Friday, February 19, 2010

Question of scale I guess...

Why is something like this presented as a human interest oddity:

A shaman in Norway has suggested aboriginal people in B.C. might have cursed the Nordic country's Olympic athletes...when Norway's early results in the Vancouver Games were not as good as expected, the Norwegian broadcaster NRK sought out a Sami shaman — or indigenous spiritualist — who speculated his counterparts in B.C. might be the cause.

The main reactions are ones of mocking dismissal, treating this story as a spiritual amuse-bouche. Meanwhile this is seen as a serious (if outrageous) statement by millions:

Pat Robertson, the host of the "700 Club," blamed the tragedy on something that "happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it."...
The Haitians "were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever," Robertson said on his broadcast Wednesday. "And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.' True story. And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' "

Thinking of this sort has engendered actual discussions here and here, for example.

As for the wider scope of the Vancouver 2010 games, it's been interesting contrasting the coverage from American/Canadian sources, and the far less fawning -- even acerbic -- British. I'd say a lot of the British writing makes sense.

PS: I wrote up a thing of Louis Riel months ago. Think the story of that 19th century isn't still sharp? Check this out:

Liberals are demanding a Tory MP apologize for criticizing Métis leader Louis Riel. Edmonton MP Peter Goldring sent out a pamphlet in December to "set the record straight" about Riel's actions in the late 1800s...Winnipeg Liberal MP Anita Neville said the Conservative party should apologize to the Métis for what she calls a "smear campaign" against the founder of Manitoba.

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