Sorry to be talking about the Olympics again, I know it’s pretty much inescapable where ever you go so I’m sorry to be adding to that. Now certain bits of the international media have noticed that we’re exactly in a party mood. I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the numerous stories about what that august body LoCog have decided to ban to prevent any local business actually benefiting from the disruption of the Olympics, in case you’ve missed it here’s a selection.A volunteer produced village news paper for Boxhill has been banned from making and selling a special edition as the road race goes through their village – I don’t believe there’s an official newspaper of the Olympics so what sponsor this hurts who knows. We’re all of us banned from uploading any photo’s or videos of the Olympics anywhere:
“In addition a ticket holder may not license, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the internet more generally.”
I would at this point note that the purely commercial and rather successful Tour De France which has recently finished seems to manage without these restrictions. The appears to be just the tip of an insane iceberg, in fact it’s so bad that the guy that wrote the rules for brand protection says his rules are being abused. Seb Coe has assured us that if we wear the wrong brand of clothing we probably won’t be made to remove it. Probably won’t, not a bet I’d care to make as security are already objecting to T-shirts with weapons on them, so I’m sure the 300 odd brand police won’t be far behind. In fact it seems as though at every turn they’re trying to alienate people from the games and that’s even ignoring the pre-emptive policing. James Higham ascribes it to the peculiar British propensity for sticking to the law, I don’t quite agree – the British aren’t that fixated on the law, it’s just the people who actually want the jobs of enforcing these rules are. It’s the oft mentioned battle between the Cavalier and Puritan factions of the country. The Cavaliers couldn’t even begin to imagine why anyone would be so dour and petty as to enforce the rules in such a way so rarely spot how they might be abused, after all it’s meant to be a party and everyone enjoying themselves. The Puritans on the other hand don’t really like parties and people having fun so are more than unhappy to enforce the very letter of the law. Lets face it there’s a party happening those more inclined to the Cavalier mindset aren’t going to be rushing to go round checking on logo usage or what trainers people are wearing, ah but those puritans they don’t want to party so they’re quite happy to check such things.
The Olympics are the tension between these two factions written large on the world stage:
Cavalier: “Lets host a party for the world!”
Puritan: “OK, but we must make sure it’s done properly with just a few little rules”
C: “Are you sure? Just a few rules?”
P: “Yes just a few to make sure there’s plenty of money for the party”
C: “Oh OK, I’ll let you get on with that then. Paaarrtyyy!”
Then those few rules become an insane list of banned objects that’s more restrictive than any other commercial sports event or even air travel and a set of regulations covering Words and logos so complex it needs two separate flow charts (pages 12 and 24). Those rules which most people wouldn’t even think of writing let alone applying then get enforced with vigour by the Puritans we repeatedly let run things, with so much vigour that they make damn sure that if there really must be a party no-one will enjoy it too much. Now if only our Government would embrace the other side of the Puritan mind set and be careful with money and abhor the spendthrift.
Update Andrew Gilligan provides a comprehensive list of Olympic closures