Comment on the Opening Ceremony

by Pierre Tanner

Is it just me or did the Olympic opening ceremony seem a little leftist and one sided? Whilst the commentary was totally lacking and some of the scenes made no sense at all it would seem we went from Britain went from tending fields with a few geese and horses to an industrial revolution with nothing in between. What’s worse we went from the industrial revolution to the internet to pop music and nothing else. Oh and we are good at war!

Where were the sciences, the biotechnology advances, space science and astro physics? Britain has contributed so much more to the world than suggested on Friday night. Even the inventor of the television. The very medium a billion people were watching this unrepresentative crap on. Without the TV the Olympics would be nothing more than an obscure games some people read about in newspapers or see newsreels in the cinema. Indeed without TV, Daniel Boyle probably wouldn’t have the career he now has and would possibly be stuck in theatre. And what of the jet engine, without which all the teams and spectators would not have been so easily able to get here? So why this massive oversight?

And where was any mention of the DNA double helix discovery at Cambridge? No, I found the whole thing to be very working class. Maybe that’s who it was aimed at as it certainly wasn’t aimed at any foreign observer watching.

Indeed we have a massive amount of history to choose from and they showed hobbit hills with goblins emerging from under the tree and an industrial revolution. Yes we used to make stuff but then along came the unions who set about destroying it all and thus we now have little in the way of industry. We build no ships because British ship builders could not guarantee delivery on time. Neither could the car manufacturers.

So the world will now know Britain to once have been farmers and who used to make stuff. Oh and we have an NHS! It strikes me that the team behind this “show” had no idea what British-ness is. Neither do I as this is a very diverse nation. But they could have done so much better than that. I’m not especially patriotic as it’s all a bit tribal for me but the UK have a massive high tech industry and we still make precision appliances. But I think we have all been sold very short by Daniel Boyle and his team.

And the handing over of the Olympic flag to the military to fly was totally inappropriate. Whilst I totally respect and admire our armed forces for doing the job they are having to do with inadequate equipment, they are about war. The Olympic flag is supposed to be about peace and unity. Thus giving the flag to the military no matter how much they are respected was very wrong.

Oh and please can someone tell Paul McCartney he can no longer sing. He sounded awful.


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  • My thoughts exactly, although significantly less violent and fratricidal.

  • For Sean:

    “As London prepares to throw the world a $14 billion party, it seems fair to ask the question: What does it get out of the bargain?” asks the Christian Science Monitor in a recent story on the 2012 Summer Olympics. “Salt Lake got to show that its Mormon community was open to the world,” observes journalist Mark Sappenfield. “Turin got to show that it was not the Detroit of Europe. China got to give the world a glimpse of the superpower-to-be. And Vancouver got to show the world that Canadians are not, in fact, Americans.”

    And what is London showing the world? Sappenfield suggests that London is showing off its new ultramodern and efficient infrastructure, but if the security for the 2012 Olympics is anything to go by, it would seem that London is really showing the world how easy it is to make the move to a police state without much opposition from the populace.

    It’s what the Romans used to refer to as “bread and circuses”—the idea that the key to controlling the masses is by satiating their carnal appetites and entertaining them with mindless distraction. Thus, while the world loses itself in the pomp and circumstance of a thoroughly British Olympics, complete with Sir Paul McCartney rocking the opening ceremony, celebrity sightings galore and a fair share of athletic feats and inspirational victories to keep us glued to our TV sets, a more sinister drama will be unfolding.

    Welcome to the 2012 Summer Olympics, the staging ground for the coming police state.

    Under cover of the glitz and glamour of these time-honored Games, a chilling military operation is underway, masterminded by a merger of the corporate, military and security industrial complexes and staffed by more than 40,000 civilian police, British military and security personnel, as well as FBI, CIA, and TSA agents, and private security contractors. Appropriately enough, this year’s Olympic mascot, Wenlock—a strange, futuristic blob with an all-seeing eye to “record everything” in the games—is being sold in Olympic stores dressed in a policeman’s uniform. “As a metaphor for the London Olympics, it could hardly be more stark,” writes Stephen Graham for the Guardian. “For £10.25 you, too, can own the ultimate symbol of the Games: a member of by far the biggest and most expensive security operation in recent British history packaged as tourist commodity.”

    In addition to the usual tourist sights such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Big Ben, visitors to London may find themselves goggling at the military aircraft carrier floating in the Thames, the Typhoon fighter jets taking to the skies, ready to shoot down unauthorized aircraft, aerial drones hovering overhead to track residents and tourists, snipers perched in helicopters, an 18-km high, 11-mile long, 5,000-volt electric stun fence surrounding Olympic Park, and 55 dog teams patrolling the perimeter. Several locations throughout London will also feature surface-to-air missiles, including some residential areas in East London that will have them perched on top of apartment buildings. All these and more are supposedly part of the new security apparatus required to maintain security in an age of terror.

    Roughly 13,000 private security guards provided by G4S, the world’s second largest private employer, will be patrolling the streets of London, under a $439 million contract with the British government. Due to some last minute trouble recruiting and training guards, 3,500 additional British military troops will be called in, making a total of 17,000 troops scheduled to police the Olympics.

    More than 500 American federal agents, trained in the methods of security theater, will be on hand to assist Britain’s security forces. In fact, the CIA, State Department, and FBI have all been working closely with British authorities for well over a year in preparation for the Olympic games. TSA agents—infamous for stealing large sums of money from passengers’ luggage, patting down children and the elderly and handicapped, and, among other things, breaking diabetic passengers’ insulin pumps—will also be on loan to the British to assist with airport passenger screening during the Games, which will include fast-track fingerprinting for Olympic athletes.

    There’s even a security patrol tasked with making sure that local businesses observe the government ban on symbols and words relating to the Olympics lest they cause economic harm to the “official” corporate sponsors, including Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and BP. These purple-capped government officials are authorized to enter businesses to look for violations, and can impose fines up to 20,000 pounds ($31,000). Included on the banned list are such words as games, 2012, gold, silver, bronze, summer, sponsors, and London. As Slate reports, “So far a London café has been forced to remove five offending bagels from its windows, as has a butcher who had the temerity to do the same with sausage links. Spectators have been warned that to risk wearing a garment adorned with the Pepsi logo may result in being banished from game venues and that nobody but McDonald’s can sell French fries at any Olympic concession stand. An old lady got tagged for sewing the five rings onto a mini doll sweater.”

    And then there’s the surveillance. With one government-operated outdoor surveillance camera for every 14 citizens in the UK, Great Britain is already widely recognized as a surveillance society. However, in preparation for the Olympics, London has also been “wired up with a new range of scanners, biometric ID cards, number-plate and facial-recognition CCTV systems, disease tracking systems, new police control centres and checkpoints. These will intensify the sense of lockdown in a city which is already a byword across the world for remarkably intensive surveillance,” reports journalist Stephen Graham. Even neighborhoods beyond Olympic park have been embedded with biometric scanners and surveillance cameras with automatic facial and behavior recognition technologies.

    Unfortunately for the people of London and beyond, the UK’s willingness to host the 2012 Summer Olympics has turned this exercise in solidarity, teamwork and nationalism into a $17 billion exercise in militarism, corporatism, surveillance and oppression. — John W. Whitehead, “London 2012 Olympics: The Staging Ground for the Coming Police State?” 28 July 2012

  • John R McDougall

    Must agree with your comment about Paul McCartney. I avoided most of the “historical” stuff, because it was screwed up in Sydney, and has been ever since. But the sight of McCartney preparing to “sing” brought on an “uh-oh” moment–time to go and make another cup of coffee.
    That the program designer might have been some kind of “leftie” was something I had not thought about; but it explains the bits that I saw.

  • Sir Frank Whittle invented the Jet Engine – hugely significant surely? No mention of that. Oh and I would have had Robbie Williams singing Let Us Entertain You if they had insisted on a sing song.
    As it was it was an awful, incoherent, PC mess.

  • In 1910, Henri Coanda designed, built and flew the first jet-propelled aircraft. A piston engine drove a centrifugal compressor, which pumped air-fuel mixture into combustion canisters on either side of the fuselage, where ignition took place. The resulting expansion was directed by nozzles at the rear of the canisters, producing jets of hot gas.


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  • Jesus. Yes lots of it was shite, but to go on about who was left out is a never ending argument.

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