Monday, July 30, 2012


So I missed most of the opening show and was sorry. Mostly because I didn't get to see the nurses bouncing on hospital beds dance number celebrating "national health"—the Brit healthcare system that covers everyone for free and even the conservatives don't complain about.

But I did get to see the march of nations or whatever it's called and couldn't help thinking how, despite the spreading diversity of most countries now, there are some nationalities that seem to produce more beautiful people than others. And it doesn't seem to have anything to do with what people still call "race" because some east European countries or African countries or Asian countries seem to be full of beautiful people while others not so much.

I know, that's judgmental, but nonetheless true enough from my perspective.

And despite, or rather because of, Paul McCartney's voice not being what it used to be, especially as he began singing "Hey Jude" I was all the more touched by the power of a musical riff to become universally familiar and comforting.  Also touched thinking that he's an old man now no matter how much he dyes his hair or can still jump around a stage.

Yeah, there were some moving moments (like McCartney), some yuck moments (Mitt and his wife standing up and waving like royalty to the USA contingent as if they were already the first family), etc. But once the games got really under way so much of the scoring and the rules and procedures seemed so arbitrary and subjective that I quickly lost interest in some things (what is it with the mostly weird "dance" moves the "American" female gymnasts do in their floor routines, whereas say the Russian female gymnasts who, the announcer said, have to take ballet lessons from childhood on in order to be gymnasts, were so less muscle-y and stiff and strange in their "dance" movements that actually flowed and seemed, well, dance like).

Yet somehow I get invested in seeing the USA win more medals than China anyway and become fascinated with women's archery, or two man beach volleyball, or the team volleyball, especially the women and the impressive and amazingly named Destinee Hooker, or women's weightlifting or men's and women's soccer (things I would normally lose interest in quickly). So I guess I'll keep checking in, especially on the cable networks that are carrying some events during daytime which are less popular, or so the TV execs think, but I often find more interesting.

And I'll remember some moments even as I'll continue to not like the announcer's seeming to get almost everything wrong, talking when I wish they'd keep quiet, keeping quiet when i wish they'd explain something, getting way to personal and pushy with young athletes who have just lost or totally cliched with others who have just won something. It's a strange ritual these games, and totally hyped and as I said mostly arbitrary, but in the end they celebrate the capacity humans have for going beyond what would normally be thought of as possible, making our spirits, or at least mine, transcend the daily challenges and disappointments. Which I guess is the point.  


JenW said...

I’ll have to get you a pair of rose-colored glasses for your next march of the nations in the opening ceremonies. I also disagree with your view of Sir Paul as old. Granted, his voice is not the best these days but he is a member of the forever young club- with or without dyed hair. I only caught the first part of the show with Kenneth Branagh reciting Shakespeare and leading a very dark Dickens-like parade. It could have been a bit brighter for my taste. That’s what happens when an Irish creates an English extravaganza- dark, complicated, but magical too. Danny Boyle may have been born in England but with a name like that??

tom said...

We have not only the cable option, but also get CBC coverage. CBC shows a wider range of competition beyond just Canadian. Enjoying what I've seen of the games - but disappointed that the Chinese girl was challenged on her win.

Lally said...

Danny Boyle is definitely of Irish descent and as for the Chinese swimmer, I hear you Tom. Kind of snarky since she passed all the stringent doping tests (though it is true that the tests aren't up to all the innovations in ways to pump performance up with reoxygenated blood or whatever).