The London Olympics are off to a start in a blaze of light and noise and inconvenience for anyone who happens to live even remotely near them. Not even in the Blitz, it is said, were Londoners subjected to so many restrictions on their movement, or to so many unelected and unaccountable petty fascists pushing them around and telling them, in the name of "security", what they cannot do and where they cannot go. Those Australians who have not had the dubious fortune of finding themselves in the midst of this meretricious babel of aggressive competitiveness and shameless squandering of public money can now settle back in front of their plasma screens and look forward to an orgy of commentorial whingeing whenever one of our national representatives fails to win all the gold medals in whatever category his or her (sometimes at the Olympics this is not clear) palaestric abilities are deployed.
Alternatively, stay-at-homes regretting not having made the pilgrimage to London can book now for a box seat at the Burchett Hill Olympics later this month. Though necessarily on a restricted scale compared with the London version, the first Olympiad to be staged by this progressive inner-city municipality will vie with the former in interest and excitement, including as it does a number of areas of sporting endeavour not normally associated with international competition.
In fact it doesn't include any traditional Olympics pursuits whatever. Burchett Hill, it may be remembered, is a municipality controlled by the Greens, and the policies and views of that party are amply reflected in the official programme for the Burchett Hill Games, published today. In a preface, the Mayor, Councillor Les Rhiannon, admits that "some people may question why so-called conventional track and field events have been eschewed by the organisers of our local Olympiad. The answer," he writes, "is not far to seek. It is because we care about the planet. Strenuous athletic activity necessarily involves a mass exhalation of carbon dioxide. It has been calculated by the Department of Climatic Enquiry at Manning Clark University here in Burchett Hill that the combined exhalations of five hundred persons in athletic function mode release more than ten thousand cubic tons of carbon into the atmosphere per day." Councillor Rhiannon points out that emissions on that scale would be enough to raise the mean temperature in the Games venue (Burchett Hill's David Hicks Arena, formerly the King George V Memorial Cricket Ground) by an average of 3.7 degrees, "to the detriment of every citizen".
Olympic events at Burchett Hill have therefore been selected "on a joint basis": that they "do not involve unacceptable emissions of breath" and that they "put into action important aspects of Greens policy in celebrating human life". An example is the Elder Elimination Relay, a sport not seen before in Olympics competitions, "probably," according to Councillor Rhiannon, "on account of ageism". In this event athletes in white coats are paired with senior citizens and compete in relays to see who can achieve the greatest number of "despatches" in a determined period of time. The skill lies both in the speed and dexterity with which the senior citizen is strapped by the athlete into a patented Nitschkeon Farewell-Maker machine and in the coordination of hand and eye between the two as the senior citizen strives to press the "yes" button in record time before the athlete can "liberate" the machine and install his next senior "relay partner" as speedily as possible. Councillor Rhiannon has praised "the selfless generosity" of residents of the Falling Shadows Aged Care Home in Burchett Hill for "volunteering" to take part in the event. "Good sports, all of them," he said, adding that he had "high expectations" that their trainer, Nurse Koch, matron at the home, would select a team that "will put the Elder Elimination Relay on the world map as both a participatory and spectator sport".
The Greens, of course, celebrate human life at its other end too, and the Woman's Right to Choose 100 Metres Sprint will generate plenty of excitement among Burchett Hill Olympics spectators as teams of Reproductive Health Female Stress Terminators clash with Anti-Termination Activists in a race to claim the "prize" - a volunteer pregnant woman who after viewing pre-natal scans has decided she doesn't wish to "proceed to birthing" on account of the baby's sex, eye or hair colour, probable disability etc. There's no doubt that most spectators will be "rooting" for the Terminators, given that if the other team wins the woman will be snatched by the "antis" and brainwashed into foregoing her right to termination. For this reason, Games officials have imposed a substantial handicap on the Anti-Termination runners in the form of balls and chains on the ankles, the balls labelled "Judaeo-Christian Superstition", "Right to Whose Life?", "Bash a Bible-Basher" and other pithy expressions of righteous Greens disapproval of those who, as Councillor Rhiannon puts it, "would try to impose their patriarchal puritanism on the female community in our pluralist society."
Other events in this "whole new concept of the Olympics" will include a Polyamorists' Aggregation Race, in which same-sex couples who have celebrated their nuptials in the Town Hall under Burchett Hill's "go it alone" policy on gay unions are lined up in the arena facing a squad of "unattached" competitors recruited from gay, lesbian and transgender dating agencies in the municipality; at the starting signal the couples must race around to see who can "aggregate" the greatest number of additional spouses to their marriage in a specified time. The admission into the Olympics canon of polyamorists has not been accomplished without spirited debate in the Greens party and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is known to be opposed to it (read here). But in Burchett Hill Councillor Rhiannon's word is law. Describing the senator "off the record" as a "bossy little madam", he said that polyamorists were "as much a victim of bourgeois discrimination as every other Australian. Welcoming them to our Games puts Burchett Hill in the very forefront of compassionate concern for minorities deprived of their natural human rights."
Those who like some "smashing" action will find it in the Finkelstein Pinada Whack, where the goal is to demolish an effigy of Rupert Murdoch's head in the quickest possible time. Competitors are easily distinguishable by their bright green singlets with the legend F.A.R.T. (Finkelstein All-media Regulation Tribunal). Another event where accuracy of aim is crucial is the Palestinian Solidarity Shot Put. Competitors hurl their heavy projectiles towards a target area in red gravel mapped out on the turf in the shape of Israel (pre-1967 boundaries). Major cities are marked and there are extra points for hitting them, with a bonus for landing the shot on the central target, labelled "Knesset".
Another Greens policy will be translated into sporting prowess in the Onshore Processing Marathon in which teams of athletes at trestle tables set up in the arena compete to issue "residency visas" to the greatest number of "asylum seekers" in the allotted time. Games organisers say they are especially grateful to Imam Ibn al Choppa-hedoff Poofa and his congregation at the Burchett Hill Mosque for their assistance with this event.
Precision timing is the key to success in the Bird on the Wing Tally, one more event not seen in the international Olympics. Teams are assigned cages of cockatoos and individual wind-generating machines that have been specially assembled in the arena: the cockatoos are released in flocks and the winning team is the one whose wind-machine blades "bring down" the greatest number of birds. And for the sheer delight of watching top-notch talents exert themselves to the utmost, the "No to Nukes" Abseiling Championships are a must for Burchett Hill Olympics visitors. It'll be a thrill a second as teams of Greenpeace guerrillas with grappling hooks climb the sides of "US warships" (luxury blocks of flats overlooking the arena) and, in a dazzling display of pyrotechnics, use flame-throwers to "de-action" the "vessels'" on-board arsenals (the interiors of the flats, requisitioned by the City Council from their "plutocratic Coalition-voting" owners). "Cutting-edge, real-life action events, every one of them, that nothing taking place in London could even begin to match," says Councillor Rhiannon proudly, "unless of course like Bush did with the Twin Towers, the Poms orchestrate a 'terrorist' attack. If you ask me it's just the sort of thing clapped out colonialists like them would do to discredit freedom fighters around the world and bring the spotlight on their own Olympics."
28 July 2012