The Brits are congratulating themselves on their "breathtakingly bonkers" opening ceremony which "wowed the world", although, as a Guardian reviewer said, " I'm still reeling that a country that can put on a show that hilariously bonkers is allowed nuclear weapons."
We weren't wowed in our house. We looked forward to it, despite NBC showing it with a three hour delay. We rooted for it to be successful.
What we saw was self-indulgent and juvenile, shapeless, frequently ugly and graceless, and with some exceptions boring. G and I, who know Britain well, watched in increasing bafflement.
The thing to compare it with is not "authoritarian" Beijing's ceremony, but Vancouver two years ago. I watched some of that again on YouTube, and there are many moments of visual splendor and poetry in the BC Place Stadium.
The UK show was not "creative." It was tone-deaf and inappropriate - for the scale of the stage and the global audience. It was incoherent and hard to follow. It was like they threw fish-and-chips together with tikka massala, a broken bottle of Newky Brown ale and Sainsbury's frozen shepherd's pie, gave it a half-hearted stir, and then proclaimed it daringly creative haute cuisine.
Somebody gave the fifteen-year old "cool kids" clique in high school twenty-seven million pounds to show how right-on and righteous they were. We got cringing consciousness-raising gestures, creepy political correctness and awkward emotional lunges.
At least Monty Python was smart. This was leaden, ugly cliche.
Not all was bad, of course. The fiery rings and the cauldron petals at the end both worked, and were beautiful. The queen's Bond entrance was at least a good idea, if not that well executed. The oligatory fireworks looked wonderful.
But the rest was just confused and cliched. It was a mess of paleosocialist prejudice and blob-like milling around. It promoted a multicultural London that actually seemed fascist, in the tradition of aestheticized politics and torchlight parades to influence the masses.
It really makes you wonder what is going to happen to the UK. This was a Britain which seemed like it in deep in its Weimar Republic phase, unsure of what it stands for and drifting You can see where the riots came from, G said on the sofa beside me.