… is up to us.
The positive impact of The Olympics on the mood of the country, and especially the city of London, has been palpable – even to someone as disengaged from the events as myself. Several journalists have written about the positive impact on the spirit of the country and the possibility of shrugging off our sometimes cynical, pessimistic outlook. For many of us this mood has been evidenced and enhanced by our online conversations.
Last night, giving in to pressure from my family, I watched the closing ceremony and, in company with many if not most, found myself wondering what the hell it was all about. Again like many I was following events on Twitter and loving the witty and often very funny commentary going on there. Clearly many enjoyed the musical extravaganza but equally many found its apparent messages disturbing. Even while it was happening people were commenting that our Twitter back channel was returning us to our cynical selves, some I know even choosing to censure those knocking the ceremony for not keeping the spirit going.
The negative view of the event was captured in this post from Chris T-T. I have to say that while I may agree with many of the comments he makes in his post I fundamentally disagree with his overall point that we can be put back in our place by the underlying messages of the spectacle, returned to a facile celebrity culture of dominatrix and plastic pop. If we were being cynical in Twitter it was about the attitudes the ceremony appeared to be reverting to – not to the games themselves. We wanted to hold on to the messages of hope and possibility not have the sullied or weakened.
For the first time since the dominance of mainstream media we can decide for ourselves on a national scale what the closing ceremony meant to us thanks to the web. In fact the inappropriateness of the ceremony may well have reinforced our ownership of the meaning of the games rather than weakened it. Thousands if not millions will have thought “screw you – this wasn’t what the games were about nor what made us proud”.
Like I said – what the closing ceremony “meant” is up to us.