Reason Foundation Shikha Dalmia reports from London on the eve of the 30th summer Olympics that the most striking thing about the games is the complete lack of buzz. There is more excitement in a geriatric bingo parlor than on the streets of London. She notes, in her column at The Daily:
Commercial establishments are not planting new flowers or scrubbing old buildings to impress foreign guests. There are no giant screens in public squares hyping the extravaganza. Streets aren’t lined with posters of British athletes. Among the few signs that something is afoot — besides roving armed troops — are tacky plastic runners wrapped around park fences depicting stick figures in various sporting poses (a decoration more worthy of a high school prom than an international event). Many Londoners I’ve spoken to — taxi drivers, dry cleaners, residents — consider the whole thing a “bloody nuisance” that they are planning to observe from some other European city far from the traffic snarls and the madding crowds.
No doubt the bad economy and the many snafus in the run-up to the games have dampened public enthusiasm. But the bigger reason Londoners are so unmoved is that the era of nationalistic fervor whipped up through mega-projects is over in the West. The West, quite simply, may have outgrown these games.
Read the whole thing here.