Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sweet Jesus,

I love Mr. Walcott nearly as much as I loathe Tim Daggett...

"A disaster of epic proportion" is how NBC gymnastics analyst (and former gymnast himself) Tim Daggett described Alicia Sacramore's butt-landing last night in the team competition--a phrase that might be more judiciously deployed to label a monsoon or earthquake that wipes out multiple thousands, or the aftermath of aerial bombardment. A gymnast flubbing her tumbling pass doesn't quite qualify as an epic disaster, even if this is the Olympics and the entire world is riveted to the screen from the sanctity of their leisure modules.

But rhetorical overkill is Daggett's signature yelp, treating every bobble or half-step on the landing as a potential fatal rip ("this--is a nightmare") in the fabric of the heroic narrative he and colleague Al Trautwig have collaborated on behind the mike as they pump up every gymnastics showdown into psychodrama, soap opera, and Nietzschean feats of will.

Hyperbole is the chant they sing, but where Daggett relies on a few stock phrases of cheer or doom, Trautwig fancies himself quite the troubadour, translating the gymnasts' thoughts for us as if their interior monologues were as wordy and portentous as his exterior ones. Gad, they get on my nerves.

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