Saturday, July 28, 2012

According to his ability

Why did the Queen look so grumpy?

1.  She was tired.  I was tired long before the end, and I'm not 86.

2.  The man seated behind her (unremarked by the Chatty Cathys of NBC) was the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he's a real buzzkill.

3.  She realized she was the window dressing on a four-hour celebration of socialism.

I'll say it.  Danny Boyle put one over.  From the singing of "Jerusalem" (the old Labour Party anthem) to the horrors-and-all depiction of the Industrial Revolution to the group lighting of the Olympic Torch -- a group that included several hundred construction workers -- the show was far more workers-of-the-world-unite than anything we saw in Beijing.  The "people's republic" is not about the people, of course, it's about maintaining the power of an elite.  China has no labor unions or minimum wage, which is why Ralph Lauren has his clothes made there.  The Britain of Cameron and Blair (and Thatcher) would love to dispense with such inconveniences of the past, along with another institution lovingly celebrated last night, the National Health Service.  Danny Boyle didn't dedicate his show to Keir Hardie and Clement Attlee, but he might as well have.

Like a Hitchcock movie, the ceremony had plenty of "icebox talk," those moments Hitch liked to include without explanation so people would have something to puzzle over as they reached into the fridge for a snack.  Why exactly did Kenneth Branagh emerge from a coach dressed as -- Charles Darwin?  William Gladstone? and recite a passage from The Tempest?    What was the Rowan Atkinson business in aid of?  Why only the terrifying creatures of children's literature, no Squirrel Nutkin or Winnie the Pooh?  (For the record, Mary Poppins isn't all that cuddly in the books.)  I kind of got lost in that children-social networking-each-other interlude and headed out to the fridge myself.  Did I miss anything?

Well, on to the sports.  Remember, athletes, you have nothing to lose but your records.         



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