Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fear of the Olympics

Everyone is coiling up for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C.

What amazing feat of the imagination will top the Chinese?  I say, nothing, nothing can compare.  Thank God. 

When the ads for Vancouver come on, I relive Beijing.  And I don't think I'm alone when I say, reliving that opening event stirs up bad memories.  The Opening Ceremonies from the Beijing Games---scary!  Here's how it goes:  First Beijing, then Star Trek, and then the Borg and their monotone.  "You will be assimilated.  Resistance is futile."

Yep, watching the dazzling precision of the 2008 Opening Ceremonies put the fear of God in me.  Well, no, I guess it didn't really. 

I was afraid in the moment, but it didn't last.  I am American afterall.

They were too cool though, weren't they?  I LOVED the scale of it!  The grandeur.  The geometric M.C. Escher beauty created by human beings in motion.  The discipline!

But that's where the fear came in.  I can only hope it's irrational.  Think of it:  One BILLION Chinese.  One point three Billion.  Running in concentric circles baffling the eye, never missing a step.  Wearing thousands and thousands of lighted body suits, suspended on wires, defying gravity and rewriting physics.  Presenting an alternate view of reality. 

I couldn't take it in.  It took me in.  I was assimilated.  Or I would be, could be.  Very scary.

We just don't have that, do we?  Discipline on a vast scale?  Like most Americans, I don't even have it on my own tiny personal scale.  Which is likely why the scale that weighs me isn't so tiny any more!  We're mostly fat now in America.  We take comfort in the numbers of obese.  We're making our children fat.  Oh, excuse me, not fat!  Overweight, heavy, proportionally challenged.  Let's not hurt anyone's feelings!

Somehow I don't think they're pulling punches along the Yangtse.  Get off your Chinese cheeks and smile!  But I digress.

Are these new Opening Ceremonies Canadian?  I guess they are, but somehow it seems like we, Americans, are on the line.  Ours will be different, defiantly so.  Ours will be loud, sexy, shamelessly in-your-face extravagant.  We don't have thousands of years of history to depict, so we will swagger about our short, dramatic, undeniable rise and lasting influence.  Bruce Springsteen, for sure!  Born in the USA!  Born in the USA!

We are lasting aren't we?  We won't be assimilated will we?  We will go on.  Unique.  Independent.  Yes.  Because we're good.  Good deserves to go on.