If you missed out on the whole kerfuffle around the Olympic Uniforms let me sum it up quickly. Basically, like pretty every other garment you can buy in stores in the US, designer Ralph Lauren produced the uniforms in China. In an election year play politicians saw a chance to show their patriotism and commitment to home-grown jobs by making elaborate demands that future Olympic uniforms be manufactured in the US.
Personally looking at the image above I am more taken aback at the authoritarian pose in the picture. Rather than serving as a tribute to our Olympians, the pose reminds me of political/military propaganda. And have no clue what to think about the beret! But that is just me … well, actually, not. We discussed the picture at GearFest and I am not alone in those opinions.
In the bigger picture one has to look at the context of US politicians freaking out about globalization and the realities of how things are done in 2012. In fact one editorial did just that – take a quick read:
The fury over the U.S. Olympic uniforms is just another example of the fierce, and sometimes ridiculous, political fighting going on the Capitol Hill in the year of election, which is dominated by economic growth and job creation.
By criticizing Ralph Lauren for outsourcing jobs, the politicians attempted to reap political gains by portraying themselves as a champion of insourcing U.S. jobs so as to attract greater support among U.S. voters …
The Olympic Spirit, which has nothing to do with politics, chants mutual understanding and fair play, so tagging the uniforms with politics by those U.S. politicians exposes narrow nationalism and ignorance, and violates the original Olympic Spirit.
It is a rather insightful insight and is right on point. The election-year impact shouldn’t be dismissed either since the same issue came up in 2008. Most won’t remember it thought since we were busy with too many other national crises- real and manufactured.
Wondering where that editorial came from? China’s state-run news agency Xinhua. It doesn’t read like some hysterical propoganda seeking to strike fear and consternation, but rather like a well-reasoned analysis – something sorely missing from our own politicians and news analysts on this issue.
The reality is that there is a minimal textile industry left in the US. Ralph Lauren makes their clothers in China, as does pretty much every brand. Politicians wearing Ralph Lauren suits and nice ties to formal state affairs where THEY represent the US should be aware that, when they do, they are wearing clothes manufactured in China or some other country that is not the US.
What do you think about ANY of this – the uniforms, the berets, the political response and the Chinese editorial?