The Real Meaning of Michael Phelps

Pat Forde explains at ESPN:

"As with the Miracle on Ice team in 1980, everyone was rowing in the same direction on this one. It wasn't your team versus my team. It was Our Michael versus Their Mortals."

So, "everyone" -- of any importance, that is -- means Americans. "Your team versus my team" divisions are petty -- unless my team is America and you team is the rest of the world, because then it's a contest between ubermensch and mere mortals.

God damn, we should just get it over with and clear the planet of all those other inferior races, then America can rightfully win every gold medal at the Olympics!


  1. Sorry Gene, I think I understand what attitude you were trying to convey to that writer, but I don't think that's what he was saying.

    I didn't realize how incredible Phelps' performance was, until I read this article, actually. I didn't know he had set an Olympics record.

    Sure the "mere mortals" thing is an exaggeration, but it's a sports guy, for heaven's sake.

  2. Anonymous10:52 AM

    Phelps beat Milorad Cavic by 1/100 second in the 100m butterfly. With overwhelming margins of victory like this, it's a wonder the mortals even bother to show up.

  3. Sorry, Bob, that was what he was saying.

    And it has nothing to do with whether or not Phelps is good.

  4. Even more disturbing, from the article:

    "I am lucky to have everything I have," Phelps said. "I'm lucky to have the talent I have, the drive I have, the excitement I have about the sport. I'm fortunate to have every quality I have."

    Is Phelps a closet Rawlsian?

  5. OK, well you guys just forced me to read this for a second time. I hope you're happy...

    I still don't get what you are saying. Emma, how can you say it's irrelevant as to how good Phelps is? The guy is saying, "He's one of the most amazing Olympiads in world history."

    And you're saying, whether or not Phelps set an Olympics record for gold medals, is irrelevant to seeing how much of a blowhard this sports writer is?

    The only thing this guy did was talk about "us" referring to Americans. But then, Gene, you could link to any newspaper op ed and do the same, "What this person REALLY means is..."

    Again, to say Phelps is above mere mortals is totally accurate, within sports writer exaggerations. He mentioned:

    "Australian breaststroker Leisel Jones won two gold medals but said the highlight of her Games was watching Phelps perform."

    Obviously the guy is PROUD that Phelps is American, and he wouldn't have cared as much if Phelps had been Mexican, but I don't see what is so horrible about this article, that you couldn't say about 95% of American media.

  6. The writer was obviously contradictory:

    "It wasn't your team versus my team. It was Our Michael versus Their Mortals."

    IOW, our team is better than your team.

    But a good piece of the article seemed to be just cheering on great performances, rather than real chest-beating.

    In any case, isn't the diversion of tribal conflict impulses into sports proxies still a heck of alot healthier than wars and jingoism, Gene?


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