Thursday, February 23, 2006

Matt Frei's schadenfreude...or something

Okay, okay, call me a pedant, but I can’t resist.

From this week’s dose of Matt Frei’s pithy observations on America, dedicated largely to the Olympics:
Whether it is the [US's] relatively low medal count - I stress relative as the US has so far won 17 medals to the UK's 1 - or the dismal ratings of NBC's Olympics programmes, these winter games are laced with schadenfreude.
Uh, relative to what, exactly? Certainly not the rest of the field. As of yesterday morning when Frei’s column came out, the US was behind exactly 1 of the 84 competing nations in its medal count. How about historically? Nope. At 17 medals and counting with 3 days still to go, the US had already garnered more medals than any other Olympic games bar one (2002). So what exactly is Frei talking about? Is there a special word for getting pleasure from the imagined misfortunes of others?
The problem is that NBC had touted the US Olympic team as the best ever and stars like Bodie Miller, the Colorado answer to Franz Klammer have, to be frank, been a bit of a disappointment.
Perhaps one can excuse Frei’s phonetic misspelling of Bode Miller’s name, but for goodness sake, why snidely implicate innocent Coloradoans in his failures? Especially since the brash but medal-less Miller is actually from, er, New Hampshire. Good fact-checking, Beeb.
So now America's hopes are pinned on a gold medal in that most glamorous and sofa gripping sports: curling.
America’s hopes? Oh my. One wonders if Matt has ever heard of projection.

Frei also manages to get in a sly plug for his employer, or at least its financing methods, by pointing out that US Olympic coverage is "annoyingly interrupted by a commercial break every few minutes". Yeah, well, at least that annoying American coverage isn’t being paid for out of the pockets of those British ex-pats who find it so annoying. Which is more than can be said about TAE and Frei’s own very annoying coverage of the US.

BTW, I particularly enjoyed one of the comments posted to the BBC in response to Frei's latest entry. From one Leonard Johns:
I am a Brit currently here on a biannual stay and have never been able to
find this country as you tend to report it.
Welcome to the club, Leonard. Welcome to the club.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott, you're a sensitive flower aren't you ?

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this site is always great for a chuckle. thanks scottt!

4:37 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Yeah, get over it, Scott. It's not like anyone drew cartoons of GWB or anything. Only that would allow you the right of some mild criticism of your own. Burning a few embassies, for example.

Although come to think of it, I did see a cartoon in today's Al-Guardian that was a mite offensive. I'm sure it was a once-off, though...

6:27 PM  
Anonymous noel said...

Matt Frei has about as much idea of real America as a Mongolian Yak.
Wed May10-06
1. "Yes, my daughter would love a play date
2.Hundreds of parents meet in a fancy Washington hotel, chase some surf and turf around a plate, and bid for everything from holiday homes donated by wealthy parents to paintings or pottery made by their own children.
It is a disgrace that this fellow writes for the BBC. How quickly he forgets 19% of American children live in poverty, millions of Americans have no health care and the country has the highest incarceration rate in the Western world. How many ethnics at your daughter's private school Mr. Frei. How many looking after your house

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, the US doesn't need Matt Frei to portay it as an ignorant, unsophisticated place ruled by trashy TV, superstition, religious bigotry, ruled by pronograde neo-neanderthals etc. Rush Limbaugh reinforces those ideas during every minute of his show. Thank God for Matt Frei who sees the US from a different, un-biased perspective and lays it all on the line.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm completely with anonymous. Sad that America doesn't see itself the way the rest of the world sees it. Oh well..

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Americans have no sense of humour

5:44 AM  

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