Friday, August 15, 2008

Frustration of Olympic Proportions

This break from "Becoming a New Yorker" and "live" coverage of the Olympic games (never mind that I would otherwise miss the best events broadcast live anyway because of my need for sleep or to earn money to pay my outrageous Manhattan rent) sponsored by ...
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Dear Under-Informed Opinion Former,

I am a little tired of the slander aimed at China regarding the "faked fireworks" in the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Many in the United States - viewing the ceremonies 12 hours later on NBC - heard telecasters, Bob Costas, Matt Lauer, and Joshua Cooper Ramo say: "You are looking at a cinematic device employed by Zhang Yimou here. This is actually, almost animation. A footstep a second, 29 in all, to signify the 29 Olympiads ... you said earlier that aspects of this opening ceremony are almost like cinema in real time. This is quite literally cinematic."

For those of you who did not get it, let me break it down for you in layman's terms: The 29 footsteps of history from the old center of Beijing to the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium did actually occur as a part of the opening ceremony. In case you do not realize it, those were probably the easiest of their extremely intricate firework production to set off. However, because of safety concerns in operating a helicopter in close proximity to exploding displays and artistic concerns regarding visibility from above due to smog, this aerial portion of the televised program was filmed in advance and the fireworks that would be set off during the ceremony were digitally incorporated into the clip as they would actually appear.

Someone's home footage of the 29 footsteps shot from the ground is submitted below for your review.

The fact that you didn't get what the NBC telecasters were saying isn't what agitates me. Nor is the fact that you read a few comments on YouTube and assumed you had a full grasp of the issue. So why does this bother me so much? Because it poses the same question regarding the generally shallow concerns of a great majority of the world. Why is China's digitized aerial footage of the 29 footsteps getting more international attention and causing a larger Web uproar than their occupation of Tibet? What China did is not too different from when UK men's magazine GQ digitally altered Kate Winslet's legs on their cover to make them look slimmer. Look out, London.

Back to you, Olympic athletes.

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