The thrill of victory, the agony of "Olympic Moments"
I didn't expect much from NBC's prime-time Olympics coverage, but Jesus, it's bad.
Forget the all-America, all the time, which is only to be expected. Forget the fact that only the sports that have prominent American contenders get much attention. It's the reporting and commentary that's making me sick.
I don't watch the Olympics on TV to hear for the 12th time about Michael Phelps growing up with a single mother and a driven coach. I buy trashy magazines to learn that kind of stuff. I want to see the games. (I don't watch football on TV to learn about Brett Favre's emotional unretirement; I want to see him throw the ball. And if they interrupted the game to give me an "NFL moment" I'd stop watching altogether.)
There are hundreds of events going on, and with the tape delay, we could see all kinds of stuff. The network could be switching from swimming to gymnastics to boxing to swimming ... but no: more than half the prime-time show is devoted to truly awful little video clips about the lives of the players, or the age of the Chinese gymnasts (now there's a hot new story) or someone's personal tragedy.
Folks: I don't care. Like most of us, I want to watch sports. Save your trashy specials for 60 Minutes.
And the comments, overall, are just horrifying. Did you know that the Romanian women's gymnastics team just isn't the same now that they don't brutally abuse the children? I mean, look at those errors, that sloppy attitude! The athletes were actually smiling and talking to each other before they took the balance beam, and when one woman fell, she still got a hug from her coach. Back in the days of Nadia Comaneci, that would never have happened. Tragedy what's happened to that team.
(I'll give Bob Costas a break if you get an interview with the president of the United States, you break away from the gym to air it. And he actually asked some professional questions. But watching Bush there, grinning like some kind of nervous idiot with a caffeine twitch, was so creepy it was almost unbearable.)
IN OTHER NEWS: Police Commission member David Campos is making a big stink about Mayor Gavin Newsom's willingness to violate the Sanctuary City law. His point: if immigrants won't contact the police for fear of getting deported, the cops can't do their jobs. That, by the way, was one of the reasons San Francisco became a sanctuary city. He's asking for a special hearing on this, and I hope it leads the commission to stand up to the mayor and say that it's more important for SF cops to be able to work with immigrant communities than for Newsom to look tough on immigrants in his campaign for governor.
The Democratic County Central Committee is preparing to endorse candidates for supervisor, but so far, there's little indication the panel will adopt ranked-choice voting recommendations. In District 9, that seems a shame there are three good candidates (Campos, Mark Sanchez and Eric Quezada), and two (Quezada and Campos) are Democrats. Voters can choose up to three candidates in ranked order; the DCCC ought to consider doing the same.