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Olympic opening ceremony achieved through appalling treatment of performers


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The NZ Herald has an AP wire service story in the World section which backgrounds the preparation for the Olympics opening ceremony, that much lauded extravaganza.

Indeed, Adam has seen a number of comments to the effect that the Brits in 20012 will not be able to ‘top’ the show put on by the Chinese.

The AP piece is absolutely chilling in the attitudes that it displays, as this extract demonstrates:-

In the segment showcasing the Chinese invention of movable type, the nearly 900 performers who crouched under 18kg boxes donned adult nappies to allow them to stay inside for at least six hours.

In one rain-drenched rehearsal, the participants were kept on their feet for 51 hours with little food and rest and no shelter from the night’s downpour. Despite the sacrifices, performers were grateful for the opportunity to participate in the historic event and viewed it as an honour.

Adam is sure people were really really pleased to suffer in filth and degradation so as to perform. Yeah right!

In fact Adam was reminded that this sort of treatment is often regarded by many as ‘torture’ and an abrogation of human rights – indeed when this treatment or similar is meted out to terrorist suspects is it not routinely decried by many?

Adam does not condone this treatment either for the Olympics or at places like ‘Gitmo’ or Abu Graib. In fact may be Gitmo would seem more pleasant to those suffering for their ‘art’.

He does note though the like of comment by so many as to the practices followed by China as regards these Olympics.

The Herald falls into the trap also by headlining this piece – Olympic performers suffered for their art.

What art? When one reads:-

Film-maker Zhang Yimou, the ceremony’s director, insisted that suffering and sacrifice were required to pull off the August 8 opening, which involved wrangling nearly 15,000 cast and crew. Only North Korea could have done it better, he said.

The mere fact that North Korea is seen as the exemplar says it all.

Another very revealing comment is when Zhou comments on his experiences in directing an opera in New York:-

Performers in the West by contrast need frequent breaks and cannot withstand criticism, Zhang said, citing his experience working on an opera performance abroad. Zhang directed an opera at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 2006.

“In one week, we could only work 4 1/2 days, we had to have coffee breaks twice a day, couldn’t go into overtime and just a little discomfort was not allowed because of human rights. You could not criticise them either. They all belong to … unions. We can work very hard, can withstand lots of bitterness. We can achieve in one week what they can achieve in one month.”

Note the disdain for human rights. Need one comment further?

One final thought, the opening ceremony featured large numbers doing much the same thing in uniformity.

Perhaps the Brits will choose to emphasise individuality, rather than choreographed puppets dancing to the strings of the puppet master.

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