With the Opening Ceremony of the much hyped London 2012 Olympic games just a day away, I can’t help but look at the Olympic Torch relay in wonder.
Not because I find it interesting, but because I don’t. Actually I can’t think of anything more moronic or pointless.
The torch carries the ‘Olympic Flame’, which is supposed to commemorate the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus. For any sensible monotheists or atheists out there, we all recognise that as mythological bollocks. So just off the bat, we can see the fundamental premise of the symbolism is based on something made up.
Secondly, this habit of dragging a torch around in the run up to the Olympics is not a tradition that runs back centuries. The ancient Greeks certainly didn’t do it, and it actually started in Germany in 1936. There are plenty of worthless ‘traditions’ that are perpetuated simply on the grounds that it’s been done for x-hundred years, but this isn’t one of them.
Then, we take a stark look at what people are actually doing. They’re carrying a lump of metal, based on a stupid fairytale, around the country. The people that do this are ostensibly intelligent celebrities, public figures, role models, or others who are utterly humbled for the honour of participating in this bizarrely illogical procession.
Are these torches ancient artefacts that are only made visible to the public once every four years? No, they’re bespoke, modern creations, manufactured in the present day at great cost, and entirely as a PR exercise. It’s a dull, dreary, evident advert for the fact the Olympics is coming soon – as if we could possibly have escaped that fact in the seven years since London won the bid.
Finally, we look at the ‘Great British Public’ – a veritable legion of hapless automatons who actually turn out in their hundreds and thousands to spectate the lump of metal being carried around. Traffic piles up, those commuting to work suffer misery, people trying to go about their daily lives find roads closed or thronged with people that don’t need to be there. All of this, so they can watch a trumped-up advert go past.
The real lucky ones are those who get to keep their copy of the torch – they go for a pretty penny on eBay, capitalising utterly on the manufactured worth of the whole artificial spectacle.