The bloated, zig-zaggy icon is the logo for the 2012 Olympics in London. It’s been roundly panned by art critics, Olympic officials, Brits of all stripes and now me! If you squint your eyes or twist your head in just the right way, you might be able to make out that it’s some sort of pop representation of the coming year – 2012!
Those of us living in the Land of Cotton during the ’96 Olympics know how weird things can get during the planning process. Game organizers, for whatever reasons, often end up pushing the creative envelope, producing dreadful icons and images to market and promote the mega-event.
Remember Izzy – short for Whatizit – the ill-conceived and universally criticized mascot of the Atlanta Games? Even after it was tweaked, Izzy remained an abomination – a nerdy, bluish cartoon character that appealed to absolutely no one. Okay, there was that one toddler from Uzbekistan that found Izzy charming!
The London logo has been in the news recently, not because it’s just plain ugly, but because of the politics of a very weird nation – Iran. Some of the members of Iran’s National Olympic Committee have been squinting just a little too hard when checking out the logo and think it resembles the world “Zion”.
Bahram Afsharzadeh, the secretary-general of Iran’s Olympic Committee has fired off a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge, condemning the logo as “racist” and calling upon other Muslim countries to also protest the design. After all, Zion equals Israel and we all know how these progressive countries feel about the one true democracy in the Middle East.
I imagine, if you work really hard, reading the logo vertically and twisting it about, you can sort of find “Zion” buried in the awkward, bulky design. What I really think is going on, however, is Afsharzadeh and his friends have managed to turn the logo into a Rorschach test of sorts and, predictably, are projecting their paranoid fears on a benign design.
Iran, meanwhile, is threatening to boycott the London Games. The IOC has rejected the complaint. Hopefully that means Iran will, ah, screw its courage to the sticking place and hold true to its plan to pass on the 2012 Games.
If so, the Zionist conspiracy that really was no conspiracy at all will result in the London Games becoming an Iran-free zone. Mazel Tov! Sounds like a fantastic result that most of us can applaud and support.