The Winter Olympics in Turin—or Torino, if you prefer—commence today with the opening ceremonies. Before the 2002 Olympics in the "icy gulag" of Salt Lake City, David Plotz advocated an American boycott of the Winter Games. "[T]he Winter Olympics must die because its sports—and I use that term loosely—range from the merely dull to the unendurable. The marquee event is figure skating: Ice Capades with awful classical music and worse costumes." And if that weren't bad enough, these "sports" are unwatchable on television: "The Olympic downhill is hours of waiting, punctuated by moments of incomprehensible blur (zip, shoosh, zip, shoosh, game over)."
For a more sympathetic view of the Winter Games, check out this "Breakfast Table." Seth Stevenson and Randall Patterson discuss the coolness of Bode Miller, the majesty of curling, and the whininess of Canadian figure skaters.
TODAY IN SLATE
Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.
The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly
How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.
A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently
How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully
On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.