Saturday, July 28, 2012
Where Was Mandy-Rice Davies?
We are indebted to the organizers of the 2012 Olympic Games for their generous and somewhat informative opening presentation Friday in London. It was nothing less than an attempt, sanitized though it was, to present a rough history of Great Britain. While it most definitely tried to put a happy face on the long and complicated story of the rise of the Anglo-Saxons and the ensuing glories of the former British Empire, there was a lot missing. Certain, shall we say "unpleasant", details were not to be found. For instance, some of us longed for at least a brief smidgen of coverage of the War of 1812, the Sepoy Mutiny in India , the Irish Potato Famine, the Boer War and the naughty behavior of the lusty Mandy Rice-Davies way back in the sleazy 1960s. Surely, some bit of production time could have been found for a depiction of the impressment of American sailors on the high seas, late afternoon gin and tonics during the era of the Raj and a peek at Winston Churchill's vast supply of transported whiskey as he participated in the late, lamented 19th century conflict in South Africa, among other vignettes. But no, it was not to be. It was one more example of a missed moment. Frankly, the Parade of Peasants and the array of soot-stained iron workers from the Industrial Revolution, while curiously revealing in a strange way, were, in the end, tedious. How unfortunate. It was a lost opportunity. But, thank you, NBC and BBC for giving us all a chance to view it anyway. Nothing is perfect. Especially those dancing national health care nurses and the latter-day, cellphone-deprived Romeo and Juliet. Good lord. Who's idea were they?