Am I the only one watching this and thinking of the Scouring of the Shire? I mean, you start with happy, dancing, working, English, Scottish, Irish peasantry… and then the tree lifts up at the order of the fat cats in top hats and all the dirty, tired, unhappy factory workers come pouring out and tear up all the fields of crops and green grass, accompanied by an increasingly loud and overpowering drum beat. Smoke stacks rise, everyone works the machines and pounds the drums, and they even poured “real sulfur smell” into the stadium.
And then the Beatles march in, wearing neon pseudo-military uniforms and save everything!
This is how Britain wanted to portray itself? Seriously?
(and did they miss the line in the unofficial national anthem by Blake about “and was Jerusalem builded here, among those dark, satanic mills”? I mean, they chose to sing it; doesn’t anybody read lyrics anymore? It isn’t about the glories of the Industrial Revolution.)
They chose to feature J.K. Rowling, James Bond, the Beatles, the National Health Service, Queen (not Elizabeth II), one tiny and relatively obscure reading from Shakespeare, and children’s literature.
But no J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, or, um, Christianity.
Except we’re playing “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” to chase out the evil things in the shadows as the kids are going to bed, but only as a light jig, not with words.
And the theme to “Chariots of Fire,” but as a humor piece (ok, it was very funny) with Mr. Bean, but no mention of Eric Liddel dying as a missionary in China.
All centered around an ersatz Glastonbury Tor, the long-acknowledged spiritual heart of England and home of the legendary Glastonbury Thorn… well, at least until Henry VIII declared himself the head of the church in England, hung the abbot of Glastonbury Abbey on the tor itself, and had most of the church complex torn down to build a 16th century McMansion for some newly declared lord who would support Henry’s usurpation of spiritual power and pretend it was ok. Well, upon consideration, I would say it’s an appropriate symbol of modern Britain, but not likely for the same reasons the opening ceremony’s designers chose it.
No pipe band, no Irish dancers, no real acknowledgement of the colonial era (they could’ve done something nice with immigrants from the different countries in the Empire and what they contributed to British culture), maybe even a reminder of how many British went emigrated and what they built and contributed where they settled would have been good.
The commentary in my living room is running towards the, “Oh, I hope Prof. Pearce has a good beer, and I wonder what he thinks of this mess his homeland came up with.”