I have some friends who won’t watch the Olympics, due to China’s human rights issues. I understand. I really do. But I think perhaps not purchasing anything made in China (is it possible to do that?) would support the disagreement with China more than refusing to watch the Olympics. Then again, what do I know?

In any case, I’ve been watching. I’m with Amy Tan on some things though. Remember when I posted this?:

Do you plan to watch any of the Olympics events? Probably only if my husband happens to have the TV on.

What about women’s gymnastics? No, it makes me anxious.

You’re worried someone will fall off the balance beam? Exactly. It awakens my own anxiety about performance. When I was 6 years old, I made a mistake during a piano recital, and the audience began to laugh. I fled the stage crying, and it traumatized me forever.

Yes, I get too anxious during the gymnastics. So I look online first, to see how they did. Then I can watch without my heart pounding.

I have puzzled over the fake things that have happened. Footprints. Lip synching. And now perhaps a fake piano. Who knows? People don’t really seem to care about a lot of fake things. Certainly I heard no one complain when I went to a musical theatre production that used synths rather than brass and woodwinds. I don’t know that most in the audience could even tell the difference. It seems to me that the spectacle is what’s important to many, not any reality. Who knows?

And then there’s this:

According to Chinese media reports, 26-year-old Lang Lang said he was very happy with his performance at the opening ceremony. “Very perfect, not a single defect,” he said, adding, “This 8-minute performance, made an unprecedented impact on me… this must be a new starting point for my life.”

Yes, indeed. Sometimes, when I have a tacet (meaning I don’t play at all) movement or aria, I brag to my colleagues, “I played that perfectly! Not one missed note!” I suppose, if that piano really was fake, Lang Lang wasn’t lying … he probably didn’t have a single defect. I can relate!


  1. O.K. my reed joke on your Oboema/McCane post wasn’t funny even if I hadn’t spelled it wrong, sorry.

    Actually I wanted to thank you for posting the conductors competition videos
    Except for the genuflection to a 4/4 beat, I have no idea exactly what a conductor does except abuse musicians and rake in way too much public money.
    I am still in the dark.
    I found it easy to agree with your comment about the conductors.

    Did you happen to visit Soho the dog and see Frank Zappa conducting, “Peaches in Regalia”?
    I don’t recall seeing gestures like that at any concert I’ve ever witnessed

  2. Conductors … good conductors … are simply amazing to me, and it is often a mystery as to how they get what they get. But I’m quite willing to have the great ones paid quite well, as it is such a delight to work with them. They are worth it to this little (well, not really all that little) old (yes) oboist. 🙂

    I’ll have to visit the Zappa video when I get back to my own computer and faster internet connection. (Not at home at the moment, but in a few hours I’ll check it out.)

  3. Of all the things that the Chinese government is responsible for, the fakery at the Olympics is far down on my list of concerns. But it does make me roll my eyes. So much that my eyes are quite tired.

  4. I don’t actually think of the fakery as a “Chinese issue” so much as something that is a sign of our times. After all, there is fakery in a musical I have played. There was fakery by an opera singer at an outdoor concert.

    I think part of it is that we are so used to “perfect” that it must be so. I also think that in some instances it actually does make sense.

    But it did make me just kind of shrug and wonder what else was real and what was not.

    I’m trusting that the sports themselves are real. 🙂

  5. Ah, okay, I understand (now) that you were not focusing on the Chinese-doing-it aspect. Acknowledged.

    That said, the Chinese have certainly made a name for themselves for presenting facts and history the way they want it to be seen and remembered. They are certainly not unique as a government for doing that (not by a long shot) but in today’s world, they are the class act. So to speak. 🙂

    (I get the racist-immunity card b/c I’m Chinese, right?)

  6. Sure … you can have that racist-immunity card, although I’m not sure I’m allowed to issue them, being as I’m a total mutt. I like that term. Did you coin it?

    Of course after this entry I then read the thing about China/North Korea and how they are the best at “uniformity” and that just sort of gave me the chills. Thoughts?