Okay, I’m about to disagree with a whole lotta folks who thought the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics was awesome. I did threaten to do a whole “Who Wore It Best?” post ala The Golden Globes, et al, for the country’s uniforms, but I really didn’t have that kinda time and besides, no one wins. I think we’re safe from OlympicWear ever becoming a trend.
But that wasn’t my problem with the whole thing. My problem is misuse: of money, of talent, of effort.
How much do you think they’re spending on the most expensive Olympics in history? The general consensus is $30 BILLION.
Yes, that’s right: thirty billion dollars. $30,000,000,000.
Hey, I’m all for the Olympics, don’t get me wrong. It’s a very cool, global coming together of talent and spectacle and competition. It’s what sports is supposed to be: games where the best ones win; honest to goodness athletes playing/skating/skiing their hearts out to get the gold; fair, equal, beautiful. The games are not my problem. The Opening Ceremony is.
Did you watch? It sure was a big, long production number, wasn’t it? Sometimes–often–I didn’t really know what I was watching, but NBC tried to follow along as the Russians showed us that they’re not so bad as we might have thought all these years. They are Dreamers, apparently, and want us to know that, too. They sure had pretty music, thanks to Tchaikovsky, and wonderful dancers, thanks to the Bolshoi. There’s a lot that could be said about the whole thing taking place in Russia, but I’m not going there; I have no right to judge.
I do, however, have the right to question the financials. This is what I was thinking the whole time:
What would a visitor from another planet think of all this? Say there’s this guy, let’s call him Fred, who’s just touched down on Earth for the first time. He’s from a similar planet in another galaxy so he’s familiar with the problems a planet can have, but he’s been invited to watch the Opening Ceremonies.
Fred: So, I guess you guys are doing really well, huh?
Putin: Yep, the show’s going отлично. We’re very proud.
Fred: I bet! I mean, you’ve obviously been able to solve all your other problems. Amazing!
Putin: What do you mean by problems? This is the Olympics.
Fred: Yes, I get that. I’m from an intellectually advanced place, ya know. What I mean is, this is an awfully BIG SHEW as we say where I’m from, hehe. Musta cost you a pretty пенни, huh?
Putin: Well, we wanted to put on the best OC ever, so we had to also be the most expensive. That’s how it works here on Earth buddy, for your information.
Fred: No, no, I get that, I do. Seriously, we’re really, really smart on planet умный планета. What I mean is, I’m sure your planet wouldn’t waste money like this on a show if you still had problems like we have. I mean, for all our smarts, we still have people who are starving, diseases we can’t cure, disabled citizens we just don’t seem to re-able. But you’ve obviously fixed everything! I’m very impressed.
Fred: What? Have you not fixed it all? You wouldn’t dare throw such a big party here while children are still starving, would you?
Fred: Hey, c’mon Vlad…be honest with me here. All these incredible minds working to make stars that turn into rings…all this money…all this effort, for Король Смарт Планета’s sake…are you telling me that you did all this even though there is still so much suffering in your world?
Putin: Well…I mean, I’m not responsible for fixing everything. And people love the Olympics. We have to give them a good show, don’t we?
Putin: What? You think I should go fix the whole world first?
Putin: I don’t think you understand how it works around here.
Fred: I don’t think you understand what you could have done with that money. Did you put it to a vote?
Putin: Иисус Христос! Are you crazy or something?
Fred: I don’t think so, but I’m having a hard time understanding what counts as crazy here. I’m just saying, if you asked the people of Earth where they’d like to spend this kind of money–on the Opening Ceremony, or on feeding the world–don’t you think they’d all vote for a simpler ceremony? You could clothe all the little kids from every country who didn’t have, say, shoes and parade them around in their new OlympicWear boots and parkas. Give them hot chocolate and let them meet the athletes. I bet your viewers would like that even better.
Putin: You know Fred, I don’t think you do understand. We need to have fun, you know, not just think about our problems. Russia has just put on the most expensive show ever. Don’t you think we have the right to be proud?
Putin: See, no words for that.
Fred: Actually, I have many–
Putin: Sorry Fred, I have to go. The Russians are coming!! This is the BEST SHOW EVER!