Monday, February 15, 2010

Notes on the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Opening Ceremony

In case you were too busy living your life to watch it, I can sum it all up for you! First off, I have always hated the Olympics. The only reason why I watched this year is because my housemate has Tivo and I thought it would be fun to watch some of the spectacle and fast forward through the cheese. Sports and nationhood are destructive social constructs that pit human beings against other vicious masses under a false sense of "team building" in the aims of proving themselves superior to others. As such, both are inherently asinine and ultimately unsatisfying if one indulges in them as a means of gaining personal identity.

That said, I love Vancouver and I love Canadians. And I really wanted them to have their time to shine. But here are some notes on the garbage that I suffered through:

1. The untimely death of a 21 year-old Georgian luge racer, play by play and shown on repeat, with sports casters including Brian Williams and some other douche providing grave narration to add a dash of sensitivity. Bonus points to NBC for showing the shots of the young luger's bloodied face in the arms of paramedics!

2. Interviews with hot American snowboarder chicks wearing lots of makeup. News flash: they were outwardly confident by their impending performances, yet complementary towards competitors, and honored to be there, all at the same time!

3. A documentary in which Canada and America are portrayed as fierce allies in combating atrocities around the globe. A particularly strange emphasis is given to the Iran Hostage Crisis, where a member of the Canadian Embassy gave Americans false documents so that they could seek asylum in Canada. After explaining the intricacies of the covert Americans-as-Canuks smuggling scheme, it is then admitted that the Canadian official was really working for the CIA and was in fact American. Moral of the story: sometimes Americans need to impersonate Canadians so that the world doesn't target them.

4. Some dude snowboards through some giant olympic rings and down a half pipe. I think there were fireworks in the background but I can't remember, it was that instantly forgettable.

5. Native American/Canadian tribes are gathered in packs at various points on the perimeter of the olympic stage, slowly, as the booming white man voice screams: Dance for me, my little monkeys! they begin to dance and call out their ancient warrior calls and move towards the center of the stage. It is obvious to all viewers around the world that the Natives are way into the white man telling them to dance before a live audience of millions of white people.

6. A chubby fellow in a beret and ethnic vest throws down a little spoken word atop a mighty, precarious pillar. He gives some key insights into the character of the Canadian peoples:
"We're more than just hockey and fishing lines/off the rocky coast of the Maritimes/and some say what defines us/is something as simple as 'please' and 'thank you'/well we say that too/ but we are more than genteel or civilized."
This was probably the highlight of the event as the rhyming here was simply superb. And if poetry is nothing more than just throwing some words together that rhyme then by all accounts this sweet little poet nugget has really outdone himself.

7. Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado sang a little ditty, and it went something like this:
From near, from far/It's clear, wherever you are/This is your moment, your time to run like the wind/Dream big, aim high/Even believe you can fly
8. Canadian river dancing: like the Irish folk tap, but with punk rockers dressed in leather and jean jackets.

That is all. I'm sure there were more acts I've left out, but at that point I had seen way too much already. Oh Canada! Way to go!

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