Saturday, July 28, 2012

Britain acknowledges the pastoral, but mostly as past

Everyone's talking today about the eclectic opening ceremony for the London Olympics.  The New York Times coverage featured the headline, "A Five-Ring Opening Circus, Weirdly and Unabashedly British."  It offered this description of the hodgepodge:
The noisy, busy, witty, dizzying production somehow managed to feature a flock of sheep (plus a busy sheepdog), the Sex Pistols, Lord Voldemort, the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a suggestion that the Olympic rings were forged by British foundries during the Industrial revolution, the seminal Partridge Family Reference from "Four Weddings and a Funeral," a group of people dressed like members of Sgt. Pepper's band, some rustic hovels tended by rustic peasants, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and, in a paean to the National Health Service, a zany bunch of dancing nurses and bouncing sick children on huge hospital beds.
Here's an excerpt from a NY Times blog--prior to the opening ceremony--explaining organizer Danny Boyle's thinking about the inclusion of the sheep:
[Boyle] has promised it will include horses, chicken and sheep in a ceremonial nod to Britain's rural expanses.
So, London--and Britain--did not forget its rural other, but did it acknowledge them primarily in the past tense?

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