I hate to say “I told you so” (actually, I love it, but play along), but the director of the Beijing games’ opening and closing ceremonies touts the obedience of his countrymen in boosting his own work:
China’s most famous film director, Zhang Yimou, who directed both ceremonies, said only Chinese performers were skilled, disciplined and obedient enough to lay on the sort of song and dance display seen on Sunday night and admired around the world…
He also showed little concern for the few critical voices who found the mass organisation of thousands of performers reminiscent of the Soviet era.
“I often joke with (foreign interviewers) and say that our level of human performance is second in the world,” he said. “Number one is North Korea. Their performances are totally uniform, and uniformity in this way brings beauty. We Chinese can do it too. After hard training and strict discipline, Chinese achieve that as well.”
It takes a peculiar aesthetic taste to find thousands of people acting in perfect unison beautiful, and there’s no accounting for it. Either you do or you don’t, and I’m among those who would rather see individual talent than such displays. The Brit segment during the closing stressed individualism and was therefore much more enjoyable.
The Beijing Games were certainly well organized, with a minimum of cheating outside of boxing and women’s gymnastics, and flowed well except for problems caused by the climate in Beijing and Hong Kong. Of course it rains in London as well, but it won’t be so hot and muggy, and the equestrian events won’t be shortened. It’s kinda sad that baseball and softball won’t be played, but all the events outside the core track and field competitions should be regarded as optional fluff anyhow; the Greeks didn’t tumble and play ping-pong, because Britain didn’t invent ping-pong until the 19th century.