Sunday, 29 July 2012

Not tailored for a U.S. audience

As pretty much the whole of the planet is aware (at least, I think it is, as that's kind of the point), the 2012 Olympics began this past Friday in Britain. The opening ceremony, although I am yet to see it in full, was a beautiful mix of humour, respect, tradition, and incredible choreography, all with the purpose of celebrating the UK, the human race, and the spirit of unity that these games embody.

So, it's been something of an issue that the American coverage of the opening ceremony on NBC purposefully cut away from the 'Abide With Me' tribute to the victims of the London 7/7 bombings, opting instead to show their viewers an interview with Michael Phelps conducted by Ryan Seacrest.

Never mind that the tribute wasn't just meant for the 7/7 victims and survivors (although that tragedy is inherently tied in with the London Olympics, as it happened the day after London was awarded the 2012 event). Never mind that the choreographer intended it as a tribute to the struggle between life and death - something we can all identify with as humans, wherever we're from. Never mind that it had a theme of triumph over terrorism, which I think we can safely say the American people would also appreciate. Never mind the fact that, with only the smallest reference to the tribute, NBC took the decision to cut it on the basis that it 'was not tailored for a U.S. audience'. What does that mean?! That they thought Americans wouldn't care, because it wasn't a terrorist attack on the USA? That the singer's vocals were perhaps not showy enough to fit on 'American Idol' and so didn't belong on U.S. screens? Maybe that death's really quite depressing, and we shouldn't think about if we don't have to?

As far as I am concerned, NBC made a huge error here. They've insulted the UK by omitting a deeply personal tribute; they've insulted individuals already irreparably hurt by loss in the 7/7 bombings; they've insulted the dead by ignoring a public memorial to them; and they've insulted the American people by presuming that they wouldn't care.


  1. NBC's behaviour was pretty appalling. I watched the BBC's coverage via the internet using a proxy server. I thought Danny Boyle did a brilliant job of it! It made me a more than a little emotional for Old Blighty, to be honest! :-)

  2. I've seen about half of it, and we have the other half saved to watch on the PlayStation. We should be doing that tonight! I was the same as you: thought it'd just be a good show but I actually pretty much burst with pride at being British and really missed those rolling hills. Ah! Hopefully I'll be able to visit this year.


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