In the last few paragraphs of this editorial about the Olympic Games, why does the author mention these things? The editorial about the 2008...
In the last few paragraphs of this editorial about the Olympic Games, why does the author mention these things?
The editorial about the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games argues that the purely amateur and athletic spirit of the Games has been killed through economic materialism and political nationalism. But why does he further mention these things?
"The Olympics also encourage the very crudest form of loud, boasting, triumphalist nationalism. Individual achievement seems no longer to be the point: it is more a question of how many medals each country has won. But why should athletes compete under national flags? Why not make the Games a competition of individuals, with each country being entitled to enter a certain number of competitors who then run as people, not flag fodder?
Then there is the issue of the sheer damage to the planet that the Olympic Games causes. How much concrete is poured in the name of the modern Olympics? How many tonnes of carbon dioxide dumped in the atmosphere in the pursuit of this vanity? How many poor people moved out of their homes to make way for grandiose stadiums and Olympic hotels?
The uncomfortable fact of the matter is that the Olympic Games are doing lasting and inappropriately major damage to the planet at precisely the time when we should be seeking to do things on a smaller, more modest scale. They encourage rampant commercialism at a time when we should be trying to assert human values rather than the values of giant corporations. They are a disaster in every sense."
Of the paragraphs you provide here, only the middle one really needs explaining. The first paragraph simply supports the idea the games are used for political nationalism (which you mention in your question). The last paragraph is a conclusion. That leaves the middle paragraph.
Here, the point the author is trying to make is that the games present problems other than commercialism and nationalism. He is saying, specifically, that the modern games are bad for the environment and for social justice. He is saying they contribute to global warming and to the problems faced by poor people. Therefore, the major point of this paragraph is to point out other important ways (other than the commercialism and nationalism that you mention) in which the games as they are currently held are "a disaster in every sense."