Arguably the oddest moment in Friday's Olympic opening ceremony was the tribute to Britain's National Health Service, the very triumph of civilization that is busily being reformed after decades of serving dissatisfied customers and amidst ongoing reports of horrendous service.
How strange was the spelling out of NHS in letters so large that they were visible from large floating blimps far above the stadium? Even Mother Jones' Kevin Drum, "a life-long liberal" who thinks "it would be great if the United States adopted some kind of genuine national healthcare program" was moved to write:
Am I the only one who was a bit gobsmacked at the lengthy tribute to the NHS during the opening ceremonies at the Olympics...? The NHS? Seriously?
Mother Jones is no wishy-washy centrist Democrat publication, lest we forget. Earlier in the post-ironic 21st century, the publication even bitched ha-ha funny "Bowlshevik" bolwing shirts, depicting mass murderer Vlad Lenin going for a seven-10 split.
So when even MoJo folks are asking, "An Olympic Tribute to the NHS? Really?," some sort of Rubicon clearly was crossed.
Then again, given that the mastermind behind the spectacle was film director Danny Boyle, who came to the big screen with the excellent flick Shallow Grave and is generally a caustic witness of easy narratives of national greatness (think Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire), was just having a bit of a larf at the expense of a global audience. Such an ironic reading also helps make sense of the parachuting Queen Elizabeth and various other facets of the evening's entertainment.