Saturday, July 28, 2012


After many alarms, including bad weather, menaces of strikes and traffic problems, the London games started without a glitch. Wisely, the British had chosen a location which will benefit from the event in the long-term thanks to the improvements that were made in infrastructure and housing. The venues do not risk becoming white elephants like they did in Athens or Beijing. The general atmosphere is one of bonhomie which seduces rather than trying to impress.
All that is well, but the opening' which is usually directed at the world at large' left many perplexed.  It looked as if it was made for urbi rather than orbi. The history of the British Isles as presented by Danny Boyle, who is presumably favoured by the Queen herself, was a collision and collusion of genres. We were supposed to follow the epos of the British from the pastoral to the Industrial Revolution, from the social welfare state to pop...only animal husbandry was missing in this melange of Florence Nightingale, James Bond and Mary Poppins.  I am sure that the majority of viewers worldwide got lost in this chaos of tableaux.  The singalong of Hey Jude in the finale was a rallying point, finally.
Her Majesty did not look particularly amused although she had accepted to be "party" to the 007 episode.  The minor VIPs and Royals looked lost and ran for cover with their constituents. The American First Lady abstained this time from "pawing" the Queen, but could not resist some of her usual gymnastic histrionics elsewhere. The Romneys held hands, after having alienated almost everybody in the realm. Mitt was reminded of the games in nowhere (Salt Lake City) while the horse of Mrs. Romney will certainly become part of the current class warfare in the USA.
In the end all will be well.  The British have done everything possible to insure security and organisation. The games almost look provincial, compared to Los Angeles (wit) or Beijing (force).  In doing so they have shown understanding for the troubled times we live in.  In presenting themselves as "insular" they might have missed an opportunity to send a message with global ambition.  The world is globalized in theoretical and financial terms, some soul might have been welcome. We need a "break" and the opening ceremony was not inspirational enough. Still one needs guts to come face to face with one's own disjointed, often incoherent history and in doing so, grandeur can be found.  After all, there is nothing wrong with some sense of humor and charm. The more global sparkle was missing though and that is an opportunity lost.

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