Don't worry, this is not going to turn into an Olympics blog, so save your complaints and your "Where's my Blazer coverage?" comments. I just wanted to follow Norsktroll's example in the fanposts and talk about the opening ceremonies for a second. I was going to post this there but I think it needs to be said on the main page of something, somewhere and it's too late at night to see if anyone else said it.
Those ceremonies were fantastic.
As the NBC commentators said repeatedly, the combination of large scale and minute precision was unprecedented. How the heck they coordinated all of that is beyond me. But then again it wasn't the kind of presentation that made you go, "Gee whiz, this is complicated and technically difficult!" You simply noticed the effect. It was an amazing blend of humanity and technology creating art. The guy who produced the event should be annointed a genius in this area. Seriously...it's incredibly difficult to pull off a presentation of that magnitude. Frankly most efforts, no matter how many people participate and how many sets you trundle out, come across as too small for TV. It's like you stuck a camera in a local theater or something. You lose all intimacy and you're left with a shiny facade. This thing was clearly too BIG for your TV. It spilled out and overflowed into your living room. You realized exactly the boundaries of your screen and exactly how inadequate they were. And yet the experience still translated with all the majesty and beauty you could handle.
A lot of things are posted online that are clearly hyperbole. I want you to stop and think for a second, because I mean this quite literally...not exaggerating for effect at all, just being analytical and descriptive. If you consider the combination of technical effects plus intricate human participation, if you consider the immense scale of that project plus the riveting details of each part, if you consider the innovative technology and presentation plus the seamless blend of history and culture, and if in addition you factor in the number of people who saw this event, you may have just witnessed the grandest public spectacle there has ever been. Believe me, I know there have been more important events. Every country in the world has at least a couple dozen that rank higher in importance than this Olympics. But if you factor out the importance of what we're celebrating and just look at the celebration itself, I don't think any event--sporting or otherwise--has been accompanied by that kind of show on that scale with that kind of innovation pulled off with that kind of artistic nuance. Ever.
It's a small thing maybe in the grand scheme of things, but it's nice to recognize such things when you see them. It was really quite a moment. Let's hope the rest of the games can live up to it.