So have you Americans (and others) see it yet?
September 15, 2000 5:21 PM   Subscribe

So have you Americans (and others) see it yet? As a cynical aussie and fan of television kitch (eg. I like watching the Eurovison song contest over a pizza every year), I'm interested in people's opinions of the opening ceremony. What images and impressions did you get.
posted by lagado (20 comments total)
I'm still thinking about the Shirley Temple (or was it Li'l Orphan Annie) character with her Old Man Guardian of Ancient Traditions / Loyal Man Servant allegory. I liked the way they wrapped up dispossession and genocide with a few catchy dance numbers. Furious dancing sheep farmers. Insane Blundstone shoe tappers with the obligatory bogin flannel shirts wrapped around them. All round, utterly bizarre.
posted by lagado at 5:33 PM on September 15, 2000

I liked the whole little girl's dream sequence. Otherwise it was pretty lame, run of the mill opening ceremony.
posted by tamim at 5:53 PM on September 15, 2000

Ok Lagado, as one Aussie to another, can you tell us how YOU would have handled the dispossession and genocide issue in the opening ceremony? You may disagree, but I personally don't think they glossed over Australia's Aboriginal heritage. Quite the opposite in fact which is great because it is such a rich and interesting culture. Imagine for a minute if the Games were organised by S11 and not SOCOG. Now THAT is a scary thought.
posted by murray_kester at 5:56 PM on September 15, 2000

posted by frank spank at 8:25 PM on September 15, 2000

Tina Arena. Thank you.
posted by holgate at 8:37 PM on September 15, 2000

While I am still watching (US is substantially delayed), I would say one of the most interesting images was the cloth water that descended down to the center.

Yes, I know, it's lame, but it was just a cool effect that I actually stopped and watched. Of course, that only happened five minutes ago, so I might change my mind later.

Oh, and I only picked it up about 15 minutes before the march of all the countries, so I missed the Aboriginal heritage aspect. (To explain why I didn't even mention that.)

For those non-US viewers, though, I have to ask-- did the US entry during the country march actually last as long as it appeared here? That was very embarrassing to me as an American -- some countries coverage lasted about 5 seconds while ours seemed to go on for about 5 minutes or more...
posted by tsitzlar at 8:39 PM on September 15, 2000

Well compare our entrance to other countries equal to our size for number of categories they compete in, number of competetors, etc. I just got in on the final lighting of the torch and watching the large torch base rise from the water with Kathy Freemen standing in the middle, and then it rising up the water fall ramp, that is ANYTHING but run of the mill.
posted by thirdball at 8:53 PM on September 15, 2000


That's just it; we took longer than Australia itself!

And, yes, I agree, the torch lighting was pretty cool, despite the glitch (the base was supposed to pause between 30 and 45 seconds, according to an interview with the designer I read earlier).
posted by tsitzlar at 8:58 PM on September 15, 2000

I still rate the torch lighting via the arrow in Barcelona and the ski jumper in Lillehammer higher than Atlanta or this one. More could've gone wrong on those two.

(Just my opinion.)
posted by tamim at 9:07 PM on September 15, 2000

I would say one of the most interesting images was the cloth water that descended down to the center.
agreed. While the firebreathers etc. were interesting, I enjoyed best the simplicity of the great big cloth screen. Beautiful!
Oh, and I can't say that I remember any apologies issued forth in the last three Olympiads held in the U.S. regarding our treatment of Blacks or our aboriginal peoples.
Last note. Was I the only one seeing something phallic in the whole pillar rising to raise the circular torch apparatus?
Just wondering....
posted by Avogadro at 9:51 PM on September 15, 2000

> some countries coverage lasted about 5 seconds while ours seemed to go on for about 5 minutes or more...

The U.S. took a little over 5 minutes. But I don't know whether I fell asleep or what, because I didn't see China, or Guatemala or Honduras (Yes, I thought I was paying attention to alphabetical order) and others that happened while NBC gave us commercials.

I called my family in México this morning and they were watching the ceremony, 9 hours before we could here. I was very dissapointed that in the U.S. I'm not getting better coverage than I did 28 years ago in my country, where analysts cover all sports, athletes from every country and around the clock.

In general I liked the ceremony, but didn't think anything special of it. Liked seeing the two Koreas marching together.
posted by tremendo at 10:02 PM on September 15, 2000

I'm watching right now and while I let out a whoop for my family's homeland of Jamaica, the concept of the two Koreas marching together was supercool.
posted by owillis at 10:18 PM on September 15, 2000

Also, anyone find it strange how some countries with an insane amount of people had small groups, while other countries who were much smaller had a relatively high amount of reps? Wonder how that works out?
posted by owillis at 10:22 PM on September 15, 2000

Thanks Murray.

I have no idea what s11 has to do with anything, but you're right some aspects were attempted well and for the right reasons.

It's obvious from the other posts, that nobody else was looking for any meaning in the dances anyway, just how spectacular the lighting of the friggin' flame would be. This is by far the least interesting aspect in my opinion.

How would I have done it? Well, of course even imagining how to portray a nation's history and character in a made-for-television opening ceremony just boggles the mind. I probably wouldn't even attempt it, certainly I'm have a hard time even expressing what I think of it.

The main themes coveyed seemed to me to be about the passing of the torch from the ancient and timeless past of the aboriginals to the young and dynamic anglo-celtic girl and her young dynamic anglo-celtic toe tapping brethren. Multiculturalism was a kind of tacked on mardigras, not really part of the story (perhaps that's the Sydney view).

This white man dreaming stuff may even be many people's take on the history of Australia, but it's certianly not mine. I found the settlement stuff to be fairly relentless. At the very least I think that the aboriginal heritage should have be seen as present tense.

Going further, a more accurate depiction might have been young aboriginals now making their mark against the odds, ageing WASPs with the mddle age spread and australia's population is being constantly renewed through immigration from elsewhere.

Probably no country ever gets this right. I still remember being amazed at the LA games opening which features the covered wagons, cowboys and no indians at all.

Funny stuff.
posted by lagado at 10:29 PM on September 15, 2000

a more accurate depiction might have been young aboriginals now making their mark against the odds

Yeah, granted, but don't you think the decision to pick Silver medallist Cathy Freeman was not a gesture sympathetic to this very idea? The notion that some have succeeded against the odds and they are the real heroes of the nation - like cathy -
posted by murray_kester at 11:21 PM on September 15, 2000

I just want to know when NBC will apologize for John Tesh.
posted by dhartung at 12:35 AM on September 16, 2000

I think you bloggers in Oz have a wonderful opportunity to dick with us Yanks. I mean, you have the information before we do so post it, but post it slightly wrong. The real trick is to find out how far your misinformation propogates. After all, the US has been doing that with the rest of the world for years (pick any TV series and you'll see it. The same way that Canadian TV has to have Canadian content, US TV has to have so many minutes of misinformation).
posted by plinth at 5:15 AM on September 16, 2000

This just raised a thought...

How many other countries are getting postponed-'til-primetime coverage of the Olympics? Us Canadians are getting the action live, but what about Europe? Is it only Americans that have to suffer?
posted by cCranium at 7:20 AM on September 16, 2000

The BBC's doing live or as-live overnight/morning coverage, with a highlights package at primetime.

A tip: for me, the real highlight of the first week isn't the swimming, but the weightlifting. It started yesterday with the incredible tiny men of the lightweight division, and the weights get heavier day by day. For a sport that gets buggerall coverage, it's great TV -- the whole gamut of emotions on display.
posted by holgate at 7:37 AM on September 16, 2000

Pocket Hercules is coming back! Now the big question: will NBC show him since he's not American?
posted by aaron at 11:55 AM on September 16, 2000

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