The post which was going up has been ditched because of something truly bizarre I’ve just had the misfortune to witness.
We’ve all seen the jobsworthery of petty officials and their rules, most famously mentioned by Usain Bolt and these international athletes must be just dying to get the events over, the parties done and get the hell out of this petty, fascistic Britain. Such a great shame, such an embarrassment to this nation.
Here’s how it went.
The high-jumping women were all highjumping and most got through the height of 1:93. That apparently freaked the officials who weren’t counting on so many getting through. Their idea was that at least some would drop away, this was how they had it planned, this rebellion in many jumping higher than expected was an anomaly which needed to be remedied.
So this little man you see in the pictures [note his demographic], replete with clipboard and pen, called all the women over and started explaining …
… in English …
… to mainly non-English-speaking women …
… that too many had got through.
He wanted to know who’d like to pass and wanted to write it on his clipboard, so that the officials could clear the highjump area of women. There were apparently too many highjumpers milling around for the officials to be comfortable. Now the fact that in any other area of the world, the competitors manage without any problem to be in the highjump area, to one side, watching their rivals, did not occur to the British officials.
They needed this thing regulated and under control, so that everyone’s enjoyment could be enhanced. It’s not just you who are important, highjumpers – it’s “Everyone” who must be considered. The girls just looked at one another – the English speakers were flabbergasted, the others were bewildered but knew something disastrous had happened and this added to their own natural nervousness at this stage of the campaign.
One middle-eastern lady tried pointing out to him her name on a second sheet on his clipboard and his response was to ask, again in English: “Do you want to pass or jump on this next jump?”
They were just looking at him so his response was to repeat it in English. They just looked at one another and the American girl laughed. How on earth can you know if you “intend” to pass or not unless you’re watching your own defaulting and see what the rest of the women are doing? The whole point is strategy. To do that, you must be in the area, observing the competitors.
Some woman official came over and he said, “All right, you all go with her and listen to her.” It was on the Beeb broadcast just now. So they all went with her and she said exactly the same thing. So they were standing around, bewildered and some came back to the little jobsworth.
Now at this point, let’s look at the key factors:
1. These re international athletes, speaking different languages;
2. They are not children, to be herded into an area to lectured;
3. You don’t address them in English and then, when they fail to understand fully, you harangue them in English;
4. Nor do you think they’re dumb foreigners and in your most tolerant manner possible – dear oh dear – put your hand on your chest and patronize them by speaking English more slowly, as if to idiots.
The American said: “So what you’re saying is that we all have to either pass together or jump together?”
He said:, clipboard being wielded: “I just want to know if you’ll pass or jump.”
“Well, if we pass, can we stay over there?”
“Can we recall that pass?”
“No, once you pass, you pass.”
“But that’s bizarre,” said the German, “we always have the choice whether to jump or not.”
“Look,” he said, a sympathetic smile on his face. “I just want to write down here whether you’re passing or jumping.”
Not a clue the way highjump actually works. One girl actually tries to explain to him:
He’s obviously losing it and the American tries to get it crystal clear from him but he’s done explaining now so she has to ask him specific questions. He repeats that no one can stay over at the highjump.
“But we’re all through to the final – we’re all finalists,” explains the American, then has to try to explain to her friends/rivals what is going on.
The French girl comes up to him and tries to deal with him one to one, to make some sense of it. She uses what English she has. He goes back to his smiling, hand on heart mode and repeats that he wants to know if she is passing or jumping.
The American tries to explain that they need to be over there, that it is part of highjump for anyone who gets through to watch the others and decide whether to pass or jump, given that each jumper only has three shots and can transfer that third shot to a higher height.
He’s not interested. “Look, all I want to know is -”
“Well, if we all agree to pass, can we all go for the next height?”
“I don’t know about that. Yes. All I want to know is … look, do you want to pass … or do you want to jump?”
She doesn’t answer but tries to explain to the non-English-speaking women. He’s had enough of it and decides to individualize himself, taking his clipboard and turning to each woman in turn. He looks at the French woman and asks: “Do you want to jump? Do you want to pass then?”
She doesn’t reply so he turns to the Turkish girl and mindful that he has just dealt with a Frenchwoman, he says to the Turk: “Bonjour.” He gets nowhere and turns to another. “Do you want to pass?”
She’s almost crying and it’s not too inventive to describe her reaction as howling: “I don’t know! I don’t know!”
“Look,” he puts on his air of great condescension again, “I just want to know if …” Now he has to keep asking because that’s his job, innit, and it’s more than his job’s worth to do any differently. Thinking that maybe something might be wrong here doesn’t cross his little mind.
2:18:42 of the vid and the Beeb commentator comes into it, explaining that the official is trying toi persuade the women to all pass. The American takes the jobsworth on. “I hear what you’re saying but that’s just not fair.”
Remember that this is in the middle of the jumping competition, not before it.
And whatever you might think of certain American ethnicities and their entitlement, she’s right on this one. They have to be over there to watch what’s going on, not herded over into some holding yard for highjumpers, away from the action and not getting in the way.
One of the women now goes off [in the background] and puts face to palm:
That man, having created an international incident over nothing, now forces a “pass” out of every woman and one by one they drift away. The German girl is the last one left and she just stands there, looking at him. The Beeb commentator calls it a “contretemps” and the jobsworth as a “shop steward”.
And we wish to be taken seriously in the world.
Now the German, who is called Friedrich, goes for the 196cm but all the other ladies had said they’d pass, pressganged into it by the jobsworth. Many of the girls said yes, believing that all the girls had said yes – the question of English language again.
Friedrich, very upset and jumping alone, with all the other women herded away, fluffs her attempt of course and it’s a bad scene all round. I’m appalled at this interference and pressure of offiicialdom, way outside their brief and the way they’re upsetting all the competitors.
Will the press run this tonight or will it ignore it all, in the interests of presenting these games as “well run”?