Reflections on the Olympic Closing Ceremony


Photo credit: Rob Baxter
Photo credit: Rob Baxter

This commentary also appears at Earthpages.org

Well it’s come and gone. The 2010 Winter Olympics are history.

Once again I felt compelled to watch the closing ceremony, not because I like seeing massive amounts of money spent on superficialities, but because I was curious to see how my country chose to spend them.†

Granted, the whole thing is open to debate. I get that. I mean, some say we need “spectacles” to keep life interesting, even though people are freezing to death on the streets and aboriginal teens are killing themselves because of the grim desperation that poverty can bring.

Others say that spending money on the Olympics stimulates local economies. In addition, many corporations involved in their overall production benefit. I get that too.

But what I don’t get is why the artistic director of the closing ceremony dished out every idiotic stereotype about Canada known to mankind. To spend significant sums of money on massive images of bears, log cabins, and Mounties in red ceremonial uniform seems misguided.

That’s not Canada at all. That’s just a silly cliché that, so it seemed, the opening ceremony hoped to eradicate.

Contradiction?

You bet.

Waste of money?

Well, let’s just say that I don’t agree with Marshall McLuhan’s dictum that “The medium is the message.”

I believe that part of the message is content. And in my opinion, the content of the closing ceremony was a bit of a joke. And not a good one, as intended.

Having said that, it wasn’t all bad. Neil Young and Michael J. Fox were highlights. And William Shatner was… well, William Shatner. That is, overblown but delightfully so.

How ironic, however, that these stars made their fortunes south of the border and basically left Canada to live in the USA.

Bottom line?

Even these greats came off a bit thin because, as I say, the medium isn’t the only message. Content also matters. And despite their best efforts, these three stars sent out a message that Canada is a nice place to visit but, by gosh, we wouldn’t want to live there any more.

–MC

† Opinion – Olympic opening speaks volumes

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