I’m not going to watch a second of these ethically offensive Olympics—it will just encourage them. But like most big, complex, messy human endeavors, the Tokyo Olympics has triggered some interesting ethics issues. Ethics Alarms has discussed some of them; here are some others:
I. The Transgender Weightlifter
Laurel Hubbard, the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics and was generally assumed to be the likely winner since she was a 43 year-old former male competing against young women who had never had the advantage of going through puberty and training while male, was eliminated. She failed to record a single lift in three attempts in Monday’s over-87-kilogram super-heavyweights competition. That’s terrific, since she shouldn’t have been competing at all, but it’s also just moral luck. It doesn’t change the ethics equation in any way.
She had an unfair and artificial biological advantage, and only cowardice in the face of the Woke Army could account for the Olympics allowing her to take her obviously un-female assets (above) into a female competition. This is wrong, and undermines women’s sports, but I feel like it should be obvious, and Ethics Alarms has discussed the issue thoroughly already. New Zealand was wrong to permit her to represent it in the Games; Hubbard was wrong to compete. Women and feminists are foolish to ally themselves with the trans activists who are undermining women’s sports.
It was nostalgic, I must admit, to have the reminder of the mysterious Press sisters, the oddly androgynous Soviet Olympians who set 26 world records between 1959 and 1966 and retired abruptly when the Olympics started checking under female competitors’ genes.
We never found out whether the Press sisters were altered or disguised males, intersex, or women who had been shot up with more male hormones than Arnold Schwarzenegger. But everyone in America knew that having the compete against our female athletes was typical Russian cheating. Good times, good times…
2. The Weird Case Of Novak Djokovic’s Inconvenient Truth
I clearly don’t pay enough attention to tennis or star athletes whose names I can’t spell or pronounce, because I missed this whole controversy until it was virtually over. (Thanks to old friend Howard Spendelow for the pointer)
Novak Djokovic, one of the world’s most successful tennis players, flopped in these Olympics, losing in the semifinals of both men’s singles and mixed doubles. The Serb also thoroughly disgraced himself with an on-court tantrum of the sort that would get a high school player kicked off the JV team. This apparently pre-marinated him for easy abuse, because when he was asked by a reporter after his third-round match about handling the pressure of seeking a ‘”Calendar Golden Slam”—meaning a series of tournament championships that included an Olympics gold medal in singles—Djokovic’s answer was immediately used to have him “cancelled.” He said, “Without pressure there is no professional sport. If you are aiming to be at the top of the game you better start learning how to deal with pressure. And how to cope with those moments on the court but also off the court, all the expectations.”
The Horror. Of course, Djokovic had to be taking a swipe at poor, helpless, “twisting” Simone Biles, who had just attributed her inability to compete in Olympic gymnastic events to the burdens of “pressure,” despite, or perhaps because, of being the “Greatest Of All Time.” Since she is small, female (and, I fear, black), Biles had been immediately defended by a series of narratives cooked up by woke journalists, desperate fans, and her PR team. Djokovic’s words seemed to undermine the effort, and thus the same Biles defenders pounced on him for intending his answer to accomplish that goal.
Social media especially was awash in Djokovik hate. Musician Ricky Davilla’s tweet was typical:
To the perpetually outraged and Protectors of the Oppressed (like multi-millionaire quitter Biles), it mattered not one whit that the question posed to Novak Djokovic didn’t ask him to comment on Simone’s lament. He didn’t mention Biles, nor reference her. Never mind. He was obviously attacking the defenseless young athlete as well as those who suffer with mental illness.
Eventually this all got sorted out, but not before a lot more people absorbed the rumor, gossip and lies as truth than whoever caught the “Never mind!” memo. “Novak Djokovic simply fell victim to being in the wrong place and saying the right thing, but at the wrong time,” concluded one commentator.
Here is what I find fascinating: it was indeed the right thing, and there was every reason in the world to apply it to Simone Biles. Djokovic’s statement does apply to her. It also aptly explains why the instant sympathy she received for attributing her evident choke to the ravages of “pressure” was a double standard, a nauseating example of infantalizing women, and feminist hypocrisy. The back-tracking mob withdrawal from vilifying the tennis star by saying, “Oh! He was only talking about himself and other superstars generally! That’s OK then!” is deliberately dishonest, or, if Hanlon’s Razor applies, deluded. If his point is astute, and it is, and if it applies to him, which it does, Djokovic’s observation also applies to Simone Biles, and it should.
The truth doesn’t become untrue because it reveals the flaws of public idols.
3.Schadenfreude, Hubris and the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team
The look I got from my next door neighbor when I expressed satisfaction at the defeat of Megan Rapinoe and company would have been appropriate if I had announced the consuming of my wife for lunch. Nonetheless, I refuse to feel guilty about it. I am Greek, and my ancestors’ dramas and myths were stuffed with cautionary tales about hubris, none of which the obnoxious and smug members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team apparent studied or absorbed. These athletes have been going around the world insulting and denigrating the nation they are supposed to represent, protesting during our National Anthem, all while falsely claiming to be victims of discrimination themselves. The effectiveness of their grandstanding as well as their contrived pose as unappreciated casualties of sexism depended upon their continued status as winners. The team, and Rapinoe particularly, made their efforts about politics rather than sport, and asked to be judged on that basis. Well, their politics are ill-informed and anti-American, and on that basis, their humiliation in the Olympics was well-earned. Sophocles would have loved it.