Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 08, 2008

Olympics

A great opening show. History and hope expressed with artistry and a barrage of projector- and pyrotechnics. I especially liked the globe it in the middle of the stadium with people seemingly running on it despite gravity. There were also fine allusions to global warming and a big emphasis towards children.

There was a lot of applause when the team from Taiwan walked into the stadium. Good. Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Russia also got special applause.

The German TV commentators were bothersome when they injected this or that 'western' political opinion and condemnation into their annotations. Why do they assume their view is right? Hypocrisy abound. Too much politics (and business) are involved in these games and it is not China that is the culprit for this.

But these Olympics also give a huge chance to see and understand the 'other'. Let us use that chance and let us hope everything around it stays peaceful.

Good luck to China and good luck to all athletes.

Posted by b on August 8, 2008 at 16:14 UTC | Permalink

Comments

There has been a lot of hullabaloo (check out Daily Kos, even!) about the pollution and the athletes that showed up with masks. If the pollution posed such a threat, the athletes simply should have stayed home. To show up and then complain is infantile.

Posted by: D. Mathews | Aug 8 2008 16:37 utc | 1

Kudos to Chinese film director Zhang Yimou, who oversaw the opening ceremony. It's always struck me - and is most obvious in his early movies - that his three great loves are women, children and China, and much of this shone through today. So again, congratulations to him and to all involved on what struck me as a job very nicely done. It's easy for such ceremonies to be tacky, but I thought they pulled it off with more than the usual amount of dignity and heft.

Posted by: mats | Aug 8 2008 17:28 utc | 2

(check out Daily Kos, even!)

lol, and that post was written by the kos himself.

But in the Orwellian world of Communist China, it leads to crazy passages as this one from the AFP report on the controversy:

The perception that Beijing's pollution, which prompted a shutdown of factories and reduction in auto travel during the Olympics, was so harmful that Olympians needed masks on arrival was seen as a slap in the face to organizers.

The "perception"? PERCEPTION?

please tell me if the same thing happened in LA (the last time i was in the valley i couldn't see the mountain) we wouldn't be offended. the athletes are guests, if they don't like the host country, don't go.

Posted by: annie | Aug 8 2008 17:43 utc | 3

I was only able to watch the first hour and it was spectacular. So many people and such awesome choreography. Sadly I was at work and unable to watch the procession of the athletes and even missed the lighting of the torch which I am told was quite nice too.

there is way too much negativism toward the Chinese, whatever their leaders may have done and whatever bad things they may do now or have done in the past, this was really a stunning achievement and certainly elevates China into the major leagues.

Bravi!

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 8 2008 18:02 utc | 4

B: ”Too much politics (and business) are involved…”

Yes. I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) this morning and the host noted that NPR was not allowed to play more than a 2 minute clip of the opening ceremonies because of media contracts. One would think that a Corporation would not have “rights” to the World Olympic games and events, but sadly, I guess that is the case.

Posted by: Rick | Aug 8 2008 20:56 utc | 5

B: ”Too much politics (and business) are involved…”

Yes. I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) this morning and the host noted that NPR was not allowed to play more than a 2 minute clip of the opening ceremonies because of media contracts. One would think that a Corporation would not have “rights” to the World Olympic games and events, but sadly, I guess that is the case.

Posted by: Rick | Aug 8 2008 20:57 utc | 6

The opening ceremony was stunning, jaw-dropping - how DID they suspend all those people floating around that globe? Really gorgeous and thrilling - the performers and all Chinese people deserve to feel great pride in accomplishing this feat. My god, can they organize huge undertakings and with great artistry to boot.

Oh by the way, did you know that GWB inaugurated the opening of the $434 million (second in size to Baghdad's)

U.S.">http://www.som.com/resources/category/5/0/3/9/5/7/images/001_21581690_resized616.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.som.com/content.cfm/us_embassy_beijing&h=411&w=616&sz=225&hl=en&start=2&sig2=1en4kt7AkhAn8gC7P08Kfg&tbnid=oMDEfVTU-a_IxM:&tbnh=91&tbnw=136&ei=XbecSM_5DZf07AWwutS9BQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dus%2Bembassy%2Bbeijing%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG">U.S. embassy in Beijing today?

Posted by: Hamburger | Aug 8 2008 21:19 utc | 7

I had been looking forward to this opening ceromony for years. I knew the Chinese would put on something spectaculary and they did not disappoint.

It was a nice feeling watching all the athletes arrive. It really makes you feel like part of the world.

Posted by: swio | Aug 8 2008 22:51 utc | 8

Yep, it is sure is China bashing day over at Daily Kos. I guess it serves as a counterweight to the Edwards fallout, as well as the Obama flip flops.

Posted by: D. Mathews | Aug 9 2008 0:26 utc | 9

D. Mathews , don't forget the antichrist diaries! sheesh

Posted by: annie | Aug 9 2008 0:53 utc | 10

Glad you mentioned this, B.

We watched tonight. It was elegantly beautiful. I was very much moved. Wonderful, wonderful event.

Posted by: jdmckay | Aug 9 2008 3:45 utc | 11

Forgot to mention... McCain's "Obama is a celebrity" (eg: Britany Spears & Paris Hilton) ad aired during this show. Nauseating ad, and nauseating context for it.

Posted by: jdmckay | Aug 9 2008 3:55 utc | 12

jdmckay: i didn't want to do this, but because you mentioned the marketing bullshit that is amerikan politics right now, what the hell, right? so, if you thought McPain's rovian tactic of attacking head on an opponent's strength (i.e., BO's celebrity statues) was nauseating, here's something to make sure you pray to the porcelain god of nauseousness: Paris,">http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/64ad536a6d">Paris, bitches...


Posted by: Lizard | Aug 9 2008 4:53 utc | 13

annie: is #10 a reference to the "left behind" marketing strategy mirroring the tactic of jdmckay's disgust?

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 9 2008 4:57 utc | 14

nice pictures from the opening ceremony

Posted by: b | Aug 9 2008 11:25 utc | 15

noami klein strikes again

Posted by: denk | Aug 9 2008 16:42 utc | 16

However stupid the German commentators were, b, I guarantee the American ones were worse (: |)

The fact left me speechless -- that the most engineered and meticulously-planned and astounding spectacle ever put on, maybe in all of history ... is allowed to be ruined by Bob Costas and his 'Monday Night Football'-like idle remarks, intruding over the majestic score and the visceral art ...

Posted by: Cloud | Aug 9 2008 18:03 utc | 17

thank you denk, though by saying "strikes again" i wonder if you posted this article sardonically (the last piece klein wrote, linked to these virtual halls, had our host crying hypocrite, and the timing of this one might cause the same reaction).

yes, i agree the opening ceremony was an impressive assemblage of visual stimulus, but i can't help feeling a little creeped out because i concur with Klein's assessment that China is the active breeding ground for the next level of the kind of surveillance state some of the invested parties mentioned in the article can't wait to duplicate in states more prone to clutch stupidly to values like privacy.


Posted by: Lizard | Aug 9 2008 18:05 utc | 18

Indeed Lizard, I feel the same way.

Opening Ceremony - L'art pour l'art;

but

Chinese government's authoritarian capitalism seen as evil - there is decent reason behind that;

but

Condemning Chinese authoritarianism/militarism is outrageously hypocritical on the part of US government or supporters thereof, eg. American TV commentators mentioned above

Posted by: Cloud | Aug 9 2008 18:22 utc | 19

hello lizard,

i just come back here to browse awhile before going to bed and see your post.
please read my post at the end of the klein's thread.
good nite/morning !!

Posted by: denk | Aug 9 2008 18:26 utc | 20

Thanks for the pictures b. Last night was the first time I've ever wished that I had something other than an old tv with a small screen.

Posted by: beq | Aug 9 2008 18:45 utc | 21

maybe i should have watched it sounds glorious.

sure the chinese revel in their opportunity to join super world status and make a fantastical display...who can bitch about that as the cio and all agreed...heads of states like sarko saying they wouldn’t attend because of human rights issues are to be condemned..still the whole spectacle of the o-lympics is disturbing in the extreme..the imbrications of power plays and commerce, as pointed out, is beyond ugly.

interested in food: the us n switz, to mention only two countries, guarded by private armed guards, refrigerated, with a battery of cooks, servants, closed compound, etc., just like for generals in a war zone. imagine the cost... that may sound legitimate for athletes who need some specific regimen. but it goes far further; delegations went there with all their own materiel, all needed for life, shipped, etc, like they were going camping on mars. they are holding outposts in the badlands, just like the US army in Iraq. thousands of people living on boxed rations as they are there to serve the bigwigs and athletes. the corps and gvmts won’t employ the chinese - duh, they are *filthy*. newspapers don’t report on these logistics.

the chinese have let it be and have an army of white mice as testers for the food, meals, they produce. white mice are more efficient and quicker than tech. analysis, even if it means holding the food back for at least 24 hours. there was one article about this in one french paper from a reporter in china, no link sorry, i did look, sure fantastical details.

china is not to dump the dollar nor cut off its cheap labor.

so something has to be offered in exchange. some recognition, some glorification, some image kudos.

the west encouraging chinese nationalism is a smart move.

ok the bar is long gone and the champagne bottle is empty the fireworks are blasting here as i write ..... ;)


Posted by: Tangerine | Aug 9 2008 19:33 utc | 22

thank you denk, i did read your comment to the klein piece, and i don't dispute any of it, tone or content.

that doesn't change the fact i don't like these ominous trends toward total surveillance that WILL BE exported from testing grounds like china and london.

naomi klein is tracking corporate interest in china, but unfortunately her criticism coincides with the larger aim of western propaganda to smear china's ascendance because the west perceives china as threatening.

what i'm trying to say is i don't think klein is blowing a pro-west trumpet by criticizing china.

Posted by: Lizard | Aug 9 2008 20:05 utc | 23

**Yep, it is sure is China bashing day over at Daily Kos. I guess it serves as a counterweight to the Edwards fallout, as well as the Obama flip flops.

Posted by: D. Mathews | Aug 8, 2008 8:26:06 PM | 9**


d. mathews, lizard and all,

well you aint seen nuthin yet....

guardian's cif has been running these darfur, burma, zimbawee, tibet, olympics threads for almost a YEAR now, its like saturation bombing 24 x 7 these days, the common theme............lets boycott the "genocide" olympic !!

Posted by: denk | Aug 10 2008 13:15 utc | 24

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