Rightbloggers Go to Rio — and Suffer Olympic Disappointment

There are many ways to enjoy the Olympics. You can go to a sports bar and follow the action on multiple screens. You can watch it on your TV or computer. You can follow via Twitter, or stream it on your mobile devices.

Or, if you’re a rightblogger, you could write miserable essays on how the quadrennial sports extravaganza is not about human achievement or fun of any kind, but about terrorism, transgenderism, reverse racism, "cultural Marxism," etc.

Well, God go with them, I say — their loss is comedy’s gain.

You’d think rightbloggers would be happy about this Olympiad, since Rio won the right to host it over Chicago, which conservatives hailed at the time as an important foreign policy victory over President Obama.

But the conservative press has been especially cranky in the run-up to this Olympics ("Will Olympics be lacking in star power as problems in Rio rise?" — Fox News; "ARE THE RIO OLYMPICS DOOMED BEFORE THEY START?" — Conservative Review). Possibly they’re just following the lead of the mainstream press, which has also been downbeat. Maybe, in the age of Trump, they just can't endorse anything that involves foreigners.

But some rightbloggers have found a way to put their own, uniquely grim spin on things. Before the opening ceremonies, for example, Breitbart.com’s Frances Martel ran a playful "FIVE THINGS THAT MIGHT KILL YOU AT THE OLYMPICS" listicle, including not only obvious ones like Zika and dirty water, but also "Jihadists."

No Brazilian Islamic terror attacks have ever been reported — mass murders there tend to be committed by local nutjobs — but Breitbart.com knows that the prospect of scary Mooslims drives its audience wild, literally.

"While Latin America has traditionally been less of a jihadist hotspot than much of the Eastern Hemisphere," reported Martel, "Brazil has been a particular problem area for Islamic radicalism," presumably expressed by jihadist public rudeness or jihadist Letters to the Editor.

When word got out that the Olympics would host an all-refugee team, most normal people were deeply moved. Rightbloggers, perhaps sensing their true feelings on the matter would be unappreciated, mainly bit their tongues, except at bottom-feeder sites like Free Republic ("Why the Obsession with Migrants and Refugees? To Blur National Identities, Promote 1 World-ism") and City-Data ("Oh gawd they have an illegal refugee immigrant Olympic team").

But they were able to open up a little more when CNN host W. Kamau Bell suggested U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps relinquish his Olympic flagbearer role to Ibtihaj Muhammad, a U.S. fencer and observant Muslim who competes with her head covered, because ours is "a time when we could use some more symbols of unity and togetherness," i.e. Trump is running for president.

At this suggestion "Americans are furious," raged BizPac Review’s Michael Dorstewitz, notwithstanding that Muhammad herself is an American. Dorstewitz claimed "liberals wanted U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps to give up the honor of carrying the American flag" because "he’s the wrong color and the wrong sex," which is both The Real Racist™ and The Real Sexist™ (patent pending). Dorstewitz then quoted a bunch of other assholes, including one who claimed liberals "rooted for the terrorists in the 72 Olympics in Munich also."

"CNN host wanted a Muslim to carry the American flag, Americans disagreed," said Terresa Monroe-Hamilton at Right Wing News, quoting some tweets as evidence and blasting "liberals and the biased media," who only wanted Muhammad because "she’s a die-hard Trump basher and hater and she’s far more to their globalist, politically correct liking." Justen Charters of Independent Journal Review called Muhammad a " 'Diverse' Muslim," and claimed "America Isn’t Having It," citing — you guessed it! — some tweets as evidence.

Ibtihaj Muhammad at the 2013 World Fencing Championships in BudapestEXPAND
Ibtihaj Muhammad at the 2013 World Fencing Championships in Budapest

Chicks on the Right said liberals were prejudiced against Phelps because "he’s a tall, talented, rich white guy. He doesn’t count." "Obviously, Phelps has worked very hard since his childhood to become the best in the world," said Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, whereas Muhammad got on the team as part of a Muslim affirmative-action program.

There were other minorities rightbloggers thought were attacking America via the Olympics as well. At National Review, Paul Crookston complained that the International Olympic Committee’s "Transgender Inclusion Threatens the Integrity of Women’s Sports." IOC is letting trans women after a certain amount of hormone replacement therapy, and trans men of any type, compete in their chosen gender category, which for rightbloggers is spoiling the games, or at least women’s gymnastics.

"Under those rules," seethed Warner Todd Huston at breitbart.com, "genetic-men with vestigial male genitalia — although hobbled by estrogen hormone shots — may become a common sight in on the prize stands at formerly women’s meets." That’s almost as much of a turn-off as raised fists in black gloves!

Crookston called this "a shame, because the IOC’s standards are part of a disturbing trend that threatens the very integrity of women’s sports" — just like "the Obama administration’s reimagined Title IX standards," which Crookston found "even more incoherent, hewing to the line that gender is entirely a matter of one’s own private identity…” Before you know it, men won’t know which athletes they’re supposed to sexually assault.

Then came the opening ceremonies, at which rightbloggers were livid because of a brief reference in the program to climate change.

The lazier rightbloggers went for ancient tropes from the Al Gore is fat days. "Not mentioned during that portion were the the huge numbers of people who traveled to Rio for the games on fossil fueled planes," reported William Teach at Right Wing News. "Why are millions of watts of electricity being used to light the stadium and televise this event? And countless gallons of gas used to transport the athletes and their audience?" said Instapundit’s Ed Driscoll.

But at National Review, Gabriel de Arruda Castro went even further, with an essay denouncing "The Cultural Marxism of Rio’s Opening Ceremonies." Don’t know what "cultural Marxism" has to do with sports, or even what it is? It’s a favorite buzz-phrase among alt-right creeps and rightbloggers who want to sound sophisticated, and usually means the speaker is mad that people enjoy art of which conservatives disapprove.

In this case, however, it meant there were too many people and images from the favelas in which Rio’s poor live. Castro said the show started out okay, but then degenerated into "the show’s apotheosis: favela boys performing some Third World version of break dance and a rapper duo — one of them only twelve years old — talking about girl power." (Only twelve, and already talking about girl power — must be the result of rainbow parties!)

But what could you expect, said Castro — the show was run by the guy who directed City of God, "the jewel of the favela aesthetics. The Rio intelligentsia is fascinated by the city’s own poverty, as if the favelas were something Brazil should be proud of, rather than ashamed of." One wonders if Castro has ever seen The Grapes of Wrath, a Bowery Boys movie, or The Honeymooners, and if he would consider them culturally Marxist if he did because they’re about people who don’t have a lot of money.

Later, Castro bitched that the ceremonies didn’t have any of the Brazilian music he likes — Sertanejo, "still the best representation of the soul of the Brazilian people: a Christian, hardworking people that value family and tradition" — and featured instead "performances by a well-known marijuana apologist (Marcelo D2), a Beyoncé-wannabee whose songs rarely touch on anything but sex (Anitta), and an old-school leftist (Gilberto Gil, who at least has some talent)." Gilberto Gil! That's almost as bad as rap, cultural-Marxist wise.

But there’s been at least one bright spot for rightbloggers so far: The first gold medal of the Games was awarded to America’s own Virginia Thrasher for 10-meter air rifle, which involves the use of a gun — not as butch as the don’t-call-them-assault-weapons rightbloggers favor but still a sacred object.

"USA wins a GOLD medal and Liberals lose their minds (in a bad way)," huffed Frank Lea at Right Wing News. Some people on Twitter found it ironic that America’s first gold was for shooting, at which Lea yelled, "How about a ‘great job, USA’ or maybe even a ‘let’s get another Gold’ would suffice. But no, of course the liberal losers have to cry and urinate in their pants over every little thing. What would make this gold medal even better is if there was a liberal at the business end of each rifle. Then we could get rid of the safe spaces and go back to being a great country again."

Yeah, clearly liberals are out of control on the subject. Two more weeks of this, folks. But don't worry — we can always switch over to their coverage of the Presidential campaign. That's bound to be less fevered. Chin up!

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