Tag Archives: national stereotype

Olympic opening ceremony – commentary

Olympic opening ceremony

The wisdom of crowds

Jul 27th 2012, 18:13 by R.B. – The Economist Magazine

OLYMPIC opening ceremonies are a strange beast. Because nearly everything else that happens at the games is guided by what the International Olympic Committee commands, the nation host often sees the opening show as its great chance to present itself to the world. London and Britain certainly did that over nearly four hours on July 27th. But what message was the country trying to get across?

Those of us lucky enough to go to the ceremony itself were treated to a 50-minute prologue, followed by a further 40-minute “warm-up” of the crowd, starting at 20:12 (get the gimmick?). So I had a lot of time to ponder the initial scene, a tableau of so many stereotypes of Britain: pretty green fields and a water mill, sure, but also maypoles, neatly trimmed hedgerows, thatched cottages and fences. At one point a (real) herd of sheep ran onto the (fake) fields; bunches of happy rural folk did somersaults, played football on the village green and performed jumping jacks (a well-known medieval game? I’m not sure) in their rural idyll.  Continue reading

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