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.

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