Olympics Opening Ceremony: Liberty Forgotten


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The Olympics hadn’t even started yet when the disgraces began to pile up.  First the International Olympic Committee, plainly loath to offend Muslim governments, ruled out a moment of silence at the opening ceremony for the Israeli athletes murdered in Munich forty years ago.  Then last Wednesday, when South Korea’s flag was mistakenly displayed instead of North Korea’s at a women’s soccer game, Olympics officials fell all over themselves apologizing to baby tyrant Kim Jung-un’s henchmen for the error.  On the same day, it emerged that Taiwan’s flag, which has been barred from Olympic venues since the 1980s for fear of offending Communist China, was also removed, on the advice of the same Olympics officials, from a display on Regent Street in downtown London – that is to say, not at an Olympic venue.  And on Friday, hours before the opening ceremony, Lebanon’s judo team refused to share a training space with its Israeli counterpart – so officials, rather than telling the Lebanese to go peddle their papers, obligingly put up some kind of screen to separate them from the offending Jews.

Reading about these disgraceful matters, one found oneself asking: are the Olympics, when you get right down to it, really nothing more than the United Nations with basketball courts and swimming pools – that is, plenty of pretty rhetoric about international brotherhood, and underneath it a craven bureaucracy all too ready to appease Muslims and totalitarians?

Given these unpromising prefatory problems, one scarcely knew what to expect of the opening ceremony, conceived and created by filmmaker Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire).  Its first minutes, however, proved auspiciously tuneful, touching, and patriotic: children’s choirs in the stadium, and in rustic settings in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, sang, respectively, Blake’s “Jerusalem,” “Flower of Scotland,” Welsh composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’s stately hymn “Cwm Rhondda,” and “Danny Boy.”  The James Bond bit with the queen was amusing.  As the show in the stadium began to take form, moreover, one could not help being exceedingly impressed by the mise èn scene – the evocative pastoral scene transformed before one’s eyes into an unforgettably graphic vision of the industrial revolution, complete with a group of capitalists in top hats and –

Hey, wait a minute, one started to wonder, what’s going on here? 

Eventually it became clear that what we were watching was intended as a brief summary of British history – which, in Boyle’s retelling, essentially began with capitalists’ transformation of (to quote from Blake’s “Jerusalem”) “England’s green and pleasant land” into a country of “dark satanic mills.”  Which raised the question: what happened to 1066, Magna Carta, Henry VIII’s break with Rome, the Spanish Armada, and Oliver Cromwell – just to name a few random highlights that predate the rise of industry?

In Boyle’s vision, what followed this grim transformation – and redeemed Britain – was, quite simply (and reductively) protest: by, among others, trade unionists and suffragettes, groups of which we saw on the march.  And also medical care, on which there was an almost exclusive emphasis for the better part of a half hour.  After a small army of nurses and kids in beds made their way into the stadium, some of the lit-up beds spelled out the initials GOSH, which (as most international viewers would have no way of knowing) are the initials of the Great Ormond Street Hospital, an institution for sick children founded in the early 1800s.  J.K. Rowling read aloud from Peter Pan – the royalties from which (as, again, few people outside the U.K. would be likely to know) J.M. Barrie donated to that hospital in 1929.  The apex of this portion of the show was the rearrangement of illuminated beds to spell out NHS, for National Health Service – a glorification, in short, of socialized medicine, and an implication that the NHS is the natural culmination of centuries of advancement resulting from leftist agitation.

After the best segment of the show – the laugh-out-loud contribution by the always hilarious Rowan Atkinson, a.k.a. Mr. Bean – came a long, busy, rather confusing and all-over-the-place tribute to the British youth culture of recent decades, notably rap music, and to contemporary social media, centered largely on the love story of a young black couple and featuring Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, at a laptop.  What Boyle was doing here was painting a picture of demotic life in today’s U.K., as he apparently sees it, and suggesting that it is the triumphant consummation of everything that went before.

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  • Stephan

    Danny Boyle’s reeducation ceremony should have included a segment illuminating humanity about sexual diversity.

    • southwood

      Why should it ? Sexual diversity contributed nothing to Britain's greatness, indeed it is contributing to its decline.

      • David R

        True…just like its destructive effects all over the world. How sad when one lauds moral decadence and wishes to "illuminate" what should be shamefully hidden.

        • southwood

          Just consider this, David :

          Same sex marriage will, ironically, open the door for the Muslims to demand polygamy. I mean, it's obviously going to lead to such demands. What a can of worms these short sighted people (Obama, David Cameron etc.) are opening.

          • waterwillows

            Right you are.

            Perversion is not able to build anything. It can only bring ever more perversion. Until the nation is so steeped in perversion, that only destruction remains as the mercy to the people.

      • aspacia

        Turing, a homosexual, broke the Nazi Enigma Code.

        • southwood

          Is that it ? Fantastic. What about the 1000s of heterosexuals who contributed to Britain ? What about Philby, Vassal and Blunt and other homos who were traitors to Britain ? But really we are discussing homosexuality versus normal sexuality. Normal sexuality was the legal and accepted form of sexuality up through the centuries when Britian's greatness advanced. Since sodomy has gained legitimacy it has led to AIDS, the introduction of perversion being taught in schools, rights for transexuals, lowering of the age of consent, and ever more demanding claims by homosexuals to the point where now they are on the verge (hopefully they will not achieve it) of getting same-sex marriage. Next it will be forcing churches to carry out the marriages as they have recently achieved in Denmark. Ancient Greece delined as a nation through homosexuality. Western nations are in decline now too.
          http://www.frc.org/brochure/the-top-ten-harms-of-

          • aspacia

            There are a number of famous bisexual and homosexuals who have contributed to societies. Julius Caesar was one. My point is that they often do contribute to society. The ancients Greeks seldom had romantic relationships with women and preferred men.

            In the British Theater bisexuals were commonplace.

            Here is a down and dirty from Wiki, often unreliable, but this one is footnoted: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_gay,_lesbian….

            AIDS started in the heterosexual area around Lake Victoria and stems from the Green Monkey Bite: http://www.avert.org/aids-timeline.htm

        • mlcblog

          So?

    • mlcblog

      Yeah! they could have paraded different physical forms of sexual involvement as the gay parade displays in San Francisco!! What next?

  • harrylies

    Briyain is not perfect, but people do not go broke if they get sick. Britain abolished slavery in 1833, withoout listening to madmen like Robert Lee and starting a civil war. They believed that God or nature made eveeryone equal.

    • dave

      Well I had a hernia a few years ago and I work as an Antiques dealer. I'm always lifting heavy bits of furniture. My GP told me I would have to wait 6 months to a year to be seen by a junior Dr who would operate. He advised me to go private and I did at a cost of £2000. I could not afford to wait 6 months- 1 year otherwise I would have gone broke.

    • Stephen_Brady

      Robert E. Lee was a madman? News to me …

    • mrbean

      That is started with the Magna Carta and followed by the Renaissance, a cultural movement that spanned the period roughly from the 14th to the 17th century destroying most of feudalism and the the church state. This inspired John Locke and hisTreatise on Human Understanding, leading to Jefferson's writing of the the Decalration of Independence with the almost proper definition of individual rights as political and not economic as this sickening regurgitation of Marxism depicted in the opening ceremony. Ahhh yes the evil capitalists in their silk top hats while the smoke stack pollute and the workers unite. Baarffffffff Gaaaggg.

    • Walter Manning

      And what we have here, is a perfect example of public education today. Can't spell, and is completely clueless about history. Lord help us all.

    • mlcblog

      our level of health care is far superior to anything in the world, and I am just talking right now not of who or how many are able to use it but of the creativity and inventiveness and pioneering of our doctors. For instance, childhood leukemia fatalities have been reduced by about 45% over the last 20-30 years and this is a base for much continued research that the doctors and private concerns love to do and foster with their efforts. Under govt domination/provision, a lot of this incentive is lost, stultified. Creativity is shut down. I am mentioning just one facet of what we lose with the govt taking over the health insurance industry.

  • Trev

    In that idyllic British farmyard on display at the opening ceremony, there were 70 sheep, 12 horses, 10 chickens, 3 cows, 2 goats, 10 ducks and 9 geese.

    But no dogs or pigs.

    I wonder why…

    • zikalasa

      Trev, you caught it – I would assume that since dogs and pigs offend muslims, that is why they were not part of the opening scene. Inch by inch they are claiming our lives. It is our own fault if we allow it.

  • Amused

    Correct criticism on all points . But getting a country's flag wrong ? C'mon now that's really dumb , no matter whether it be a country nobody particularly likes or not . Profuse apologies are in order .

  • Asher

    All in all pretty disappointing. Great talent and sportsmanship, but Socialism somehow has a way of rearing its ugly head, the opening ceremonies were boring, too much about multi-culturalism, and not Freedom of Spirit or the Spirit of the competition in good measure by all countries.

  • mlcblog

    Thank you!! I was aghast and dismayed and in a state of disbelief when I watched this unfold. Have only got to the glorious National Health Service part, so am braced to continue my viewing on our DVR but will now be more likely to Fast Forward. Help! let me out of here. (You did help.)

  • say_no_to_libs

    thank you Bruce for this excellent review and analysis!

  • mlcblog

    Upon reading the full article, (nicely done) it seems to me that the Olympics used to be proud and noble, but then so did Greece when the first Olympics took place and they had all those gods. Bye bye, Miss American Pie?

  • flowerknife_us

    Before long everyone will win a Gold Metal. This way all the Country's will feel better. The sameness and group think of the collectivists will need to get rid of the last vestiges of organized Nationalism. There couldn't be all the violence at Soccer matches overseas because it is the last acceptable venue to register pride as a Nation. Within the Union of Oneness that is.

  • Philo Vaihinger

    How on earth did you end up writing for this rag?

    What happened to you?