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Off topic: What did your media make of the Olympic opening ceremony?
Thread poster: Phil Hand

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:31
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Indeed Jul 28, 2012

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I am definitely in the cynical camp


So is my grocery delivery man, who has just delivered my groceries. He wants to know who got the £27,000,000- not the participants, who were all volunteers.


 

Alison Sparks (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:31
French to English
+ ...
Well thank heavens Jul 28, 2012

I moved to France, if only to escape the very cynical, grumpy, miserable attitudes displayed in some of the comments on this forum.

I've never undertood why the British can be so lacking in being positive except under "war" conditions when suddenly they all pull together!

I was born and lived in England (until age 6), with English parents, grandparents etc., and have spent more than half my life living in one part or another of the UK, so maybe it was my exposure to o
... See more
I moved to France, if only to escape the very cynical, grumpy, miserable attitudes displayed in some of the comments on this forum.

I've never undertood why the British can be so lacking in being positive except under "war" conditions when suddenly they all pull together!

I was born and lived in England (until age 6), with English parents, grandparents etc., and have spent more than half my life living in one part or another of the UK, so maybe it was my exposure to other cultures fairly early in life which made me feel uncomfortable wherever I lived in the UK, but it was precisely this sort of attitude I couldn't cope with, and still don't understand.

Does any mature person seriously think that the money would actually have been spent elsewhere to the benefit of mankind?

Certainly most of the foreign media seem to have thoroughly enjoyed it and as a showcase for attracting future business I thought it worked well.

"Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative" so goes the song, referring to the key to happiness. Or as my uncle used to say "there's nowt wrong wi a bit o fun and giggles". Nuff said!
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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:31
Hebrew to English
What's wrong with cynicism? Jul 28, 2012

There's certainly no shortage of people lauding the ceremony on here, in the news and on social media sites. What baffles me is the way that the minority who weren't enraptured by it are heckled and criticised as though they aren't entitled to that opinion.

[Edited at 2012-07-28 19:05 GMT]


 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:31
English
+ ...
Not WOULD have. Jul 28, 2012

Alison Sparks wrote:



Does any mature person seriously think that the money would actually have been spent elsewhere to the benefit of mankind?




COULD have.

And I'm not British...


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:31
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Pshaw Jul 29, 2012

Ania wrote:
Victor Meldrew


Thanks, Ania, if you hadn't said it, I would have had to!

Ty Kendall wrote:
What baffles me is the way that the minority who weren't enraptured by it are heckled and criticised as though they aren't entitled to that opinion.


Don't be disingenuous, Ty. Not liking it is one thing. Personally, I'm completely turned off by song and dance - musicals mystify me - and I have no intention of watching it. The hackles are raised when the naysayers try to justify their personal reactions with some kind of arcane moral reasoning. People are starving in Africa because of the Olympics? The failure to recognise the flag of Uzbekistan reflects some deep-seated colonial flaw in the British character? It's all a part of the society of spectacle? Pshaw.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:31
Hebrew to English
Oh, I'm not that bothered by the money..... Jul 29, 2012

I'm sure it would have found its way into someone's pocket had it not been spent here - probably some politician claiming expenses on a 7th house or something and I wouldn't have liked to see the money go to Africa either - the ultimate destination for that aid money is not exactly known.

I just think you should be allowed to dislike (and criticise) it without the majority making you feel bad for it.
I actually feel bad for Aidan Burley! (granted due to past scandals he wasn't
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I'm sure it would have found its way into someone's pocket had it not been spent here - probably some politician claiming expenses on a 7th house or something and I wouldn't have liked to see the money go to Africa either - the ultimate destination for that aid money is not exactly known.

I just think you should be allowed to dislike (and criticise) it without the majority making you feel bad for it.
I actually feel bad for Aidan Burley! (granted due to past scandals he wasn't the best person to have expressed what he did - although he was far from the only person to say the same thing).

[Edited at 2012-07-29 06:03 GMT]
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Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:31
English to Polish
+ ...
Time and place Jul 29, 2012

Suzan Hamer wrote:

I couldn't help but think while watching how many wells for clean drinking water could have been dug, hospitals and schools built, starving people fed for even half of the £27m that the opening ceremonies cost.


Suzan, there is time and place for everything.

On Friday it was time for a big party, celebrating the 'biggest show on earth', time for London to welcome the world, and to do it in the best possible way they could think of, using whatever talent, human resources, and yes, money, was available!

What would you have preferred? Invite heads of most world's heads of state and what....? Read them a few sad statistics about starving children in Africa...?

Time and place for everything.

As it happens Britain has (in my opinion) an unmatched record worldwide in providing aid to developing countries. Remember Live Aid? Or more recently Make Poverty History?
Sir Bob Geldof alone did more for digging wells than governments of quite a few countries I could think of.

Let's allow ourselves to celebrate in style when the time is right.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 05:31
Member (2009)
German to Serbian
+ ...
The ceremony Jul 29, 2012

The London ceremony has been nice, however I've seen better theater performances. I prefer the art in shows, not the sensation. Yet with a large audience like that one, you need to make a sensation, the art just won't work.

Btw, why does a high-profile sportsman have much higher earnings than a surgeon or a fireman? Hitting a ball is worth more than saving lives?





[Edited at 2012-07-29 08:41 GMT]


 

Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:31
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
An honest opinion Jul 29, 2012

Phil Hand wrote:

The hackles are raised when the naysayers try to justify their personal reactions with some kind of arcane moral reasoning. People are starving in Africa because of the Olympics? The failure to recognise the flag of Uzbekistan reflects some deep-seated colonial flaw in the British character? It's all a part of the society of spectacle? Pshaw.



Well, you did ask the question. It would be disingenuous if we were to provide a response that represented anything other what we actually thought.

This is not to say that I agree with all the points made by the other so-called "naysayers", but there was much in the opening ceremony with which I take issue. As Ty hinted in a previous post, we have actually been quite restrained in our response (in this forum at least).

Phil Hand wrote:

Ania wrote:
Victor Meldrew


Thanks, Ania, if you hadn't said it, I would have had to!


Maybe so, but I would be much more happier to be identified with Victor Meldrew than with that opening ceremony, which I personally felt did not portray my culture in a manner with which I am at all comfortable.

Indeed it may actually have been an improvement if Victor Meldrew had been included in the opening ceremony


[Edited at 2012-07-29 10:04 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
We didn't Jul 29, 2012

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

...the Czech Olympic Team wearing shiny blue wellingtons. What that was supposed to mean only the fashion designers know, but I found it perfectly embarrassing.

[Upraveno: 2012-07-28 10:43 GMT]


On the contrary, we saw it as a witty and amusing nod to the notoriously unreliable British weather.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hear hear Jul 29, 2012

Alison Sparks wrote:

I moved to France, if only to escape the very cynical, grumpy, miserable attitudes displayed in some of the comments on this forum.

Does any mature person seriously think that the money would actually have been spent elsewhere to the benefit of mankind?

Certainly most of the foreign media seem to have thoroughly enjoyed it and as a showcase for attracting future business I thought it worked well.

"Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative" so goes the song, referring to the key to happiness. Or as my uncle used to say "there's nowt wrong wi a bit o fun and giggles". Nuff said!



Yes, the poverty of spirit evident in some comments on the ceremony ( not only here) is literally - yes, literally - depressing.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:31
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Angus - please do tell Jul 29, 2012

“Well, you did ask the question.”

No, I asked for any interesting quotes from non-English language media. But that's OK, I'm interested in real people's reactions as well.

"I personally felt did not portray my culture in a manner with which I am at all comfortable. "

See, that's quite interesting. But you didn't say anything about that in your first post. I'd like to hear what bits of the ceremony you thought didn't represent us well. As opposed to just
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“Well, you did ask the question.”

No, I asked for any interesting quotes from non-English language media. But that's OK, I'm interested in real people's reactions as well.

"I personally felt did not portray my culture in a manner with which I am at all comfortable. "

See, that's quite interesting. But you didn't say anything about that in your first post. I'd like to hear what bits of the ceremony you thought didn't represent us well. As opposed to just grumping about the fact that people sometimes make mistakes during live TV.
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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:31
Hebrew to English
I'm not Angus, but..... Jul 29, 2012

I thought I'd say what I found irritating about it.......

First Act: "A Green and Pleasant Land"
This part was relatively innocuous. The Queen bit was actually quite funny, in a way. It's good to see she is open to new things, although I wish she had actually told her face that on the night - she looked like a dog chewing wasps.

Second Act: "Pandemonium / Dark Satanic Mills"
This is where it started to get iffy. The effects were g
... See more
I thought I'd say what I found irritating about it.......

First Act: "A Green and Pleasant Land"
This part was relatively innocuous. The Queen bit was actually quite funny, in a way. It's good to see she is open to new things, although I wish she had actually told her face that on the night - she looked like a dog chewing wasps.

Second Act: "Pandemonium / Dark Satanic Mills"
This is where it started to get iffy. The effects were great (you'd hope so for that price tag!) but it was just a really quick run-through of our more politically correct history i.e. no Spanish Armada or Empire but a great mock-up of The Windrush. I think it was the selectivism of the history which annoyed me. Also, the NHS homage went on for far too long. You have to wonder where they found the beds!

Third Act: "Frankie and Jean say Thanks Tim"
This was where I began to feel like someone had slipped something into my drink. As far as history goes, the telegraph got it right when they said:
I can’t help feel that the last third of Boyle’s act reflected all the failed ambition of postwar Britain. If it was an accurate portrayal of modern life, then it would seem that we’ve spent the last thirty years at an ecstasy rave."


and a young teenager later commented:

My main dislike was that, following a parade of Great Britons from Brunel to the Beatles, my generation were portrayed as a bunch of vapid, superficial idiots with lives revolving around glow sticks and iphones. Inspirational? Patronising and depressing more like.


And I have to say that the political correctness of the whole thing has come under close scrutiny and has been commented on by many. I share the belief that the PC-brigade clearly had free rein.

Now, I truly believe that multiculturalism was rightly presented in the show, but it was grossly over-represented and over-portrayed - it was just an exaggeration of the truth, even England isn't that multicultural....which was a problem with the whole shebang...sometimes less is more (Can you hear me Danny Boyle?)....a nod to multiculturalism would have been far more resonant (in my opinion) instead of sacrificing a goat on the altar of it.

I didn't see the end (it went on for far too long - almost 3 or 4 hours?) but from what I hear I didn't miss much - just Paul McCartney murdering a song or two.

[Edited at 2012-07-29 11:01 GMT]
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Kay Barbara
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:31
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
[...] a bunch of vapid, superficial idiots [...] Jul 29, 2012

I do feel for the author of the angry comment, but I guess that's just the way it is if you have to portray a country as a whole: you have to generalize. It was surely not meant to be understood like that but I can see where the author is coming from. Having said that, I think you would be inclined to agree that this particular generalization is not too far of the mark when you walk through a UK city centre on a Saturday night (say 9pm or later).

Ty, I fully agree with your critici
... See more
I do feel for the author of the angry comment, but I guess that's just the way it is if you have to portray a country as a whole: you have to generalize. It was surely not meant to be understood like that but I can see where the author is coming from. Having said that, I think you would be inclined to agree that this particular generalization is not too far of the mark when you walk through a UK city centre on a Saturday night (say 9pm or later).

Ty, I fully agree with your criticism of the selectivism of the history that was on show but I guess someone in charge did not want to rub a hundred nations' noses in the fact that the UK oppressed/plundered/etc. them over the course of the last couple of centuries - and even though I do not like it, I can't really blame them for arriving this decision. It was to be expected, wasn't it?

Also, McCartney really was terrible, but the medley played during the main performance (3rd act?) was nothing short of brilliant. A great hommage to great electronic/alternative/indie/rock music made in UK.

So overall I share the opinion of the positive Press I read about the spectacle.

Oh ,and thumbs up for the Czech wellies, thumbs down for the German outfits.


Ty Kendall wrote:

I thought I'd say what I found irritating about it.......

First Act: "A Green and Pleasant Land"
This part was relatively innocuous. The Queen bit was actually quite funny, in a way. It's good to see she is open to new things, although I wish she had actually told her face that on the night - she looked like a dog chewing wasps.

Second Act: "Pandemonium / Dark Satanic Mills"
This is where it started to get iffy. The effects were great (you'd hope so for that price tag!) but it was just a really quick run-through of our more politically correct history i.e. no Spanish Armada or Empire but a great mock-up of The Windrush. I think it was the selectivism of the history which annoyed me. Also, the NHS homage went on for far too long. You have to wonder where they found the beds!

Third Act: "Frankie and Jean say Thanks Tim"
This was where I began to feel like someone had slipped something into my drink. As far as history goes, the telegraph got it right when they said:
I can’t help feel that the last third of Boyle’s act reflected all the failed ambition of postwar Britain. If it was an accurate portrayal of modern life, then it would seem that we’ve spent the last thirty years at an ecstasy rave."


and a young teenager later commented:

My main dislike was that, following a parade of Great Britons from Brunel to the Beatles, my generation were portrayed as a bunch of vapid, superficial idiots with lives revolving around glow sticks and iphones. Inspirational? Patronising and depressing more like.


And I have to say that the political correctness of the whole thing has come under close scrutiny and has been commented on by many. I share the belief that the PC-brigade clearly had free rein.

Now, I truly believe that multiculturalism was rightly presented in the show, but it was grossly over-represented and over-portrayed - it was just an exaggeration of the truth, even England isn't that multicultural....which was a problem with the whole shebang...sometimes less is more (Can you hear me Danny Boyle?)....a nod to multiculturalism would have been far more resonant (in my opinion) instead of sacrificing a goat on the altar of it.

I didn't see the end (it went on for far too long - almost 3 or 4 hours?) but from what I hear I didn't miss much - just Paul McCartney murdering a song or two.

[Edited at 2012-07-29 11:01 GMT]
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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:31
Hebrew to English
Self-love by Danny Boyle Jul 29, 2012

Kay Barbara wrote:
I think you would be inclined to agree that this particular generalization is not too far of the mark when you walk through a UK city centre on a Saturday night (say 9pm or later).


Oh definitely, it's just not too flattering to those who find themselves included in the generalization. I'm sure they could have found a better way to represent modern times with something other than glow sticks, iphones and a bit of R'n'B and dance.

Ty, I fully agree with your criticism of the selectivism of the history that was on show but I guess someone in charge did not want to rub a hundred nations' noses in the fact that the UK oppressed/plundered/etc. them over the course of the last couple of centuries - and even though I do not like it, I can't really blame them for arriving this decision. It was to be expected, wasn't it?


Again I agree...I fully understand why they didn't have a re-enactment of Waterloo, but then I think it's a bit odd in these times (in a time of environmentalism and hyper-awareness of environmental issues) that you would revel in the Industrial Revolution (with almost the entire 2nd act dedicated to it)....something which undoubtedly was truly "revolutionary" but with which we are all struggling with the consequences of today. I'm sure it rubbed a few "treehuggers" noses in it (especially with the literal uprooting of the nice tree on the shire).

Aaaaalso, I forgot about this one.... the use of Danny Boyle's own back-catalogue was a bit self-serving to say the least.


 
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