What I saw in the opening ceremonies spoke closely to the who European situation. First, it was rather incoherent, in search of a theme (now that their true theme is abandoned). Second, it was politically left wing. Perpend.
In the midst of the celebration for the opening of the Olympics, when the flag was brought it, I was amazed to see, first, that all women were bringing it in, then, second, that Susan Sarandon was one of the flag bearers. The folks on Italian TV described here, first and foremost as, "una grande pacifista".
Shifting gears, the opening ceremonies seemed to imitate something of the idea of the games in Athens, which were much better pulled off. For example, the were figures suspended in the air, much like in Athens when the figure of EROS, a symbol of that which drives man to the best he can accomplish, was suspended above the procession of the history of Greece, passing in review in a great procession. In Italy, however, I found very little that held the ceremony together.
Then, after the oaths were taken, there was some sort of "message of peace". Some acrobats with some skills with ropes, zipped up and down a net, making figures, which was supposed to be some sort of "symbol of peace". At last they formed a kind of "dove". It could have been taken for an Eagle, especially in light of the fact that it was formed by quasi-military figures involved in one of their favorite activities: repelling.
The barfometer soared when Yoko was showacased and we went straight on to the singing of the great hymn of the one-worlders, “Imagine”. A greatly fattened Peter Gabriel of Genesis did the “honors”. There was much swaying. I imagine Susan Sarandon was communing with the spirit of the late Beatle. One world government.
I like the interesting skaters who had flames shooting from their helmets rather like feathers. I am rather glad they kept moving. Pavarotti sand. Boy is he fat. But, he didn’t do anything embarrassing. Then RAI cut to their studio. I must say that Italian TV ranks among the stupidest of human endeavors I have ever seen. We shall see how this goes.
In short, it just didn’t work very well. Italy, as part of a great pan-Euro-huggy-bear right now, can’t allow itself to be what it really is. Therefore, they focused on stupid things like Formula 1 images, blah blah blah.
ANCEDOTE:I remember some years ago when I was here and the games at Lillehammer were in play. A cute young thing of Italian TV was interviewing some Italian winners of medals, all tall and blond and obviously from N. Italy. She breathily asked, “In this moment you surely feel yourselves to be very Italian, right?????” They glanced at each other and a lanky blond fellow responded with a big nod and grin “JA! Ja… ehhhh… SI!”