I’d like to thank filmmaker Danny Boyle, architect of this year’s opening ceremonies at the London summer games, for finding a way to encapsulate everything I despise about the modern Olympics:
Filmmaker Danny Boyle has unveiled details of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, which will see the Olympic Stadium transformed into an idealized version of the British countryside… Boyle, artistic director for the curtain raiser, said the opening scene of the *£27 million ($42 million) extravaganza* will be called "Green and Pleasant" and would create "a picture of ourselves as a nation." He said the three-hour show was *inspired by Shakespeare's "The Tempest,"* and would be about *a land recovering from its industrial legacy.*
The show will include 10,000 volunteers, including “nurses from Blighty's National Health Service… 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, 70 sheep and three sheep dogs”, who have already participated in 157 cast rehearsals and expect their little pretend farming scene to be seen by more than a billion people around the world.
Boyle has done us a favor. Could anything better represent the vacuous idiocy of the guilt-ridden peacenik agrarian delusions of the modern Olympics than creating a pricey set-piece of man vs. weeds, and then blasting this “Tempest-inspired” tale to the eyes of the developing world? “See, we’re not like the rest of these bloody Westerners,” it says; “we reject our industrialism and accept that moral demand to produce less carbon and live simpler – and we’ll prove it by blowing $42 million on a super-sized ‘let’s play farming’ playset.”
Guess what folks: conservation is a luxury good. Percent of England’s GDP which comes from agriculture: Two. Know what a nation which decides to reject the advancements of centuries of human endeavor to return to the halcyon days when we worshiped the gods of the crops can’t do? It can’t afford to spend millions of its children’s money so pepper-pot NHS nurses can chase geese around a taxpayer-bankrolled stadium.
When the Ancient Greeks opened their games, they did so with days of feasting and song, tales of exploits and the sounds of triumphal trumpets. It’s taken us thousands of years to figure out how to screw that up as royally as possible. Ah, progress.