Saturday, July 28, 2012

What is real?

I don't have a tv, hence I have not yet seen the opening ceremony for the Olympics. I suspect it will turn up on the internet at some point. Maybe the highlights are included in the Flipboard app - I haven't looked yet.

With no direct experience of the ceremony, I had to laugh this morning as I read my friends' comments on Facebook. Every comment revealed much about the commenter, not so much about the ceremony. The critical thinkers of course noticed what was missing, or how the show could have been improved. The snarky folks made fun of the entertainers, the concept or the queen. The sweethearts loved the queen leaping from a helicopter, the corgis, James Bond, David Bowie. The people involved in magic were fascinated by the cauldron.

This is the way we receive our news these days, through many filters. Were the opening ceremonies great or terrible or quirky or disappointing? It depends on who you ask, of course. In order to avoid confusion or bolster our personal sense of what is real (I guess) we gravitate towards points of view with which we already agree rather than trying to see things from a different angle. Who could take it all in? It's exhausting to try understanding extraordinarily different perspectives, at least it is for me.

In the wake of the massacre in Aurora, news channels that support gun control have called for serious conversations about it, while those who love their guns are saying this is not the time for a serious conversation. Which argument is valid? What is real? You tell me!

Though I haven't seen it, I have an opinion about the opening of the Olympics. I read a description of it in the Washington Post. How extraordinary - the medieval village moving through time to the industrial age. That is so cool.

I love Eng's land. It's such a small country, but when you're there, it feels huge. The idea of driving from London to Cornwall seems ridiculous - it's so far away! Yet to drive that distance in the U.S. is nothing. Britain feels monumental underfoot.

Likewise when I'm in England, I feel suddenly that I'm important. My guess is that this alchemy is not that unusual. The Brits I know have a sense about them of genuine superiority. It doesn't feel like arrogance to me at all, not that there aren't arrogant Brits. Of course there are. British humor embraces self deprecation - maybe that's how they balance the feeling of being the best of the best. Having sprung from Eng's land bestows them with something powerful and lofty that they temper with humor. I think that's why we Americans are so crazy for the English. We look up to them still.

Hilarious that I have opinions about the opening ceremonies, also that I have the nerve to go on about British character. My British friends would not approve of that. Equally ridiculous is any time I think I know enough about a big issue to take a stand. Like the blind men around the elephant, I'm just guessing!



Steve Reed said...

We're all just guessing!

I liked the opening ceremonies a lot -- especially the initial transformation of England from rural countryside to industrial power. The NHS bit was a little weird.

SG said...

Queen from helicopter was the highlight of the ceremony I'd say. Somehow, everyone was hell bent on comparing it to Beijing in 2008. That was unfair, as one of the commentators pointed out - Beijing as a city wanted to make a point, and had had spent billions for that. London doesn't need to make a point, because well... it is London!