Opinion » The Rant

The Rant

WInter blues, Winter Olympics in Sochi, and Vladimir Putin

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I don't get the winter blues like some people do this time of year — even this year, which has to have broken some kind of record for the coldest winter here, nationally, and internationally, for all time to infinity.

So it's not that. The only kind of depression from which I suffer is conditional, like when I see Marie Osmond on those weight-loss commercials and she is just so horrifying I can't watch. It doesn't bother me that I'm middle-aged and bald. I got used to that long ago, and who the hell cares anyway? So I'm just wondering if there's anyone else out there who couldn't care less about the current Winter Olympics.

I used to love the Olympics. Loved keeping up with my favorite athletes, finding out more about the city where the Olympics were taking place, and watching the news coverage. This time around, though, I just have zero interest. Zilch.

I think it's because Vladimir Putin is the one masterminding the Olympics and, well, he creeps me out. As does Sochi's mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov, who told a BBC reporter that there were no gay citizens in his city of almost half a million people, despite the fact that said reporter had just come from interviewing a female impersonator at a Sochi gay bar. I mean, it's one thing to be anti-gay, but to also be stupid enough to say something like that to a reporter during the Winter Olympics while he is in the city? It just, well, makes you look like an ass, Anatoly Pakhomov. It's not bad enough that people have to walk around looking over their shoulders for suicide bombers; now they have to worry about what's going to come out of your mouth next.

But back to the Russian president who, for whatever reason, takes it upon himself to pose for photos without a shirt on, often holding things like guns or fishing rods and sometimes feeding his horses and kissing live fish. Too bad there aren't Olympic categories for that. You would think that, having spent more money on any Olympic games in history, he would have rigged something up to win himself a medal.

But I'm glad Vlad is the way he is about gays. Sometimes it takes someone who's that over-the-top to make people who wouldn't normally think twice about it, think twice about it. I just read a column by a blogger who used to write anti-gay-marriage articles, but has stopped because of Putin. (Okay, this is where I just can't help myself. Yes, a blogger stopped writing anti-gay marriage articles because of Putin. I guess she just couldn't stand the smell that was coming out of her. Putin. Ha Ha. I wonder if Russia is always so short on toilet paper because of Putin, because you know what usually follows Putin. I am dying to see a newspaper headline that reads: "TOILETS MALFUNCTION AT WINTER OLYMPICS BECAUSE OF PUTIN." Or: "PUTIN BLAMED FOR SMALL TURNOUT AT OLYMPIC CAFÉ." Or: "EMPTY SEATS AT SOCHI OLYMPICS BLAMED ON PUTIN." I could go on and on but I'm afraid this will become even more juvenile than it is now.

The entire Olympic Village that Putin and his people built seems depressing to me. Everything looks brand new and cheaply made, and, well, kind of Walmart-ish. It's probably because I haven't watched more than five minutes of Olympic news coverage, but I haven't seen any images of the actual city of Sochi, where there are no gay people. Something tells me it might be even more depressing, but at least in an interesting way.

Maybe some of you website commenters who know more about all of this than I do can please explain to me how Sochi was chosen for the Olympics. Why would the International Olympic Committee choose to hold the games in a place that is known to be iffy when it comes to safety and corruption? Apparently, Sochi was chosen seven years ago for the 2014 games and Putin spent more than $51 billion to create his little gay-free zone with plenty of chances built in to show off his bare chest and act like a superhero. Too bad it's all kind of a mess. I hope, for the sake of the athletes, that things work out and all goes well.

In the meantime, I'll be watching reruns of Law & Order SVU.

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