Olympic opening ceremonies and the death throes of a civilization

posted at 10:41 am on July 30, 2012 by J.E. Dyer

I don’t think I was the only American weirded out on Friday by the bizarre “dancing nurses” segment at the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.  There were lots of children wriggling in hospital beds, and seemingly hundreds of nurses prancing around dressed in the garments of yesteryear.  It wasn’t clear what the artist was trying to say – and then the letters “NHS” burst out in glittering lights on the field.

Oh.  This is about the National Health Service.

[Pause.]

????????????

That realization was paired in my mind with the International Olympic Committee’s refusal to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Yasser Arafat’s terrorists in Munich in 1972.  The IOC’s position is that it doesn’t want to “politicize” the games.

 

Creepy NHS-worship at the openine ceremony, XXX Olympiad; Photo credit: J.C. Hong, AP (h/t: Thoughts from a Conservative Mom)

 

That position doesn’t hold up so well considering that 9/11 was commemorated at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.  In 1996, at the Summer Games in Atlanta, the IOC had a moment of silence at the closing ceremony for the victims of the Olympic Park bombing.

In 2010, at the Winter Games in Vancouver, there was a moment of silence during the opening ceremony for Georgian athlete Nodar Kumartashvili, who had died in an accident on a practice run just before the games began.

So in recent years, the Olympic authorities have commemorated the death of an Olympic athlete and the deaths of others in terrorist attacks, with a moment of silence each time in an opening or closing ceremony.  And guess what?  Last night, in the Olympic stadium, the victims of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in the London subway in 2005 were commemorated as part of the opening ceremony.  Granted, it was hard to catch; a photo montage was projected into the stadium during a lull in the prancing and acrobatics, but there was little narration to call it out.  I didn’t even notice it, and had to be told about it afterward by others who had seen it.

It is jarring to think of passing references being made to the victims of terrorism, sort of as part of the entertainment, during an event-palooza dedicated to performance and revelry.  The reason we usually have authorities solemnly asking for a moment of silence, at a carefully separated, showcased point in the proceedings, is that that’s what is appropriate for commemorating tragedy and sorrow.

But it was clearly important to the British planners to mention their dead from the 2005 terror attack in the opening ceremony.  So they did it.  For forty years, including this Olympics, no one has incorporated a commemoration of the 11 murdered Israeli athletes into an official Olympic ceremony.  Yet Olympic authorities have been assiduous about commemorating others.  Their relentless, determined failure to commemorate the Israelis in the same way is a failure to acknowledge the common humanity of Israeli Jews.

The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games couldn’t have been more stuffed with politics if it had been a bell pepper.  The Republic of Taiwan was required to march as “Chinese Taipei,” although of course that is not what the Taiwanese call their nation.  There is no nation of Palestine, yet athletes walked under a “Palestinian” flag and were announced as “Palestine.”  The “quirky” performance segment of the ceremony involved numerous references to political events in the history of Great Britain, including, of course, the paroxysm of pagan worship, complete with cavorting women, for the National Health Service.  It was a really, really political night; if a commemoration for the murdered Israeli athletes might have been “political,” that would only have guaranteed that it would fit right in.

Watching the ceremony last night, I had a profound sense of sadness for the hollow revelry.  There was no dignified memorializing of the greatness, uniqueness, and courage of Britain’s past.  There was “irreverent, idiosyncratic” entertainment, and a very long segment of writhing self-abasement before the shibboleth of socialized medicine.

We seemed to be looking last night at a moment frozen in time before a great upheaval, like the last days of lingering sunlight before World War I.  A civilization based on entertainment and ritual political worship is headed for a fall.  But then, a civilization that singles out some humans, like Israeli Jews, to show less care for – less solidarity with – is a weak and unsustainable one.  Nothing else will go right with it.

Britain is not alone in her shallow, artistic commemorations of a dying culture.  Western Europe’s official vision of itself largely boils down to that.  I believe there are still many individuals in Europe – as distinct from the ruling precincts of political correctness and utopianism – who have the courage to forge a different future.  But as a useful vehicle for what needs to be done, the continent’s official organizations, its governments and agencies, are beyond their expiration date.  Too many of them do not serve the people now, but only indenture and discourage them.

Such a situation cannot endure.  No amount of artistic entertainment can make fear, loss of purpose, and politically correct weakness noble or inspiring, much less invincible.  The post-liberal culture and political idea of Europe are not in a position to triumph today.  They are not even in a position to survive.

Some bonus material evoking what England once was.  A poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

England and America in 1782*

 

O thou that sendest out the man

To rule by land and sea,

Strong mother of a lion-line,

Be proud of those strong sons of thine

Who wrenched their rights from thee!

 

What wonder if in noble heat

Those men thine arms withstood,

Retaught the lessons thou hadst taught,

And in thy spirit with thee fought –

Who sprang from English blood!

 

But thou rejoice with liberal joy,

Lift up thy rocky face,

And shatter, when the storms are black,

In many a streaming torrent back,

The seas that shock thy base!

 

Whatever harmonies of law

The growing world assume,

Thy work is thine – the single note

From that deep chord which Hampden smote

Will vibrate to the doom.

* G. Robert Stange, ed., The Poetical Works of Tennyson: Cambridge Edition (Boston. Houghton-Mifflin, 1974), p. 62 and note, p. 627)

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Weekly Standard online, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

dancing nurses Mony Pythonesque. british humor

gerrym51 on July 30, 2012 at 10:42 AM

I turned it off and watched a movie after 10 minutes.

jake-the-goose on July 30, 2012 at 10:45 AM

..slowly falling out of love with the Brits. Now, a little faster than that! Maybe an eleven.

The War Planner on July 30, 2012 at 10:47 AM

I tuned in just in time to see the gigantic baby, and stayed through the segment about the teenagers’ house.

If I heard correctly, the American commentator said something about the former being the children’s nightmare, and the teenager segment being the parents’ nightmare.

Did I hear that correctly? The whole thing looked like a nightmare to me — just lots of dancing and special effects, a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Maybe that’s why so many seats are going begging?

KyMouse on July 30, 2012 at 10:47 AM

England died in 1945 – the fatal shot being fired in 1906.

OldEnglish on July 30, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Well, they had to incorporate beds into the opening somehow – it’s called “Triple-X Olympics” for a reason.

Archivarix on July 30, 2012 at 10:49 AM

The Republic of Taiwan was required to march as “Chinese Taipei,” although of course that is not what the Taiwanese call their nation.

The don’t call it the ‘Republic of Taiwan’ either.

DarkCurrent on July 30, 2012 at 10:49 AM

It was weird…but out of this came the most chilling quote.

When a widow, who’s husband was murdered in the terrorist attacked, pleaded with the IOC for that moment of silence, the President of the IOC stated “I am sorry my hands are tied”…and she responeded.

“No, my husbands hands were the ones that were tied”.

The IOC didn’t want to offend the Arab nations…so, from the day it happened the IOC has ignored the terrorist attack.

right2bright on July 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM

I liked the part where the NHS authorized the old and infirm be starved to death, and then the actors collapsed to the ground as they pleaded for a crust of bread; well orchestrated and the mood lighting was fabulous.

Bishop on July 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM

It looked like Roger Waters wrote, produced and directed it.

mankai on July 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM

The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games couldn’t have been more stuffed with politics if it had been a bell pepper. The Republic of Taiwan was required to march as “Chinese Taipei,” although of course that is not what the Taiwanese call their nation.

I didn’t see that one, but as the countries were parading by in alphabetical order, I saw “North Korea” somewhere interspersed in with the “C”s and “D”s….. and I didn’t fully catch why the heck that was.

ted c on July 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM

The worst and most political opening ceremony ever. It was very depressing.

silvernana on July 30, 2012 at 10:52 AM

I find myself becoming more and more distanced from the Olympics each time they come around. Perhaps they never were as great as I had imagined them to be in my youth. But I just see them more and more as irrelevant. I think I enjoyed them more when their was a USA vs. USSR component to them.

Bitter Clinger on July 30, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Very well written commentary that reflects my own gloomy sentiments.

I first became aware of the Olympics in my youth when Avery Brundage, he of the “dictatorial temperament,” was president. Non-political Olympics? What a joke.

As for the U.K., alas, poor Britain. The only question is whether we’re doomed to follow in their footsteps. The November election will give us a sign.

Drained Brain on July 30, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Then there was the use of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song about premature ejaculation in a man’s mouth. The title is Relax, which was on the teenage male’s t-shirt. Boyle made sure everyone got the connection.

Blake on July 30, 2012 at 10:54 AM

The NHS and garish huge baby were quite odd and Pink Floydish, if you will. Overall, the teeny-bopper hookup meme of the musical time lapse events was quirky and cute, condescending to parents, but sort of a fun sing along. I caught a little Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and other dance tunes from the ’80′s etc.

Overall, the Queen’s bit with 007, the speedboat up the Thames w/ Beckham, the fireworks and the torch ceremony, IMO, were pretty good.

ted c on July 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM

I can understand why the IOC wouldn’t want to upset the arab nations. I mean really, imagine if they were to boycott the Olympics there would be 15 fewer athletes at the games.

Bishop on July 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM

The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games couldn’t have been more stuffed with politics if it had been a bell pepper. The Republic of Taiwan was required to march as “Chinese Taipei,” although of course that is not what the Taiwanese call their nation.

I also noticed that NBC cut to a commercial just as the Taiwanese entered the stadium.

Bitter Clinger on July 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM

But the brits all thought it was, as they like to say, BRILLIANT!

Blake on July 30, 2012 at 10:56 AM

The Labour Party was formed in 1906.

Brendon Carr on July 30, 2012 at 10:56 AM

I was disgusted. The tremendous history of Great Britain was melted down to socialized health care and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

I’m a big Beatles fan, but come on, GB was the beacon of freedom, and opportunity to every corner of the globe (not without her faults, but the good far outweighed the bad) for centuries… how does that history get subordinated to pop music and sitcoms?

mankai on July 30, 2012 at 10:57 AM

ted c on July 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM

I think it’s because the anglicized version of North Korea’s official name is “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” which puts it in the D’s instead of the K’s (for Korea) or N’s (for North Korea).

JadeNYU on July 30, 2012 at 10:58 AM

After all these years I would think that most folks would recognize that Monty Python was not a comedy show. It was a documentary on British life and culture.

xkaydet65 on July 30, 2012 at 11:00 AM

I didn’t see that one, but as the countries were parading by in alphabetical order, I saw “North Korea” somewhere interspersed in with the “C”s and “D”s….. and I didn’t fully catch why the heck that was.

ted c on July 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Perhaps from “Choson”, which corresponds to ‘Korea’ in North Korea’s name in Korean.

DarkCurrent on July 30, 2012 at 11:01 AM

The entire debacle was produced and directed by Danny Boyle, who has given the world such epics as Trainspotting, 20 Days Later, and other various forms of cinematic bilge that make you want to think twice about visiting the British Isles anytime in the distant future.

pilamaye on July 30, 2012 at 11:01 AM

I was sitting there watching that mess and recalled when Jean Mighael Jarre (?) came to Houston and used our skyline as his pallette for a laser and music show in 1986. The deal Friday was just weird compared to that show.

DanMan on July 30, 2012 at 11:02 AM

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

tommyboy on July 30, 2012 at 11:02 AM

J.E., this is a very fine post–comprehensive, eloquent, morally insightful and clear. Thank you.

Burke on July 30, 2012 at 11:03 AM

…they’re dirty Jooooooooozzzzz!
…nice piece J.E.!

KOOLAID2 on July 30, 2012 at 11:03 AM

The queen seemed to be bored out of her mind, studying her nails, and no expression but a scowl on her royal face.

silvernana on July 30, 2012 at 11:04 AM

And the US team was force-fit into the weirdness wearing those insipid berets.

drunyan8315 on July 30, 2012 at 11:05 AM

I don’t think I was the only American weirded out on Friday

No you were not JE. Even the NYT commented to that effect.

It was frankly a disturbing scene, like watching a schizophrenic who has come off meds.

CorporatePiggy on July 30, 2012 at 11:06 AM

I can understand why the IOC wouldn’t want to upset the arab nations. I mean really, imagine if they were to boycott the Olympics there would be 15 fewer athletes at the games.

Bishop on July 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM

When did stoning become an Olympic event?

bayview on July 30, 2012 at 11:06 AM

I fell asleep but I have to say the still shot above is creeping me out.

Cindy Munford on July 30, 2012 at 11:06 AM

- The flaming, floating rings: sweet
- The 007 sequence: witty and humorous
- The Queen’s expression: priceless
- The Chariots of Fire/Rowan Atkinson bit: funny

- Everything else: a stupid, insulting, confusing, overdone, mismatched, drug-inspired, embarrassing hot mess.

somewhatconcerned on July 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM

They could have commemorated the British boy that died of dehydration in a British hospital.

KenInIL on July 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM

I think it’s because the anglicized version of North Korea’s official name is “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” which puts it in the D’s instead of the K’s (for Korea) or N’s (for North Korea).

JadeNYU on July 30, 2012 at 10:58 AM

I guess that makes sense. Yet they had “North Korea” on their sign, IIRC

ted c on July 30, 2012 at 11:08 AM

The bit with the dancing nurses seemed more like a celebration of socialism than of Britain and its people.

Liam on July 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM

The British.

The true victims of terrorism.

Ben Hur on July 30, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Clearly you people have never read much, or even checked the production notes for the performance. Jeesh!! It was a celebration of the UK culture and history, including the industrialization, the human cost of progress, the political and military advances, and a celebration of the creative talents of the Isles, mostly focused on the the writers and singers of the past 300 years. It was created in contrast to the Beijing games which was an almost militarized display of human design and power.
Surely no one missed the 100 foot tall Voldamort, and the 100 Mary Poppins flying in to ward off the child snatchers???

Zekecorlain on July 30, 2012 at 11:10 AM

“These ceremonies are so boring, I don’t even understand it; I’m going to bed”. With that, my wife consigned the London Opening Ceremonies to the dustbin of history. The only thing that could’ve saved her was perhaps Matt Lauer, but even then it would’ve been a stretch.
On the other hand, I felt duly obligated to observe this funeral dirge of a ceremony to pay tribute to how far down Western civilization has fallen. We in America have been fighting; often losing, but fighting nonetheless to save the history and honor of our system of governance and our honorable history. Despite the best efforts of MP’s like Daniel Hannan who I greatly admire, it seems as Great Britain has lost its way entirely.
A few points:
First: The director of the Olympics completely minimizesthe abject poverty,destitution and absolute horrific living conditions of agrarian societies in that opening scene. I only heard one line about how the Industrial Revolution was one of the most important events in advancing the lot of man in human history. Ayn Rand,Milton Friedman and others have documented the exponential improvements in morbidity, mortality, child mortality, and quality of life of the ordinary man as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Instead of creating an explosion of displays of the new inventions, new prosperity and new life given to people as a result of the Industrial Revolution, the director instead chose to focus on the how the beautiful green “agrarian” world was torn asunder by the evils of industrialization. If only we could go back to the days of mothers and children working in the fields 14 hours a day and pooping in outhouses!!
For hundreds of years this tiny island of rock with minimal natural resources held influence over an area of the world greater then the Roman Empire. Certainly the harms of that influence have been thoroughly documented ad nauseum. For just a moment though, I would have like to see massive wooden ships, a montage to explorers like Magellan, a display of the greatness of men like Isaac Newton! Whether it be Austrailia, Canada, the US, India, Hong Kong and so on, the principles of wealth creation linger in these countries long after the direct rule of England ended. The legacy of that prosperity is a proud one, and a cannot stand the self-flagellation that Leftists like Danny Boyle seem to feel is necessary in such a celebration.
Two final thoughts: Not one thing about the greatness of England in the darkest days of World War II. To have withstood the onslaught of evil for over a year with minial aid was indeed, as Churchill said,”their finest hour”. (Where was the homage to Churchill by the way?) To keep it apolitical one need not have shown Nazis being killed or Messerschmitts being shot down…but couldn’t they have found a way to do something to show the quiet strength and reserve of the English people?
Lastly, in regards to that disgraceful display of pride over the bankrupted, giant monstrosity that is the National Health Service, let me just say this. I almost laughed out loud at the sight of the hundreds of sick children on hospital beds being portrayed in that disgraceful ceremony, not because of the idea of the suffering of children with health problems. No what I found so amusing was the idea of 60-70,000 English citizens in that stadium clapping and whistling at the sight…except they were having difficulty whistling because most of them had so many missing and rotting teeth! When your system is so poor that “non-essential” body parts like teeth have to be sacrificed, I don’t find that cause for celebration. “First they came for the dentists…” What a disgrace.

DrRich on July 30, 2012 at 11:11 AM

It sounds like a good thing that I largely missed the ceremony.
It was nice to watch the athletes’ parade later on.
But it was a long week and I fell asleep before the parade was over.
I didn’t see the USA or the Netherlands (my parents are Dutch).

22044 on July 30, 2012 at 11:12 AM

The bit with the dancing nurses seemed more like a celebration of socialism than of Britain and its people.

Liam on July 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM

that’s what I thought. The little childrens belong to the state, the state shall care for them, protect them from their nightmares, then the nanny–Mary Poppins–shall take over. Nevermind parents, you are unqualified, just merely buy the house for the teens to party in and wreck.

ted c on July 30, 2012 at 11:13 AM

I’m happy for this blog post, because it well-articulates the feelings the opening ceremonies left me with.

But the author missed another glaring jaw-dropper from the show: The “participation ribbon” torch-lighting with about eight young athletes you’ve never heard of.

Again reinforcing that past greatness and individuality are to be eschewed.

FishingwFredo on July 30, 2012 at 11:13 AM

I file Britain’s NHS worship under “the lady doth protest too much.” If they were really so in love with it, they wouldn’t have to keep reminding the whole world of it so frequently. It’s like they’re trying to convince themselves that there’s nothing wrong with it and it’s the best thing ever.

Red Cloud on July 30, 2012 at 11:14 AM

TS Eliot also comes to mind.

ConservativeLA on July 30, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Opening ceremony tribute to 7/7 victims that was discarded by NBC here:

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/213069.php

Good song. Unknown (to me) meaning of the dance.
But NBC cut this? Good grief!

tomg51 on July 30, 2012 at 11:16 AM

The British.

The true victims of terrorism.

Ben Hur on July 30, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Where exactly are you going with that?

The Israelis have put up with terrorism far more than most any other country.

Bitter Clinger on July 30, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Judging from Queen Elizabeth’s expression I would bet that “Tower of London” and “Danny Boyle” were in fairly close proximity in her mind.

Bat Chain Puller on July 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I think that NBC even cut away from the hideous baby emergence. I caught a short shot of it and then we had a commercial.

ted c on July 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Leaving the political messaging, incoherency, and creepy giant babies aside for a moment. Leaving aside the fact that out of centuries of British culture and contribution to the world they spent 20 minutes on socialized medicine and about the same amount of time on crappy 1980s music. Nevermind our own Mooch Obama showed up at the ceremony in a $7000 coat. And recognizing the fact that the IOC is nothing more than a fitter version of the United Nations (if the 1972 Munich massacre had been anybody but Jews, the IOC would have included it in the ceremonies).

The real problem of the opening ceremonies was the insipid coverage NBC had with Matt Lauer, Merideth Vierra, and Bob Costas. They couldn’t shut their yaps and just explain what was going on in the stadium. We got factoids and editorial commentary that had absolutely no relevance with the opening ceremony. And once the US Olympic team showed up, the camera coverage did little to show the teams that came behind them even though the American athletes really were just milling around and mugging for each others’ camera phones. It was pathetic.

Happy Nomad on July 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Brits have this class struggle thing–in history and still–that doesn’t make sense to outsiders. That’s how some Brits can get so excited over NHS. It may not work, but the working class forced the upper class to do it, so THERE!!

RBMN on July 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM

pilamaye: The entire debacle was produced and directed by Danny Boyle

I wonder why he recreated a scene from the American directory William Friedkin’s most famous movie, with children in hospital beds to the tune of Tubular Bells?

Chickyraptor on July 30, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Creepy. But the guy who thought it up is a lib. They worship socialized medicine.

I remember years back reading an article on an experience Hillary Clinton was relating. Talk about creepy.
She said she was visiting some African nation and was there to see their health system in operation. They took her out to a field where some doctors had set up tables. Parents set their infants on these tables all in a row and the doctors would go down like an assembly line, writing things on chalk boards and barking orders to the nurses and the parents stood by. And all of this was happening outside in a farmers field or something.

Hillary said it was wonderful and was exactly what we needed in America.

And this is the woman Dick Cheney said is more qualified than Sarah Palin.

JellyToast on July 30, 2012 at 11:22 AM

J.E.

Your money quote…

“governments and agencies, are beyond their expiration date. Too many of them do not serve the people now, but only indenture and discourage them.

Such a situation cannot endure.”

You were intending this to apply to the UK…unfortunately it probably applies more to us…

PatriotRider on July 30, 2012 at 11:24 AM

But the author missed another glaring jaw-dropper from the show: The “participation ribbon” torch-lighting with about eight young athletes you’ve never heard of.

Again reinforcing that past greatness and individuality are to be eschewed.

FishingwFredo on July 30, 2012 at 11:13 AM

I disagree. The seven young athletes were accomplished in their fields and reflects the future of the Olympiad. Just before they made the final lap around the stadium, David Beckham to Sir Steve Redgrave (both on the short list of those who were rumored to light the torch). It was a nice touch much better than some ancient Olympian having to be helped light the torch by somebody with steadier hands.

Happy Nomad on July 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM

JellyToast on July 30, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Pardon me for being dense…but I don’t quite get the scenario you’re describing. WHAT exactly was going on there?

MelonCollie on July 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM

I find myself becoming more and more distanced from the Olympics each time they come around. Perhaps they never were as great as I had imagined them to be in my youth. But I just see them more and more as irrelevant. I think I enjoyed them more when their was a USA vs. USSR component to them.

Bitter Clinger on July 30, 2012 at 10:53 AM

We have pretty much becomne what the USSR and East Germany were in the 1960s and 1970s. Through corporate sponsorships, U.S. athletes have all the advantages in terms of being subsidized and able to train year round.

I watch very little of the Olympics, but when I do I cheer for the hottest girls.

bw222 on July 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Nothing exemplifies the glory of the Olympics and the quest for human perfection, peak performance, excellence and strength like nationalized govt. dependence and sick children on hospital beds.

Maybe the Brits can conclude the games with a ceremony that glorifies the wonders of street cameras on every corner, the wonders of British dental health and a pack of Muslims chasing forty policemen down the street.

NeoKong on July 30, 2012 at 11:32 AM

All ceremonial activities associated with the Olympics WILL in one way or another promote “One World Govt”.

Any action that might promote Christianity, or sympathy for Israel will be stricken from the program, PERIOD.

listens2glenn on July 30, 2012 at 11:32 AM

I watch very little of the Olympics, but when I do I cheer for the hottest girls.

bw222 on July 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM

.
So you like Beach Volleyball, Gymnastics, and Figure Skating, huh ?

listens2glenn on July 30, 2012 at 11:34 AM

I recorded the opening ceremony. When this segment began, I sat puzzled for a few seconds, but once I realized what was happening, in disgust, I fast forwarded to the end for the torch lighting ceremony. I then erased the whole thing.

SoldiersMom on July 30, 2012 at 11:34 AM

I’m rather successfully avoiding watching these Olympics at all. Doesn’t hurt that the NothingButCrap network is televising them bcuz they just annoy me to no end and that makes it easier.

stukinIL4now on July 30, 2012 at 11:37 AM

The London Olympic Committee should have off-shored the Opening Ceremonies to the North Koreans.

Still would have been a pean to global socialism, but at least it would have looked spectacular. Might be the most oppressive regime in the world, but they really do know how to put on a stadium show.

coldwarrior on July 30, 2012 at 11:37 AM

This may be the best analysis of the opening ceremonies that I have read. Good job!

Flyovercountry on July 30, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Celebrating the NHS as it’s killing off 130,000 old folks a year?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2161869/Top-doctors-chilling-claim-The-NHS-kills-130-000-elderly-patie

workingclass artist on July 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I fell asleep but I have to say the still shot above is creeping me out.

Cindy Munford on July 30, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Danny Boyle being a film director, he could not have overlooked the implicit comparison to the vision of another London-based film director.

Birth of the New British Man? Or a rough beast, it’s hour come at last, slouching toward Bethlehem to be born?

de rigueur on July 30, 2012 at 11:41 AM

I find myself becoming more and more distanced from the Olympics each time they come around. Perhaps they never were as great as I had imagined them to be in my youth. But I just see them more and more as irrelevant. I think I enjoyed them more when their was a USA vs. USSR component to them.

Bitter Clinger on July 30, 2012 at 10:53 AM

I don’t think you are imagining that the Olympics in our youth were great. As I remember them, the channel that was carrying them only “reported” on what was happening and let the “coming together of the world” to shine on it’s own.

Now, the channel must “make the news” and fit in every political, climate change, liberal, progressive, communist and socialistic comments and productions they can. They feel if they aren’t blabbering the whole time, then they aren’t doing their job. There is something to be said for silence.

Really, Ryan Seacrest interviewing Michael Phelps?? That is more important? I can see filling lulls in action, but interrupting the 7/7 tribute? How classless…

HilliardPatriot on July 30, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Where exactly are you going with that?

The Israelis have put up with terrorism far more than most any other country.

Bitter Clinger on July 30, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Exactly.

Ben Hur on July 30, 2012 at 11:45 AM

The opening ceremony was the closing ceremony for GB. They have been on a downward spiral for many years but this event showcased their demise. Their immigration policy has been a disaster and the socialist government is just as bad. They have put CCV cameras all over the cities and the level of political correctness is staggering. They have lowered their own standards to accommodate the trash they have allowed to immigrate and now they can no longer afford to take care of their own taxpaying subjects. Say goodbye to a once great nation!

inspectorudy on July 30, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Pardon me for being dense…but I don’t quite get the scenario you’re describing. WHAT exactly was going on there?

MelonCollie on July 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM

You tell me.
That’s pretty much the way I remember it. They were doing these exams or something on all these infants out in the middle of this field. All the moms had set their babies on these tables all in a row. Doctors were going down the row examining these infants, shouting out orders and writing stuff on chalk boards set up and Hillary thought it was wonderful. She said it was exactly what we need in America.

It reminds me of how Bill Clinton a few years ago said Americans need to put dirt on their roofs as apposed to roofing tile. They want to turn us into a 3rd world country with them sitting at the top.

JellyToast on July 30, 2012 at 11:46 AM

The opening ceremony was the closing ceremony for GB. They have been on a downward spiral for many years but this event showcased their demise. Their immigration policy has been a disaster and the socialist government is just as bad. They have put CCV cameras all over the cities and the level of political correctness is staggering. They have lowered their own standards to accommodate the trash they have allowed to immigrate and now they can no longer afford to take care of their own taxpaying subjects. Say goodbye to a once great nation!

inspectorudy on July 30, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Kinda sounds like where we are fast headed, doesn’t it? Scary!

silvernana on July 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Pardon me for being dense…but I don’t quite get the scenario you’re describing. WHAT exactly was going on there?

MelonCollie on July 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM

.
Yeah, it’s just a bunch of “Louise Fletchers” dancing around.

What possible bad connotation could this be conveying ?

listens2glenn on July 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM

The Queen was quite right to be bored to near death as she watched the opening ceremony. She has seen her nation’s influence slimmed down to one of might and influence to one of appeasement and political correctness and this she knows will spell the eventual death of her once great empire.

FireBlogger on July 30, 2012 at 11:57 AM

I thought the opening ceremonies were trash. Stupid, boring and idiotic.

I won’t watch any of the games though, and I’m wearing a Star of David along with my cross for the duration of these “games”.

The IOC should be ashamed of itself to let the muzzies control the olympics. What a bunch of European wimps, there isn’t one set of balls among them combined.

jaimo on July 30, 2012 at 12:03 PM

I think we need Sir Edward Grey’s famous quote here:

“The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time”

mike3121 on July 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM

I was at work Friday evening, so I caught only a glimpse of the giant baby and assorted doctors and nurses, beds and whatnot on a BBC live stream on my computer. Then I saw the letters spelling out NHS and for a minute, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. WTH? I suppose it was fitting that Michael Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” was playing in the background — it certainly had an “Exorcist” scary-type feel to it.

Great article, J. E.!

PatriotGal2257 on July 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM

What does Darth Babyhead signify?

CorporatePiggy on July 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Imagine an opening ceremony in the states that extolled the virtues of Medicare and Social Security. Even among boosters of such govt programs, it would be considered a bit Orwellian, i think.

spinach.chin on July 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Pretty Lights.

Pretty Weird.

Pretty Bad in context.

Not going to make any future opening ceremony highlights of the future.

Lawrence on July 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM

For twenty-five years I have been exchanging letters with a man who has lived in England, Wales, and Ireland all of his life. Not long after we began our communications, he started warning about the infiltration of “Arabic” (read Muslim) culture, which for some reason the British government was failing to recognize, much less oppose.

Then came the introduction of a Muslim parliamentary standard, whereby a law required that a contingent of M.P.s must be Muslim, and their number relative to the ratio of Muslims living in Great Britain at each election year.

Then came the Muslim Parliament, an isolated body which does not receive oversight by any British ruling body, but serves only the Muslim population of the nation, and from which the Muslim contingent of British parliament is drawn. The Muslim Parliament makes laws and demands rights for their people, with no respect or interest in the laws or rights of the British populace who are non-Muslim.

As the years have passed, other aspects of British life have likewise been taken over by the monolithic and growing demands of the ever-increasing Muslim population, until J.E.’s words in this piece ring so very true: Great Britain has become a hollow shell of itself, serving so very pervertedly two masters; Socialism and Islam. My friend has been saying for nearly ten years that they are far too gone to save, and that civilization’s only chance is that the U.S. recognizes in time not to follow them into this fate.

Freelancer on July 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I find myself becoming more and more distanced from the Olympics each time they come around. Perhaps they never were as great as I had imagined them to be in my youth. But I just see them more and more as irrelevant. I think I enjoyed them more when their was a USA vs. USSR component to them.

Bitter Clinger on July 30, 2012 at 10:53 AM

I think the Olympics are dying by the death of a thousand cuts. A ton of stuff is making the Olympics small. Certainly, the absence of the USSR v. USA narrative has reduced the drama. But, I think a number of other things make the Olympics seem smaller than they were:

- the explosion of Olympic “sports” (I think we should go back to a very few basic sporting competitions and jettison the rest. Soccer has its world tournament, we don’t need paddle tennis, etc. Let’s stick with track & Field, Gymnastics, swimming, boxing, wrestling and a very few other sports).

- the allowance of professionals to play. This just takes a lot away from the drama of it. To me, Americans having to send a new “dream team” every 4 years instead of letting some of the best college kids play and compete, is embarrassing.

Monkeytoe on July 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Great post and I agree with you and many of the comments. I didn’t watch the whole mess, only bits and pieces, but did get to see the creepy and weird NHS celebration. The fireworks looked pretty cool but not worth waiting for them.

Interesting how some of the venues are 1/2 full.

tru2tx on July 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I’m suprised that no one has made the connection between the politicization of London 2012 and Berlin 1936.

Michael K. on July 30, 2012 at 12:26 PM

They got the “cradle” with the baby…but where was the “grave”?

NickelAndDime on July 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM

her shallow, artistic commemorations of a dying culture.

There is some nice writing in this piece, J.E.

John the Libertarian on July 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

BIG difference here….The 9/11 tribute in Salt Lake, the Atlanta bombing tribute, the Vancouver tribute and the London bombings tribute all took place in the opening (or closing) ceremony IN the country where the event took place.
As strange as the London opening was…it marked milestones in the history of the UK….not the Olympics in general. The Munich massacre should not be inserted into a nations opening ceremony. If Munich (or Berlin) were to host in the future, they can (and should) acknowledge the tragedy in their own opening.

oceansidecon on July 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Imagine not wanting to offend Arab nations at the UN. Athletically these most useless places on Earth.

pat on July 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM

[Pause.]

????????????

I think that was a lot of peoples’ reaction.

The National Health Service part and the teen/parent angst segments were a monumental waste of time.

After the Beijing opening ceremonies, everyone knew it would be a tough act to follow.
Complete fail.

The good news is that the the next opening ceremonies will be in Rio de Janeiro.

Party in Rio. :)

MichaelGabriel on July 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Judging from Queen Elizabeth’s expression I would bet that “Tower of London” and “Danny Boyle” were in fairly close proximity in her mind.

Bat Chain Puller on July 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I felt bad, daughter is a big fan of Boyle’s movies but that opening was horrendous. She asked what I thought and I had to say, except for the Arctic Monkeys and Mr. Bean, it was cringe-worthy.

I fell asleep but I have to say the still shot above is creeping me out.

Cindy Munford on July 30, 2012 at 11:06 AM

That big dead baby in the middle of the field summed it all up, didn’t it? That’s who they threw out with the bathwater in an attempt to give everyone “free” health care.

Fallon on July 30, 2012 at 12:45 PM

In 1996, at the Summer Games in Atlanta, the IOC had a moment of silence at the closing ceremony for the victims of the Olympic Park bombing.

A bit of selective editing there.

You left out the part where he specifically mentioned the Israelis that were murdered.

ButterflyDragon on July 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Imagine an opening ceremony in the states that extolled the virtues of Medicare and Social Security. Even among boosters of such govt programs, it would be considered a bit Orwellian, i think.

spinach.chin on July 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM

It is ironic that the country which gave us Orwell now ignores him.

roy_batty on July 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM

A much better version of Paul McCarney singing Hey Jude was his live concert in Red Square in Moscow. (A very entertaining concert.)

Kind of ironic that the Russians know how to sing along better to Hey Jude than the British.

MichaelGabriel on July 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Looks like something North Korea would have staged.

CrustyB on July 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I could not watch it. They are dead inside.

bbhack on July 30, 2012 at 1:04 PM

It looked like Roger Waters wrote, produced and directed it.

mankai on July 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM

I thought the exact same thing! It looked like a Pink Floyd “The Wall” concert! I couldn’t believe it when they announced the theme of the show was “celebrating national health care.” What a fargin joke; no the opening ceremony wasn’t political at all!

The opening ceremony was nothing less than political, not to mention it was downright creepy! If I were the producer of the opening ceremony I would be hanging my head in utter shame and embarrassment by the whole thing…China’s opening ceremony made London’s look like an elementary school production!

Proof positive that England and Europe as a whole is dead and we’re next if we don’t change our direction soon!

Liberty or Death on July 30, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Probably a good thnig the Games weren’t held in the U.S. this time.
We would have been subjected to a one hour musical tribute to Obamacare and a dance segment dedicated to gay marriage.

MichaelGabriel on July 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

It is ironic that the country which gave us Orwell now ignores him.

roy_batty on July 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM

While looking for the Shakespeare quote that Kenneth Branath performed, I found this:

Boyle links together the Industrial Revolution and the digital revolution (both sparked by British men, in his account) as events which had the potential to change the world for everyone. He ends the notes with this:

But we hope, too, that through all the noise and excitement you’ll glimpse a single golden thread of purpose – the idea of Jerusalem – of the better world, the world of real freedom and real equality, a world that can be built through the prosperity of industry, through the caring nation that built the welfare state, through the joyous energy of popular culture, through the dream of universal communication. A belief that we can build Jerusalem. And that it will be for everyone.

Perfectible? Irony, indeed. (Ask the White House Carney for further clarification.)

Fallon on July 30, 2012 at 1:15 PM

The British producer should have also featured Brits laying their heads on the block, so the muzzies could chop them off. It’s the next phase in PC, moron.

Schadenfreude on July 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I traveled to England in the 80′s, in the days of Margaret Thatcher. I went with my aunt, who dislikes the city but loves the English countryside. We stayed with several of her friends in places like the Cotswolds and Kent. I found the folks to be kind, hospitable, cheeky and warm.

I met a British couple in a hotel recently who reminded me of the English folks I stayed with. Their two daughters have already fled England for the USA. They are shortly to follow for all the reasons described in this thread. I talked of my trip in the 80s and how lovely it was–and how sorry I was that things had gone so far downhill.

At that point they both stared into their tea, downcast looks on their faces. Being English, they recovered quickly. But it was clear they were in mourning for what has become of their nation.

Somehow, I too think that Olympic debacle sounds the death knell. At least for a generation of English who remember how it used to be.

Grace_is_sufficient on July 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Comment pages: 1 2