August 20th, 2012A Sane English Voiceby Joseph Pearce

 

I've been travelling for the past several days (hence my absence from the Ink Desk) but have kept a watchful eye on the reaction to my post on the "slimey limeys" who were responsible for the recent Olympics closing ceremony. I'm not sure that any single post in the Ink Desk's commedable history of controversy has matched the number of comments that my post prompted and in some cases provoked.

 

I was particularly gratified to receive a note of support from StAR columnist, John Beaumont, who lives in the north of England. He sent me the comments about the opening ceremony that he had sent a friend. Without further ado, here is John's judgment:

 

I have an announcement to make. It would seem that I'm the only person in Britain who thought the Olympics opening ceremony was awful. Nevertheless it was awful. It's interesting though that although the media loved it, I see that many ordinary people on the blogs did have reservations. But I've not seen a direct attack on it.  It started very pleasantly with traditional songs from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All somewhat rural and green.

Then immediately we went to the Industrial Revolution and a whole series of Victorian entrepreneurs gloating whilst a horrific scene of factories and smoke developed. After that we had the Sixties represented in sweetness and light by people dressed up as the Beatles, plus a tableau of people coming to Britain from the ex-Empire. Then a dance scene implying that our National Health Service is one of the wonders of the world (when it's actually a disaster area). Then we had a rock band, the Arctic Monkees (are they a British icon, then?) playing a tuneless chaos. This was followed by an appalling out of tune Paul McCartney (referred to by one of the newspapers as "dame Paul McCartney")! The whole thing was a chorus of praise for left wing politics and political correctness - the latter was also mirrored by the choice of people for various tasks, such as carrying the Olympic flag (this included the dreadful Shami Chakrabati, founder of "Liberty" an organization which is about as close to true liberty as Joseph Stalin was). I should also mention the unfunny sketch featuring the actor who plays "Mr. Bean".

But the bit that beggared belief was the sketch involving the Queen and James Bond in which the former was made as if to appear to jump out of a helicopter above the stadium and parachute into the stadium. I had to rub my eyes at this point to make sure it was actually happening. Who on earth advised the Queen on this one wants sending to the Tower!

Of course the pyrotechnics were brilliant. But the full impression was that the British are a bunch of idiots. Maybe we are at last getting our just deserts for all those years of piracy!

But as a Catholic I wondered where British history had gone. What happened to the 1,500 years, anno domini, of the country known as the Dowry of Mary?  Not that I'm naïve enough to think that the powers that be would include any of that. And of course the whole thing was completely secular throughout.  Needless to say there was not a word about the Empire (not that I'm defending all it got up to).

There was one quotation from Shakespeare, but it was out of what the context should have been, but twisted so as to be capable of supporting the overall socialist theme. Chaucer, Milton, Dickens, Churchill, Nelson, Wellington? No chance.

Goodbye fair Albion.

 

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  • August 20 2012 | by Dena Hunt

    Dear John,
    Thank you for allowing Joseph to post your comments. It was the opening ceremony I saw--I didn't see the closing. (As a foreigner, I'm dumb, I guess--I didn't understand half of it.) From all accounts on the Ink Desk, the closing was far worse and I feel fortunate in having missed it.
    Not a veteran of viewing olympics ceremonies (just the olympic games themselves), I had to discount my reaction, not knowing whether such carryings-on were normal, but the whole thing struck me as incredibly bad taste. Is this what people go to the olympics for? To see the host country engage in an act of self-love that would make a Roman orgy participant blush? I emailed friends in Britain to ask what they thought ("Oh, it was just splendid--the only boring part was the march of the athletes.") Is that what the purpose of the olympics means? Is that what it is?
    I found it, in a word, disgusting. I felt embarrassed for my English friends, but apparently, there was no need. They seemed quite gratified by the whole thing, except, of course, from the "boring" olympic athletes.
    Quite apart from the "message" it conveyed, which apparently caused others so much chagrin, it was just the most spectacular display of bad taste I've ever seen. I mean that quite literally. Not since Hitler's celebration of Aryanism in those appalling parades of naked Aryan women, has there been such a disgusting display. Though, I guess, Stalin's parades, with those 100-foot self-portraits do come close.
  • August 21 2012 | by Harry

    What on earth is with this hysterical reaction? What was disgusting about it?
    Hey, news to everyone- I don't despise the NHS. I don't live in fear it points to a socialist future. I liked the bit with Mr Bean. I liked the bit with Bond and the Queen. I quite liked the soundtrack too.
    A "socialist" theme? That's paranoid American Republicanism talking, not common sense. Yeah, they praised the NHS- some people like it. I don't mind it. It doesn't mean I plan on subverting the government to create a Socialistic Utopia.
    "I found it, in a word, disgusting...as just the most spectacular display of bad taste I've ever seen. I mean that quite literally. Not since Hitler's celebration of Aryanism in those appalling parades of naked Aryan women, has there been such a disgusting display. Though, I guess, Stalin's parades, with those 100-foot self-portraits do come close."
    Words fail me. This was nearly as bad as Stalinist Russia? Why? Did I miss some kind of Roman style orgy in the middle of it? Was someone torn apart by lions? What?
    In a world where we have seen the Islamic fundamentalists call for violence in European streets, squalid gay pride festivals, the London riots last year, anti-semitic rallies in the middle-east and everything else in-between THIS is the worst thing you've ever seen?
    There are plenty of things to complain about in the Olympic ceremonies. "Imagine" was perhaps the most insulting thing, but there were other things too. The near-complete lack of religion, for example. But come on people! An extended "Ugh!" is not a good critique. Nor is hyperbolic comparisons to Hitler and Stalin. Nor is it a good idea to have someone else come on who agrees with everything the last guy said in order to provide another viewpoint.
    Is there anyone else who thinks these critiques are a little over the top?
  • August 21 2012 | by Dena Hunt

    Harry, I'm afraid you missed the point. I didn't compare the UK to "Stalinist Russia." It was the self-exaltation I found distasteful.

    Certainly the UK was a part of the audience, but this was the Olympics--the world was the audience, and it was the bad taste of public self-adoration, the assumption that the world should enjoy watching the UK love itself.

    As for the NHS, I didn't even know that was what the hospital beds and nurses were all about. In fact, not being English, I didn't understand a lot of things. I've never heard of Mr. Bean, and a great deal of all the icons--I guess you'd call them that--so precious to the English were unknown to me. As this was (wasn't it?) the Olympic games, I would have thought a celebration of athletic excellence more appropriate, or perhaps a ceremony on behalf of international fraternity or peace. This was unadulterated, pure British nationalism--for a captive audience who came to see the Olympics games. And yes, it can be compared to Stalin's 100-foot self portraits at the Soviet Union's military parades. But even the Russians didn't force such self-aggrandizement on the world as an audience.

    The complaints here, generally, have been expressions of disagreement with the way England sees itself, culturally and historically. They are largely from English readers who would have some right to such opinions. I'm not English. Nor, by the way, was the vast majority of the audience. THAT's the point.

    p.s. I'm not Republican either, by the way, and can't think why you'd choose that. My comment was completely apolitical. But you seem to think that criticism of the UK must be Republican--that's odd.
  • August 21 2012 | by Harry

    My above comment is far too angry, so I apologise for that. But I still think some people are overreacting.