Saturday, February 13, 2010

A thoughtful analysis of the 2010 Olympic opening ceremonies

I have one of those lefty, urban, ivory tower liberal arts undergraduate degrees they love to hate on Fox News. That means I can't open a newspaper or turn on the TV without analyzing how what I'm reading or watching reinforces or resists the gendered, racialized and class-based structures of power that underpin society.

Trust me, it's a curse. Sometimes I just want to watch Dr. Phil in peace.

I watched the Olympics opening ceremonies last night. And let me tell you, Canadian studies, women's studies and sociology departments across the country are about to have a field day. This is how VANOC decided the Canadian identity should be explained to the world:

A long, long time ago in the frozen and virginal wasteland called Canada, the Aboriginal Peoples who lived there put wolf pelts on their heads and danced around. Their dancing awakened the four great totem poles from their flaccid slumber beneath the snow and they shuddered to erect, majestic attention.

Immigrant communities joined the Aboriginal Peoples and danced with them in musket- and smallpox-free harmony. Some skinny women tottered onto the ice in six inch stilettos and, praise be the Olympic magic, sang songs without falling down.

More skinny women, clad in white Sexy Santa costumes, led the world's Olympic athletes onto the ice to join the dance. Then there were some crazy special effects where whales looked like they were jumping out of the ice and the dancers flew around on wires like Peter Pan and everybody was like, whoa.

Then some people fiddled and tap danced really fast. I left around this point, but I hear Wayne Gretzky lit the cauldron and not a hologram of Terry Fox, which is disappointing.

So I think VANOC's talking points about Canada here are the following:
- Everyone here gets along with each other and respects the environment
- We worship at the feet of our rulers, the Great White Penises of the North
- Canadian women are hot

Field. Day.