Saturday, August 9, 2008

China Opens Beautiful Olympics, A Pageant of Arts

At precisely 8 minutes after 8 pm on 08.08.08, China enchanted me yet again along with the rest of the world with a display of ancient artistry supported by techogeek magic performed in precision by 11,000 performers. With 5,000 years of recorded history, the Chinese put its best forward in perfect alignment showcasing itself in the fireworks fairy dust of immortal art, World Heritage sites and culture. It was just that good.

In no way does that mitigate the glossed over Great March, Great Leap Forward, supplanting indigenous peoples, the blind eyes in Burma, Darfur, Tibet or Taiwan. China demonstrated a collective complexity of imaginative people bound by an authoritarian government drawn from their colonized and conquering past. The yin and yang, the Tao de Ching of life is nuance with the dark living alongside the light is in each and every nation territory or kingdom, but nowhere more beautifully expressed than in the most powerfully elegant 29th Olympiad opening ceremony in modern times.

Ancient drums anciently thumped out a fantastic countdown light show in the midst of heat and humidity for an operatic performance. Zhang Yimou did a master's work from the footprints that tracked to Bejing National Stadium to the finest detail bead work on the hair and costumes. Glorious.

Greece had millenniums to work with too, using back lighting and other superb wonders in the amber lit shadows of the Parthenon, but nowhere on this scale.
In black costumes, they danced as they drew the calligraphy forms that rose to float over the scroll.

Many an executive, general and president - except America's current embarrassment, has as part of their public library a Chinese classic by Sun Tzu, The Art of War. Universally heralded alongside philosophers, Tzu made it a study of human nature in leader and follower. China embodies the full range of human nature.This was their chance to put their own imprimatur on the world's consciousness alongside that which is deeply troubling and bereft of humanity.

No nation can sit in judgment of China without an examination of their own duality in fairness. America imported slaves and currently tortures, for centuries England thought it had a divine right to pillage and plunder, African nations embrace corruption, some deny AIDS, Mexico leaves indigenous people in squalor, Japan and Nanking, Pearl Harbor to Saudi Arabia moralizing while rewarding royals and not their people or embracing women as equals, Israel bombed civilians in Lebanon while strafing the USS Liberty, Australia and its treatment of the Aborigines, United Arab Emirates, Dubai's importation of Southeast Asians and paying them a pittance - no one has the moral high ground 24/7. China's opening ceremony set it all aside and welcomed everybody. No matter the protests that ensue, this will be one beautiful Olympic memory from the heart of China.
The movable type with the Chinese Characters above and below was a moment of whimsy married to a true Chinese invented form of printing. (Photo Left: Getty)
The elements of water, fire, wind and earth plus energy or chi were prominent features. My Mom loves Tai Chi and watching over 2000 Tai Chi Masters do the moves as one was stunning. Their placement in perfect circles of harmony emblematic of the Olympic rings brought symbolism to new heights. Below the bamboo scrolls amidst a see of cinematic detail gave rise to majestic pagentry and cultural show of the Tang Dynasty.

Then the world and paper laterns appeared with people traversing the paper globe.

China's naval history

People bedecked in velcro lights made a human replica of the architectural wonder, the Birds Nest or Beijing national Stadium.
As a day of good luck, China had a mass wedding with over 300,000 couples getting hitched in a pre-opening ceremoney Olympic sized even all over the nation. This is an mage fest of Chinese proportions.
The Lighting of the Torch by former gymnast Li Ning a finale of an Olympic Opening Day!

Update: In case you missed it click here for the Opening Ceremony video

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