Note: I wrote this the day after the most recent winter olympics opened. I never posted it out of a desire to not offend my Canadian friends... so, here it is. Please to enjoy.
Many of my closest internet pals are from Canada... and I fear that many of them won't be my pals when they finish reading this.
In our house, the opening of the Olympic Games, winter or summer, is always a big deal. We have special food; we gather together and try to remain cheerful in anticipation of the great examples of sportsmanship, friendship, and international good will. We believe in the spirit of Olympism.
In our house the opening of the Olympics is big fun, even though we are sometimes disappointed in the spectacle of the opening activities. The opening of the Vancouver games, last night, was one such disappointment.
It has always seemed to me that Olympic host nations take the opportunity of the worldwide attention brought to them by the games, to tell the billions of people who watch from around the world: "Look at our country and people, this is who we are", I didn't see that last night. What I saw last night, looked like a country that already struggles with an identity crisis, talking to itself and telling it's own citizens, "hey, this is who we are."
Before you start swearing at me in English, and really mangled, disused French, and begin hurling Nanaimo bars at your computers, hear me out. I know many Canadians, and count them as friends. When I was in the service, I served alongside Canadian soldiers more than once. I was even a member of the Royal Canadian Legion... and the Canadians that I know, for the most part, had nothing to do with anything that I saw on television last night.
I realize that larger countries in the industrial democracies spend a lot of time and money talking about diversity, and I know that this is, generally, a good thing for the people, but last night was pure fantasy.
Great. The First Nations people... I get it, they were here (in all of North America) first, I get it. I also get the really weird, psychedelic tribute to Newfoundland, with their fabulous traditions of music and dance (Big ups to Natalie MacMaster and Ashley MacIsaac). I also get... no, wait, I didn't get ANYTHING out of "Flying Prairie Jesus" ... you know who I am talking about, don't you? I’m talking about the weird prairie version of Peter Pan that you had going on. Totally lost me on that one.
I'll tell you thought, in the main, I thought the diversity thing was handled fairly well... until we got to slam poetry. Slam poetry. O Lord, my God, thou art my God in whom I trust. Can I trust you not to assault my eyes and ears with that dope ever again?
It appeared to me, and I am sure pretty much a large proportion of the sentient Americans who watched the opening of the games, that the "poet" spent more time taking a stab at the United States than he did extolling the virtues of Canada. I'll let that go for now, pausing only to say that I don't think that anyone in the United States cares whether you say "zee" or "zed"... and since most of the English speaking world says zed right along with you that can only have been meant for us. Well, go fuck yourself, fat boy.
As for the rest of the opening, it was a crashing fucking bore. I hope you enjoyed your exposure on the world stage... because the day after the Olympics closed, the rest of the world went right back to lumping you in with us folks down here in the rude 50 states.