Monday, April 07, 2008

Idle threat of the week

It's a little known fact -- and by "little known," I mean I didn't know it -- that the idea of the Olympic Flame's Olympia-to-the-Olympic-venue relay was introduced by Joseph Goebbels, the club-footed propagandist of the Third Reich.

Despite its Nazi beginnings, the torch relay has become a beloved part of Olympic pageantry. And by "beloved" I mean I'm sure someone somewhere loves it.

The whole point is the flame has to remain burning as it travels the world. Which makes yesterday the darkest day in Olympic Torch history, as Dali Lama-loving Parisian protesters knocked the flame out at least three times during its tour of The City of Light.

Not being able to take Paris is an ominous sign for any chemical oxidation, and one can only imagine how many times the flame will be extinguished as it enters into cities which have proven themselves less accommodating to outside intruders. Making Joseph Goebbels' dream of an everlasting flame uniting the nations of the Olympiad the Idle Threat of the Week for March 31st to April 6th.

The only way China can salvage this Olympic torch debacle is to have the Lama himself be the secret final carrier, and declare loyalty to the Chinese government as he lights the Olympic cauldron. Which would be a propaganda coup right in line with the ceremony's super-sketchy origins.

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