Litmus Test

Reading the reactions to Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony is something of a litmus test, gauging where the commentator resides on the spectrum from left to right, or from heartfelt to disingenuous.

I have to say that I loved it, although it was so full of cultural references that I will need a second or third viewing to appreciate them all. As Marina Hyde wrote,

…as deliciously indigestible to global tastes as Marmite or jellied eels. I loved it.

Just to make it clear, I am on the opposite end of the spectrum to the tweets from Aidan Burley, and from the blindness of those who did not see the Windrush reference (Ranga Mberi, I’m looking at you).

Overall, I find myself in agreement with Al Weiwei, who compared the machine-like opening of the Beijing games (impressive as it was) with the gentler, more human-scale vision of the London Olympics.

But I have to doff my hat at Marina Hyde’s invention of the term “the global arseoisie”, and her description of them:

For while it was the best of folks, it was also the worst of folks. Gazing stonily down on a parade of athletes, about whose dreams and sacrifices this entire extravaganza is supposed to be, were some absolute shockers. Taking gold in the Biggest Scumbag in the Stadium event was probably the Bahraini prince, on whose directives athletes are reportedly tortured, flanked on the podium by Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Prince Andrew’s brutal mate from Azerbaijan.

That’s humanity – the best and the worst; thrown together, with mostly the worst in charge…

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
This entry was posted in Entertainment, Events, News and politics, Performing Arts, Sport. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Litmus Test

  1. TomT says:

    Now that I’ve discovered it featured Rowan Atkinson and dancing nurses I rather wish I’d watched it.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Tom, I’m sure that YouTube will have something of the glory that was Rowan and the Nurses… I thought both were inspired…

      • TomT says:

        I am usually loath to watch such ceremonies (four years on and I’ve still seen only snippets of Beijing) but considering this was Old Blighty and I am an armchair Anglophile I really should have tuned in. I have to assume I’ll be allowed to pay for the privilege of viewing it again at some point, whether on disc or streaming.

  2. Matt Healy says:

    As a US citizen, I prefer such authenticity to the mix of jingoism and crass commercialism that my country tends to produce on such occasions. I’ve been to London a few times over the years. I’d like to visit Beijing some day, but if I were picking a place to live I’d certainly prefer London to Beijing.

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