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smoothseas
08-09-2008, 04:15 PM
Synchronicity in motion - Busby Berkley woulda been impressed. And to think it was all people-powered; talk about a well-executed drill team.

Commericals were Super Bowl good. The Olympic-colors bird one, where thay stole straws to build their nest. The United Air one with the Fantasia-like animation.

What did ya’ll think (for those that watched?)

qwerty
08-09-2008, 04:24 PM
Yes the opening ceremony was a spectacular, expensive, theatrical extravaganza - but what did it actually have to do with the purpose of men and women (who were kept standing for getting on for four hours in a hot, polluted stadium) coming together to compete in a worldwide sporting event?

How much precious energy is being used to maintain acres of plasma screen? How much smoke, fumes and residual chemicals from all those fireworks have now mingled with and clung to the cloud of pollution already hanging over Beijing? How much gas per minute is that OTT flame going to consume and belch into the atmosphere for sixteen nights and day?

SherryTex
08-09-2008, 04:25 PM
Well, aside from the commentary by the NBC announcers who had to skate around any discussion of anything uncomplementary about China --like the symbolism of the children handing off to the soldiers being the idea that the State would look after the children...which I found absolutely creepy, and the China of the present which overlooked little things like Tiamen Square, Tibet and the recent rounding up of dissenters right and left, it was a gorgeous display.

One wondered if there were police waiting to cart them away if they said anything other than "Look at the pretty colors." It was beautiful, no question. It was amazing. No question. It also left me feeling a bit disturbed. Maybe it was just me.

nerds
08-09-2008, 04:35 PM
Well, aside from the commentary by the NBC announcers who had to skate around any discussion of anything uncomplimentary about China --like the symbolism of the children handing off to the soldiers being the idea that the State would look after the children...which I found absolutely creepy, and the China of the present which overlooked little things like Tiananmen Square, Tibet and the recent rounding up of dissenters right and left, it was a gorgeous display.

One wondered if there were police waiting to cart them away if they said anything other than "Look at the pretty colors." It was beautiful, no question. It was amazing. No question. It also left me feeling a bit disturbed. Maybe it was just me.



Not just you. It all feels like sham and show to me. I hate saying that, I love the Olympics. But I find myself wishing that the U.S. had stood up and recused from this one.

Albedo
08-09-2008, 04:39 PM
If there's one thing authoritarian governments do right, it's spectacle. The parade of nations was heartwarming as usual, though.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
08-09-2008, 04:46 PM
Yes, to all of the above. The Russia/Georgia happenings were a sad addition to the day as well.

cletus
08-09-2008, 04:52 PM
Please don't expect anything like that from London in 2012.

A) I don't think anybody in this country could pull that off.
B) I really don't want my tax money wasted on a load of fireworks on top of the huge waste of building a load of stadiums that will sit unused afterwards.

SherryTex
08-09-2008, 05:08 PM
And if you made it that far, which my son did, not me, Bob Costas said at the sign off, "Well, I don't think Anyone could say Anything negative about China after that."

One envisions a few police standing behind the camera holding up cards for him to read and nodding their heads.

nerds
08-09-2008, 05:17 PM
Bob Costas is a jackass.

Always has been.

Man I long for the days of ABC and Jim McKay. NBC has never approached the calibre of ABC's sports and Olympics coverage of those years.

WendyNYC
08-09-2008, 05:33 PM
Not just you. It all feels like sham and show to me. I hate saying that, I love the Olympics. But I find myself wishing that the U.S. had stood up and recused from this one.

I don't love the fact that China is hosting this year, but I think a boycott would have rung hollow given that we as Americans still love to buy our cheap goods from them.

Shadow_Ferret
08-09-2008, 05:49 PM
Wow. Can't you all just enjoy the spectacle without the
political/environmental/societal comments?


I thought it was breathtaking.

dolores haze
08-09-2008, 05:59 PM
It was spectacular. Absolutely spectacular.

My favorite bit was the old Olympian running in space around the rim at the top of the stadium, while carrying the Olympic flame.

SherryTex
08-09-2008, 06:07 PM
I did watch, just I wasn't able to purely escape into it because of the unspoken context.

Albedo
08-09-2008, 06:12 PM
I did enjoy it, despite all the politics behind these games. China is one country with a lot of history and culture to celebrate, regardless of who is in charge. I even liked the PLA's flag-raising squadron. I've never seen flags so expertly raised in my life. :)

oarsman
08-09-2008, 07:04 PM
I think it is a shame when politics hijack the Olympics. It should be about athletes, competition, and bringing people in the world together--not pulling them apart with their politics. Maybe that's just a dream.

Soccer Mom
08-09-2008, 07:16 PM
I thought it was a beautiful, breathtaking spectacle and enjoyed it on that front. But I confess that I was not able to put out of my mind news reports of areas still devestated by the earthquake where the rubble hasn't even been removed, much less anything rebuilt. People are still living in tents from it.

And already the event has been marred by the murder of the volleyball coach. :(

I stayed up with my 10 year old and the ceremony did spark some interesting discussion with him about the history of China and the current state of affairs in the country. He was enthralled with learning about all the things created and discovered there. He really didn't know much about such an ancient culture and now is interested in reading books and learning about China. So I guess it has also turned into an interesting teaching opportunity.

smoothseas
08-09-2008, 07:40 PM
That's great that it perculated some interest on your sons's part...

Political ideologies aside, when I started this thread, I was wonderin’ if others were as wowed by the pomp ‘n circumstance as I was.

qwerty
08-09-2008, 08:37 PM
I thought it was a beautiful, breathtaking spectacle and enjoyed it on that front. But I confess that I was not able to put out of my mind news reports of areas still devestated by the earthquake where the rubble hasn't even been removed, much less anything rebuilt. People are still living in tents from it.

DITTO.

The nine-year-old kid qwake hero/survivor accompanying China's flag bearer was a neat touch, but how sincere? The Olympics lasts two weeks every four years and is about sports. The event doesn't need huge amounts of misplaced money to herald it when that money could be used to aleviate human suffering for a lot longer than two weeks.

Cranky
08-09-2008, 08:46 PM
I thought it was beautiful and impressive, and I'm glad we didn't boycott the Games. The Games, to me, have always been about the athletes, and I'm incredibly disappointed for them when a country decides not to participate for political reasons.

Part of the thing with the modern Olypmics was for it to be an international two week truce, where we lay aside our differences and come together for once. I really wish people could do that.

Magdalen
08-09-2008, 08:55 PM
Well, aside from the commentary by the NBC announcers who had to skate around any discussion of anything uncomplementary about China --like the symbolism of the children handing off to the soldiers being the idea that the State would look after the children...which I found absolutely creepy, and the China of the present which overlooked little things like Tiamen Square, Tibet and the recent rounding up of dissenters right and left, it was a gorgeous display.

One wondered if there were police waiting to cart them away if they said anything other than "Look at the pretty colors." It was beautiful, no question. It was amazing. No question. It also left me feeling a bit disturbed. Maybe it was just me.


Nope, I used that exact term (Creepy) to describe my feelings to hubs. I did like the centerfield scroll idea, but kept wondering if I was supposed to view it horizontally or veritically. I was not that impressed by the opening "drum" sequence, but I really liked the "moveable type" portion. I was waiting for GW to strip down to his skivvys, tho. 85 degrees and 85% humidity would have been too much for me. I'd have to go sit in my AC'd car!!! Yes there were lots of pretty colors and very imaginative use of China's most impressive and abundant commodity, ie people. Definitely the most memorable Opening Ceremonies I've ever seen, but as others have mentioned, at what cost? (to the environment and to those who were "displaced" from their homes in Bejing to make room for all the "improvements") I did like the contrasts(loud/quiet, soft/hard, big/little) and the overall tone was really quite joyous, tho (who knows what lurks in their hearts???). I enjoyed the parade of nations (found opportunities for geography lessons, etc as did SoccerMom) and although the commentators refrained from comments about China, did anyone else catch that extended comment on Saudi women?

Lasting image from it all (besides the fireworks which would've been really cool to see live): Yao Ming and the little earthquake survivor leading the Chinese team. They were so cute!!!!

maestrowork
08-09-2008, 09:45 PM
Yes the opening ceremony was a spectacular, expensive, theatrical extravaganza - but what did it actually have to do with the purpose of men and women (who were kept standing for getting on for four hours in a hot, polluted stadium) coming together to compete in a worldwide sporting event?


What did you expect to hold the opening ceremony? In an open field or Tienanman Square?



How much precious energy is being used to maintain acres of plasma screen?


It's LED, which consumes far less energy than your own TV (comparatively speaking, of course, since that thing was 500 feet long).



How much smoke, fumes and residual chemicals from all those fireworks have now mingled with and clung to the cloud of pollution already hanging over Beijing? How much gas per minute is that OTT flame going to consume and belch into the atmosphere for sixteen nights and day?

At least they do it once every four years. What about our Super Bowl? How much smoke, fumes, chemicals, and wastes are we talking about?

And no one complained about Atlanta or Sydney. Why China? Are the fireworks in China so much worse than that in Atlanta? If anything, they use mostly man-power in the ceremony instead of some heavy machineries and pyrotechnics and monster trucks so common on the American stages. I think your tirade about environmental issues, etc. in a thread about the Olympics opening ceremony (which is about spectacles, not "feed the world") is somewhat misplaced.


Anyway, I'm proud of the Chinese and thought the opening ceremony was impressive, spectacular and very tasteful. It usually made me cringe when the Chinese tried to put on a show because they were usually loud and obnoxious and tacky, but I think Zhang Yimou really did a great job. Plus the messages are good: first it was to showcase China's accomplishments (they have the right to do so -- it's a long time coming!) and then all the peace and environmental stuff at the end, and looking to a global future (with all the faces of children around the world) -- I think that's a very positive message and simply awe-inspiring images, sights and sounds.

The LED screen was beautiful, and the dance/ink painting is wonderful. The 2008 Tai chi masters who form perfect circles were impressive. And just the number of people involved reminds us China's strength: its people -- the sheer amount and the physical/brain power they have.

maestrowork
08-09-2008, 09:51 PM
And already the event has been marred by the murder of the volleyball coach. :(

It's not the coach. It's his father-in-law.

Sheryl Nantus
08-09-2008, 09:58 PM
absolutely beautiful.

didn't think a whit about politics or anything else - which sort of was the point.

a wonderful exhibition from the oldest civilization in the world - breathtaking and beautiful.

I daresay you wouldn't get anything that good from Hollywood. Well, not without exploding cars or some sort of silliness like that...

:D

qwerty
08-09-2008, 10:01 PM
No, maestrowork, I didn't expect Tianamen Square. That would hardly have been appropriate given that the Olympics is meant to celebrate youth and excellence, and the Chinese mowed down their own students - who one would suppose were representative of youth and excellence - in TS.

YOUR Super Bowl - not mine - is, as you say, a good example of smoke, fumes, chemicals, and waste. Are you saying it's excusable?

When there is already concern about polution affecting healthy athletes in Beijing, not to mention full-time inhabitants, are we to condone further unnecessary polution for the sake of an ostentatious display which, I repeat, is not about the true spirit of the Olympics.

maestrowork
08-09-2008, 10:03 PM
It's the OLYMPICS opening ceremony -- the world's stage. Seriously, I don't know what you expect.

And the Chinese invented the fireworks, after all. I think it's very appropriate.

Maybe a quiet little poetry reading in one of the museums.

There's always people who will turn anything into some platform for politics and issues. Can't we just enjoy the show and forget about our differences for a second -- wouldn't that be MORE of an Olympics spirit than trying to bash China whichever way we can?

Robert Toy
08-09-2008, 10:04 PM
No, maestrowork, I didn't expect Tianamen Square. That would hardly have been appropriate given that the Olympics is meant to celebrate youth and excellence, and the Chinese mowed down their own students - who one would suppose were representative of youth and excellence - in TS.
Psst...don't mention Kent State.

Robert Toy
08-09-2008, 10:06 PM
What did you expect to hold the opening ceremony? In an open field or Tienanman Square?




It's LED, which consumes far less energy than your own TV (comparatively speaking, of course, since that thing was 500 feet long).




At least they do it once every four years. What about our Super Bowl? How much smoke, fumes, chemicals, and wastes are we talking about?

And no one complained about Atlanta or Sydney. Why China? Are the fireworks in China so much worse than that in Atlanta? If anything, they use mostly man-power in the ceremony instead of some heavy machineries and pyrotechnics and monster trucks so common on the American stages. I think your tirade about environmental issues, etc. in a thread about the Olympics opening ceremony (which is about spectacles, not "feed the world") is somewhat misplaced.


Anyway, I'm proud of the Chinese and thought the opening ceremony was impressive, spectacular and very tasteful. It usually made me cringe when the Chinese tried to put on a show because they were usually loud and obnoxious and tacky, but I think Zhang Yimou really did a great job. Plus the messages are good: first it was to showcase China's accomplishments (they have the right to do so -- it's a long time coming!) and then all the peace and environmental stuff at the end, and looking to a global future (with all the faces of children around the world) -- I think that's a very positive message and simply awe-inspiring images, sights and sounds.

The LED screen was beautiful, and the dance/ink painting is wonderful. The 2008 Tai chi masters who form perfect circles were impressive. And just the number of people involved reminds us China's strength: its people -- the sheer amount and the physical/brain power they have.
Being Chinese probably clouds my judgement, but I agree with you 100%...:)

Cranky
08-09-2008, 10:08 PM
Being Chinese probably clouds my judgement, but I agree with you 100%...:)


Well, I'm pretty white, and I agree, too. :D

Siddow
08-09-2008, 10:13 PM
I didn't watch all of it, but I did catch the part where they had the huge paddles with boats painted on them...creeped me out so bad that I turned down the sound. I kept thinking that Will Ferrel was going to pop onscreen in a white wig and scream, "You must kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia!"

eveningstar
08-09-2008, 10:20 PM
I thought it was spectacular, the lighting alone had me mesmerized from the start and the sheer scope and precision of the entire thing was beyond impressive.

I kept having moments of complete artistic glee, what with the calligraphy dancers and the people-powered moveable type. I was in performance art heaven the entire time.

benbradley
08-09-2008, 10:20 PM
I don't love the fact that China is hosting this year, but I think a boycott would have rung hollow given that we as Americans still love to buy our cheap goods from them.
It's not love, it's pinching pennies. I suppose we could make a thread or two out of that.

Well, aside from the commentary by the NBC announcers who had to skate around any discussion of anything uncomplementary about China --like the symbolism of the children handing off to the soldiers being the idea that the State would look after the children...which I found absolutely creepy, and the China of the present which overlooked little things like Tiamen Square, Tibet and the recent rounding up of dissenters right and left, it was a gorgeous display.

One wondered if there were police waiting to cart them away if they said anything other than "Look at the pretty colors." It was beautiful, no question. It was amazing. No question. It also left me feeling a bit disturbed. Maybe it was just me.
All I saw was a pic on cnn.com of the stadium lit up by lots of fireworks. But I can just hear the commentary: "Look at the pretty colors and all the flashing lights. It reminds me of CNN's coverage of Baghdad in March 2003."

Toothpaste
08-09-2008, 10:25 PM
I thought it was very beautiful. And I have no idea what people are going on about saying the true spirit of the Olympics is about the athletes and that somehow this did not reflect it. Every opening ceremonies has been about bringing the world together, and the host country showing off its cultural heritage. It is meant to be a spectacle, a huge show. As long as I can remember, since I was a kid, the Opening ceremonies has always been awe inspiring to me. And imagine going to the Olympics as an athlete, finally getting to march in the famous opening ceremonies, and someone saying, "This year we are skipping the fireworks and dance numbers. You walk in, you wave, we light the torch and you leave." Uh, I'd feel a little ripped off.

Have issues with the politics of it if you want, or have issues with the environmental problems. But it seems a little silly to be offended by spectacle. What is the point, in the end, of any spectacle? Of any ceremony? Logically it is pointless. There is something emotional about it, something human about it. Without some spectacle, life would be boring indeed.

jannawrites
08-09-2008, 10:32 PM
The opening ceremonies were incredible.

maestrowork
08-09-2008, 10:45 PM
All I saw was a pic on cnn.com of the stadium lit up by lots of fireworks. But I can just hear the commentary: "Look at the pretty colors and all the flashing lights. It reminds me of CNN's coverage of Baghdad in March 2003."

The NBC commentaries were annoying. The problem is you couldn't just turn off the sounds, since you'd lose the music and the cheers, etc. But I really wished they would just shut the heck up and let the audience take in everything on their own.

mscelina
08-09-2008, 10:59 PM
I enjoyed them immensely. The earlier parts of the program were stronger to me than the latter.

But I DVRed it and am going back in a little while to make notes on it. Never pass up an opportunity for character/place description when it's laid out in gorgeous fashion for you is my motto.

Simply lovely.

kristie911
08-09-2008, 11:03 PM
They were so-so for me. They were beautiful but I don't really care about all the symbolism etc. They were beautiful but after a while I just sort of lost interest. I'd rather just watch everyone march in...that, for me, was more interesting.

Beach Bunny
08-09-2008, 11:31 PM
The opening seremonies would have been breathtaking to watch if they hadn't been over-directed with way too many close-ups. All those dance pieces were choreographed to be viewed by someone sitting in the stands, not standing in the middle of the dancers. grrrr If they HAVE to have close-ups, put them in a little box in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. This was not meant to be a music video for MTV. :Soapbox: Sigh. Sorry, personal pet peeve of mine.

Yes, those who have said that the Olympics should be about the athletes and coming together are right. And yet, as I watched the sequence with the women in traditional Chinese costumes I couldn't help but wonder how many people have died over the past 60 plus years for doing just that. Or wonder how many daoists, confucianists, and buddhists have died because they refused to give up their beliefs. I wish I could have just enjoyed watching the opening ceremonies and forgotten all of that for the moment, but I couldn't ...

The fireworks at the end were absolutely amazing. It would have been a let down for the country who created fireworks to have done anything less than they did. :)

Overall, it was an awesome ceremony, I wish I could have gotten the full visual impact of the artistic segment at the beginning.

dolores haze
08-10-2008, 12:26 AM
... but I think Zhang Yimou really did a great job.

This was Zhang Yimou's creation? How on earth did I miss that. I'm a huge fan of his films.

*off to googleland*

WendyNYC
08-10-2008, 01:19 AM
I think it is a shame when politics hijack the Olympics. It should be about athletes, competition, and bringing people in the world together--not pulling them apart with their politics. Maybe that's just a dream.

I agree with you for the most part, but boycotting the 1936 Nazi Olympics probably wouldn't have been a bad thing.

Still, as I said before, boycotting China wouldn't mean much since we continue to do so much business with them. We won't send you our athletes, but we'll take another order of $12 toasters?

Oberon
08-10-2008, 01:59 AM
NO DRAGONS! I said before it started, if there are no dragons, I will be pissed. I am pissed. Aside from that, impressive as all the effects were, I kept seeing people as machine parts, operating with controlled precision. Deja vu Red Square on May Day, Stalin smiling. When all the kids came in in their gorgeous costumes, I thought, good, we will get to see some Chinese people in person, not as machine parts. Too short. What did we learn about the people of China? A little girl sang, we hardly got to see her, a guy off in the distance sang with Sarah Brightman, never saw what he looked like really. Yao Ming and the cute kid I liked, the rest of the team? A mass, like the rest of the Chinese people in the show. And those poor girls in white who had to dance and clap for two hours as the athletes marched in. something about control there that disturbed me.

dolores haze
08-10-2008, 02:10 AM
I agree with you for the most part, but boycotting the 1936 Nazi Olympics probably wouldn't have been a bad thing.


But then we would never have gotten to see Jesse Owens humiliate Hitler and show those hideous racial policies for what they were. The most glorious moment in Olympic history, IMO.

WendyNYC
08-10-2008, 02:37 AM
But then we would never have gotten to see Jesse Owens humiliate Hitler and show those hideous racial policies for what they were. The most glorious moment in Olympic history, IMO.

That's true. But they still came away with more metals, so they probably thought the all-Aryan policy was a good one. And Jesse Owens still had to come back to his country and sit in the back of the bus.

"When I came back to my native country, after all the stories about Hitler, I couldn't ride in the front of the bus," Owens said. "I had to go to the back door. I couldn't live where I wanted. I wasn't invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn't invited to the White House to shake hands with the President, either." Jesse Owens

Anyway, I'm digressing, and being a Debbie Downer to boot.

Go USA!

aadams73
08-10-2008, 03:18 AM
I found it quite underwhelming. Yes, it was gorgeous to look at, but it was low energy and quite dull, to me. I expected a great deal more pizazz after their length exhibition at the end of the Athens olympics.

dolores haze
08-10-2008, 03:27 AM
Yeah, Wendy. It was shameful the way he was treated. After his ticker tape parade he had to ride the freight elevator to his own reception.

All countries have things they are (or should be) ashamed of.

Another interesting anecdote about Owens and the Olympics is how he was publicly befriended by a German athlete in the long jump competition. Here's a little clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWw4-IIn0Nk&feature=related) about it. When the eyes of the world are on you, small moments like this can take on huge symbolic importance.

Sorry for the thread detour, folks.

cletus
08-11-2008, 01:55 PM
The opening ceremonies were incredible.

The opening ceremonies were faked (http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/beijing/blog/fourth_place_medal/post/Some-Opening-Ceremony-fireworks-were-faked?urn=oly,99745).

Shadow_Ferret
08-11-2008, 04:58 PM
Well, the fireworks anyway.

cletus
08-11-2008, 05:36 PM
Well, the fireworks anyway.

Sure. It might have just been the fireworks. But if I can't believe everything I see on TV, what can I believe in?

maestrowork
08-11-2008, 06:55 PM
But if I can't believe everything I see on TV, what can I believe in?

Movies? Novels? Don't tell me the Terminator wasn't real!! I'm going to cry now.

Shadow_Ferret
08-11-2008, 07:33 PM
Anyone see that giant blue sealy posturpedic building?

benbradley
08-11-2008, 07:42 PM
The opening ceremonies were faked (http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/beijing/blog/fourth_place_medal/post/Some-Opening-Ceremony-fireworks-were-faked?urn=oly,99745).

Well, the fireworks anyway.
And didn't China INVENT fireworks? My goodness...

Movies? Novels? Don't tell me the Terminator wasn't real!! I'm going to cry now.
There, there, now, Ray. It was only T2, the "liquid metal" version that was faked (I only saw the first two movies). The original Terminator was real, and he's still alive and well as Governor of California.

Storm Dream
08-11-2008, 10:01 PM
Being a huge fan of explosives, I found the fireworks show utterly fantastic.

Honestly, I could have done without the frequent NBC commentary. I think if I'd just been allowed to watch the theatrics in peace I would've taken much more away from it, but the constant nattering pretty much wrecked it for me.

The choir of kids was great, too. Generally I am not fond of children, but those were some real cuties. :)

qwerty
08-12-2008, 05:03 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7556058.stm

maestrowork
08-12-2008, 05:09 PM
So? Have you heard of Marni Nixon?

I think people are trying to find ways to bash China any way they can. It's a "show" for crying out loud, not American Idol. So where is the Olympic spirit for them?

If you want to talk politics and debate about China's policies and how they fake things, there's a place called PC&E on this board.

qwerty
08-12-2008, 05:59 PM
So? Have you heard of Marni Nixon?

I think people are trying to find ways to bash China any way they can. It's a "show" for crying out loud, not American Idol. So where is the Olympic spirit for them?

If you want to talk politics and debate about China's policies and how they fake things, there's a place called PC&E on this board.

Good grief, all I did was post a link in case anyone was interested. I don't actually recall suggesting I was here to talk politics and/or Chinese policies.

No, I've never heard of Marni Nixon. I have heard of American Idol, but it's not something that interests me. Incidently, neither does the Super Bowl. Does that make me an America basher?

As you seem to have personal issues with my posts, maestrowork, why don't you just ignore them and accept that there are people outside America and Hong Kong who have thoughts that may conflict with your own. The Olympics is a worldwide event and, as such, is open to worldwide opinion.

As I understand it, AW is an international forum and, as such, is likely to get posts from people in various parts of the world.