The Real Reason the Olympics Suck

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Mariel Zagunis, the U.S. flag bearer in the Olympic opening ceremonies, lost her semifinal sabre match yesterday. She was a two-time medal winner facing enormous pressure. She was way ahead of her opponent during most of the match and then collapsed utterly in the last couple of minutes. Afterwards she was in a daze. All she could talk about was how badly she had done, how disappointed she was. In the midst of all that, she failed to fulsomely congratulate the play of her opponent.

This is what most of us call “being human.” A devastating disappointment affects people like that, at least for a few minutes. But Washington Post columnist Mike Wise doesn’t care:

Say buh-bye, America. Mariel Zagunis’s Q-rating just left the building.

….I met Mariel Zagunis in Athens in 2004. Zagunis then was this likable teen with a blond ponytail who did spot-on impersonations of a three-toed sloth because she watched so much Animal Planet….Contrast that with Wednesday’s unsmiling, hyper-focused, I’m-not-talking-to-anyone-but-my-coach-between-matches ball of stress, who remained in an autopilot daze even after she lost.

Etc.

Yep, that’s what’s important. Zagunis, in the aftermath of a crushing letdown, wasn’t quite the bubbly teen that Wise remembers from eight years ago. She’s not as media savvy as, say, Kobe Bryant, and after her bout she continued to say that she could have won if she hadn’t lost her concentration, instead of vacuously thanking God for the mere opportunity of attending the games, the way you’re supposed to. And for that she deserves to be publicly slagged by some idiot columnist searching out something new to write about.

I think this is what I dislike most about the Olympics. Not that it’s tape delayed. Not that the commentators are annoying. Not the commercialism or the nationalistic hype. It’s people like Mike Wise. Go back into your cave, will you? Leave the rest of us alone.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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