Imagination can be in short supply for a large metropolis when there are so many crushing problems to deal with daily. Having the Olympics come to town seems to give tacit permission to the locals to fantasize. What if a new park went up over there? How about a series of disturbing mascots? Maybe we could finally build paved roads around here.
(No, we’re friendly this time! Stop bloody shooting!)
Unfortunately, unbridled inspiration can lead to incredibly poor decisions. The 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies, complete with internationally televised childbirth, comes to mind.
Thankfully, though, common sense saved the day when London 2012 abandoned the notion this week of the Olympic Friend-ship, a boat intended to “… carry a cargo emblematic of the UK’s cultural riches…” around the world for four years. ‘Cause that went so well the first time around when it was called “British colonialism”.
Reasons for scrapping this linchpin of the London 2012 bid didn’t really come from common sense, of course; someone finally got around to costing out the project and realized the only way the ship could afford to head around the world with its cargo of “young people, artists, philosophers and students” was to pillage each new port city.
Any country that remembers the last time Great Britain offered to bring peace, love, and understanding to their shores via boat might well sink the damned thing, too. India would probably need to be a float-by, complete with polite and awkward waving from ship and shore.
This decision will hopefully allow more money to be spent on local dreams, like improved venues and an extended opening ceremony re-enacting Princess Di’s persecution and ascension through the use of Klieg lights, pyrotechnics, and long swaths of multi-colored sheets. Dare to dream!