Skip to comments.North Korea Lite - Thoughts on the Olympics’ opening ceremony
Posted on 08/01/2012 12:17:02 AM PDT by neverdem
My mother saw Hitler in the stadium during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It was the only fragment of memory of her childhood in Nazi Germany that she ever spoke of and, perhaps illogically, it did not predispose me favorably to the Olympic spectacle.
The opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics reminded me of an observation of the Marquis de Custine, the young aristocrat whose father and grandfather were guillotined during the French Revolution. De Custine went to Russia in 1839 in search of the virtues of hereditary autocracy and returned a convinced democrat. Tyrannies, he said, demand immense sacrifices of their people to produce trifles.
It does not follow, of course, that if tyrannies produce trifles, trifles—and the opening ceremony was undoubtedly one—are necessarily the product of tyrannies. But the ceremony, postmodern as it might have been in form—assuming, as it did, that the contemporary mind is like that of a child, in constant need of swiftly changing amusement—was not free of ideological content, even if that content was comparatively restrained and benign compared with that of, say, Leni Riefenstahls Triumph of the Will. It was more akin to North Korea lite.
Of course it was impressive, as anything staged on a sufficiently large scale and well-organized is impressive. The fear of almost all Britons, amounting virtually to an expectation, that the games would at once descend into chaos was not fulfilled. On the contrary, the choreography was impeccable, and thousands participated without mishap, with the precision of a military parade. There were even moments of genuine wit, which distinguished the ceremony from the North Korean equivalent.
Nevertheless, the inclusion of happily dancing nursing staff from the National Health Service was precisely the kind of stunt that an ideological state would pull. Who would have guessed that only a few days before in the NHS, here presented as among the greatest of all British achievements, some doctors had gone on strike, not to improve conditions for their patients but to preserve their own generous pensions—of the kind that those unfortunate enough to work in the private sector can only dream about? Western Europeans must either have puzzled over or laughed at this: Britain is universally acknowledged in Europe to have the worst health care on the continent—health care that European residents flee except in extremis. And here were people dancing to celebrate it!
Still, the ceremony itself must be counted a great success in the eyes of the British public because it was not an outright disaster. Yet no thinking person to whom Ive spoken (admittedly not a representative population sample) expresses anything other than deep unease about the whole Olympic enterprise. The army was engaged not only to provide security after a private company failed to perform as promised, but also to fill empty seats in the stadium and thus prevent the humiliation of showing too many empty spaces. Seats were initially allocated in true corporatist fashion, much of the public being excluded (including relatives of participants) in favor of companies and organizations. When these failed to take up their allocations, it was too late. A specter now haunts the London Olympics: that of public indifference, bought at the cost of billions that future generations will struggle to repay.
I think this overstates the case rather a lot.
Theres no escaping it. The dancing doctor thing was downright creepy. It is precisely the kind of propaganda you would see out of any historical totalitarian government.
It’s nothing if not reminescent of workers, marching with farm tools in the May Day parade.
Why not a skit glorifying the waste water treatment system? It’d make about as much sense.
The answer, despite denials by the planners and choreographers, of course, is the kind "celebration" of the National Health witnessed during the Opening of the London Olympiad was an advertisement, aimed at both manufacturing and selling consensus.
It had all the hallmarks of one of Eric Hoffer's mass movements.
Danny Boyle probably intended parts of this ceremony to cock a snook at the Tories. He was doing the exact opposite of glorifying the government.
Mind you, London’s sewers, built by Sir Joseph Bazalgette during the 1860s, where indeed a triumph of civil engineering worthy of commemoration in that bit celebrating the industrial revolution. It is a shame it couldn’t have been commemorated considering its importance to London.
The Olympics lost their purpose when the Cold War ended; now the “bad guys” (Red China, and it’s satellite North Korea) are our preferred trading partners who are slowly dismantling our country without firing a shot.
At this point this is bread & circuses, a distraction from our domestic woes (economic & political). I’m shocked at how many Americans I work with worry more about some tin-pot dictator half a world away while they are frighteningly ignorant about what is happening to our country.
My thoughts on the opening ceremonies.
F the NHS and that troll Matt Lauer.
And more importantly, The South African team is full of Charlize Therons and surprisingly to me so is the Zimbabwe team. Mugabe has let some hot White chicks remain in the country.
You’ve all heard those Olympic village sex stories, they ordered 150’000 condoms!
The whole point of the extravaganza was to highlight the nation and everything about it, which is a very good thing to do if you have the opportunity - and a one billion strong audience is one heck of an opportunity! That ceremony had references to just about every meme that encompasses Britishness, from the Beatles to the Industrial revolution, from Mary Poppins to the Queen. And whether you (or indeed I) like it or not, the NHS is a very British institution and something that Britain is very famous for. In providing a potted history of Britain it really would be impossible NOT to include a reference to it.
Now, as a Briton myself, I find the total subservience of my countrymen to the concept of nationalised healthcare more than a little disturbing, but I cannot deny it exists. Denying reality is what liberals do.
Because none of those things are unique to Britain, or were started by Britain. They are important yes, but they are not as significant.
What there is an Olympics going on? I remember those!
***Tyrannies, he said, demand immense sacrifices of their people to produce trifles.****
Oh I like that! Sounds like Obamaland.
“The South African team is full of Charlize Therons and surprisingly to me so is the Zimbabwe team.”
WHOA!!! Really? I have watched exactly...0 seconds of the Olympics. Now I might have to Youtube them to see the herds of Therons. If not for the butts, she’d be perfect (and that includes overlooking the small tattoos she has).
You know her mother killed her father, right? Supposedly, he was a drunk and was attacking her. Self defense.
Sucks. Sounds like she was better off without a father though.
Good news, she quit smoking (from 3 packs a day I read!)
Oddly she adopted a baby.
3 packs? YIKES!!!
I saw she adopted a kid...she went the Spielberg route I see.
The old man sounded rough.
Yeah that’s like what, 1 every 15 minutes you’re awake? All her food must have tasted like concrete.
Quote from her
” I thought, ‘I don’t smoke like normal people. I smoke to die, “
If didn’t mess up her looks though. She’s lucky.
“Yeah thats like what, 1 every 15 minutes youre awake?”
That is so frigging disgusting. Kissing her must have tasted like licking a dirty ashtray. Y U C K ! ! !
She still looks great, so let’s see. Although that sheer amount of smoking, no matter how pretty she is, is going to have after effects, period.