Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

Ignatieff angered by critics of Vancouver Games

OTTAWA — Michael Ignatieff says he's angry about the criticism being levelled at organizers of the Vancouver Winter Games.

The Liberal leader dismisses the critics, primarily foreign journalists, as "nattering nabobs of negativism."


Hear, hear. Well said Mr. Ignatieff. I tend to agree that the nagging by those nattering nabobs of negativism has been needless, nonsensical, and naive. Because really, it just shows...what's that? Oh, never mind:

Still, Ignatieff agrees with those who've criticized the lack of French in the opening ceremonies.


When it comes to criticism of the games, I tend to agree with Don Martin - a lot of the flack from the British press can be written off as journalists looking for something to write about due to an absence of compelling stories about British athletes (still looking for their first medal).

It's like during an election campaign - if nothing of consequence is being said, we get bombarded with process stories ("so and so's plane was delayed", "look at the typo in this press release!"). And, as is the case in election campaigns, everyone loves a good easy-to-understand narrative. So after some weather delays and the tragic death on the luge track, a Zamboni malfunction suddenly becomes more noteworthy than it would otherwise be.

And as for complaints that Canada has adopted a "kicking ass, eh" mentality? Well, I for one welcome it. Nothing wrong with showing a little national pride and trying to, you know, win.

12 Comments:

  • So the thousands upon thousands of people who paid a lot of money to attend various events, only to have their tickets cancelled by VANOC, really only have sour grapes. (I've heard different numbers, from 4 000 up to 20 000.)

    Interesting approach: it's your fault for buying very expensive standing room tickets, so don't complain.

    And as fans, you shouldn't all leave the event when it's over, because the buses were organized for you to leave over an extended time.

    Some of the complaints are not well-founded. Many are.

    By Blogger Paul, at 7:41 PM  

  • "And as for complaints that Canada has adopted a "kicking ass, eh" mentality? Well, I for one welcome it. "

    I see and if we don't kick ass?

    I seem to recall a Mr. Ignatieff saying "you mess with me and I'll mess with you till I'm done" and "Mr. Harper your time is up!"

    That was a nice kick ass mentality too. The problem is if you don't back it up, then well, we know how that turns out...

    Right now NBC can't stop reminding us how "Canada promised to own the podium" while with glee pointing out that the US is doubling us in medal count.

    I want us to kick ass too, but when we set the bar too high, it doesn't always turn out well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:10 PM  

  • Canadians are watching NBC? Personally, I've been a bit too busy watching coverage on CTV, CBC, TSN, SportsNet, OLN, OMNI, and the web.

    Canada is kicking ass, and I'm proud of it! Heck, where's Russia in the medal count? And they're hosting in four years.

    By Blogger Paul, at 8:30 PM  

  • Whew--channeling Spiro Agnew. Did he really intend to do that?

    By Blogger Dr.Dawg, at 8:50 PM  

  • You think you saw negativity before, the fact that we had to go OT to beat the Swiss (who finished what 6th last time just ahead of Canada?) in men's hockey is gonna drive some people up the wall.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:44 PM  

  • I am not sure quoting Spiro Agnew is such a good idea.

    By Blogger Greg, at 6:44 AM  

  • "nattering nabobs of negativism."

    Pot, meet kettle. Journalists or politicians, they play the same game.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 1:22 PM  

  • A couple of quick points:
    1. The British press may be critical now, but may find a lot of people remembering their antics if (when?) problems occur in London.
    2. Looking at the schedule (and results from every Winter Olympics over the last 20 years), it was obvious that Canada is traditionally stronger in events which finish during the second week. The COC specifically said before the Games that people should not be concerned about a slow start, we will do better later (although I do not think we'll catch the Yanks; they're having a terrific Games).
    3. Iggy: Your poll numbers go up when you shut up. Take a hint! Please.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:32 PM  

  • See what tough talk gets you?

    "Canadian Olympic officials lower medal expectations"

    "The Vancouver Sun newspaper predicted a stunning 39 medals, a prediction that has virtually no chance of coming true."

    Canwest predicted 41 medals!

    http://olympics.thestar.com/2010/article/768311--canadian-olympic-officials-lower-medal-expectations

    We'll do well, I bet even better than all past Olympics, and probably in the top 3 overall, that's cause for celebration.

    But we could have done without the overhype at the outset and all this talk about "owning the podium".

    It's like when Paul Martin's team boasted of winning over 200 seats and ended up almost losing power in the next election (and then lost it in the next). Don't talk about kicking somone's ass unless you know damn well that you're going to.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:44 PM  

  • Nate Silver (of fivethirtyeight.com fame) predicts that right now Canada will finish
    2nd on the podium with a respectable 31.0 medals behind the US with 33 (this was before the US won 2 more medals today).

    He keeps updating his count everyday, but what's interesting that is that it's the Germans that are underperming most among the top countries.

    Of course the averages for which he's judging "performing to expectations" come from U.S. media predictions that were all averaged together (he only included media that made predictions for every single event).

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/02/vancouver-medal-count-projections-day-7.html

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:57 PM  

  • "people should not be concerned about a slow start"

    Funny.

    The COC also specifically said that they made the schedule so that Canada would do better in the second week.

    You'd almost think they tried to bias the games in favour of the home team.

    Go Canada!

    By Blogger Paul, at 3:19 AM  

  • Paul said...
    "Canada is kicking ass, and I'm proud of it! Heck, where's Russia in the medal count? And they're hosting in four years."

    Still think we're kicking ass? Russia is beating us now in the medal count.

    Dan if you still read comments on older posts, what do you think of Nate Silver's latest analysis?

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/02/canada-not-owning-podium.html

    Anyways we'll all cheer together for the remaining Canadian athletes and hope for the best (I think we will beat our count in Turin in the end) but I think it's clear that the "we're gonna own the podium" attitude did us no favours this time around.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:09 PM  

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