August 8 (Originally posted by Mireille)
Like more than a few billion people in the world, I watched the Olympic Opening Ceremonies just a few short hours ago. Several thoughts:
1st. NBC’s pro-American slant is out in full force tonight. The commentators managed some swipes at Chavez and Russia, and kept insisting that this was the most important moment in modern Chinese history. Though I agree it is indeed really rather important, Mao’s death might have perhaps been more pivotal. Just a thought.
2nd. Even with Ralph Lauren designing (especially with Ralph Lauren designing!) team USA’s attire was yawn-inspiring. Surrounded by the intricate details and festive colors of the native dress of hundreds of other countries, the best we could do was a dowdy navy blazer with a massive brand logo on it? Pathetic.
3rd. Unable to reconcile their differenences this time around, North and South Korea marched separately despite having marched together in previous Games. It was perhaps the most visible example in an otherwise startlingly beautiful pageant of the international solidarity that bitter politics are sometimes all together impossible to transcend.
4th. Did anyone else notice how notoriously racist/xenophobic countries are all too happy to let brown folks on their teams? I mean, if you want a striking visual of Europe and Africa’s recent colonial past, look at snap shots of their Olympic teams. I’m not saying, of course, that having one skin tone makes you less Swedish or South African, I’m just saying when you have countries like Portugal proudly marching their black athletes internationally while abusing them at home, its a cause for pause.
5th. I am incredibly pleased with Team USA’s choice of flag bearer Lopez Lomong, a Sudanese refugee and talented track athlete, who disagrees with Chinese policy regarding Sudan. It was was a commendable sideswipe at the host country. There’s more here about it.
6th. The image of Yao Ming holding the Boy-Hero of the People, Lin Hao is going to become an iconic photograph in China. That kid is set for life.
It was right around the time when the final torch bearer started to fly around the stadium it really struck me: When WWIII rolls around, we’re totally boned. This was among the most amazing spectacles I have ever seen ever, and I saw it on a 11″ low-def TV screen on network TV. The orchestration, the detail, the execution…Flawless.
As much as I’m looking forward the the next few weeks of sportsmanship, I hope that we don’t lose sight of other important things: the new Georgian war, the old Iraq war, the election and our lame-duck economy. Get your fill of Greco-Wrestling while you still can, though.