A Grinch of Olympic Proportions

By Devra Ferst

Published February 17, 2010, issue of February 26, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Vancouver-based klezmer musician Geoff Berner isn’t happy that his hometown is hosting the Olympics, and he wants you to know why. In a city packed with tourists, athletes and celebrities, all partaking in some old-fashioned Olympic cheer, Berner is singing the reason that he’s angry about the international sporting event, and the reason that Vancouver should be, too. His subversive anti-Olympic anthem, a sort of military march performed with an accordion and drum, is called “The Dead Children Were Worth It!” and its lyrics are telling:

Lyrical: Klezmer musician Geoff Berner penned an anti-Olympic anthem to protest the Vancouver Olympic Games.
FUMIE SUZUKI
Lyrical: Klezmer musician Geoff Berner penned an anti-Olympic anthem to protest the Vancouver Olympic Games.

All you terrific foreign
visitors —
We’re so glad that you’re here,
For our 8 billion dollar 2 week party
That we’re putting on this year.

Berner’s anger stems from the estimated $8 billion cost of the games, which he says has drained Vancouver’s budget, particularly its funds for social services. Citing articles run in daily newspapers as the inspiration for his song, he commented: “You see an announcement in the paper — canceling a bunch of services [provided and paid for by the government], then the next page [is] talking about the exciting new ice rink, which costs tens of millions of dollars. That’s what you get in Vancouver.”
Berner went on: “It’s a song about questioning our priorities.”

He’s not the only one who feels this way. Vancouver has recently seen protests against the Olympics.
Berner’s anthem can be considered the polar opposite of NBC’s inspirational official Olympic theme song, “One Day,” which was penned by fellow tribesman Matisyahu, an Orthodox reggae artist.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.