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Silver and Gold

I sat through the opening ceremonies last night. I wasn't particularly impressed with the nearly naked men hanging from the sky, the performance art theater of living statues, the brightly painted props that at times seemed ripped from an elementary school drama production, the nesting doll flag bearers or the lady giving birth to E.T. in the middle of the pond. And I hardly was impressed listening Katie Couric punctuate her inane ramblings with, well, more inane ramblings. That's not to say the whole ceremony was over-decorated crap. I thought this part was neat, as was the opening bit with the two drummers. The idea they had was nice, but it came off more like an opening night at an avant garde art gallery rather than the Olympics. All that was missing was the haughty waiter serving champagne and Brie. It was all about the subtext. I listened carefully to the crowd as each country was announced, as most of you probably did as well. I was pleased to hear the nice reception for the U.S. It was heartwarming to hear the rolling applause for Afghanistan and Iraq (and yes, I did get a little choked up when both those countries appeared, especially at the sight of an Afghan woman at the Olympics). So, you say, no subtext then? Au contraire. Allah covered this in his usual succinct and biting way (he's able to convey with twenty words and a well placed photo what I take 5,000 words to say) and I have to concur with most of the observations. I watched the Iran contingent carefully, after hearing the story of the Iranian athlete who wants to withdraw from the Olympics rather than touch a Jew. Sure enough, as the Israeli group passed by the them, the Iranians turned their backs. What an absolute disgrace. After all the pageantry and lessons of the opening spectacle, after all the times it's been drilled into our heads that the Olympics bring people together, those cretins have to behave like that. Sure, it's not the first time the dark side of politics entered the Olympic arena and it won't be the last, but it still makes me spitting mad. On the other side of the spectrum, you have this photo of the Iraqi athletes and American athletes together. Now that, my friends, is heartwarming. That photo is one of those magical moments that I used to watch the Olympics for. Turning back to Allah's post for a minute, he has transcribed this exchange between Katie Couric and Bob Costas:
[Saudi team enters] Couric: I love when the athletes wear their traditional clothing. This is not traditional, this is worn still in Saudi Arabia. Costas: Since the wakeup call of 9/11, Americans have become more aware of aspects of Saudi society beyond the oil and their nominal status as a U.S. ally. Those aspects include widespread religious extremism and an antipathy towards women's rights, and here in Athens, there are 21 members of the Saudi delegation. None are women. Couric: [Silence. For nine seconds.]
Of course there was silence. Couric has nothing of value to add to a statement like the one Costas made. She suddenly found herself in a situation where a big smile and perky laugh wasn't appropriate to see her through. Don't even get me started on the U.S. basketball team. Though Alan Iverson did manage to smile once, they sauntered around looking like a bunch of kids who escaped from the Group Home for Attitude Problems. While the media is crowing about the wonderful start the Olympics got off to - because everyone knows that frilly costumes and prancing ponies signifies that everything is A-OK - I've already got a bad taste in my mouth because this anti-Semite and his back-turning brethren have already tainted the proceedings. Let the games begin. [if anyone finds a photo of the lady with the glowing stomach, please let me know]

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» Wow. Just wow. from Sheila A-Stray's Redheaded Ramblings
Iraqi and American athletes together, yesterday at the Opening Ceremony. I didn't watch the ceremony myself, but Michele has some great commentary.... [Read More]

» Things I missed because of the hurricane from Twisted Spinster
What the hell? Apparently whoever came up with the opening ceremonies show at this year's Olympics is from some planet other than earth, where things like a woman with a glowing "pregnant" stomach have some sort of meaning. (Via a commenter in t... [Read More]

Comments

The V symbols the PLO delegates made were misinterpreted by many as peace symbols.

Nope. That's their call for victory, from the Jordan to the Med.

Hey, I don't have an account over at the command post so I just thought I'd post it here and you can update over there ok?

UPDATE I just talked to Solonor by phone. The emergency blogging system does work!!
He and his family lost power last night around 10pm and still don't have it back yet. He said there is very little yard debree. A few trees here and there and fence came down so all his neighbors could see all the junk in his back yard. (heh) But he said he and his family are all fine and not to worry. He will post as soon as the power comes back on and not to worry. They are good.

Other than the aforementioned applause for the United States athletes, the roaring applause for both Iraq and Afghanistan, the fourth most spectacular event was Costas showing the world the ignorance and stupidity of Katie Couric. If only someone had a transcript I'd be in literary heaven right now. The verbal sparring was spectacular. All night long, Costas smacked around Kuric and the bubbly bimbo kept coming back for more. Classic!!!

Seriously, am I the only person who doesn't watch the Olympics? Or doesn't really care who wins? I never did see their appeal.

Give me hockey or pro football (real football, American football, not that pussy ass soccer shite from Europe) anyday.

I'm with you Ratan, except I never got into watching sports of any kind. If I want to know who wins, I'll pick up tomorrow's newspaper.

I was really turned off by the sound mixing during the ceremony. both costas and couric sounded like they were talking from about 100 yards away, behind the roar of the crowd and the inane new age music.

I, for one, wanted to SLAP Iverson. Wake up, man! You're at the freaking OLYMPICS. Whassamattah, your face gonna crack if you throw the crowd a single smile? Yeesh.

I also, like most of the rest of the viewing public, it seems, wanted to slap the living crap out of Bob and Katie. Mispronunciations, out-of-place political commentary, idiotic jokes exposing (mostly Katie's) their own ignorance about the world...argh.

I did like the Ceremonies, though. The presentation part. I thought the living statues were cool. But the ET-phone-home fetus was kinda creepy.

Dios mio, man - was the guy playing the drum at the very beginning John "Jesus Quintana" Turturro?

Being Jewish myself, I was upset over the Iranian reaction to Israel. However, I just wonder if they really meant it. Given the Iranian government's atipathy towards Israel, the well-known sympathy many citizens secretly (and some openly and bravely) hold for the country, and the government's oft-brutal reaction to those citizens, I just wonder if the Mullahs didn't force the athletes to kiss the Koran and turn their backs.

I also noticed the gender make-up of the Iranian team. Yeah, they did one better than Saudi Arabia, but the poor girl was still forced to wear her "traditional costume" (as Couric would call it). In the Iraqi team, the woman athlete was decked out in a gorgeous, golden Babylonian gown with an elaborate crown on her head, on the Kuwaiti team one woman was wearing a bright red and green suit with her hair completely let down, the Bahraini women were also dressed in stylish costumes, and on Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, and Albania, the vast majority of the women were going without their veils. But on the contrastly joyless Iranian team, not even in a different country do women seem to be allowed to embellish a little.

How about the "Palestinian" team? How is it that South Africa was denied participation for so long because of their apartheid policy and yet they allow a "country" that sponsors state terrorism, and whose greatest desire is to see Israel driven into the sea, field an olympic team? I noticed the handful of "Palestinians" got a rousing reception from the clueless Greek audience. Sickening.

Thank the Lord for hi-def TV.....not only did the aerial shots of Greece look amazing, but I got to listen to Trautwig instead of Costas? Too good to be true!

I'm with Alexis. I was out last night, so I watched the rilly big shew this morning on NBC-HD. I loved it. Also, somehow, I seem to have missed the Palestinian team. Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, and Portugal, too. All of the pi's were absent from the HD-cast.

A lot of folks seem to be really cynical about the Olympics. I'm not. I love the spectacle and the optimism and the enthusiasm of it. Sure, it's got its seedy underbelly, but why think about that? The Olympics is a symbol. Let it stand for good things.

And I don't know why, but I really, really loved the fact that when the time came to divide up the infield to keep the crowds of athletes in a sort of semblance of order, they didn't haul out fences or rope lines. They just sent five thousand volunteers out onto the field to hold hands.

Be as cynical as you want. But if it's okay, I'll stay over here with the happy people. ;-)

I was so pissed at myself, came down after we started marching in so I missed the applause.

BUT - talk about timing, my Olympic flag came in yesterday and it looks good!

Has the rings, part of our flag and the Eagle on it.

I also bought a shirt.

Looking forward to Turino, but I like the winter competition better.

You know, they did skip the pis. I just checked the rerun on NBC-HD, and they went from the omicrons (Oman) to a commercial break and when they came back they were on the end of the rhos (Russia).

Weird. Very weird.

I note that AP had to get in their dig on the pic of the Americans and the Iraqis:
"Members of the Iraqi delegation pose with members of the United States' delegation..."
Did that pic look "posed" to you? Looks like spontaneous reality to me.

This glowing stomach?

I thought it was nice how the Koreas walked out together.

The Iranian "judo master" is just a coward. He's not afraid of merely touching a jew, he knows very well that jew will wipe the floor with his miserable bigoted ass. More humiliating than a pair of bikini underwear on a terrorist's head, don'tcha know.

I recorded all of the politically relevant introductions, including Iraq, Iran, Israel, Afghanistan.. Will be posting up the video clips soon, I'll let you know. I noticed many of the same things you do.. I have it on the Tivo still so if there's a moment you want that I don't have recorded already, just let me know.

=darwin

What the hell was Bjork doing there? That song she shrieked out was both irritating and totally baffling.

Gems from the our dipstick Australian announcers:

"Here comes the Tajikistan team...from the heart of central Africa!"

"...and here comes Myanmar, formerly known as Rangoon."

Kudos to this Costas guy.

I have blogged MPG video of the introductions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Cuba and the Koreas here.

=darwin