As I get older, more and more things make me ballistic. Sometimes I think in a few years I’ll be ripe to step up and take Andy Rooney’s spot as the lovable and funny curmudgeon.
One thing that just gets all over me is Americans reveling in ignorance. And our media encouraging and enabling it. The only way I was able to enjoy the London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony was to mostly tune out the commentators as best I could. And finally jump off Twitter to tune out all the people complaining about it.
We all know NBC now sucks as a network. This really isn’t news to those of us who watch TV. Its glory days are past. Anyone who watches The Today Show also must realize that Matt Lauer’s glory days doing morning TV are probably past, too. He is as jaded as Harry Smith became doing The Early Show. The morning show type schtick just isn’t right for the Olympics in my opinion. The talking down to the viewers and jokes about their own ignorance fell flat. They offended me first for assuming that the viewing audience was dumb. Then I was offended that as Americans too often we think it’s okay to be ignorant about anything that is not American. Even worse are those who don’t want to or even try to learn about anything beyond their narrow world view.
Sure, there were references I didn’t get. Part of the fun was trying to catch the ones I did. But that’s what I always loved about the Olympics–learning something new about another country. Seeing something that is different from what I’m familiar with. I loved the music segment that covered several decades. It made me remember my teenage self who became fascinated with the “New Wave” music of the 80s and the British and Australian culture attached to it.
Don’t even get me started on the commercial breaks that made us miss big chunks of the show. And the fact that we have Internet means we know exactly what we missed. The Spotify playlist gave me the rundown of all the music I didn’t hear.
Even Bob Costas, who I usually like during Olympics coverage, was off. Really? Did you have to bring up Idi Amin? Thankfully you didn’t refer to Jim Jones as the Guyanese delegation got their two seconds of screen time.
As a James Bond fan, I think it really would have been cool to acknowledge that there has been at least one actor from each of the countries that comprise the UK to play 007 — Sean Connery, Scotland; Timothy Dalton, Wales; Pierce Brosnan, Ireland; and Daniel Craig, England.
Yes, there have been more spectacular Opening Ceremonies. The entire concept did seem to be a bit like something thought of after someone dropped acid and woke up from a dream. But that was okay with me. I don’t expect to have the same sensibility as every producer who designs a show for the Olympics. At least it was better than the coverage and presentation of it on NBC.
I probably could post tons of links to the post media coverage and twitter commentary, but I’ll just add this one. It summed up some of the worst of the worst. NBC’s opening ceremony mess: the top six cringeworthy moments.