• The Spanish basketball team photo. Disgusting. Horrible. Here's the thing: Just because something is not deliberately meant to be racist, doesn't make it OK. Racist words and gestures, however innocently meant, carry with them the baggage of deeply ingrained racist attitudes. This is why Americans care so much about words and gestures, and sometimes get mocked by others as "PC" for it. Reminds me of an experience I had in Paris where I had to try to explain to a French guy I knew why pulling back the corners of his eyes and mimicking buckteeth to imitate someone Asian was incredibly offensive. This was in 1994. Have racial attitudes in Europe really not advanced at all in 14 years?
• Gymnast Chellsie Memmel competed on a broken ankle in the team final (shown last night). She broke it last week but "did not divulge"--to the media, anyway, since presumably her coaches and teammates knew. Scariest quote:
“I was completely fine with it because at the ’06 worlds she finished with her shoulder completely torn,” Jeanelle Memmel said of her daughter competing on a broken ankle. “That’s just what she does for the team. A little broken ankle wasn’t going to stop her. This is the Olympics. She could have done more if the team had asked her.”
• And in other news of much less importance, here's some feedback I emailed last night to NBC in extreme annoyance. If you agree, you should email too, and maybe someone will put a muzzle on Hicks:
Re: Olympic swimming coverage
I've really enjoyed the swimming coverage so far [always lead with something positive, that's my motto], but have been bothered by the commentators' (especially Dan Hicks) consistently talking over the start of every race. It's not only distracting, it's disrespectful to the athletes and to the importance and gravity of every start. Please consider having the commentators stay silent for the two to three seconds it takes for the swimmers to take their marks and dive into the water.
[name, email, city]