Ah, the Olympic Opening Ceremony! Such pageantry! Such spectacle! Such coyotes on ice skates!
Yes, a sizable portion of Friday night’s extravaganza was devoted to the heritage of the Old West, and 5,000 performers enacted it. It is rare to see so many dancing cowboys outside of a Village People concert.
I don’t blame them for dancing, though, as it was very cold in Salt Lake City that night. I happen to know it was in the 20s, because Bob Costas said so. Three times. One of those times was during the very stirring moment when the tattered American flag from the World Trade Center was being carried in. If you were lucky enough to be one of the millionaires who could afford tickets to the event itself, then you probably noted how reverent the crowd became. If you were watching on TV, as I was, then you heard a lot of respectful silence, and then Bob Costas interrupting it to say, “The temperature here is in the 20s.” Apparently, that was the most profound thing he could think to say during such a time. I would like to see him during a funeral procession. (“I had pudding for lunch. Back to you, Katie.”)
I also enjoyed the moment when, as we saw soldiers standing up with the words “Kandahar, Afghanistan” across the bottom of the screen, Bob Costas said, “They’re standing in Kandahar, Afghanistan.” Also: During the Parade of Nations, when Katie Couric observed that even though “Lord of the Rings” was filmed in New Zealand, “there are no Hobbits marching tonight.” Thanks, Katie.
There were oodles of ice skaters in the proceedings, telling the story of a little boy who skated around the world looking for someone to light his fire within (if you know what I mean). At one point, he was chased by giant skating icicles who were dressed like Klansmen, probably unintentionally. The Klancicles frightened the boy away; as Bob Costas noted, “It’s never good when you’re being pursued by giant icicles who are up to no good.” That is especially true when the icicles look like white supremacists.
Later, there were Indians. Not the ones from India; that country, despite having 1.1 billion people, only managed to send one athlete, which makes me wonder WHERE THE HECK THEIR PRIORITIES ARE!!!!
No, these were the American Indians, with each of Utah’s five tribes represented. I guess we did kill a lot of them and steal their land, so it’s only fair we let them play flutes at the Olympics. I say we call it even.
It was indeed an extravagant extravaganza, and a spectacular spectacle — a fitting beginning to what will surely be 17 days of thrilling Olympic hoedowning action. The temperature of my fire within is hot.
I taped the Opening Ceremony and watched it Saturday afternoon, then immediately wrote this column for Sunday. One friend had already pointed out the KKK-looking icicles, though I strongly suspect I'd have noticed it on my own. And thanks to my pal Joel for the term "Klancicles."