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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Socialised Gymnasts

During the women’s gymnastics events this evening, one of the NBC commentators made the statement that the Chinese women (at least, some of them) were taken from their parents when they were very young (as young as three) and sent away to schools where they immediately begin to train to be Olympic gymnasts. Realizing the possible reactions of any viewers that might have been paying attention to what he was saying, he immediately countered what he had just said by saying, “not that they were, you know, torn from their parents arms and taken away crying.” I’m sure, of course, he would have us to believe he has first hand experience of this. The truth of the matter, however, is that that is exactly how the average child would have been taken away in such a situation. But the Chinese system of dictating a child’s upbringing, while worse than the American system in the details, still works on the same principle as the American system, that of Socialism. We wouldn’t want our American sports commentators slipping up and criticizing American government education, even in a round about way, would we?

I found it interesting as I watched the interactions of the American female gymnasts with one another how they contrasted with the behaviour of the Chinese female gymnasts. The Americans were very affectionate with one another, quick to hug one another after they finished each event. The Chinese, on the other hand, rarely hugged one another, opting to “high five” each other instead. I think it can reasonably be argued that this is the detrimental result of living under a political system that sees all relationships as in competition with it, and which, as a result of seeing the deified State as the Highest Good, destroys families by separating them and removing children from the place where God intended them to learn a healthy sense of relationship and affection. Thankfully, our heritage has kept the incipient Socialism we deal with from creeping into our lives any more than it has, though it gains ground year after year.

Update: Berek, over on my Myspace blog, helpfully pointed out that hugging is not a standard means of friends expressing affection for one another in the Far East, and that therefore the absence of hugging didn't necessarily have anything to do with the affection felt between the gymnasts. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that this could be a mere cultural difference. Again, alas.

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