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Staeside with Rosalea: C'mon Honey, Light My Fire

Staeside with Rosalea

C'mon Honey, Light My Fire

Wow! What other word can be used to describe the opening of the Olympic Games in Athens? Is it just me, or was the final part of the ceremony very sort of clitoral-vulvic, if not downright G-spot? From the slim shape of the cauldron apparatus to the curves of the stadium roof, it was a very feminine looking explosion of excitement.

For me, it happened to be one of those bedspring moments, you know, when the coil you are on as you ascend through your life's timespring gets momentarily squashed down to the place you were at x years ago. I watched the opening of the Sydney Olympics in 2000 with three co-workers in my new life here in the States, and was so annoyed at the coverage I wrote something and sent it to the Scoop editor. From there sprang Stateside with Rosalea.

Not only that, but this year's opening coincided with the fifth anniversary of my presenting my diversity visa at the US border, and is thus the date my eligibility to become a US citizen starts. Better brush up on my political knowledge - earlier on Friday I'd been asked what the name of the vice president of the United States is, and I could not for the life of me remember his first name. And as for who was Bush Snr's vice president...? Oh, well. at least I could remember which word it was he couldn't spell.

Speaking of memorable words that I can't attribute -- and getting back to the Olympics -- I loved the description I heard in the NBC commentary of Greece as "a busy intersection in a dangerous neighbourhood." It's that position, close to the Arab and Asian world that enabled Greece to be to the benighted West of ancient times, what Silicon Valley was to the benighted Midwest during the 80s and 90s here in the US.

Well, okay, perhaps that's overblowing Silicon Valley, but the point I'm trying to make is that we don't attribute "Western Civilization" to the Greeks because the Greeks were innately any more "civilized" or "intelligent" than anyone else in the world, but because they were willing to open their borders and minds to accept other ideas and then build on them. Oh? They were continually invaded and occupied, and that helped? Change of subject.

The music was wonderful, (go, John Psathas and Bjork!) but those NBC commentators would keep twittering through it. Worse than that, they made fun of each other's pronunciation of people's names, which is downright unprofessional. Just say it right and make no comment, Katy! And why did the commentary have to be part of the Republican presidential campaign? All those comments about Saudi Arabia sending no women, and which countries are allies in the war on terror were totally unnecessary.

As for the staging of the ceremony itself, I just loved it. Having the camera fixed so that the television set was turned into a frieze or a scroll was perfect. And the visual effect of having Eros flying over it anchored the image, so you didn't just think it was the camera moving while the participants stood still. Cube man; globe woman. It was all of a piece, and I'm sorry that James Watson wasn't alive to see his co-discovery (DNA's double helix) used in such a great venue in the service of a great goal - world peace.

The olive tree under which the dignitaries stood is a symbol not just of the one Athena caused to grow at the Acropolis but of peace, and I'm sure that was in the minds of the ceremony organizers. But was that an olive branch on a flag that was run into the stadium, or the negative of the NZ team uniform? Ghastly uniform, and if NZ ever adopts a similar design for its flag there's no way I'm gonna fly it. As one person said on a web forum, what the heck are kids going to colour in at social studies if the flag is black and white? Give me Hundertwasser's koru flag, any day.

Anyways, back to the Olympics, which I keep straying from simply because the sports themselves and the cultural events that go with them raise much larger questions about the world than the politics of domination or terror ever will. Questions that people have in their hearts, about how it is possible that we are so much the same genetically, but so different individually. So why should we be forever remembering and recreating the bad things in the world?

Thanks for a great show. Peace and love, my Greek sisters and brothers!


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