Top 5 Olympic Opening Ceremony Moments
Top 5 Olympic Opening Ceremony Moments (That China Wants You To Forget)
The Olympics are heading to a close, which makes it a perfect time to reflect on how it all began. The opening ceremonies were – by all accounts – spectacular. It was that grandest spectacle that I, personally, have ever seen. But almost as soon as the opening ceremonies were over, journalists and bloggers started noticing the cracks in the perfect facade that the Chinese government had erected. So now we give you: The Top 5 Olympic Opening Ceremony Moments China Wants You To Forget:
5. The Blue Screen of Death
Amid all the LED, projectors and other electronic gizmos it was almost inevitable that something would go wrong, and something did: one of computers driving the giant LCD projectors aimed at the ceiling of the Birds’ Nest crapped out. Our best guess is that the computers used to run the opening ceremonies were all using a single Windows license key downloaded off a Chinese Web site.
Chinese blogger rivercoolcool took some pictures and posted them for the world to see and they spread like wildfire, although, typically, most people credited Gizmodo.
4. Firework Footprint Fraud
This is how paranoid the Chinese government was that absolutely everything look absolutely perfect: They faked the fireworks display. The Chinese invented fireworks for Christ’s sake. They’re the undisputed best in the world at manufactuing them. And yet they replaced them with CGI rendered effects for the television audience at home.
The Beijing regime had a willing partner in NBC. Rather than admitting that we were watching a prerendered movie, host Matt Lauer called the fireworks “almost animation” – which was true in the sense that it really was animation.
Popular Mechanics got the inside goods on the fireworks display with two of the men who helped design the real fireworks and were surprised to upstaged by something Pixar could have cooked up.
3. Well at Least They Were All Chinese (We Think)
One of the highlights of the ceremonies was when a group of children marched out carrying the Chinese flag.Â The media guide passed out by the government used this description: “Fifty-six children from 56 Chinese ethnic groups cluster around the Chinese national flag, representing the 56 ethnic groups.” The only problem with that description was that all of the children were from actually the majority Han Chinese ethnic group. The minorities got cut out of the deal.
The Beijing government has a rocky relationship with many of its ethnic minorities (see Tibet), and has traditionally been a little less than sensitive when dealing with them. For instance, at the National Communist Party Congress, Han delegates wear tailored suits while hand-picked minority delegates are told to dress in ethnic costumes.
I’m sure it helps you negotiate greater religious freedom for your region when you’re wearing a pointy hat festooned with feathers, sequins and bells. Reuters has more.
2. Move Over, Ugly
The ceremonies also featured a beautiful singing performance from 9-year-old Lin Miaoke – except it wasn’t Minoke singing. Chinese officials demanded that the mind-numbingly cute Minoke, whose photo can actually cause cavities, replace Yang Peiyi. the 7-year-old who can actually, y’know, sing. Miaoke lip synced to Peiyi’s voice.
As Jon Stewart noted, “Wow, you thought your middle school years were hard. Imagine if your government got together and decided you weren’t cute.”
Yahoo has the story, but the AP actually wrote it. There’s some irony for you right there…
1. It’s Just Like Summer Camp – Except You Can’t Leave
One of the most impressive feats of the opening ceremonies was a martial arts display by 2008 Tai Chi masters. Viewers at home marveled at their inhuman precision, and wondered how they got to be so good. The answer is simple, if you want inhuman precision, just treat the performers inhumanely.
The Tai Chi performers spent the last year sequestered at a military base practicing the routine. They were packed 50 to a room in decrepit facilities with few functioning showers, fewer functioning toilets and no heat or air. Mosquitoes were also a problem. Oh and by the way: they were forbidden to leave.
“The food is the worst thing. We’ve had the same two courses for dinner for a year. Sometimes there hasn’t been enough for everyone. Those who have arrived last haven’t got anything to eat,” says a pupil, adding that he “wants to throw up,” when the food is served.
At least at the end of the day they get the satisfaction of knowing that they served their country — which is good, because they didn’t get paid.
Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has the details. (Where the crap is the American media on this one, by the way?)