If You Hated “Cruel and Unusual” You Might Like “Reasonable and Humane”

We fixed the Olympics.

This week we’re talking about the Olympics. Or more specifically, my plan for making the Olympics, and therefore the world, better

First things first: I commend to you this Linda Holmes column about why every sport in the Olympics is the best sport ever and has important life lessons to offer us, up to and including dressage. This is not to say that the Olympic Games as they currently exist are the best thing ever, merely that every sport is the best, and that it seems fair that all the unknown athletes who spend countless hours perfecting their skills should get a period of adulation every four years.

But also… every four years, we make all the nations spend big bucks to compete over who gets to host, and then the “winning” nation has to build a shitload of Olympic infrastructure (olympistructure?), at significant cost to human life and local economies. EVERY FOUR YEARS. FOR TWO WEEKS OF COMPETITION. Then, many olymistructures move directly from “focal point of the world” to “concrete husk.” And at some point, the global stadium-to-athlete ratio is going to start to tip in a ludicrous direction.

Instead, we should have ever country pitch in proportionally to build and maintain one Olympic location with suitable olympistructures that are reused every time (and where everyone can wear the uniform of their choice). Everyone chips in, and everyone benefits. It will have to be in a neutral location and outer space is clearly a bad choice, so: Olympic Island, in international waters. I know there are still a lot of unanswered questions — Do Summer and Winter share the same Island? How fair a wage will we pay the construction workers, very or extremely? Will you be able to legally adopt a Vespa there, since it’s in international waters? — but I think the benefits outweigh the uncertainties. Maybe a different country could design a mascot for each Games, if we can’t live without some international variety.

Because the thing is this: success does not always have to mean morebiggerfaster. When did “reasonable growth of reasonable things in a reasonable way” become the fuddy-duddy approach, rather than the humane approach? When will “humane” become the primary criteria things have to satisfy rather than a nice-to-have option? Things that are morebiggerfaster result in a lot of running people over and not a lot of widespread sustainable thriving. It’s true for technology, it’s true for business, it’s true for food, it’s true for life.

Olympic Island could be a rallying cry for international cooperation, community health, and controlled growth is all I’m saying, as the editor of a small magazine that pays people fairly and whose main growth goals are “exist all of next year.”

Just think about it.

Michelle (@michelleinchief)

The week in Pipe Wrench.

  • Y’all, the art for August’s feature story is so beautiful. By the way, the issue comes out one week from today, on August 17th. (Which also means: last call for pigeons!)
  • Speaking of August’s issue, Michelle is knee-deep in layouts and her very favorite part of every issue: the margin notes that connect threads running through all the pieces. If you generally read on a phone, you don’t know about the margin notes. Which is a-okay, but maybe look once on a full-size screen, if only to validate Michelle’s use of time.
  • Catherine continues to master The Art of the Powerful CRM, uploading csv files, creating funnels, and generally doing all the things that a functional business needs to do. For her next trick, she’s planning to spit-shine a vaguely convincing impression of a Functional Human Adult.

A Correction from the Publisher

The first section of this newsletter says “we” are talking about the Olympics. Please note that this “we” is really more of a royal we, because (1) we’ll never be royals, so why not rent a disguise, but also because (2) I could not know or understand less about the Olympics unless I had literally never heard of them.

Speaking of selective ignorance, I would like to know what the Olympics are, if someone would like to explain them to me.