Thursday, February 09, 2006

Jim Souhan on Assignment: A Jingo in Action

Jim Souhan can not go one article without taking cheap shots at someone or something. Today’s episode finds him in Italy, presumably on the Star Tribune’s tab, to cover the Olympics. Things start out well as he describes the sights and sounds of the luge and bobsled. It is the start of an adequate column to whet one’s appetite for the Winter Games.

Then halfway through, Souhan does a word count, realizes he is 300 words short. With the Olympics thoroughly covered, it is time for some cheap jokes and poorly veiled insults.

The Italians seem friendly, but this is not like attending a Super Bowl in Jacksonville, where the populace begs you to like them. In Jacksonville the attitude was, "We know this is a lousy place to spend a week, but if you promise not to tell anybody, we'll give you a T-shirt."
In Turin, the attitude is, "It's OK that you're visiting; please don't spill anything."

Insulting two cities in one fell swoop and it’s not even a fair comparison. Turin’s population is more than double Jacksonville, and they are hosting one of the largest events in the World for two weeks. Jacksonville hosted an annual weekend event attended by primarily one country. Souhan attempts to appear too good for “lousy” Jacksonville, but not high-brow enough for Italy.

Nobody seems to be in a rush in Italy. When I asked the front desk at the condo to fix my phone, which doesn't ring, the attendant said, "Tomorrow would be good for us."
Jim Souhan, the first American to set foot in Italy. At least his expedition is not in vain, as it’s doubtful any Americans will go to Italy again. Seriously, why is he telling us this in a sports column?

This is a city filled with cars. While the stereotypical European city relies on public transportation, Turin is home to the automaker Fiat, which produces cars the size of bundt cakes. You don't park these cars -- you put them on your key chain.
Stupid little cars, they make me so mad! Mad enough in fact, that I must insult them. It’s doubtful that Italy is apologetic for its lack of SUV’s.

The language barrier is really more than a speed bump. If you can say "pizza" and "vino" you'll survive, and if you climb near the top of the Alps, you can expect to see panoramic vistas, acts of bravery and other such Olympic moments.
This is Souhan’s closing paragraph. He was really starting to dig in to Italy when he suddenly realized it was a sports column. May the city of Turin realize Jim Souhan is a tacky writer and book him a one way flight to Jacksonville.

At first it appeared we were alone in our distaste. Then this was found at