T+12 – Opening Ceremonies

8:00 – Liveblogging ACTIVATE. Set phasers to MAXIMUM SNARK!

Boy, Jiang Zemin looks old.

Sweet-ass fireworks at the beginning.

Flying apsaras escorting an Olympic logo. Well, that’s tacky, but if that’s the worst of it then –

Hey, time for the singing minority children gathered around the Chinese flag. For fuck’s sake.

And now it’s time for the friendly soldiers to take the flag from them. Boy, is this ever a Zhang Yimou production or what.

8:14 – Paper unrolling to serve as a stage. Yes, you guys invented paper. Very nice. I guess the next time the US hosts the Olympics we’ll decorate our opening ceremonies with everything invented in the last century.

8:16 – OK, the ‘ink dancers’ (as CCTV is calling them) are pretty cool They’re writhing over the paper stage – looks ilke they’re doing breakdance grinds – while painting some kind of composite picture. Whatever it is is not currently visible.

8:19 – It’s a crappy doodle of a mountain range and a squiggly sun.

8:20 – “Chinese characters are one of the most ancient writing systems in the world.” “3000 Confucian disciples” chanting Confucius’ Greatest Hits: 三人行必有我师 (“Of three people walking, there must be one I can learn from”); 知者不言, 言者不知 (“He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know”) (which is actually 老子 Lao-Tzu, not Confucius); 学而不思则罔,思而不学则殆 (“Learning without thought is wasted; thought without learning is dangerous”.)

8:22 - They’re pretending to be printing blocks, having just jumped from the Warring States to the Song dynasty.

8:23 – And now a seal script 和 (the first part of 和平 peace and 和谐 harmony).

8:23 – Except that’s not the usual form of 和 in seal script, if I recall correctly.

8:25 – And now the modern form. Showcasing the ancient belief of the Chinese race in harmony, sez CCTV drone.

8:27 – Time for Peking Opera. Because if there’s anything with international appeal, it’s drums, gongs, and caterwauling transvestites.

8:28 – I’d like to take advantage of this long stretch of boringness to note that the CCTV 5 announcers suck. The standard constant autofellatio: “Hey, look! Peking Opera! Foreigners never invented that!” “Did we mention we invented paper?”

8:30 – Silk Road time. Floozies in sequined hoochie gear with long silk streamers. Yes plz.

8:35 – Friend 1: “What is this, a caterpillar?”

8:35 – Li: “I have had more than enough of this now.”

8:37 – The bit with the Kunqu opera is pretty cool. And the painting in this section is way better.

8:37 – IM from my dad in the States:

Dad: NBC screwed us–I hung around to watch it and they have some twit reporters burbling in Kindergarten English about ancient Chinese culture and what you shouldn’t wear etiquette wise
» Green hat
Me: Oh for fuck’s sake.
» Yeah, that’s like you should never ever include the number 13 in anything in America.
» Or buy a black cat.
Dad: And don’t give a clock as a business gift
Me:Do they have the one about how you never split a pear?
Dad: etc
Me: It’s amazing – there’s a whole cottage industry in reporting this stuff as valuable business advice.

8:42 – CCTV Announcer: “The program we just saw described the ancient splendor of China. Now we’ll start to learn more about the splendor of today’s China.” Yeeeees? The next batch of dancers will represent cheap, nonunion labor?

8:43 – Lang Lang and a midget. Or possibly a child.

8:46 – Horrible rainbow dancers gone; now there’s a pretty cool dance that looks like a galaxy from above. This is awesome, except that given that all of them are swirling inwards and converging on a central point, they could just as easily be representing the death of a star system at the hands of a black hole.

8:46 – Oh – they turn into a dove. It’s flapping its wings. This is pretty cool.

8:48 And now it’s turned into a replica of the Bird’s Nest. (“A green Bird’s Nest for the green Olympics!” and “a harmonious vista,” as the CCTV announcer is enthusing. Now there’s a girl with a kite flying over the whole thing on wires. This is blowing my mind.

8:50: Kung fu! Maybe this time, unlike with Hero and House of Flying Daggers, Zhang Yimou won’t fuck it up!

8:51 Actually this is pretty cool. The girl’s doing taiji in the middle of a bunch of screens with organic patterns being broadcast — water, bamboo, fire. Now there’s a massive projected waterfall all around the edges of the stadium. Very cool.

8:54 – A bunch of children wearing backpacks painting on that piece of paper while a bunch of people do athletic kung-fu practice moves around them.

8:56 – Anyone think these performances are going to do anything to assuage ‘yellow hordes’-type fears in the west?

8:57 – Birds “representing our green family” fly up, projected, onto the screen around the rim. Children rejoice. They sure like those birds.

8:59 – Section: ‘Dreams.’ Massive projection of the cosmos on the ground, astronauts in fake zero-g flying over it. Funny, because I have this dream too. Usually involving meeting hot alien chicks and teaching them how to love.

9:01 -  And now the Earth emerges from the ground, with people circling it at all levels and in all orientations, so that it looks like they’re really walking on its surface. This is pretty cool wirework.

9:02 – Liu Huan and Sarah Brightman. Can’t tell if she’s supposed to be singing in Chinese or not. Kill me now plz thx.

9:03 – I heard her sing “you and me,” so she’s either singing English or Mandopop.

9:04 – People open umbrellas with different faces printed on them. CCTV announcer: “No matter your country, no matter your language, a smile is the best form of expression.” More fireworks.

9:06 – More fireworks. Song is over and it’s time to light this bitch up. Putin is in the audience, applauding and looking lifeless. I wonder if that’s what happens when they remove your soul.

9:07 – CCTV announcer: “And now the 56 minorities will sing and dance to welcome the Olympics.” Dancers in traditional dress with streamers.

9:09 – Time for the athletes. Weird ting about all of the stadium announcements: they’re in French, then English, then Chinese. Greece comes first as the inventors of the Olympics (Zhang Yimou couldn’t work in a dance for that one); after that they athletes will come in order of the number of strokes in their names.

9:11 – Jiang Zemin is smiling. MUST WASH EYEBALLS. Is it me or does he look like a slimmed-down Jabba the Hutt?

9:11 – @davesgonechina: Hey look, the Uyghur performers are doing the traditional grenade making dance.

9:12 – @kaiserkuo: Long camera hold on Xi Jinping confirms his anointment as next president? Good! I like that dude.

9:22 – OK, lots of athletes. This is boring as hell and will go on for a couple hours. Expected something when Japan and ‘Chinese Taibei’ came out, but nothing other than a loud cheer for the Taiwanese athletes. I’m done – time to go out and find a place to watch the fireworks that are scheduled for 11;30.

9:45 – Dashan! I told Chinese friends he’d be there and they didn’t believe me. Ha ha ha! Like Chinese people know anything else about Canada besides that it’s cold and easy to emigrate there if your’e a corrupt official.

68 thoughts on “T+12 – Opening Ceremonies

  1. 我只想说贴主还不如一陀狗屡,你他妈的最好早点滚出中国去,别什么时候横在这了!看不懂的话,让你的婊子娘给你翻译一下!fuck you sister again?

  2. Foreigners like you really suck!!! You enjoy the respects and worships from Chinese people, which give you kinda of fake ‘elite’ feeling in China. In the same time, you just keep your eyes on those may interest you and just dumping those trashy words on us! Of course, you guys never want China to show it positive sides. And of course Chinese people never change – how stupid are we still repect you after so many humiliations? Enough is enough. Probably, we wouldn’t treat you with hospitality as Confuscian said but prejudice as you just did to us.

  3. 我只想说,自己没文化,没审美就不要出来丢人了,好吧?真以为学了几天中文就懂中国文化了啊,中国不欢迎你这样的故作姿态的文化垃圾!

  4. 有的国人很奇怪,必须所有人都一个思想吗?只能听好话,不能听不好的吗
    脆弱的民族自尊心啊!!
    接受不了一点不同的思想!禁固了太久!拜托大家不要用程序化的思想来要求每个人好不好

  5. f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you f-uck you

  6. 楼上的都别气了,孙子兵法里都说了: 知己知彼,百战百胜嘛. 人家学了中文并不是因为喜欢中国.我要向你表示敬意,因为你古文居然比作为一个中国人的我还要好.

    另外,我觉得这场开幕式已经是我这一生中看过的最精彩的表演了,但被您,扁低的一文不值,请问你是否能举出一个在您心目中认为是优秀的表演呢? 让目光短浅的我开拓一下眼界?

  7. Appriciate your attention to the worldwide even 2008 Beijing, China is a big country that welcomes different vioces from different people and whats more important, China is devloping in a speed that everybody is jealous of and get awared of.

    Did the United Stated withdraw its army from Irag when the Union Nation stepped out and Said “No”?
    No, the same, China knows what it is doing and nobody can hold it back.

  8. Interesting comment.

    People are disappointed with the opening ceremony, but now we can’t comment on anything negative with the opening ceremony online, so everything online is positive, everyone is satisfied.

    This really make me sick.

    ——————————————————
    go to tianya.cn–杂谈section, u may find yourself satisfied there, i am pretty sure.

    ps:对于张艺谋开幕式的评价,brendan和中国文化精英们的论调基本一致,没有什么好反驳或者叫好的。另外,我觉得很多中国人在看完brendan的中文博客后来这里看英文的,有种幻灭的感觉。我倒是觉得okay,我也真的认为brendan是热爱中国文化的,否则也不会一直在中国待着,而且还猫在中国的政治中心。但有一点肯定,他并不热爱中国政府,你我不也经常对政府骂骂咧咧吗?都是人,没什么不同。安啦!!!!

  9. I think the main thing everybody needs to consider is that there is a fundamental difference in understandings of humor. In the US, we are very relaxed about making fun of otherwise serious topics. Whether it’s the president, specific groups of people, Olympic ceremonies, or whatever, we like to crack jokes. The jokes are funny because we know that they aren’t meant to be taken for face value. China is a much more serious (I really wish I new a better word) culture. Just look at the expressions of the Chinese leaders (as Brendan alludes to) compared with the Mayor of London. The point is not to say that one way is better than the other, but any piece of journalism needs to be taken in context. Brendan’s piece (which for the record I find to be 真TMD搞笑) was not meant to offend Chinese people, but instead was a way to draw humor to an otherwise non-humorous event. For those of you who still think he was attempting to offend Chinese people, I suggest you download a copy of a Comedy Central broadcast of a US President’s State of the Union address. We make fun of ourselves, and our leaders, just as much (probably much more) than we do those of China.

  10. i moved to the US at the age of 10 and i suppose that i do know a thing or two about american “humor”. you can make fun, criticize, or crack jokes about the opening ceremony all you want but calling peking opera singers “caterwauling transvestites” is offensive and mean spirited.

  11. 一个白种人对另一个国家指手画脚总有黄祸论的嫌疑——尽管你们可以随便开自己总统的玩笑,但这不能作为诟病他国的挡箭牌。至于国内的精英虽然在批评的口径上与你们西方人相似,但出发点总是希望国家强大,至少我无法相信有一个外国人会为了激励中国强大故意说些恨铁不成钢的反话。

  12. 开幕式当天,我在打游戏没怎么看,因为不喜欢凑热闹. 感觉你很恨中国,但别让恨蒙蔽你的双眼.

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