Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Closing Ceremony Debacle

I just finished watching the Olympic closing ceremonies, and I thought it was terrible. It's possible that the closing ceremony is supposed to be over-the-top silly, but even if it is, it was still poorly thought out.

The one highlight was Neil Young's performance, after he was lifted from beneath the floor on some kind of weird trap-door elevator thing. Then came William Shatner and Michael J. Fox. While I consider Michael J. Fox to be a kind of hero, it seemed like the only point behind the speeches he and Shatner gave was to start the kind of "bet you didn't know he was Canadian" conversation Canadians love to have with Americans. The fact is that this sort of thing only makes sense in the North American context, and I can't imagine an international audience caring if Captain Kirk or that guy from Back to the Future are Canadians or not.

After that there was a bizarre display of super-sized Canada stereotypes. Giant beavers, massive floating moose, lumberjacks, mounties, women dressed as maple leaves, and whatever other stereotype you can think of. Even the TV announcer said: "it's like if someone put together a Las Vegas show around Canadian cultural stereotypes," and "it's like a gift shop at Niagara Falls."

I know I'm being curmudgeonly, but maybe pointing out that Vancouver is a majority minority city, or Toronto is 50 percent foreign born and is among the most ethnically diverse places in the world, would be more interesting and revealing to an international audience than that William Shatner happened to have been born in Montreal before leaving for Hollywood.

I'm not even going to start on the choice of music.


A follow up to the last post:

As someone who generally doesn't follow sports, I've often wondered why people seem to take it so very seriously when I find watching any sports game to be insufferably boring. (I recently heard about a "coming out of the closet" movement for people who are not interested in sports). It obviously doesn't have to do with how exciting the specific sport is, considering how there are people as invested in the relatively slow game of baseball, or completely dull curling, as to fast paced hockey, where there's always a good chance of seeing a fight.

I used to explain it by saying that what makes the difference is that you care who wins. In this way, a game of rock-scissors-paper can be as exciting as a game of football, as long as it matters to you who wins. I'm not a very patriotic person, so I've never been able to say that I much care if, say, Montreal wins the game vs. any other place. After this hockey game, I feel like what is important isn't just that it matters to you personally, but that it matters generally. I'm sort of interested in the outcome of a baseball game simply because my grandmother really really wants the Red Sox to win. And, since I can hear people yelling in the streets and honking horns from where I'm sitting in Halifax, I couldn't help but find that last hockey game entertaining.

Canada wins

I've never been able to get myself very interested in hockey, but the Canada-US gold medal game was impossible to ignore. For better or worse, it's clear that this game was more important to Canadians than the election was, or any future election will be. Hard not to be swept up by it. And it was a pretty damn exciting game.

Again with the blogging...

After a long hiatus, I'm going to start updating this blog again. Not sure how often I'll be able to update, especially after I head to the north for another season, but we'll see. I'm also encouraging Munir and Ari to start posting their thoughts again as well. Go...blogging!