Monday, July 30, 2012

'Imagine there's no countries'

Like most of us, I am a fan of the Olympic Games, where stories of world class athletic competition are allowed to play out against a backdrop of guileless patriotic enthusiasm.

This year, after the "Isles of Wonder" opening hodge-podge from Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (whatevs and whoevs), I settled in to watch with enthusiasm the real show, that is, the parade of athletes and the lighting of the torch. Who needs anything more? But we got it when Sir Paul led a feel-the-love "Hey Jude" sing-along. Very cool.

Of course our old axis of evil buds, the North Koreans, marched in early alphabetically because, as it was explained, the official name of their ghetto gulag starts with the words Democratic Republic. That's the old cold war trick of naming your dictatorship a democracy. Just gimme a break. Personally, I say put them at the back of the line and give 'em brooms to sweep up those billions of pieces of confetti it was someone's brilliant idea to blizzard on the stadium. Well, maybe making them sweep up is a little harsh. I dont want to make those North Korean athletes scapegoats for the totalitarian Kim family regime. Still, I would have felt better about them if they had marched instead into a Western embassy and demanded political asylum.
Don't forget, The Beatles released "Hey Jude" with "Revolution" on the B side.

NBC commentators also noted a small group of so-called independent athletes, that is, jock-ters without borders, or in other words, athletes without a country. Although it is not without precedent it was a new one on me. What happens if one of them wins gold, I wondered? Do they get to pick their "anthem" like an MLBer coming to the plate? Would an independent winner perhaps choose a certain song by McCartney's erstwhile bandmate John Lennon "...Imagine there's no countries / It isn't hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for..." Alas, there is a default anthem already in place for such a situation, the Olympic anthem.
Still, maybe Paul will be back at Olympic Stadium with Yoko to sing "Imagine" at the closing ceremonies. "...You may say I'm a dreamer..."

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