popular attraction, with 4,000 cadets in white hats and rifles on a broad grassy field under the gleaming sun. From a distance, the spectators could not hear the jokes and nonsense taking place in ranks while broiling under the sun, waiting for the command, "Pass in review." Which command was repeated sotto voce by scores of cadets as "Piss in your shoe." So much for honor and tradition, and heroic dedication.

mgarbowski said...

Truly inspired hoaxes are very rare. Most, like this one, just reveal the perpetrators to be jerks twice over. Once for lying, second time for expecting to be called clever.

William said...

I think this is closer to a prank than a hoax. Awarding that gold medal to the Russian who fell on her ass, now that's a hoax.

William said...

The luge contestants hurtle downhill at the fastest pace possible. The winner thereby has a micron less obscurity for a nanosecond than the loser. The luge contestants are just filler. The real stars are the women figure skaters. The figure skaters are to the Olympics as Jennifer Lawrence is to the Hunger Games. It cheapens the Olympics when a lugarette gains such publicity. She doesn't know her place.

ken in sc said...

As an OTS graduate, I did not know the 'Piss in your shoe' thing. But I did have to stand in the sun on Sat mornings waiting for the adjutant to call the band to play "On Parade." And 'Pass in Review'. O yeah, I remember the echo thing, Wing, Squadron, Flight, right turn harch!

Ann Althouse said...

"I think this is closer to a prank than a hoax. Awarding that gold medal to the Russian who fell on her ass, now that's a hoax."

I think you're mixing up 2 different Russians.

The female skater who won clearly deserved it.

Trashhauler said...

"Wing, Squadron, Flight, right turn harch!"

Oh yeah. Ain't nothing better than marching to John Philips Sousa on a bright Saturday morning. Especially with a hang over.

Funny story for any who ever stood in the ranks:

One Saturday in 1970 or 71, a half dozen or so protestors broke out of the audience bleachers with some crazy idea of disrupting the marching squadrons and grabbing the squadron colors. A couple were even waiving the North Vietnam flag. They apparently did not understand the energy that builds up when you require young men to stand motionless for an hour or so under a hot sun. I still recall the squadron command momentarily marching backwards to give the order, "Steady in ranks," for all the world like he was telling a hundred growling mastiffs to heel.

Each of the protestors disappeared in a small swirl within the targeted squadrons of rifle-carrying cadets and each squadron marched on without breaking step. Leaving protestors lying on the ground to be marched over by the following squadrons. We only saw that tried once.