Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympics Opening in London

I watched the last part, maybe the last half, of the opening ceremonies last night.  I missed the big historical pageant and, alas, the Queen's spectacular entrance with James Bond (Daniel Craig).

I enjoyed the show.  I loved the fireworks at the end, but then I'm a sucker for fireworks.  I enjoyed the humor and the eccentricity, and couldn't help but compare that to the humorless triumphalist spectacle that opened the Beijing Olympics.  I loved the passing-of-the-torch between generations part and found it moving that the Brits let their past and future athletes have the particular glory of lighting the flame and not some celebrity.  I'm not sure we Yanks would be thoughtful enough to bring something like that off.  Maybe we are, but in this country, nothing happens unless someone stands to make huge piles of money very fast.   Lately, our mercenary instincts always trump our better natures, and sometimes they even trump that rational self-interest that economists insist that we all have.

As far as I'm concerned, the winner of the athlete opening ceremony uniform competition was Cameroon, hands down.

Those full length dashikis made tropical butterflies seem dull in comparison.

I have very mixed feelings about the music of my youth -- music I used to hear in smokey bars and at even smokier parties, music us kids associated with rebellion and a proud marginalization from a corrupt conventional society -- used as the official ceremonial music of an immense state/corporate spectacle.  I think the whole "cool Britannia" thing got way oversold.  I suppose it's the nature of things for radical gestures to themselves become institutions over time.  As Ambrose Bierce once wrote, today's radicalism is tomorrow's conservatism.  Capitalism's capacity for appropriating rebellious gestures, sucking all the life out of them, and then turning them into sales pitches never ceases to amaze me.

I can't decide who looked older, the Queen, or Paul McCartney.

NBC's coverage of the show for us Yanks sucked.  It was heavily laden with commercials and way too much host chatter.  They cut to commercial right before the big Sex Pistols number, the bastards.

I notice that all the YouTubes of last night's ceremony got yanked.  Everyone is so damn proprietary these days.  I'm delighted to see my pictures floating around out there in the internet.  It means people are interested.  I suppose the IOC and NBC have other ideas.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I missed the opening ceremonies, sadly. I loved your take on it though, Doug! Thanks.