I was watching the Olympic television special last night, a joint celebratory production between VANOC and Beijing Olympic organizers staged in Vancouver. As it happened , I was watching it with Chinese friends. Here were some of the groaners.
John Furlong, in his insipid style, said Vancouver and Beijing were kindred spirits because they are both ( ready for this) "emerging cities.' My guests were astonished.
Earth to Furlong. Beijing is not emerging. It is a dazzling city of 14 million people that has been around for 3000 years. Vancouver is neither dazzling nor a city. It is a town of 600,000 with a nice view that is emerging from being Canada's largest lumber town.
2. The Drum Competition.
Five precision Chinese drummers performed a synchronized session on ancient drums complete with acrobatic flourishes. One First Nation drummer banged a single drum with monotonous repetition.
Earth to First Nations. Before 2010, practice. A lot. Your drum show is rather bleak by comparison.
3. Dodging the Multicultural Bullet.
Mercifully, the Vancouver contingent did not not trot out the usual contingent of "multicultural performers" which usually consists of young people in unrecognizable costumes, running aimlessly around stage to the strains of a tuneless composition. We would have looked ridiculous because the Chinese show included several splendid acts by Chinese minorities.
Earth to Canadian Multicultural Braggarts. China has over 50 cultural minorities. They all have distinct identities. They are not hyphenated. They have not moved to China in the last 100 years or so. Don't try to play the multicultural card with the Chinese. They'll laugh.
4. The Entertainment Gap.
The Chinese brought in household name entertainers from the Mainland and Taiwan. Thousands of Chinese guests in the audience, as well as my guests, sang along with these familiar songs. Canada's entertainers were a couple of unknowns including a bimbo sporting a crotch level dress and trucker tattoos who felt obliged to tell the audience that the olympics were "about peace." Yeah dude.
Earth to Booking Folks:
Go for quality and dignity.