Is there anything happening in the world apart from the Olympics…?
Some countries did not understand the opening ceremony – but I did. There was no cultural divide for me – maybe because I grew up in the British Commonwealth, I like history and I studied English literature.
This was an opening ceremony that was not based on pure flash – but some substance – and maybe we’re becoming a world of flash and bang that can no longer appreciate the subtleties of substance?! We’d actually have to think and reach back into history! What history? We know when Princess Diana died – is that not enough history for us?!
And isn’t it refreshing — to take a break from the divisive negativism of politics and watch the queen parachute from an airplane? (I know it was not her, OK.)
Did you see that? When I saw Daniel Craig striding into Buckingham Palace I asked my son, rhetorically of course: “Isn’t that Buckingham Palace?” (How would HE know what Buckingham Palace looks like inside? It’s not as though he hangs out there…with his buddies Will and Bea.) Still, on one level, my brain is telling me of course it’s prearranged!
Yet, with a place as inaccessible as Buckingham Palace (yes, I know they have tours) I was shocked to see Craig striding so casually, so arrogantly James Bond into the palace…then I saw the two dogs and I’m like – “Oh yes, those are definitely the Queen’s Corgis (not that I’d recognize a Corgi even if it came up and bit me on the you know…er, leg).
So Mr. Bond finally meets Her Majesty after years in her loyal service! With that piece of acting I finally hand it to him – you ARE James Bond, Mr. Craig. When he glanced out of the helicopter, we are checking with him as he scans the area for spies and bad guys, (can you hold while I go look at that clip again?) Ooooh, Craig. So ruggedly handsome, those chiseled features. Sigh…
Isn’t England be-yoo-ti-ful from the air?
By golly, I spent almost a year in London (I have family there) and I just looove London. Seeing it from the air, the landmarks, the Thames – wonderful. And the British countryside – (just all of Europe, really, except wild areas like the Alps) – look so cultivated, so polite, fields so neatly trimmed, everything so stiff upper lip, so under control not even the trees dare misbehave!
I think The Olympic Games are probably the best TOURISM exposure any country can get. It’s like a showcase for the world with the host country at its best.
I knew my old colonial master would not disappoint in terms of pageantry. That’s the city where every day there’s pageantry to change some guards, for heaven’s sake! Yea, yea…Britain exploited its colonies…and those beautiful buildings were built with our manpower and wealth, but many of us still cling to fond memories of singing, proudly: “God save the Queen” with it’s line “long to reign over us…” and other patriotic songs like: “Rule, Britannia! Rule the waves: Britons never will be slaves”. See the irony? Slaves and descendants of slaves singing that Britain, their colonial master: never, never, never will be slaves — like us, the singers!
Anyway, Britain has a soft spot in my heart, most of the time – until I dwell on Republicans (but that’s for after the Olympics!).
For now, in my Olympic stupor, I loooved the parts of the Opening Ceremony featuring the transition from the Agrarian society to the Industrial Revolution. I love reading about the early centuries, long before any of the modern conveniences we now take for granted were invented…back when castle floors were covered with rushes.
When the Normans conquered England in 1066 (Battle of Hastings) they solidified their customs like the Feudal System which William the Conqueror used to govern England. Did you know that William built the Tower of London – used French builders ’cause he did not trust the British?
Under the Feudal System (9-15th centuries) there were:
- Lords – noblemen who held land
- Vasssals – promised homage and fealty (including military service, Knights) to their Lords who allowed those Vasssals to work the land
- Fiefs – the land. Became hereditary (to the eldest son) in the 11th and 12th centuries.
From the feudal system through the Middle Ages to the European Renaissance (14-17 centuries) to the Industrial Revolution (1750-1850) it is fascinating to read about the evolution of British society, from women being considered chattel with absolutely NO rights to the election of a British female Prime Minister.
Before women could inherit property, marriage was the retirement plan. Thus Elizabeth Bennet’s mother in Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) had to ensure her daughters married and married well enough to take care of her and other family members, especially daughters, after the death of the husband/father. The life of kids, especially poor kids, was dismal as we see in Charles Dickens portrayal of child labor (from personal experience) in Victorian England….
Most romance readers are familiar with the Regency era (between the Georgian and Victorian reigns) under Britain’s Prince Regent (later George IV), which romance writers love so much. About this time, the Upper Ten Thousand, the glamorous cream of British Aristocracy and affluence, the “Ton” started factoring LOVE as a prerequisite for marriage.
Until then, marriage among Britain’s upper classes and the privileged was essentially a business arrangement between families and consenting and sometimes not so-consenting parties! (The seedier sides of British society: extreme poverty of the lower classes, child labor, prostitution, etc were unacknowledged…yet the poor had more freedom to marry for love!)
I looked at the opening ceremony and saw shades of the England of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.
The melting ore reminded me of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien and when those Olympic Rings were “forged” I thought: London is the Lord of the Rings…!
I shall be watching the games. I love Gymnastics (mostly the women) including Rhythmic, Track & Field, Swimming/Diving. Guess I will have to watch Dressage to see if the Romney’s horse wins! The one he claimed 77-thousand-dollars for as a tax deduction, I guess!
And weren’t those Chinese smart – waving two flags – the Chinese flag and the British flag. Nice Public Relations coup, China…
And thanks NBC – your footage is spectacular!!! What’s with that Comcast marriage – I’m NOT getting XFINITY – to heck with that!!!