A segment on the Special Olympics, a competition for the mentally retarded, was also handled with a dry-eyed and understated clarity that gave it grace. But these scenes were far too few. Replace the unknowns with celebs, and the Games pilot could have been any one of those trash-sports shows that always seem to be shot with a singles apartment complex in the background and the participants pinching each other on the arm and saying how much fun they're having.
Also, Warhol's prediction has its dangerous side: most of us don't deserve 15 minutes of celebrity. We're boring. Commentators relentlessly overstated the point that the union members in the Hoboken tug-of-war were emotionally involved, but it was rather obvious that these guys were turned on mostly by the presence of the TV cameras. Teamsters and longshoremen these days are just about as media-hip as presidential candidates, which they prove every time they're on strike and are interviewed by local newsmen.
Games may offer to stroke our TV fantasies, but do we really want Bruce Jenner, or even Donna DeVarona, in there for the "Singing in the Shower" contest? There should be a place in our recreation where microphones don't sprout like electronic celery, where a guy can throw a baseball straight up in the air and catch it and dream he's Fred Lynn without a camera intruding. A New York businessman, asked why he was running before the bulls in Pamplona, replied, "I just have to get away. I'm too hemmed in by technology."
We all feel that way sometimes. And the guy almost made it. But he just couldn't get away from being interviewed. Saddest of all, he appeared to enjoy his time on the air.