From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

The graphic design firm that developed (I’m saying, developed, not designed) the graphics for the London Olympics should be ashamed of itself. The graphics for this year’s Olympics are woeful. Begin with the type font, which looks like something an 8-year old boy with a roll of electrician’s tape might have created. Add the logo(?) or series of logos(?) that consist of indiscriminate chunks of yellow or fuschia or whatever. They stand for what? Sunshine? Daylight? British counties? Oh, now I see. It’s 2 0 1 2, surrounding a lost little box.

The culmination of the ineptitude of these wonderful Olympics was the closing ceremonies. The event planner for this travesty needs to hang his head with shame next to the graphic design firm. From the throng of vehicles wrapped in newspaper (Really!) printed with Shakespeare (Yes, really!) to the Klannish hoods on riders accompanying the Pet Shop Boys in dunce caps, all the music and fireworks in the planet (and it was nearly all there) couldn’t bring these ceremonies up out of the media gutter.

The Olympics is built on a proud tradition of excellence—in design and in spectacle. Think back to 1964 Mexico City, 1984 Los Angeles and 2008 Beijing. Wonderful stuff! And at just about any other games, Summer or Winter, in recent history. Hopefully, London 2012 will just be a blip, and people will remember the athletes instead of the mess.



On a completely different and far brighter note for Great Britain, I finished reading
“I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith today. It’s one of the most joyful, satisfying books I’ve read in a long time. The narrator is Cassandra Mortmain, a seventeen-year-old writer whose voice is a miracle. She and her family live in poverty in a ramshackle old castle during the 1940s.

Ms. Smith is best known for her “Hundred and One Dalmatians,” but “Castle” should be on everyone’s short list. Unfortunately out of print for thirty-some years, St. Martin’s Press happily re-released it to critical cheers in 1998. Run, don’t walk to your nearest book store or library and enjoy.

5 Responses to From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

  • Diane Moss says:

    I agree with you about the Olympics. The Opening Ceremony was a “snooze-fest” also.

  • Tricia Evans says:

    I was in Brunei (day trip, 40 min flight from Borneo, still in Kota Kinalabu) and we went into the only restaurant we could find open (it’s Ramadan) and the closing ceremonies were on a huge flat screen TV. Oh, OK I thought, scuzzy, scary dark restaurant with odd parts of chicken and old rice and everything suspect BUT, we’ll get to see the big show! (Thinking “lemonade” ya know?) We had 2 hours to kill, it’s raining hard, this can work. Then, as we sat right in front of the TV in this empty restaurant the owner comes over and changed the channel to National Geo Animals station and with the volume way up we ate lunch to hyenas and lions fighting over a buffalo carcass they took turns gutting as they mixed it up a bit with the vultures. Made for quite a memory, so that’s how I’ll think of the closing ceremonies — not for vegetarians!

  • Gerry Schroeder says:

    Hey Vic, THey should have you design the next one; Like the look of your blog.
    1. I enjoyed the opening ceremonies a lot more than I thought I would. I thought it was
    very creative. Too long, but they obviously had to move a seemingly endless horde of participants through their paces, so the tempo di allegro they chose to accompany them seemed appropriate.
    THe closing was an entirely different experience. After 45 minutes of “huh?”, I moved on to an Angel game. Then turned it back on later and the concert was still going on. I stayed for the fireworks, but i thought it misfired. Not worth the wait…
    Say hi to L for us.
    P.S. Couldn’t get into her blog, btw.

  • “…a seventeen-year-old writer whose voice is a miracle.” What an endorsement! I will order it from the library ASAP!

  • Lisa de Vincent says:

    I Capture the Castle is a great movie also, I saw it in the theatre, worth renting.

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