Saturday, August 11, 2012

London Olympics: Epitome of Athletic Purity

It must be tempting for organizers of an event as large as the Olympics to introduce a political agenda into the mix. After all, what a huge advertising opportunity, right? That's why it was so refreshing to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics, though greatly edited and greatly delayed for those of the American persuasion. Not one speck of crass political propaganda was evident during the delightful pageantry of the opening.

For starters, the opening ceremony was placed under the direction of politically neutral Danny Boyle. The non-slumdog millionaire Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire knew he was taking a chance, risking his prestigious Slumdog reputation on directing the opening ceremony. Well, by gosh, his reputation is untarnished; he pulled it off without a hitch and without any political overtones whatsoever.

When asked if he were trying to make a political point by including a LENGTHY tribute to the NHS, Boyle, with a straight face, replied, "We had no agenda other than the values WE feel are true."

But, why promote a clearly political institution on the world stage of the Olympics? To make Sudan feel bad that they have no national health care program? How does the NHS tie in with world sports?

Boyle, his nose beginning to grow noticeably, continued with the class and grace befitting a rich man representing a great nation: "There's no bullshit in it and there's no point-making either."

Mr. Boyle DID allow that while the Industrial Revolution played a small part, perhaps, in the rise of the United Kingdom to prominence on the world stage of history, it was not that big of a deal and it was not until the establishment of "free" health care for "all" that the UK could finally hold it's head high with the humanitarian pride it enjoys today. He continued by telling how, anyway, it is China who now sets the standard for the world, whether it be in putting on an opening ceremony or being at the top of the heap of great nations. That's how I took it, anyway.

One assumes it was a nod to the Industrial Revolution that Boyle stuck in some chimneys before rolling out the hospital beds. I sort of get it.

Here is a synopsis of the totally non-political opening ceremonies, written by some dastardly anti-liberal unbeliever. I was amazed at the lies about the NHS presented in the hate piece that follows:

(Excerpted from The National Review)

"The Boyle ceremony got underway with images of a bucolic Britain being swept away by a cigar-chomping elite that builds satanic mills filled with oppressed workers as steeplejacks hang from the towering chimneys. Later, 600 doctors and patients recruited from National Health Service hospitals were featured in a bizarre tribute to socialized medicine, with children bouncing up and down on 320 hospital beds arrayed in front of a giant Franken-baby wrapped in bandages. Villains from British children’s literature, ranging from Cruella de Vil to Lord Voldemort, sweep in on the children, in an apparent reference to conservative forces seeking to reform the tottering NHS. The 15-minute sequence ended with a series of red lights triumphantly spelling out “NHS.” Left-wingers were thrilled. “Brilliant that we got a socialist to do the opening ceremony,” tweeted Alastair Campbell, former communications chief for the Labour party. Boyle denied he was promoting a political agenda."

Link to full article.

Well, HOLY MACARONI! What do you think of that? What baldfaced lies. What a right-wing hatchet job! Can you imagine anyone criticizing something as grand and benevolent as the NHS?

And they even continued with more libelous nonsense:

"Care Rationing Cited in 90% of NHS Providers."

"Two-thirds of Britons earning more than $78,700 a year have taken out private health insurance because they don't trust the NHS."

"Horror stories about the NHS abound."

Rick Dewsbury of the Daily Mail was aghast at the worship of the NHS during Friday’s Olympic ceremony. Dewsbury recounted the 2009 case of Kane Gorny, a 22-year-old NHS patient. Gorny was admitted to the hospital for a hip replacement. A series of hospital employees refused his request for a glass of water and failed to give him diabetes medication. He went so far as to call the emergency operator for help. When the police arrived, nurses assured them that Gorny was confused and needed no outside help. A day later, he was dead of dehydration. The official inquest into his death was published this month. It found that neglect by hospital staff — “a cascade of individual failures” — contributed to his death.

I am shocked and amazed at the lengths the wild-eyed radical right opponents of anything good will go to smear the efforts of those who obviously care for the well-being of the common citizens. It is nothing short of a disgrace.

In the UK, citizens don't have to pay for medical care. It is free for all. GPs abound. In the UK, nobody sues doctors, which would cause them to prescribe unneeded "cover my ass" lab tests. Let me tell you, the USA could learn a lot from the NHS.

God willing, the U.S. is not far behind. We can only hope.

Here's link to help you understand how heath care in the UK can be provided for free.


  1. Coincidentally, I'm posting about the NHS (in praise of) given what I have just been through with the US health care system this past week. Whether or not you agree with the NHS, it is part of the fabric of the British society at the moment, and in some cases, something to envy.
    I'd like anyone who criticizes the NHS to come over here and live for a month with the US system - and throw in a couple of minor illnesses too. We won't bother with a catastrophic incident because that can, and does, bankrupt people.

    1. I thought I was ridiculing the people who ridicule the NHS. What could be better than free health care?

    2. I did see your post and all the comments. It didn't exactly inspire my own post about the Olympics, but it made me investigate a little deeper. I was unable to join in the comments, being an American who is happy living here and all, but I did read them and it was interesting. In fact, your posts and comments are ALWAYS interesting to me.

    3. No - (or yes?) it was just a coincidence, as I said. And I was not just ridiculing anyone who ridiculed the NHS, I was pointing out how bad it could be, despite what Mitt Romney would say. (Don't get me started.)
      I am happy living here (my husband and kids are here) but it doesn't mean I can't shine a light on the imperfections, much as I would in the UK.
      And - thank you!

  2. The NHS is the greatest thing Britain has ever done!
    It was Thatcher the milk snatcher who started to sell it off and attempted to introduce an American style system the bitch! Her cronies are continuing this with absolutely no idea what they are doing.

    1. I think you are rushing to conclusions. Don't start rumors like that. Everything is still perfectly free and friendly and fast. I hope you don't need it. Stay healthy.

      Don't speak ill of the almost dead.

    2. Btw, there's no such thing as an "American system." It's only for the rich here. The poor and elderly just get thrown in the gutter to die. You probably have already heard that, though. No, our tax money goes strictly for starting wars. :)

  3. Hmmmm .... when I was sick in Britain, I went to a clinic (granted - there was only one clinic in Leeds that would see a 'foreign' patient); didn't wait too long; was seen by a doctor; had a test done; received my diagnosis and a prescription for antibiotics. I didn't have to pay anything - only showed them my passport. And I felt much better 24 hours later.

    My medicine did cost me 7 pounds which at the time was around 12 dollars US....

    Soub paid $250 dollars for a wrong diagnosis and medicine that he didn't need at a local walk-in clinic. I don't even remember what the cost was for the second round of doctors / meds.... I believe he is STILL trying to sort it all out with his traveler's insurance.


    1. I would be the last to argue that health care in the U.S. needs to be changed. There is probably more than one way to do that, and perhaps your idea - you paying for my healthcare - is the best of the choices available. This debate about who pays still doesn't address the issue of the post: why was it necessary to introduce a political issue into the opening ceremonies of a supposedly political neutral sporting event? Do you have any thoughts on that? Was the Olympics the place to showcase political issues? Like 1936? Oh, horrors, now I've compared Danny to Adolf. Crap.

    2. My first sentence in the above comment is wrong. I meant I would be the last person to argue "against" the fact that our health care system needs to be changed from what it is now. Sorry. Some froth dropped on my keys and my doggie nails slipped.

    3. Ummm .... I only shared my experience with Britain's NHS and compared it with Soub's experience with our American ... ummm... well it's not a system, it's healthcare for profit. No political statement made or implied.

      As for the opening / closing ceremonies - I watched neither. Have no opinion one way or the other.


    4. Ok. Fair enough. But next time don't drag poor Soub into the back of a drugstore behind a curtain unless he only wants a flu shot. If he is already sick, take him to a doctor. You've given him a story to tell the world that simply is a grossly deviant experience and not typical of health care in America. Harumph.

      To be fair, neither is Toni's example of hugely expensive name brand medications fair or typical. There are ALWAYS alternative prescriptions, (and generic cheap substitutes for those prescription substitutions.) She needed to ask for an alternative name brand for the given name brand, and then find a generic for that one. Or find a doctor who would work with her. Perhaps all she needed was a tube of benzoil peroxide which is available over the counter at Walgreens for $4.34 right now, and maybe a separate mild tried and true antibiotic, on the $4 list at Walmart. You don't need to pay $400 for something that has the same exact ingredients. Just saying. NHS wouldn't have paid $400 a tube for that stuff - they'd have prescribed something else. So unfair to imply that's what a lot of drugs cost in the U.S. (Winding down now. RDG can disregard this last paragraph. And the first one too, if she wants.)

      I know all. I am a font of wisdom. I give sage advice to all. No need to thank me, either of you.

    5. Okay - maybe I was hoping to save Soub some pennies by dragging him to the snake doctor's shack. With no health insurance, a visit to a regular doctor (one who is willing to take NEW patients) is cost prohibitive! We ended up at a for-profit private ER. Another skewed perspective as it cost twice as much as the snake doctor!!!

      You're right, right, right. This isn't the forum to argue health care reform. And I DO have strong opinions about our current health care options. I'm not advocating a completely free system. I think supply and demand should create a fair market price. But that equilibrium has been upset by the greed of health insurance companies, astronomical pharmaceutical prices, powerful lobbying dollars, medical malpractice insurance, lawsuits .... the list goes on.

      Describe a better way, Max and I'll jump on your wagon.

      What am I saying? You don't need me on your wagon. You do fine on your own.

      As for cool logical arguments - you boys love to poke each other with pointy sticks. It's how you play. When girls get stuck with pointy sticks, they tend to gather up their toys and go home. It has to do with gender socialization ... but that's another post....


  4. And, right about here, I should stop and apologize for making this post in the first place. It's not that I don't enjoy political debate, it's just that this blog is not the place for it. You all know, or should by now, know why I set this blog up in the first place. It was to find out about words, not use them to upset people. (My other blog is for upsetting people.) :) :)

    Should anyone care what my personal beliefs are about socialism or capitalism, I've blogged them into the ground already elsewhere. This link is where you would start. I groups all my posts about socialism together.

    I'm sorry.

  5. Well - and there I was trying to point out that I didn't think it was a particularly political statement by Danny Boyle - the NHS is a FACT about the UK, like it or love it.
    And - why does political debate have to end up in hard feelings all the time? It shouldn't "upset" people - it should make people think, and perhaps ask questions.
    (Dream on, dream on..)

    1. Perhaps I was wrong in feeling that the introduction of the NHS into the opening ceremonies was a political statement and had no place at a supposedly neutral sporting venue. After all, one reason for even having opening ceremonies is to let the rest of the world know a bit about the host country and some of the things that has made it what it is today. Certainly the NHS is part of that success story, and I suppose there is no reason to hide it from the world.

      As for political debate, I have "slipped up" before on this blog and really got it going back and forth in the comments on more than one occasion. This is because I LURVE to argue - especially politics and religion - and have found the British are not shy about coming back at me. It is hard to insult a well-educated Brit as long as you maintain your logic and don't get mean-spirited. So cool! So interesting! So fun! On the other hand it seems to make many of the ladies who support this blog shy away, So I started another blog that lets me rant and argue. I must admit, though, that I have seen some of the best hit stats on this blog during the times it has gotten heated. That's when I get new commentors, at least for a while.

      Maybe I should just drop the pretenses.

      No, no. I LIKE those loyal ladies!



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