So I write something for CiF about the Olympics and their tenuous relationship with reality, and in an act of supreme self-sacrifice I leave out all the obvious Baudrillard references, 'cos the punters don't seem to like them and then, bloody hell, that bloody Julian Baggini goes and writes the piece I wanted to write all along. So regard this (which appears the day after JB's) as the Reader's Digest version of his article; or the version that's been edited for airline use, with all the nipples and swearing and postmodernism cut out:
The big story of the Olympics is, we are told, the battle between China and the United States for control of the medal table; a microcosm for the struggle for political, economic and cultural hegemony in the new millennium, as the balance of power shifts from occident to orient.
At the same time, there's another intriguing scrap going on in Beijing: the tussle between surface and reality; what we see and what actually is. Cynics might argue that the Chinese authorities have long had an interesting take on the truth, from the announcement of bumper harvests while millions starved during the great leap forwards, to today's paranoid policing of the internet. But the Olympics have seen a new kind of reality avoidance...
More Monkey magic here.