Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic-level idiocy

Three gripes about the Olympic opening ceremonies: firstly, the kid scheduled to sing a patriotic Chinese song while the Chinese olympic team entered the stadium was switched out at last minute. The new girl's voice was overdubbed by the earlier singer's. The switch was revealed days later by a musical director of the opening ceremonies. Why the switch? Because:

"The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression."
(from, Olympic Lip-Synching Singer Outed Following Opening-Ceremonies Switch)

"The national interest requires that the girl should have good looks and a good grasp of the song and look good on screen."
(from WaPo, Pretty Face and Voice Didn't Belong to Same Girl)

My second gripe concerns the fireworks that were set off in the shape of footsteps advancing toward the ceremony. They were represented on television by computer-generated graphics. The graphics were produced by "a team of hundreds of Chinese visual effects specialists who worked for nearly a year to pull it off." This wasn't revealed until later, neither in China or the US. Until then the clearest indication of what we were watching was Matt Lauer's inarticulate and ridiculous: "This is actually almost animation."
(from NPR, Computer-Enhanced Fireworks)

Lastly, there was a group of kids dressed in traditional clothing from ethnic minority groups were actually from the majority Han group, even though "the official Olympic guide said the children were from the ethnic groups they represented."
(from WSJ, Chinese children in ethnic costume come from Han majority)

On the subject of actual Olympic athletic competition, it turns out that "Live" does not mean what one might expect. On the west coast, NBC is broadcasting the actual events with a "live" graphic, although they took place three hours earlier. NBC's response to questions about this disparity? Two or maybe four times per hour, they add a time stamp to indicate when the event actually was live.
(from Reuters, Olympics, NBC dogged by fakery accusations)

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