Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Very Quiet, Hardly-Mentioned Defeat

Sports, Recreation, Health, & Fitness ---

This was not the storied "300" in which a group of chiseled-looking Spartans looking like products of a New York Sports Club gym valiantly fought against thousands of brown-skinned, Quasimodo-like Persians led by their brown-skinned, effeminate king.  Now that story, or the "western version" of it has been well-celebrated in history books ("their" history books) and in movies (Hollywood's).  It is their story of the conquest of "good" over "evil", of the "cultured" over the "barbaric", of the elite over the unsophisticated, and of the "moral" over the "immoral".   The particular "battle" I'm about to talk about hardly saw the light of day.  I heard nothing of it on the major news channels here in the US nor did I see any coverage of it in the major New York newspapers.  It was as if the event never occurred, as if there were no desire or interest in making it known.  

This battle pitted the Persians (that other Middle Eastern member of the so-called axis of evil) against the superpower (you know which), except that in this case the Persians looked just as athletic, just as physically appealing (though women might say even more so), and just as talented (if not more) as their North-American rivals.  On this occasion it was the real thing, not some propagandist construction to vilify and to demonize a purported enemy.  The Persians here were nothing like the evil, barbaric horde that they were made out to be in the history books or in the movies.   And on this occasion the "unthinkable" (at least from the western point of view) happened; the great superpower lost to the Persians in five sets - not at the battle of Thermopylae, but at the FIVA Championship in Poland.  Of course, you would never know that it happened, for hardly a word was said about it.  We did hear of Roger Federer's US Open win later that night, though, and he is not even from these parts.

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