High School English with a Twist

The musings of Susan E dot Cohen

Month: February, 2013

Will the Olympics just be an X Games with Golf?

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Ice fishing wants in. Wrestling is being phased out. Softball was eliminated four years ago. Golf is in for 2016. Wakeboarding and climbing are possible contenders for 2020. The reason for these and other Olympic additions and subtractions comes down to viewers. The IOC believes that in order to keep and attract more viewers they have to stay current by adding “cooler” sports. However, the IOC’s decision to eliminate wrestling and its questioning whether other sports deserve to participate, demonstrates the organization’s lack of consideration for the tradition and history of the Games. Tradition and history are at the core of the Games. Without them, there is nothing.

Perhaps the IOC and its vision is not the only reason for change. Sports are lobbying to be admitted to future Olympics and when they lobby, the IOC sees another opportunity to mix things up and get more viewers. For sports that want entry, why? Do they see obtaining a place in the Olympics as recognition that the sport exists? Are there not honors and prestige outside of the Games? Will the Iditarod not be prestigious without an Olympic medal at the endEventually will the Olympics just be an X Games with golf? This is coming from someone who truly believes in and loves the Olympics. I am all for the IOC considering sports that are owed their due, but not when it comes at such a high price to other sports.

So what happens from here? I have no answers, but I hope that the IOC considers tradition over modernity.  Maybe the IOC should consider marketing classicism as the ultimate Olympic brand. They have the chance to reinvigorate what already exists through how they use the media. A campaign like this would attract younger athletes and viewers to sports like wrestling. For sports that cannot get in, let us give them their due on national television, in The Times, and by encouraging young athletes to pursue these sports Olympic medal or not. As a society, we must recognize that just because a sport is not in the Olympics, does not mean that it is less of a sport. Being the best is the best whether there is a an Olympic medal or a World medal on the line.

The truth is that not every sport can be in the Olympics and priority must be given to those already in the Games. The IOC needs to realize this or the essence of the Olympics will be lost. I hope they get the message.

Addendum to Susan is Behind the Times

After some thought, I am questioning whether “behind the times” is the right phrase to explain my relationship with popular culture. I think in place of this phrase, I shall use the word selective.

I am selective as to how I spend my time and as a result, I am not always going to be in the know. If I choose or do not have time to read certain sections of The TimesNY Mag and other media outlets, I will miss information.  If I do not sit on Facebook or Twitter in the middle of the day, I will miss that information again. If I have limited reading and social media time, I then would need someone to send me the pop cultural news of the day over Gchat or in an email. If no one sends me the information, I miss another opportunity to be enlightened pop culturally.

My so called problem is not a problem at all. The problem I thought I had was really just a matter of how I – and those who would send me the articles – spend time on a given day. Being pop culturally knowledgeable is a time commitment.  For some, this is directly related to their work and therefore, they will be in the know because they are required to.

I would like to think someday my job will require me to be in the know, but for now, the amount of time I spend reading about pop culture is directly tied to how much I know and the speed at which I achieve this status. Simple as that.

So, the next time I feel “behind the times,” I am just going to stop my work and take a pop cultural break.

Susan is Behind the Times

Proud to be ahead of the curve when it comes to Kim.

Proud to be ahead of the curve when it comes to Kim.

As evidenced by a piece I wrote on grammar, it is not unusual for me to be behind the times. If you did not read that piece, I will give a short recap. I did not know that you are contracts to you’re. I used your for both you are and your. I shared this moment of self-grammatical-discovery in a light, humorous manner even though I am still slightly embarrassed for myself. With this background, let me explain my behind the times problem, which extends beyond being centuries behind in grammar.

I am behind the times when it comes to popular culture.

  • I had no clue what Homeland was until the first season was out on DVD and did not start watching until last November.
  • Even though my entire family watches Downton Abbey, I had no idea the show existed for 1.5 season. I have yet to watch it.
  • Instagram was well on its way before I joined.
  • I did not read Vogue cover to cover until four weeks ago.
  • I still do not understand Beyonce’s appeal.
  • I started watching House of Cards before most, but I had no idea that there was so much buzz swirling around this series.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. I could name trends, websites, songs, movies, books, and restaurants that I discovered long after people were wearing the jeans, singing the lyrics, and raving about the food.  What makes this so difficult for me to accept is that I consider myself in the know. I have been reading the New York Post since adolescence and attended Barnard. However, in spite of my reading and my education, I remain behind. I am clearly not reading the right sources while procrastinating.

I feel this is something that must be rectified. The question is how? Is the answer reading more of New York Magazine and less New York Times?  Watching more E! News and less national news? Should I be watching Kathie Lee & Hoda? Do I need a high school student to catch me up? All I can say is that at least I am ahead of the curve when it comes to Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Kim Kardashian. That is something I am very proud of and would not trade for perfect syntax, the latest jeans, and the ability to sing Rihanna songs.