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Olympic Opening Ceremony, Slum Dog England, But Absence of Imperialist Legacy and Occupation

By Charles E. Carlson

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, August 6, 2012

The London opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics was much criticized as a low-budget presentation.  Some thought it dull and depressing with only lively music to pep it up. I disagree.

To me it was powerfully artistic and painfully real. The designer, filmmaker Danny Boyle, spoofed his native land, presenting it as it is, financially and socially crumbling, an all too real UK, a tawdry, tacky skeleton of a once world power hiding behind an aging monarch. Danny Boyle showed us England in economic and moral decline, without a mooring even in its music and art. The 3Oth Olympics are a giant party at the very very moment Europe is in financial collapse.

Danny Boyle is famous for Slum Dog Millionaire, the film story of an Indian boy who rose up from the garbage pits of Mumbai. Boyle's Olympic Opening Ceremony is the Slum Dog story in reverse.

I loved the 2008 Olympic ceremony, even though I am no fan of China. It was a proud China for Chinese, expensive and uplifting, and very ethnic, boasting a modern China coming out of the slums and hiding its ugly parts. What we saw in London was the reverse, confessing its decline.

Producer Boyle even spoofed the aging queen in a parachute skit with James Bond, a new low in royal dignity. Boyle is a filmmaker with an agenda to entertain but who, between the lines, knew the truth about once great Britain, and did a clever job of telling part (but not all) of it. He put one over on not-so-Great Britain.

Why should the Queen enjoy dignity? Did she not knight aging Beatle, Paul McCartney, not to mention pink-haired Elton John?  It is unfortunate the Queen overlooked knighting Benny Hill and Monty Python--the first great spoofers of anything British--they might have been on the show, too. Sir Beatle, John McCartney, exposed not a wrinkle in his often-jacked up face, and in a quaky voice, lead the crowd in a half dozen rousing choruses of "Hey Jude," as though it was the British national anthem.

Who remembers that "Hey Jude" is a drug culture song of sixties, "Remember to let her under your skin, Then you'll begin to make it better better better better better, oh." Now tell me, what did the rock culture of the sixties tell you to "put under your skin" to make you feel better better BETTER?  I wonder if the Queen sang along?

Yes, I loved it. The Opening program was great...great in that it was real and showed what England was and what it is today. I quote the Associated Press story by ERIN McCLAM and JOHN LEICESTER, who are among those who seemed to get it: "'There has to be a modesty,' designer, filmmaker Danny Boyle said. 'You can't get grandiose with this job because you are following Beijing.' Boyle, producer of Slumdog Millionaire an  Academy Award winner, had no orders to cut out scenes depicting all that's gritty and grim in the nation... a nation in decline after the industrial revolution trying to reposition itself as technological innovators. 'We are learning our place in the world,' Boyle said. 'A hundred years ago, we were everything. Obviously the industrial revolution has partly bred that. But there is a change, so I hope there is an innate modesty (in the ceremony) about it as well.'

Boyle designed a Olympic theme around a crumbling and sick economy with music to match! He showed us the scene of the migration of the landless peasants, swarming from the hills owned by the landed Gentry, to the stinking smokestacks of the new Industrial revolution. Next we saw the enlightened age of socialist services for everyone, depicted by an extravagant medical system; finally we all joined in in the realm of entertainment.  With the coming of Beatles sounds and lyrics, Boyle treated us a good times, rock England culture, without a hint of classics. Irreverent comedian, Mr.Bean spoofed "Chariots of the Gods" and a noble Olympic event long past. Boyle even conned the straight-faced and formal Queen into going along with the transition from greatness to entertainment in her time, pretended to jump out of a helicopter in an orange formal Shannon dress!  Boyle's message to me: England is shot so hang on and have some fun!

The Olympics opening ceremony was the Slum Dog story in reverse.  England is descending into the garbage heap of insolvency; everyone knows it, and Boyle showed it!  Hats off to Danny Boyle, for telling a story that needed to be told and making England like it. But what did Boyle leave out of the Commonwealth's history that allowed him to get away with it?

One big untouchable issue Boyle avoided was, occupation.  He left out two hundred years of Briton's constant militarism and brutal colonization that kept England's furnaces running and her smoke stacks puffing. Not a word about occupation in the Americas, India, Africa and South Africa, Sudan and Palestine. Nothing about constant wars of that rounded up the peasants' sons from the Gentry-owned farms, and the laborers from the banker-owned mills and put them in "the ranks." He left out the part of Great Britain's history that is now being repeated in American history -- wars and occupation that kept its economy going. Smart fellow, Boyle, he know were to quit!

Brian Williams of NBC narrated the opening ceremony, and this lavishly paid seeming numbskull missed Danny Boyle's theme. But Williams did not overlook his bosses' politics of war in our day. He pointed out, thumbs and thumbs down, the good guys and bad guys as each team marched alphabetically into the arena. He followed the Zionist script of NBC evening news to the letter. He left no doubt the wars are still on. The noble guys are Israel, the U.S., and the UK. The trouble makers, according to Williams, are Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. All were there, tolerated by the good guys.

When Israel entered, Williams carefully pointed out that Palestinian terrorists had murdered team members in 1978, and the Olympic Committee had denied Israel the privilege of stopping the march to hold a demonstration. Williams did not mention that at least of two of the Arab countries there are occupied territories and could only come to London with permission of their occupiers, one of which occupiers is Israel, the other is the USA!

Brian Williams colored in part of the story of great Jim Thorpe in Stockholm 1912 Olympics as the U.S. team, conspicuous for its towering multi-millionaire pros, marched by. Not surprisingly, Williams did not mention that the great amateur athlete, Thorpe, was stripped of his honors and gold medals for taking what amounted to board and room for playing bush league summer baseball while still in college. The spirit of the Olympics was then amateurism, and Thorpe had broken a rule ever so slightly. Williams mention Jim Thorpe in the same breath as Kobe Bryant and Labron James, leaders of the U.S. Olympic basketball team and the tennis pros Williams sisters, which is why I broke my own rules and called him a "numbskull."

It is a symbol of this professional Olympic tackiness that the gold medals Thorpe lost were solid, real gold, and those handed out in the 30th Olympiad are, debased like the rest of our currency, plated replicas, worth only a few hundred dollar in melt down!

Two countries protested before the games got started: North Korea over the organizers' flag blunder, and Israel over the Olympic Committee's refusal to halt the ceremony for a minute of silence in honor of the Israeli team of 1978. To the Olympic decision makers' credit, Israel was not allowed to politicize; they said Israel is not the only country to suffer such acts.

I love the Olympics, at least most of it, the teen age gymnasts with sacrificing families, the nameless rowers who pass out from exhaustion over their oar, but only after they finish; I have heard a rumor that the pro basketball players may not be allowed in future games. I would like to see it restored to amateurism, but that is not my purpose here.

I also love the old town of London with its tower, but it is shadows of the past. Greece hosted the 2004 Olympics, and it is bankrupt eight years later. England is on the same path and will last until 2020 only if he USA uses its last breath to bail her out.  Who will rescue the U.S. from the financial and moral recompense of our once occupier, England?  We are now the world's warmaker and occupier.

We Hold These Truths/Project Strait Gate






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