In my new novel “Water Music,” the Summer Olympics in New York includes an opening ceremony as pretentious and ponderous as any of those sound and light shows that make up the actual opening ceremonies.
Let me ask you a question (or two or more): Why can’t the host country simply present its culture rather than hit us over the head with it? What did the opening ceremony for the Sochi Games really have to do with Russian culture? Why not an excerpt from “Swan Lake” or a clip from a film of “War and Peace”?
The irony of all these opening ceremonies is that they are supposed to celebrate the unique histories and cultures of the host countries, but they are actually interchangeable because they’re filled with faux PR symbolism. Enough with the cutesy mascots and whirling snowflakes and required releasing of a peace dove and that un-singable Olympic Anthem.
The only part of the opening ceremony that’s interesting is the Parade of Nations, because it’s the only part that’s true.