This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
CR: I think that we’re over-thinking the opening quite a lot. It’s pretty hard to make a cultural inter- pretive show that’s three hours long, half of which features people simply walking in to a stadium. I think they did a much better job than anyone would think they would have, remember what we were all thinking five minutes after the Beijing opening two years ago? The opening in Vancouver was visually compelling. Was it totally balanced? No. But I bet you if we go back and did a tick tock on Montreal and Calgary, they showed a bias for the home province and home region in the national picture too.

RS: Do you think it has any long-term political implications? Does it become a symbol of anything larger in our politics?

MS: To me it’s question of nationalism and where nationalism really goes from here. It’s not only, as you point out, 21 million Canadians watching a preliminary round hockey game, but it’s every- where you go on the street. I have vague memories of 1976 and pretty strong memories from 1988, but everywhere you go, people are wearing Olym- pic gear. Everywhere.

RS: That happens.

RS: So, the question is, does that become a symbol of disappointment? We thought we would do bet- ter. Or does it become a new source of pride? This is us. Look at us.

MS: Or does it become a rallying cry? That we have to do better?

CR: What we’re thinking is significant. Nationalism is there. But, I think the reason is that the Olympics is the perfect post-modern consumer experience. The average Canadian, without leaving their sofa can participate in an authentic national experience. This is post-modern Canada. You can also buy a stylish $40 hoodie and have an excuse to upgrade to an HD television. In turn, one can feel part of a national movement.

RS: During the next election campaign, when- ever that happens, political parties may use im- ages from the Olympics. Not literally, because of course you wouldn’t be allowed to use trademarks for political purposes, but Olympic-type imagery that builds off that new form of nationalism. A new form of political branding. If that happens, then I think the Olympics and Paralympics have been something of a transformative experience for our nationalism. If it is over the day after the

MS: You’re focusing on just this Olympics and Own the Podium. I actually think what’s happened is that Canada is moving to a very, very different place, which is reflected even in your comments about the American and British commentators. That is, we’re no longer going to settle for being a second-rate, colonial, backwater country. What we want to do is stand on our own, be successful, and proudly scream out to the world “I am Canadian”, and make it mean something.

RS: So we’re all living a beer ad.

MS: Yeah. But it’s not just about saying our letter is pronounced zed. There’s something more to this and it is reflective in the Highway of Heroes. It’s reflective in people wearing yellow ribbons. It’s re- flective in the increase in attendance at Remem- brance Day services. It’s reflective in the fact that 21 million people watched a hockey game. There is actually a healthy nationalism in Canada for the first time which isn’t simply about pronouncing the last letter in alphabet “zed” rather than “zee” and that we have free healthcare. We are seeing change in this country. So, if you’re looking for political implications for the next elec- tion I think that there’s an opportunity, for the first

March 2010 | Politics 39

Paralympics end then it was a fun four week party for the Olympics and Paralympics. MS: Fundamentally it’s not just about nationalism. What has changed dramatically for me from 1988 is something I saw at a party on this past Saturday night. Notwithstanding the fact that it was a party, everyone was circling around the television watch- ing short track speed skating. The comments that were made around the room were, “ we’re going to finish fourth or fifth again.” People were pissed off about it.

We’re no longer going to settle for being a second-rate, colonial, backwater country. What we want to do is stand on our own, be successful, and proudly scream out to the world “I am Canadian”

Mark Spiro Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69
Produced with Yudu -