Dingus of the Week: The Olympics

Welcome to the cursed Olympics

Hi! Welcome to the Weekly Dingus, my Friday newsletter, where I round up my internet reads, share a drink, and yell about a dingus. Is that dingus a politicianA boat in a canalMy dog? Or maybe it’s just pants. You can read about past weekly dinguses in the archives.

The Olympic Games were conceived as a way to display virulent nationalism and also somehow come together as a world community. Consequently, despite the over-the-top marketing, they have never truly been able to transcend the politics and problems that plague the globe. There are so many things wrong with the Olympics and they haven’t even started. Let’s make a list.

  • In the run-up to the 2021 Games, the Olympic Committee banned track star and gold-medal favorite Sha’Carri Richardson for testing positive for marijuana use.

  • Black swimmers are not allowed to wear swim caps designed for their hair. 

  • And there are the cardboard beds. Which aren’t anti-sex beds, but still look absolutely terrible for sleeping.

Is that it? I think so.

No, wait. Don’t forget the actual pandemic. The novel and deadly virus is still out there, and it’s infecting athletes left and right.

Instead of peace and love and harmony, the Olympics are spreading death sprinkled with a dash of sexism, racism, and ableism.

At this point, we have to ask ourselves, what is right with the Olympics? Did the Olympics pick up a cursed monkey paw? Did the Olympics open a mummy’s tomb thereby condemning them to a life of pain and pestilence? Did the Olympics wear the Hope Diamond? Did the Olympics shout “Macbeth!” inside a theater?

You could tell me that the Olympics stole the Lindbergh baby and I’d believe it.

Natalie Shure, writing for The New Republic, sums it all up very nicely:

Boil down all the sanctimonious drivel about how edifying the games are, and you’re left with the unavoidable truth: The Olympics wreck lives. I may not be the world’s biggest sports fan, but if massive biannual musical theater festivals were diverting resources from social services and wiping out entire neighborhoods, I’d be screaming bloody murder about it. The Tokyo Games should be canceled—but if not, they ought to be the last ones any of us ever see.

What I Am Reading:

Felicia Sonmez is a reporter who was banned from covering sexaul assault allegations after disclosing her own assault. And she is suing the overpriced patriarchy pants off Marty Baron for that act of discrimination.

Former congresswoman Abby Finkenauer announced she is running for the Iowa Senate against Chuck Grassley. Abby is 32 years old. Grassley is 87. This is going to be a fun one. 

Abby lost her re-election bid for Congress, in a particularly nasty race, that had her opponent’s campaign manager dressing up in chicken costumes and also screaming for my firing. Last year, I wrote about the sexism endemic in our state (media not excluded) that was at play in that election. I am confident we will see more of it. Gird your loins.

I read Adam Dalva’s lovely story in The New Yorker about looking for the anonymous author of a serial novel he received during the pandemic.

I really love the French Revolution that this pandemic kicked off. 

Dana James of Black Iowa News is running a three-part series on how the pandemic affected Black Iowans. (You can read my interview with her from February!)

Alex Shephard wrote about the scourge of both-siderism in journalism.

And I wrote some goofy out of the office replies you can use if you have a “real” job. And I also wrote, here, a tribute to Iowa’s radio homemakers. The OG mom bloggers.

In book news, my friend Rachel Yoder published her novel, Nightbitch, and she and I are going to be in conversation about it next week! On JULY 24!! SIGN UP! It’s virtual, but I think Yoder and I will be in the same room.

What I Am Drinking

One of the best/worst things I did during pandemic was to let my kids play with my bar tools and make their own drinks. Non-alcoholic drinks. We don’t let kids have hard liquor until they’re 12 in my house. (JUST KIDDING, MOM!) They love to mix different seltzers with herbs from the garden, cherry juice, pickle juice, lemon, lime. It’s fun. They call it potion-making. I call it training them to make mommy a drink.

This week, I took my kids on a little outing to the Children’s Museum in Coralville, where we hadn’t been in a long time, and then we decided to go get fancy burgers from the Pullman in Iowa City. I don’t usually take my kids to fancy restaurants. Right around the time they became better about trying new foods and not being a general nuisance in public, the world shut down. But somewhere along the past 18 months, they’ve transformed into delightful companions, who I just love hanging out with. At the Pullman, I ordered them Shirley Temples, and my son and I spent 20 minutes discussing the right amount of cherry juice for the drink. And they read books, and my daughter told me that my laptop was my favorite third child. (An amazing burn and an excellent joke!) She also went on a very inspired rant about how there should be no grades in band, because music is about love. I love them. Is it pandemic? Is it just their ages? Did we all figure some things out these past 18 months? Is it Stockholm syndrome? I am not sure. But I can unequivocally say, I made two humans who are just really fun to hang out with.

I ordered a Tom Collins, because I thought it would be funny if we all had drinks with people names. And I am not gin’s number one fan. (GIN KNOWS WHAT IT DID!) But I absolutely loved it. Then, I came home and made one for myself with a lavender simple syrup that I made from lavender from my own (very weedy and unkept) garden. 

So, that’s what we are drinking this week. Mix up a Tom Collins and cheers to all the little people we love.

P.S. Anyone who says, “Just wait until they are teenagers” will be banned FOR LIFE!


Men Yell at Me is a newsletter about the places where our bodies and politics collide and yes, the occasional yelling man. Learn more about it and me (Lyz) here. You can sign up to receive the free weekly email, which includes interviews, essays, and original reporting. The Friday email is a weekly round-up of dinguses, drinks, and links. On Monday I have a subscribers-only open thread where we discuss politics and our bodies and more.