Am I the only one who feels a social responsibility to watch the Winter Olympics? Figure skating is cheesy, speed skating is boring and looking at all that snow makes my seasonal depression flair up. Every time I turn on the television to watch the news (The Bachelor) and change the channel to something NOT Olympic related, I feel a strange pang of guilt. Are the Olympics provoking shame as their marketing tactic?
Don’t get me wrong! I’m as much “Go World!” as the next person, and I appreciate sheer athleticism and raw competition. It just seems to me the 2010 Winter Olympics are doing nothing to excite and inspire me. They just aren’t Olympic-y enough. Even the humanitarian stories, like the figure skater who broke her ankle this year and still managed to compete, don’t make me feel like the athletes are, well…human.
On the other hand, we don’t want to watch humans, and this says a lot about what Americans are used to being being entertained with. We want freaks of nature, whose skill will scare you. We want to hear about the baby abandoned at birth found feeding off garbage until he was discovered by a recruiter to be the world’s fastest downhill skier. We want bigger, better and more shocking.
Rapid growing technology allows us to get what we want, how we want it – and we want it NOW. We want the MOST drama with the BIGGEST surprises the most DARING heroes. And at the end of the day, we want to know that they are still human. When it comes to capturing an audience you need to GRAB their attention by being “other worldly” then quickly say “I’m just like you.”
For now, while you’re in the room, I’ll force myself to keep downhill mogul skiing on. But once you leave it’s back to watching Simon Cowell humiliate American talents who are just.like.me.