In the glare of the Opening Night Ceremony for the 2012 Olympiad, NBC’s custodians of sporting goodwill would occasionally suggest that the spectacle unfolding beneath their gaze would prove a boon to cash-strapped East London.
The event’s own labored narrative arc told a different story: If the receding industrial prosperity of the East End would ever return, it would only be in the tightly scripted precincts of imagineered spectacle. As a retinue of factory workers poured like so many Orcs out of the Glastonberry Tor erected at one corner of the facility, they hastened to a makeshift foundry to pretend-forge one of the Olympic rings. To Matt Lauer, this tableau was not merely a visual triumph, but an olfactory one: “Not only are you watching this ring being forged actually on the field, you’re now smelling it. They’ve found a way to pump that sulfur smell, that factory smell, out to 65,000 people.” Read More