My only Olympic post: Mo Farah wins the 10,000

August 5, 2012 • 4:25 am

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been avoiding the Olympics out of sheer boredom, but I do want to put up one post about one victory.

Last night Mo Farah, born in Somalia and now a British citizen, won the 10,000 meter men’s race, the first Brit to ever win that event. He is doubtlessly the finest long-distance runner Britain has ever produced (he moved to England from Africa at the age of eight).

As the Telegraph reports:

The noise in the packed 80,000-capacity stadium became deafening as Farah, 29, kicked past the Ethiopian world record holder Kenenisa Bekele to claim victory with a sprint finish in the last lap.

After crossing the line, amid wild cheering from the crowd, an emotional Farah dropped to the ground and covered his eyes. Moments later he was joined on the track by his daughter Rihanna, seven, clutching two Union flags as he swept her into his arms.

Then came Farah’s heavily pregnant wife Tania [JAC: twins!], who came down from the stands to kiss her Olympic champion husband. . .

The runner has now got halfway to fulfilling his dream of being able to give two gold medals to the twin daughters that he and Tania are expecting in September. He competes in the 5,000 metres later this week.

“It would be great to be able to give them one medal each,” he said before Saturday’s 10,000 metres final. “That would be amazing.”

As a refugee, and a black kid in a white working-class neighborhood of London, his life wasn’t easy.  The Telegraph notes:

His gold is proof of how far Farah has come since arriving in Britain able to say only a few words of English, including “excuse me”, “where is the lavatory?” and the frequently misinterpreted “C’mon then” – a phrase innocently taught him by his father, but which would inevitably provoke fights with other boys.

Here’s Farah at the moment he won:

And his daughter embracing him on the track:


There are crappy videos of Farah’s victory on YouTube taken from the stands, but the emotionality of the moment is best expressed by this video, showing the BBC commentators’ reaction as Farah crossed the finish line. The caption:  “BBC commentators go crazy when Mo Farah wins olympic gold – Colin Jackson, Denise Lewis and Michael Johnson.”

I think there’s more than pro-Britain jingoism going on here. This is the kind of Olympic moment I miss.

h/t: Matthew Cobb for the link

71 thoughts on “My only Olympic post: Mo Farah wins the 10,000

  1. Excellent performance from Mo – and the other British golds that night.

    “And his wife embracing him on the track”

    Actually, that photo is his daughter.

  2. It was a great night of viewing for Brits last night. And afterwards the twtteraty had tremendous fun at the expense of the Daily Mail who ran an article on ‘Plastic’ Brits running for GB (though they didn’t say it they meant black immigrants). This was my favourite effort:
    http://t.co/JJO7zUMv

    1. This Brit runner, and our little USA African-American girl gymnast won ONLY BECAUSE of a plot by our socialist-Kenyan-Muslim-atheist president to discredit Romney while he’s over there.

      This might be humorous, or even satirical, except that there are those in this country who actually believe such.

  3. As a Brit I’m really proud of Mo.

    Mo’s success in the race was in no small part due to the work of his training partner and friend, the American Galen Rupp; Rupp helped Mo break up the Ethiopians throughout the race, before winning a silver himself.

    In the video of the BBC pundits you can hear Michael Johnson, the great American runner, cheering on Galen, alongside Brit legends Colin Jackson and Denise Lewis.

    A very special night for British sport!

    1. After all the second-place hissy-fits Ive seen, it was beyond sweet to see Rupp excited for Farah and excited for a silver 🙂

  4. He’s doubtlessly the finest long-distance male runner Britain has ever produced, but Paula Radcliffe, still hold of the women’s world marathon record at 2 hours 15 minutes, has a claim too.

  5. Other interesting or heartwarming events at these games include a couple of ‘distant last’ finishes: one by rower Hamadou Djibo Issaka of Niger, who four months earlier had never even been in a rowing competition, and the other by Canadian triathlete Paula Findley, who finished the race in tears, apologizing for her poor performance. (She had had to deal with a serious hip injury long before the Olympics and apparently wasn’t in race shape.)

    Sometimes it’s not a win that makes for special moments, but an interesting loss.

  6. A great day for us brits. Earlier in the day the Women’s Cycling Team Pursuit team broke the world record for the 6th successive time. They beat the US in the final.

  7. Well, I for one am thoroughly teed off with this blubber-fest of an Olympics; since the death of that manipulative little clothes-horse, Princess Di, the only appropriate reaction of any Brit to any mildly-diverting event is to wail publicly, wobble the bottom lip, as if the only community the Brits have left is the empire of the lachrymose.

    As for the BBC, what a disgrace their journalists are; rolling over as cheer-leaders, rather than doing their job, they revert to their default adolescent patriotism, as Bierce pointed out, the first resort of scoundrels.

    1. I agree. Far better to clench the anus, stretch the upper lip, smile and say ‘well done old chap, you are far too fast for me’. After all tears are so inhuman.

    2. Well, I’m a “Brit” and I’m not proud of any of these athletes success. What has it got to do with me. The only thing we have in common is that we we were born or live within a few hundred miles of each other. Why would I be proud of that? Well done me for being born where I was. Congratulations to the athletes for their achievements, but none of it was down to me or any of the patriots declaring there pride in being born on the same bit of dirt.

      1. Seriously? Because they represent your nation. A nation isn’t simply a “bit of dirt.” It’s a community of people who share a common culture and government. Perhaps that doesn’t mean anything to you, but it seems to mean a lot to most people. You might think of a nation as a very extended family. Do you also think it’s bizarre when people are proud of their family members?

        1. I think it’s bizarre when people are proud of their very extended family members, the kind they’ve never even had a conversation with, yeah.

            1. Eh, Gary? I share a common culture and government with say, Jessica Ennis, and therefore I should feel proud? Where’s the logic in that?

              Say if I were a North Korean democrat, does that mean I should feel proud when a fellow North Korean wins a medal? Of course not. All depends on your attitude to your culture and government, not whether you ‘share’ them.

              I must admit I’m not proud of the British massacre of the Kenyans pre-independence, of Bloody Sunday in my town of birth, of the corrupt relationship between the traditional party of the working-class, the Labour Party and the Murdoch empire, of Cameron’s attempt to destroy the NHS, of the current British fetishism for emotional intelligence – short-hand for weep-in-public-and-you’ll-become-a-‘national-treasure’ – what a sickening phrase.

              I can feel happy, yes, for individuals who win medals but my relationship to my culture and government has nothing to do with it. No doubt, bhoytony can speak for him/herself.

              Rant over; gosh I feel better now.

              Cheers.

              1. I share a common culture and government with say, Jessica Ennis, and therefore I should feel proud?

                I don’t know if you “should” feel proud. I think it’s pretty strange that you don’t. It suggests that you just don’t feel any sense of shared national identity or community with your fellow Brits. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. It just seems sad, mainly.

                I must admit I’m not proud of the British massacre of the Kenyans pre-independence, …

                I wouldn’t be proud of that, either. I don’t expect people to be proud of bad things their country has done.

        2. Why should I feel proud of a nation or the people in it? Most of the nations competing today didn’t exist not that long ago and I’m sure many of them will cease to exist in the not too distant future. They are all artificial constructs. This shared government and culture you talk about is not anything I’m too proud of either. Should I feel proud of you, I’ve no idea who you are and if you have done many admirable things it will be nothing to do with me. You should be proud of the things you’ve achieved, but I don’t see how you get to be proud of anything I’ve done just because I exist in a certain proximity to you. I loathe nationalism, a horrible idea and as far as I can see patriotism is just the opportunity to claim credit for things other people have done.
          I see somebody further down the thread is saying that people who don’t buy into the patriotism bullshit dislike professional sports. I would have thought my name would show that to be false to anybody with even a little sporting knowledge.

          1. You should be proud of the things you’ve achieved, but I don’t see how you get to be proud of anything I’ve done just because I exist in a certain proximity to you.

            So when people are proud of, say, their child for working hard and doing well at school, or of a friend for getting through a serious illness or some other difficult life event, or of their coworkers for achieving some professional goal, you find this strange, do you? What a bizarre view of human relations you hold.

            I loathe nationalism, a horrible idea and as far as I can see patriotism is just the opportunity to claim credit for things other people have done.

            No, that’s not what patriotism means.

            1. How is the relationship to one’s own child comparable to that with some random stranger in the 60,000,000 who live in the UK? You seem to be the one with the bizarre view of human relations.
              What exactly is patriotism in your opinion then?

              1. How is the relationship to one’s own child comparable to that with some random stranger in the 60,000,000 who live in the UK?

                Family and nation are both types of community. But that’s not the point of this comment. You claimed that we should only feel proud of what we achieve ourselves, not of what anyone else achieves “just because [they] exist in a certain proximity to” us. That’s what’s so bizarre about your position.

                What exactly is patriotism in your opinion then?

                The standard definition is “devotion to one’s country.” I don’t understand why you find that so offensive. Do you also oppose devotion to one’s family? Friends? Professional colleagues? School or college? Neighborhood? City? What exactly is the problem you see? I’d agree that *excessive* devotion to a community is wrong, but you seem to be against any level of devotion at all.

              2. No, what I said is you shouldn’t feel pride in MY achievements. That’s because I am a complete stranger. I see no reason you should feel proud of any complete stranger.
                So you think devotion to your country is a good thing. Why? Just because, by chance, you happened to be born in it? If that is a good thing I’m glad I didnt live in Germany in the 30’s (I believe this is where you win the argument by default due to my Godwin).

              3. No, what I said is you shouldn’t feel pride in MY achievements. That’s because I am a complete stranger. I see no reason you should feel proud of any complete stranger.

                No, you wrote: “I don’t see how you get to be proud of anything I’ve done just because I exist in a certain proximity to you.” So if I don’t “get to be proud” of what my fellow countrymen achieve, why do I “get to be proud” of what the members of any other community to which I belong achieve? Those communities include my family, my friends, my workplace, my college, my neighborhood, my city and potentially other groups of people with whom I share common interests, values, experiences, etc. Or are you in fact claiming that I “don’t get to proud” of any achievements except my own personal ones? Your lack of understanding of the importance of community in people’s lives is really bizarre.

                So you think devotion to your country is a good thing. Why?

                Because (for about the tenth time) a country is a type of community and human beings are social animals. Again, what exactly is your argument against devotion to one’s country? Do you also oppose devotion to family, friends, colleagues, and every other type of community to which people belong?

              4. So I should just be blindly devoted to any “community” I happen to be dumped into whether I had any choice in the matter or not. I don’t want to keep bringing this up, but I’m still not sure I’d want to be devoted to my “community” if I lived in 1930’s Germany.
                I think I’ll decide who or what to be devoted to by some other criteria than the chance that I just happened to be squirted out in that location.
                Anyway why decide to be proud of the achievements of people who were born within certain artificially designated borders? Why not be devoted to all people who have the same hair colour or shoe size as you. Perhaps if you find that one of the medal winners shares the same haircut you will feel your breast swell with pride.

              5. So I should just be blindly devoted to any “community” I happen to be dumped into whether I had any choice in the matter or not.

                No, not “blindly.” And you don’t choose your family. Do you therefore believe that devotion to one’s family is wrong?

                Anyway why decide to be proud of the achievements of people who were born within certain artificially designated borders?

                For the umpteenth time, because a country is a type of community and community is important to people. I don’t know how many times I have to keep saying it. A nation’s citizens share a common culture, a common government, common interests, a common way of life. I keep asking you to explain why you think devotion to country is wrong, and you keep ignoring the question.

                And I don’t know why you keep going on about Germany in the 1930s. I already told you that *excessive* devotion to country is wrong. Just like excessive devotion to any other kind of community. A parent who poisons all the other children so his child can win the spelling bee is doing a bad thing. That doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t be devoted to their children at all.

              6. I never said you had to be excessively devoted to 30’s Germany, you can be devoted to it to exactly the same degree that you think I should be to the UK. How is that any different. Those people shared a common culture, government, interests and way of life. I still don’t think I’d like to be devoted to that country, even though it seems to have all your reasons why I should. there. I’ll decide what I’m devoted to by other means than the fact that I was born there.

              7. Anyway, I’m done here, you obviously think that patriotism is a fine thing, I see no reason to agree with you and we seem to be talking past each other. You can wave your flag and I’ll devote myself to things I decide are worthy of it.

              8. I never said you had to be excessively devoted to 30′s Germany, you can be devoted to it to exactly the same degree that you think I should be to the UK.

                Germany in the 1930s was a fascist, warmongering, and virulently racist, anti-semitic country. So being devoted to 1930s Germany to the same degree as I expect most contemporary Brits are devoted to the UK would have been grossly excessive.

                You still haven’t provided any kind of serious argument as to why devotion to country is a bad thing.

    3. Dermont, I read an article on Salon by a journalist saying how much superior BBC’s Olympic commentary was to NBC’s, precisely because it didn’t just focus on athletes from the UK and because they were much more professional. The author said NBC’s coverage seemed like something Fox News would come up with, with the main narrative being the good Americans bravely trying to defeat the rest of the world.

      1. Interesting, Gary, I suggest a dip into the writings of Herder, the theorist of national-ism, if I can put it that way, a conscious attempt from the 1770s to counter the Republic of Letters; in many ways the internet is a more democratic return to that Republic.

        Briefly, he was positing that that the intellectuals of a nation-state had far more in common with each other than they did with foreign ones; that Priestley was Dr. Johnson’s buddy, rather than Lavoisier’s. The corollary was that the Scottish crofter shared more interests with his gentleman landlord and exploiter, for instance, with the Duke of Sutherland of the infamous Highland clearances, than he did with French peasants.

        Now if you buy that, then you’re the type of person who buys that. I don’t. ‘Community’ – dreadful over-used word – can be found in class, the Republic of Letters, general interest, etc. but also – the saddest and most effectively manipulable of all – in nation.

        Cheers.

        1. We’re a social species. We naturally feel a greater sense of community with people who are close to us than with people who are more distant, not just in a geographical sense of closeness but in other senses too. One type of closeness arises from a shared national identity and culture. You apparently think it’s sad that people feel that closeness. I think it’s sad that you don’t.

          1. I’ll leave, anxious not to irritate JAC with our monopolising the thread, with Bierce’s definition of patriotism: Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

            Nighty, night, Gary, nice speaking to you.

            Cheers.

    4. I thought it was Voltaire, and that patriotism is the first resort of the incompetent.
      But that aside, thorough loathing for the Olympics too. It is just a jingoism and fast-food advert fest, all in the name of the institutionalised divisiveness that is organised sport. Utterly loathsome and I hope that it goes bankrupt, to shut the whole mess down.

      1. It is just a jingoism and fast-food advert fest, all in the name of the institutionalised divisiveness that is organised sport.

        No, it’s not “jingoism.”

        Sponsors help to pay for the Olympics. Hence the commercials.

        And any kind of organized competition is “institutionalized divisiveness,” so I have no idea why you think that’s a bad thing.

      2. Bloody hell you guys are miserable! I get the impression that you probably don’t like professional sports generally. While you’ve been busy grumbling, I’ve been having a great time watching the Olympics and all the fantastic stories and displays being generated by a group of dedicated athletes at peak condition. It’s incredibly seeing what people can do out there.

        Personally I’m not so bothered by the nationalistic side of things but it’s pretty harmless you know. It’s not like the BBC commentators are asking us to declare war on every country we beat in double trap shooting or something. Ideological arguments aside these athletic societies are largely funded by public money so if you’re a tax-payer you have actually contributed to the success, albeit minimally.

        Anyway I don’t think the BBC have been too jingoistic at all. Large focus on the British athletes obviously but is that not fair? It’s not like Belarus are going to give them a lot of coverage and this is the pinnacle of their careers. But we should apparently not be seen to be too interested in them because it might smack of nationalism, which is so unseemly.

        1. Notorious, – love the moniker by the way, how you can describe a sandwich like that is inspired – I rather do like sport, in fact my poem, or piece of doggerel really, is the frontispiece of the book which came second in the British Sports Book of the Year 2012; yes, the peculiar form that its professionalization takes does worry me.

          I deeply mistrust multi-nationals which seek to privatise the public space – Iain Sinclair wrote a great piece on this about a year ago. The Olympic Park area is his roots; one day, out for his usual canal-walk, he was stopped by security telling him that he was no longer allowed to do his ramble. No argument, no debate. He also wrote an excellent article on the tumble-weed be-strewing the disused Athens venues.

          I am quite shocked at the naivety of some commenters and their flag-waving for these sponsors. It used to be that well-educated people would worship The Big Thing – hence the weird western adulation for China under Mao, Stalinist USSR; since the fall of the Berlin Wall it seems that many are now willing to roll over and have their tummies tickled by McDonalds, Coca-Cola and the rest of these leviathans. Again, back to Bierce; the definition of impunity – wealth.

          Cheers.

          1. “Iain Sinclair wrote a great piece on this about a year ago. The Olympic Park area is his roots; one day, out for his usual canal-walk, he was stopped by security telling him that he was no longer allowed to do his ramble. No argument, no debate”

            Great, but a little misleading. There were arguments and debates, indeed in Parliament and public inquiries, before the Olympic delivery people were granted their powers over the Stratford site. I guess Ian Sinclair must have missed those.

            Also, it’s a little ironic if he’s complaining about Athens’ site becoming a wasteland, as he normally seems to like those kind of derelict places.

            1. I rather think, Nick, that Sinclair’s point about the corporate annexation of his locale is this; it gives carte blanche to any little Hitler to move in and start pushing people around for no discernible reason. “There’s been a public enquiry entitling me to stop you walking around your own neighbourhood”, doesn’t really cut it. I quote from the piece, hoping I don’t infringe any copyright or annoy the author himself.

              No work was in progress, but the exclusion zone had been briskly set up and was policed by the usual yellow tabards. The challenge, of attempting to discommode stubborn pedestrians, always comes from the wrong direction: ‘What are you doing on the towpath?’ Good question. I’ve been trying to find an answer for years. But it is where I am, where I like to be, every morning. The invaders assume absolute authority, without explanation or apology. What are you doing here?

              On Athens, from the same article as it turns out, apologies for my earlier confusion, he writes,

              Out towards Piraeus, near the Karaiskakis Stadium of the Olympiakos football club, the derangement is absolute. The argument between vanity architecture and random post-architectural infill, self-designed termite colonies wedged into every nook and cranny, is presented in all its naked absurdity. The great white monster stadiums, with their choked plants withering in stone beds, are a beached fleet. …Families, enjoying their Sunday at the seaside, manoeuvre around these useless mastodons, to cluster in a beachfront bar with a panoramic view of the yachts of the oligarchs, the marine insurance brokers.

              Sinclair is interested in what people do in those spaces which have become disused, derelict, wasteland. I suppose that’s what psycho-geography means.

              I hope, despite the protestations to the contrary by LOCOG, that the London Olympic Park doesn’t develop the same mammoth death-in-life, a perfectly-preserved curiosity in a museum of follies; we shall see, but the precedents aren’t good.

              h/t The Colossus of Maroussi
              Iain Sinclair – LRB 27 May 2010

              1. Btw, best thing to come out of this Olympics?

                The on-air revelation by Jonathan Edwards, British fomer triple-jumper, and now BBC presenter, that he had lost his Christian faith. This guy deserves a lot of credit for so publicly coming out with it.

                Good on him.

                Cheers.

  8. This is one of the few Olympic events I’ve seen this year, in a restaurant yesterday. It was terrific.

    So what’s with all the outrage this morning regarding Farah being a Muslim and disrespecting the British flag? I thought only ‘Merkins could display that kind of ignorance.

    1. I haven’t seen anything like that – was it just some anonymous comment on the web, or someone with a name?

  9. Im watching the Olympics, and mostly enjoying it. While I can find plenty to complain about, I think the coverage is better than many previous Olympics.

    Maybe one reason it often seems less than inspiring is that some of the sports seem absurd. Synchronized diving? Competitive white-water kayaking? Why?? These sports seem almost invented just for the Olympics. How many synchronized divers do you know? And isnt there 2-person rowing, 4-person rowing, 6-person rowing? All seems like the same thing to me.

    Watching only NBC (because I dont have cable), I think there’s been too much swimming coverage. And Im saying that as a former collegiate swimmer. I dont even see the point in having more than one round of premils per event. I say give them one set of preliminary heats, put the top 8 times in the finals and thats all you need.

    I watched Farah’s win and really enjoyed it. The women’s 100 meter track final was great to watch too.

    1. So basically if you haven’t heard of a sport it has no validity? Perhaps the Olympics should just consist of (American) football, baseball and basketball?

      The people competing in diving and the white water events and all of the others have devoted large parts of their lives to being as good as they can. Your childish dismissal is very insulting to people who have aspired to be the best that they can.

      I was in the stadium when Mo Farah won last night (alongside Jess Ennis and Greg Rutherford) and it was the most exciting sporting experience of my life.

  10. Moments later he was joined on the track by his daughter Rihanna, seven… The runner has now got halfway to fulfilling his dream of being able to give two gold medals to the twin daughters that he and Tania are expecting in September.

    “It would be great to be able to give them one medal each,” he said before Saturday’s 10,000 metres final. “That would be amazing.”

    So the seven year old daughter will just have to settle for a Barbie doll while her sibs bet Olympic gold medals? WTF?

  11. good lad Farah keep up the good work. Everyone take a lesson from this guy, keep fit and fight for your dreams you will achieve them if you believe you can.

    Watch my blog for you daily dose of games and fitness.

  12. I just read on twitter that NBC didn’t even show the 100 metres live. That can’t be true can it? Wtf?

  13. A lovely moment, especially after Jess Ennis’s win in the heptathlon earlier. And Usain Bolt this evening was just extraordinary. Again. The beauty of a human body moving like that is something I hope I always appreciate.

  14. “I think there’s more than pro-Britain jingoism going on here.”

    That is a very offensive comment. The British are very proud of all their medalists.

  15. Another good Olympian anecdote: Michael Johnson told the story that some athletic troll suggested that all his fellow-finalists pray together before the race. Johnson thought, “Stuff that, I’m here to win.” Mebbe not in those words, but then again, maybe in more Anglo-Saxon terms.

    Cheers.

  16. I was in the stadium when Mo won the 10,000, capping an insanely great 45 minutes during which GB won 3 gold medals, in heptathlon, long jump and finally the 10,000. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Mo is a refugee from Somalia who came to live in my community (he lives a couple of miles from me and trains on the same roads I do), who thrived in the (mostly) tolerant and unbigoted air of my fine nation and who has now paid us back with one of the most extraordinary sporting moments in our history.

    I feel sorry for the Eeyores above who seem to assume that just because they don’t understand something, it is worthless. For those who live in the UK, please consider this astonishing editorial from The Sun that was stimulated by last Saturday night. OK, so it’s not in the Mail, but it’s still pretty special.

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/sun_says/244723/The-Sun-says-Britain-United.html

    1. Yeah, Rob, I decided to sully my poor little netbook and followed both links; rather symbolically, the computer froze both times, as if on a go-slow against the red-top. Somewhat reminds me of the euphoric national reaction in France 1998 to the multi-ethnic footie team winning the World Cup; nowadays, of course, no-one hears anything of the Gallic Front National.

      It certainly is good to see Rupert’s flag-ship, 32 years after I was bottled by an NF member, suggesting that anti-racism, no, not that, liberal toleration, is a good thing. It definitively plants Murdoch’s pole at the cutting edge of social progress. I hope you don’t come to regret your light-headed flirtation with the Man from Down-Under; careful your euphoria doesn’t tempt you into the bordello of some very dodgy bed-fellows.

      Re: your remark on not understanding something, frankly I have no idea what you’re talking about. I watched Gary W and Bhoytony talk past each other, as the latter wrote, and thought Gary’s repetitious content-free metaphor of community beneath comment.

      Cheers.

      1. Of course, only a fool would expect that a single football match would get rid of the French far-right, just as only a fool would think that a single Sun editorial might lead to the dissolution of the BNP. Did the French 1998 victory have an effect on the amount of support for Le Pen and co? Impossible to say, and impossible to know if the current level of support for them is reduced as a consequence of what happened in ’98. Still, just consider that some of the millions of Sun readers in Britain are having their prejudices challenged, and some of them will, perhaps, become a little more enlightened. Surely that’s a good thing.

      2. Dermot,

        Re: your remark on not understanding something, frankly I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Oh, I think you know perfectly well what we’re talking about. You’ve just decided to take the public position, for reasons you cannot or will not explain, that pride in the achievements of one’s fellow countrymen is somehow either disreputable or meaningless.

        1. Gary, OK, one last time; the point on ‘pride’ is almost trivially simple. How far from yourself do you extend the emotion of pride? Bhoytony hinted at this in his back-and-forth with you.

          To my daughters? Fair enough. To my cousins overseas? Mebbe. To the bloke down the road? Um…tricky. To, say, Laura Trott – seems like a jolly, pleasant person, I like her, my taxes may have contributed infinitesimally to her success – just about. By the way, read Pareto on the peculiar powerless of the individual in her society, nation, state – fascinating. To the toff British winners of the dressage? Not really.

          Do you see what’s happened? The further away these people get from me, the less likely my feeling of pride. The less I control the outcome, the less visceral that pride.

          BUT, you’re using the wrong term; for all the these winners you can say you feel happy for them instead of ‘proud’ and I would be happy, not proud, to leave it at that.

          As a corollary – bhoytony touched on this in your debate about Nazi Germany – at what point do you define your polity as no longer worthy to use as a yard-stick to determine your ‘pride’ – again, wrong word – in your fellow country-men? When the Socialists were interned? The Occupation of the Ruhr? Kristallnacht? The Anschluss? The invasion of Poland? The Final Solution? When? By what criteria do you decide?

          Yes, the questions are absurd. Because they demonstrate the absurdity of your conservative position. Pride in the achievements of your fellow-country-man is not determined by the individual’s relationship to the state. Yours, I suspect, is not the liberal position of Rob Knell, for whom you presume to speak.

          Your metaphor of community breaks down, it’s a chimera, a fantasy, the reiteration of a cosy illusion. Your repetition of a proposition does not constitute an argument.

          Cheers.

          1. the point on ‘pride’ is almost trivially simple. How far from yourself do you extend the emotion of pride?

            As far as feels appropriate in the circumstances.

            Do you see what’s happened? The further away these people get from me, the less likely my feeling of pride.

            No kidding. If my daughter won a gold medal, I’d be immensely proud as her father. If an American athlete unrelated to me wins a gold medal, I feel proud as a fellow American. Not as proud as I would feel if she were my daughter, but still proud. I imagine most people would feel similarly.

            The less I control the outcome,

            It’s not about controlling the outcome. It’s about the degree of connectedness. Just because they’re closer to you doesn’t mean you’re any more responsible for their achievement.

            at what point do you define your polity as no longer worthy to use as a yard-stick to determine your ‘pride’in your fellow country-men? When the Socialists were interned? The Occupation of the Ruhr? Kristallnacht? The Anschluss? The invasion of Poland? The Final Solution? When? By what criteria do you decide?

            As I already said, I wouldn’t expect people to be proud of bad things their country has done. I doubt many Germans today are proud of their country’s invasion of Poland, because they understand that invading Poland was a bad thing to do, not a thing to be proud of. Again, I don’t know why you’re having so much trouble grasping this idea.

            Yes, the questions are absurd. Because they demonstrate the absurdity of your conservative position.

            I don’t know what questions you mean. Your belief that my “position” is “conservative” just demonstrates yet again how utterly clueless you are about this. I hate to break it to you, but if feeling proud when one of your country’s athletes wins an Olympic medal is “conservative,” then pretty much the whole world is “conservative.” You really are completely out to lunch on this issue.

          2. Your metaphor of community breaks down

            It’s not a metaphor. A country REALLY IS is community. It fits the first dictionary definition perfectly:

            A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.

            It also extends beyond individual nations. The European Union, for example. In fact, it even used to be called the European Economic COMMUNITY.

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