The most competitive sport in the Olympics, I would argue, is storytelling. Everything from the opening ceremony to the national uniforms athletes wear is carefully planned to create a specific story about the unique identity of countries (I'm not sure what story Norway's curling team uniforms are telling, but I know it would for sure involve a sweet soundtrack).
This show explores the spectacle of Olympic narratives. First, figure skating enthusiasts Andi Zeisler and Sarah Marshall talk about media coverage of female figure skaters, specifically revisiting the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan scandal. Then, I dig in to how Olympic host cities make themselves over to create a shinier version of themselves for the international spotlight. Finally, we talk with Russian queer studies scholar Roman Utkin on the impact of the Olympics on LGBT politics in Russia.
Before you tune into the Olympics next week, listen to the show and excerpts below! A transcript is below the cut.
Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan seeming a little icy in 1994. (Photo via)
The other night, I took part in a shouted conversation—as I so often do these days—about Tonya Harding. This time I was in a bar, and the shouting was necessary not in order to make my point convincing, but simply to make my voice heard: a dubstep remix of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” had taken over the room, and conversation was not the order of the evening, but I prevailed—as I so often do when the subject is Ms. Harding.
“I had no idea any of it even happened,” my friend said, referring, of course, not to Tonya’s nearly decade-long career, but to the scandal with which her name has become synonymous. “I mean, I loved figure skating—I was crazy about it—but I grew up in Russia, and they just didn’t cover the scandal there.”
As Portland hunkers down today for an impending blizzard, we're also getting ready for the annual Portland International Film Festival at the Northwest Film Center, which starts today and lasts two weeks, with dozens of movies from around the world. Here at Bitch, we'll be rounding up some of our favorite films. Here are our picks that are playing this weekend, come snow or sleet! If you're not in Portland, make sure to keep these films, directors, and actors on your radar!
• On the subject of heinous word choices, Steven King thinks describing Dylan Farrow’s open letter as having “an element of palpable bitchery” was “probably…the wrong word” to use to refer a victim coming forward about sexual abuse. [Salon]
• I made a New Year’s resolution to use fewer exclamation points, and this video presents the perfect opportunity to break that resolution. Here’s an amazing interview with Pussy Riot on the Colbert Report!!! [Huffington Post]
What did I miss? Add what you're reading to the comments.
• In a recent interview, comedian Jerry Seinfeld sounded off about the push to diversify comedy shows. “It really pisses me off,” he said. “People think [comedy] is the census or something, it’s gotta represent the actual pie chart of America. Who cares?” We care! [Colorlines]
• Victims of revenge porn have a surprising legal weapon: copyright law. [The Atlantic]
My own belief is that Twitter and other social media allow feminism to grow in crucial ways. These platforms do away with the gatekeepers of media, creating a platform where people whose voices are often left out of the discussion can be heard loud and clear. That discourse forces those of us whose voices have always been accepted have to ask ourselves hard questions that we never would have considered before. The truly toxic era for feminism was one in which only middle-class, white voices were heard—which may be the time Goldberg is referring to when she writes wistfully of the "insouciant, freewheeling place" that Twitter used to be.