As most of you reading this outside America will know, the 2004 Olympics have begun. Of course in America none of this has been seen yet, because it is technologically impossible or something to broadcast live from Greece. So the film of the opening ceremony is being sent by carrier pigeon to New York, where it will arrive in a few hours to be shown.
Now I don’t really care when or where the opening ceremony is shown. But I do care about when and where they show Olympic events in which Australians have a decent chance of doing well, especially swimming. And if one is stuck in the televisual hell-hole that is the United States, the answer is “Nowhere live, and unknown time and location on tape delay.” Because NBC refuses to show any swimming events live, and refuses (as far as I can tell) to say just when it will show events on tape delay, it is practically impossible to tell how much of a commitment will be needed to actually see Australians (or anyone else you might be interested in) in action. If you’re lucky NBC will, just like a cable company, say that the event you want will turn up sometime in a 4 hour interval. Just why Americans tolerate this kind of behaviour from a TV station is a little unclear, but I can’t imagine it would be possible to get away with such behaviour anywhere else in the western world.