Thanks to the magic of TiVo, I've just watched the entire, fantastically long opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. I have mixed thoughts which I will now present in a totally disordered fashion.
First off, that was pretty much the most amazing thing I've ever seen on television, ever. No, really. Not even exaggerating. From the drummers to the beginning to the dancers painting with their bodies to the aged gymnast walking on air, amazing.
Secondly, Yao Ming is the tallest man in the universe. And did no one else notice the little boy who was walking with him was carrying an upside-down Chinese flag?
More seriously, as amazing as those images were, you know, this. Or this. It's difficult to appreciate the show the Chinese government has put on for the world when you think about the things they've done behind the scenes. Also, any paegent-based retelling of Chinese history that skips from dynastic China to 1978 is missing a significant chunk of the story. Don't think we didn't notice.
But then again, what can you really say about the Chinese government that you can't say about the American government right now? Any difference is a matter of degree, not kind. Torture, spying on citizens, environmental destruction, failure to prevent genocide, and oppression of workers for monetary gain are plagues on both our houses.
But it's hard, after seeing the suffering brought on by the earthquakes in May, it's hard not to understand and be happy for China's moment of national pride.
I don't know. I'm confused, emotionally. Anyone else have more coherent thoughts?
*added** It's also pretty clear that the BBC is cooler than any corresponding television outlet in the US. Just in case you were wonderng.