Monday, August 8, 2016

Random Thoughts on Watching the Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony was done on the cheap, as the talking heads kept reminding us.  There weren't many props.  The most controversial one was a replica of Alberto Santos Dumont's plane - the first manned flight, according to Brazil.

There's a bit of a brouhaha about that among those who care, but it's their party.

I say, let them have it.
The show's designers explained the philosophical underpinnings of each segment; never have politics been so colorful.

It's hard to smile while watching slavery, depicted with heavy square blocks for shoes and long wooden yokes balanced on shoulders with hands spread wide. But this is Rio, where thousands live in favelas with little sanitation while millions of dollars built one use arenas on the beach, below.
NBC couldn't seem to decide on the best camera angle; all that shifting around was vaguely nauseating.

There were shimmery metallic sheets glimmering and twisting and making shapes and while I enjoyed the occasional view of the dancers within them, I am certain that they looked much better from the nosebleed seats than they did through the lenses of NBC.
The hats were impressive. Fedoras and head scarves, wide brimmed sunhats and khafiyehs, cowboy hats and Panama hats and every one adorned in something brightly colored.  Who knew grosgrain ribbon came in so many colors.

The USA wore Ralph Lauren's POLO brand right on their breasts.  The overt commercialism was hard to watch.  It's the Olympics, for crying out loud, not NASCAR.
Some of the Pacific Islanders were nearly naked and oiled.

Or, as one announcer squealed, "He's so shiny!!!!"
Merdan Atayev, the flag carrier for Turkmenistan, towered over everyone at 6'5" plus that tremendous hat.

Evan Przesiecki

Brazil provided little bicycles to guide each country as it entered, and gave each flag bearer a child holding a seedling.  The little girl next to that very big man made me remember what the Olympic Ideal is all about.

To paraphrase something I heard a lot of that night, it was lovely to watch the world coming together in a time when forces are trying to tear us apart.


  1. I've been very worried about the conditions there for all the athletes and visitors. I hope the planning committee has learned a lesson. It seems there have been more injuries than I ever remember and we will not know the long term effects of the water, etc. for a long time. The Olympics deserved better than this.

    1. So true, Barbara. And today (Wednesday, 8/10) the water in the diving pool turned green! Oy.


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