Home > Current Affairs, Sports, Television > Don’t look behind the curtain.

Don’t look behind the curtain.

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The olympics are well underway and have proven to be pretty exciting. I have loved seeing Michael Phelps and following along on his journey to become the most decorated olympic athlete in history. I have been on the edge of my seat while watching the men's and women's gymnastics. All in all, it has been pretty entertaining.

The opening ceremonies were just incredible. However, I found myself thinking about the people involved the whole time. I guess I don't really know what it is like to live under communism. What I know about it is largely anecdotal. But as I was marveling at the precision of the drummers and the sheer size of the production in general, I couldn't help to think about how long it took to get it as perfect as it was. It was really remarkable. How long did these people practice? I heard somewhere that they practiced hours and hours for days and days. Do they have jobs? Did companies sacrifice productivity for the sake of the state? How much do these people get paid? One of the segments said that the vast majority of Chinese people get by on $2/day. Did I hear that right? The ruling class is VERY wealthy. Everyone else just survives. If that is so, do these people realize that? Even the Chinese athletes are taken from their families at very young ages to train. They rarely see their families. Are all of these sacrifices made voluntarily? I guess everything is done for the good of the state. I don't get it.

So, even as I was impressed by the expansive scope and technology of the opening ceremonies I had a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. It might have been the lunch that I had eaten earlier but I suspect it was the realization that China, a country often vilified for it's disregard for civil rights, had spent billions of dollars so that people like me would sit in amazement at their spectacular job. We will probably never know how much this Olympics cost them or how much debt they are left with.

Later, I heard on the news that the sweet little girl in the red dress was not singing but lip-syncing. Also, the fireworks on television were not the same fireworks that were experienced live. They had been enhanced with computer-generated graphics for the television viewers. I understand, I suppose, China's desire to look good to the world. But this is a perfect example of what communist regimes try to do. Let's make it look perfect and maybe they won't notice what is behind the curtain. It makes me wonder how much of the ceremony really was computer controlled. That would explain the precision. Whatever you do, ignore that man behind the curtain.

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