Saturday, 9 August 2008

The greatest show on Earth?

I wasn’t going to watch it… and I didn’t want to enjoy it.

But I did… and I did.

The opening ceremony from the Beijing Olympics was truly amazing. Against the background of human rights abuse, with the inevitable excessive cost and consumption, and the element of hypocrisy in talking about these as the ‘green’ Olympics, how could I bring myself to watch it?

Well, I’m weak.

I know that I’ll get hooked on the sports action – I always do. So I was determined to resist the opening ceremony. But I was ironing and the cricket had reached the lunch break, so I just switched channels briefly.

I hoped I would hate it – that it would be jingoistic and militaristic in its approach. But it wasn’t.

Credit where credit’s due. The ceremony (before the boring parade of athletes) was a celebration of all that is best in Chinese culture. The achievements of learning and wisdom were highlighted. The scale of the production was awesome. The technical perfection was breath-taking. It was epic. And the Chinese know how to do a fine firework display (or five!). There were too many highlights to list here. If you haven’t seen it, try to find full coverage and sit back and enjoy! (BBC iPlayer is a good option, if you can access it).

3 comments:

That Hideous Man said...

We visited St Peter's in Rome a few years ago. We were struck with similar feelings, in that on one hand there was the beauty and solemnity of the building, and the significance of the site - but not hidden far below the surface was the disturbing knowledge that all this impressive display was paid for by the sale of indulgences...

lucy said...

oh, the temptation!

His Girl Friday said...

Well, I missed it, but I think I understand what you mean the irony of it all; and as what you've inferred as well, HM.
All is not what it seems...