Sadly no, only a Zizekian cliché regarding the opening ceremony being a celebration of British multiculturalism as probably being the most graphic example of constitutive exclusion of the universal in which what it means to be British is to experience ones identity to be contingent. “This is for everyone” – except for those who posit some kind of atavistic fundamental identity.
Here’s what’s interesting to me. TBH, I’ve always wanted to attend an Olympics. Have been a big fan since Sarajevo in 1984. And here I am…. and there’s absolutely nothing to do. Leave tickets aside: I didn’t apply in time, even though even if I had the chance are I would have gotten none. But I guess I would have thought that you’d at least be able to wander through the Olympic Village, or Complex, or whatever it is. But nope: you need a ticket for that too. Wandered down to the only thing left: something called BT (British Telecom) Open Zone in Hyde Park today. Which was a dystopian assemblage of 4 big TV screens, one stage where sub-crap bands play, and about 150 ersatz “burger” serving trailers. I left after about eleven minutes and a serious frisk on the way in. So…. despite having a lot of interest in this sort of thing, and despite living about a 12 minute walk the geographical center of London, the total extent of my Olympic experience will be a) watching it on TV, as if from anywhere in the world b) seeing members of the “Olympic Family” in the pub across the street and c) potentially at least incapacitating travel delays and the like. Disappointing, to say the least.
The other things to say, in terms of the “stimulus” that Olympics are supposed to provide a city. I live four blocks from Oxford Street, which is the Fifth Avenue (erm, Michigan Avenue?) of London. I.e. the major shopping street. The pubs and restaurants around my place are nearly as full as they’d be on a weekend during which a major sporting event of domestic interest (but not hosted domestically) are held (i.e. the Euro Soccer finals a few weeks ago). Oxford Street itself seems to oscillate between utterly empty compared to what it would be on a nice summer’s day and mildly full. And yesterday, I went to a big exhibit at the British Museum. I went hesitantly: “Won’t it be packed with tourists?” Of course, it was almost entirely empty, despite being a Big Summer Exhibit that had just opened, one that in normal times you’d want to wait till the end to go see.
I have tried several times to watch the NBC Olympics feed, and I have found the trappings (ridiculous retrospectives/montages and nonstop advertisements) associated with the broadcast to be an insurmountable obstacle to watching for more than about 5 minutes.
The criticisms of Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira have been rather unfair: it’s as though people expected Matt and Meredith to be something other than what they are; namely, ignorant and asinine. It’s like asking Keith Morrison not to be creepy or Tina Fay to be funny. Just can’t be done. That’s all I got. Oh. And a forty-million dollar inflatable Voldemort doll? Too bad austerity resulted in a paired-down opening ceremonies!
I saw five minutes of Ryan Seacrest speaking and realized that apart from the music at the closing ceremony I am largely uninterested in the media coverage. If there is some good wrestling, though, I might tune in, but chances are they won’t broadcast wrestling anyway.