The 2010 Winter Olympic opening ceremonies have had mixed reviews since Friday night’s big event. I, for one, wasn’t too impressed with the 30-40 minutes after the snowboarder intro but it certainly picked up as time went on. The typical aboriginal theme was a bit much and the large poles that rose from the floor of BC Place looked more like adult sex toys than anything else, especially their silhouettes during some of the proceedings. Didn’t anyone on the opening ceremonies committee think they looked like giant, battery-operated vibrators?
I’m tired of every Canadian event being shrouded in our alleged native heritage as this just perpetuates the global stereotype that Canadians wear animal skins and spend most of our day hopping on one foot and warbling monotone, unintelligible songs. That’s not this modern country we call Canada and doesn’t reflect our national and collective culture but the lives and beliefs of a very small minority of Canadians. Where were the joggers, the latte sippers, the snowmobilers, the OTHER Canadians during the opening sequence? Isn’t it enough that we have that goofy Inukshuk figure to represent these 2010 games? Do we constantly pander to the native peoples of this country as atonement for the sins of past Canadian politicians? Probably, and it makes the replacement politicians look warm, fuzzy, caring and empathetic to the plight of our native people too. Plight? Give me tax free status, a free education, free land and all the other goodies enjoyed by our native brethren and I’ll shut the hell up. And to say nothing about the four Host First Nations chiefs showing up 40 minutes late for the opening ceremonies. They only had seven years to arrange a ride into town so I suppose they have a good excuse. But enough of that.
The opening ceremonies were typically Canadian in that they were big, but not too big, grand but not too grand and just enough to make us politely say our collective ooooo’s and aaaaaaah’s. Most liked it, others did not. Toronto Star arts critic Richard Ouzounian gave the ceremony a mostly negative review, blasting the proceedings as “an unimaginatively conceived and loosely executed spectacle that promised much and delivered little.” I don’t agree with Mr. Ouzounian and think he’s a twit. He was obviously switching back and forth between the ceremonies and a Food Network cooking show and got the two confused.
Canadian poetry fat guy Shane Koyczan reads his poem, forcing us to mutter ‘Who the hell is this poetry fat guy?” under our breaths. The celebrity singers were good although it would have been nice if Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams could have made it less apparent they were lip-syncing their song (yeah, yeah, I know. The Olympic guys forced you to lip-sync but you’re frigging PROFESSIONALS fer chrissake!). KD Lang was by far the best vocalist with her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah but I only wish she’d worn a dress. For those viewers not familiar with KD’s music and persona, I imagine that “Wow!…that guy sure has a pretty voice.” was being uttered in a few households around the globe.
The BC Place torch-lighting snafu was a bit cringe-worthy but was overshadowed by Gretzky’s trip to the waterfront to light the real torch. A nice touch and a moment to make Canadians proud, aboriginal or otherwise.
Overall I give it all a big thumbs up and can continue to hold my head high as a proud Canadian, polite to a fault and not too rambunctious. And isn’t that the way we like it here in Canada?