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Archive for August 13th, 2012

“…the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet.” 

“The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry.”–Aristotle

The Olympic closing ceremony began with a fleet of vehicles covered in newsprint and it was all  quotes and citations and by-lines by Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Chaucer, etc….. the greats of English literature.

At the same time, like a Superbowl half-time on steroids,  they trotted out all those aging rockers touting them as English ‘greats’ in music:  George Michael, Queen, The Who, etc.   FWIW: Some of them I like.  But here’s the rub:  the greats of English literature were reduced to disposable newsprint, saying to me, they are rubbish while the ephemera of pop culture were exalted to live on in the memory of man.  Give me a break. For goodness sake, if they wanted a rock concert, just have a rock concert…instead they made a ‘statement’…and maybe more than they bargained for.

One of the Shakespearean quotes, in big print, that NBC’s coverage kept on showing was the beginning of Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy: “To be or not to be…”  His question about suicide.  Maybe it was not a cultural suicide but a cultural lynching, all the more poignant since that culture gave us our literature, our government, our language.  There was no poetry for the closing ceremony of the Olympics.  Idolatry thrives on spectacle.

All things are full of weariness;
   a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
   nor the ear filled with hearing.  Ecclesiastes 1: 8

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