Either the Olympics closing ceremony was a ceremony or it wasn't. What I'm saying, of course, is that it wasn't. In which case it shouldn't have been advertised as one. What it was, was an outrageous waste of time and money, which its organisers were finally reduced to calling "a big party". So we gave these people - these idiots - several million pounds to organise a fitting ceremony for an important and many would say very wonderful gathering of the world's finest athletes and they blew the money on a trashy "party". Who's going to take responsibility for that?
The dictionary defines a ceremony as
1. A formal occasion, typically one celebrating a particular event.
2. An act, or series of acts, performed according to a particular form.
3. The formal activities conducted on some solemn or important public or state occasion.
So what actually took place? Clearly the producers of this horrible event thought they should say something about London and about British society. Fair enough. And what did they do? They built small-scale and rather pathetic versions of well-known London landmarks and set them up in the stadium - the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, the 'Gherkin', etc. A totally unimaginative, unneccessary, lazy and clunking way of saying "This is London". It reminded me of the hilarious incident in the film This Is Spinal Tap! when the majesty of Stonehenge was represented on stage by a ludicrously small model of three stone blocks forming a Stonehenge-type arch. There was nothing the heavy-metal band could do about it once it had been lowered on to the stage - they played on regardless, no matter how ridiculous the whole thing looked.
So what else happened in the Olympic stadium?
London traffic, which needs no depiction at all since it's something we put up with rather than celebrate, was represented by newspaper-covered cars, vans and lorries trundling around the arena. Round and round they drove, to no purpose whatsoever.
Somebody sang a song on the back of a lorry.
A band played on the back of a lorry.
Another band played on the back of a lorry.
A Robin Reliant car blew up and out staggered two people dressed as Batman and Robin. Apparently this was supposed to bring back hilarious memories of an episode in an ancient 'comedy' series about South London lowlife losers which most of us never ever watched anyway on account of it being very silly and completely unwatchable. Since the car blowing up was meaningless to most Brits watching, it would have been completely baffling to the rest of the world.
The top of Big Ben then opened up and an actor appeared declaiming a few lines of Shakespeare, which could barely be heard. Presumably this was the formal and solemn part of the ceremony.
Am I making too much of this fiasco - or does it actually matter what occured last Sunday?
I think it matters. Here's part of a letter that was sent to a newspaper in the USA this week:
Olympic Games closing ceremonies embarrassing
Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 5:58 am
The closing ceremonies of the Games in London were an embarrassment to Western Civilization and showed how morally bankrupt the British have become.
In Beijing, China’s message in their closing ceremony was clearly the virtues of statism. They proudly showcased the merging of corporatism and communism. Flying, identically dressed humans creating a Tower of Babel represented the “cog in a machine” values of their culture and was done so artfully that most people never recognized the symbolism.
The British showed they have no philosophy, no values except rock and roll, big-breasted chicks, rap stars riding in Rolls Royces, and no real clue that their expression of morally bankrupt worship of materialism is repugnant and why the rest of the world thinks Western colonialism needs to be overthrown, violently. Most Olympic hosts make some effort to show their cultural values in a positive light.
The British seemed completely unaware that their cavalcade of campy, garish and pompous frivolity made Beijing’s Kafkaesque showcasing of Big Brother look moral by comparison.
Very bad message. The games were great, they did a good job. But if that closing spectacle did not offend you and make you afraid for Western Civilization, you aren’t thinking clearly. Obviously the Brits weren’t.
[See also Oxzen's comment on the website.]
Since it was Lord Seb Coe who claimed the credit for the good parts of the Olympics then presumably he's the man who appointed the men who were responsible for the closing ceremony. More on this anon.