Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur


I always find the modern Olympic opening ceremonies fascinating, as an exercise in practical anthropology: you can learn a great deal about a country (or at least, its leadership, which isn't always the same thing) from how it stages the ceremony. It always reflects the way those leaders think about their land, and how they want the world to see it. It is the one opportunity that a country has to distil its idenity into two hours of performance art.

Compared to the epic scope and technical genius of China's performance, and the cleverly insightful view of England as a heart of popular culture, Russia's display comes across as -- well, kind of kitchshy. It reminds me in many ways of nothing quite so much as 1960s Disneyworld, at least for the first half. (Although the projection art is rather brilliant, especially the sailing-ship bit.)

Unfortunately, if Putin didn't want to be compared to the Berlin Olympics, I think they're blown it: the militarism and statism, overt and less so, is rather pervasive. It makes the Chinese ceremony look downright cuddly by comparison.

Oh, and points for Most Ridiculous Line: "And now, Imperial Russia is about to be swept away by two great events: the Russian Revolution, and this commercial break". America always says a fair amount about itself in its coverage...

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