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The Salt Lake Tribune, the Official Newspaper of the 2002 Winter Games, which with obvious tongue-in-cheek calls itself Utah’s Independent Voice Since 1871, last week published yet another front page PR puff piece on the Olympics. The article appeared under the headline, The Arts as an Olympic Event. Advertiser

By the way, is it possible for plural arts to be a single event? But never mind, the solemn and self-important Official Editor’s struggle with the English language, which is not his native tongue, is to be commended. Until he masters elementary logic, rudimentary idiom and basic syntax, we shouldn’t come down too hard on his grammar.

Though the article carries the byline of someone else, reliable sources report it was really penned by the Editor Hisself or by Olympic Commandant Frank Joklik, or maybe by both in a kind of double-decker two-man bobsled collaboration. Besides emitting the general odor of hum-buggery, the article also contains mindless redundancies: Opera diva — where else do you find a diva but in an opera? Mindless misuse of words: Grant’s production undoubtedly will share some of its predecessors’ features while being uniquely Utahn — if the production shares features, it can’t be unique. And mindless non sequitur: And since the Olympics revolve around athletes, it only stands to reason that artists will benefit if [cultural organizer] Grant can get them together, thus showing how many attributes they share. If you can follow the logic of that last sentence, the Official Editor will give you a relaxing foot rub in SLOC’s hideaway sauna near the Kennecott smelter.

The subject of the article itself seemed to be something called a Cultural Olympiad and was liberally salted with the ravings of someone named Raymond Grant, SLOC’s Cultural Organizer, who recently had some connection or other with Disneyland. As I recall, he was dressing up as Goofy and greeting the kiddies on Main Street. Goofy Grant’s experience with the Children of Tomorrow Land was enough to get him the job with SLOC, whose first, last, and only goal is to infuse Children Everywhere with the Olympic Spirit.

Frank Joklik’s lovely wife, Pam, who, besides being Mayor-For-Life Deedee’s landlady, served on the search committee that plucked Grant from his Goofy suit and elevated him to his current perch as Cultural Organizer. The Official Newspaper of the 2002 Games quoted Frau Joklik as saying, What set him apart was his dynamism and his get-up-and-go that was immediately evident and so impressive. (I checked with some professors at the U., and they told me that dynamism is a Norwegian slang word that roughly translates as bloated with Olympic Gas.)

Grant’s dynamic gas was immediately and impressively evident in the brainstorming question he addressed to African-American opera diva Grace Bumbry: What are your thoughts about Negro Spirituals? Would it be interesting for us to explore freedom in the context of spirituals? Then I let her imagine. Negro Spirituals! Lordy, Lordy, I’m sure African-American Bumbry imagined all kinds of things, like dem happy slaves singing and dancing down on the plantation.

For sheer Olympic gas, you’d have to search far and wide to exceed the purity of Grant’s second question. You can mix and match the words and the gas quotient remains high. What was it the Cultural Organizer said about how interesting it would be to explore freedom in the context of spirituals? Let’s see, how about exploring spirituals in the context of freedom? Or exploring freedom in the context of interest? Or exploring interest in the context of spirituals? Round up the tots, the Children of the Future, it’s a game everyone can play! Here’s an Olympic Experience Full of Horse-Farting for Kids of all ages!

The Cultural Organizer’s dynamic gas and wacky sense of fun was also immediately evident in his vision of the arts (you can tell he’s a visionary by that big front-page color photo in the Official Newspaper of the 2002 Games: his eyes have the shine you see in Amway salesmen and spiritual gurus like that Bo Peep fella who graduated his fold to the mother ship docked at the Hale Bop comet.) SLOC’s Cultural Organizer and Visionary wants to establish links across all mediums of expression — music, theater, sculpture, literature, dance, art and every combination thereof. Whew. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to them dancing tuba players and singing statues, kind of like what you see in the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Best of all, Grant’s budget will be small for the endeavor he is undertaking — ’in the low millions of dollars,’ he predicted. Just a few million dollars? Money well-spent!

OK, boys and girls, all together now, let’s sing our favorite Olympic Spiritual: Who’s the leader of the band who’s made for you and me? M-I-C — see you real soon, K-E-Y — why? because we like you; M-O-U-S-E.

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