It was not till the forty-third comment on the Big Picture’s Chinese Olympic terrorism prep series that someone finally hits on the political irony of this chilling eye candy. The commenter states:
Are we sure Segway vs Flamethrower is not a proposed Olympic event?
Barrier-cutting might be an individual competition, and the first few photos look like typical Superbowl halftime shows….
What I’m seeing in these terrorism preparation drills — held on the actual field of Olympic competition, employing finely-hone physical skill and and precise group coordination, the point being public display — is an almost complete blurring of the lines between athletic and military competition. In the best blood sport tradition of Rove, Rumsfeld and Cheney, these photos fall neatly into the shock-and-awe genre, where putting on a hurt — especially the more fiery, precise and/or technological — is (literally) a beautiful thing.
In the Village People shot, its fantastic seeing combat performance theatre cannibalizing what appear to be track hurdles. It viscerally models the message: Lay one finger on these games, and you’ll be taken apart. In the second shot, this is certainly the pose (or the background) that Giuliani should have thought of. Beyond the phallic nature here (and in the first pic, for that matter), it looks like the Chinese have perfected (and already executed) the GWOT equivalent of the opening ceremony’s warrior’s march.
(image 1: China Photos/Getty Images. July 2, 2008 Chongqing Municipality, China. image 2: Fan Changguo/Xinhua/AP. July 2, 2008. Jinan,)