Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Opening Ceremonies in 2012

After the opening ceremonies last weekend, many journalists remarked that the organizers of the London games in 2012 will have a difficult time competing with Beijing's spectacular show.

What London should do, I think, is reject the very notion of the outlandish spectacle. Perhaps they should simply stage a minimalist Beckett play with a single spotlight in the center of a huge, dark stadium. The plays Play (with three characters stuck in funerary urns) or Breath (a play that lasts 25 seconds and centers on trash blowing across the stage) would be perfect.

Take that China!

Update (8/17): The Economist reports that London 2012 is encountering all sorts of financial problems and is going way over budget. Maybe now they will take the Beckett idea seriously. Think of all the cash they could save. I'll even volunteer my time to stage the play.


SM Sprenger said...

In that spirit, we should back off getting too excited about exploding world records too. What happens when we've reached the human limits of improvement? How fast can a human ultimately swim? Will we lose interest when we've reached that limit? Somehow we need to get back to appreciating the art of amateur sport rather than just the technical aspects of breaking records.

marc said...

For the best ratings ever. Two words: Naked Olympics. It's back to tradition and it would sure make boring events like fencing more interesting (ouch!).

Corry Cropper said...

In a way, we have already come very near the limit of human performance. Most records broken now are thanks to technological advances... the swimming records are as much the result of improved suits and better pools (that minimize waves) as better athletes. Doping, too, has certainly "helped" with records in many sports.

I think interest will remain: people watch team sports and there are no "world records" (except in # of victories) in the same sense.

The issue you raise about appreciating sport has a lot to do with knowledge of the sport. I appreciate tennis a lot more (the art of it) since I began playing it. Bourdieu would argue that appreciation (instead of just cheering for winners) depends on the spectator's cultural & class knowledge.

Corry Cropper said...

RE naked Olympics, check back for more tomorrow...

in the meantime, you joke about fencing in the buff, but in the ancient Olympics wrestlers and boxers wore only a thin coat of olive oil... of course that was before television and the FCC's decency standards.