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Sir Tim Berners Lee and Simon Cowell

Without question, the biggest surprise for me in the opening ceremony of London 2012 Olympics was the sudden reveal of Sir Tim Berners Lee.
A house lifted up and there was some old bloke sitting in front of a computer screen. I say old bloke as I’m much the same age, okay, he’s not that old, he’s a mere 57.
‘Who’s that?’ Asked 90% of the UK population, ‘Yeah. Who is that?’ asked 90% of the worlds population and they asked it through a system that he was absolutely a primary figure in inventing.
Anyone reading this will know who he is, I’m sure you all do, we think of him as ‘the father of the internet’ or more accurately ‘the bloke who invented the world wide web.’ 
Yes, he’s been knighted for his services to the developing digital revolution, yes he’s a figure fully immersed in keeping the internet free, open and available to everyone. We know all that because we live in a techie, Google+ bubble.
I would posit that on an international fame level, he is not widely known.
Now let us consider Simon Cowell.  Sadly we all know who he is, sadly if the house had lifted up revealing his fake hair, tan, teeth and monstrous sense of self importance, 90% of the global audience probably would have known who he was. 
Okay, maybe not 90%, I hope there are people in China, India, South East Asia who would have no idea and wouldn’t care, but lets face it, a lot of people would recognise him
So why have I picked Simon Cowell as a cruel measure of our cultural development? I could have chosen Tom Cruise, David Beckham, Beyonce, Madonna, loads of people.
Well, I suppose the reason is he represents, to me and possible quite a few others, the victory of the non event, he has managed to raise the role of seedy booker of singers and dancers on a cruise ship to a global cultural phenomena.  
In a bygone era he would have been some moustachioed Lothario who inveigled young women into his lower deck cabin with promises of stardom. He defines the terms seedy, untrustworthy, shoddy, short-term, exploitative, corrupt and dull, and yet we’ve all heard of him.
He’s ubiquitous and powerful and why? Because the people who set such agendas, the people who make such decisions have for the last 20 years, gone for the easy option. The people who run the television industry, and I say this as someone who knows them, are under pressure to produce the shimmering illusion of ‘entertainment’ to maintain audience share and therefore profits above all other consideration. That’s fine, that’s a free market, it was never any other way. I’m not trying to give the impression that television was ever any other way, 30 years ago 90% of TV output was unfathomably bad, it still is, there’s just more of it.
So last night it felt like something happened, someone from outside the shallow gloss and short term blinkered world of British TV was given free reign, a film director who has instantly become the darling of the nation. He painted a picture of our country that was very different, he included things that the world of the X Factor, the Voice, Strictly Come Dancing and the endless sewer surge of audio visual bilge studiously ignores.
Our cultural history, the industrial revolution, the women’s suffrage movement, the NHS and Tim Berners Lee. A scientist, a computer engineer, a man who has never sat in judgement of someone’s ability to sing or dance.
I’m anything but a nationalist, I could criticise my country for a year and praise it for an hour, but I was thrilled and intrigued by this incredibly refreshing representation of the stuff we got right, even though as we sat watching it, most of what was celebrated was under threat from a Cowell-esque, shoddy, short term government.
Danny Boyle for PM.
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136 comments
 
And Tim doesn't wear his pants too high
 
Nicely said agree with you totally.  
 
Excellent post. Couldn't agree more. Cowell represents all that is wrong with the world. Refreshing to see the focus on people who have actually made the world a better place.
mike quinn
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Indeed +Robert Llewellyn

Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie died in the same month. How many people know who Dennis was and what his achievements were.

Let's just say without Dennis there would be no Jobs, apple, Microsoft, windows etc (not in its current form anyway)

Such is the importance we place on celebrities.
 
Ah, it can feel good to be British. Actually, with a little effort I can feel good to be British all the time. Occasionally though, it gets really easy. Well said.
 
Always feel good to be a Briton
 
Did anybody spot David Tenant in the crowd with his 3d void glasses?
 
Certainly the highlight of the show, although Alan Turing should have got a mention too. And what about the many great British scientists? No Darwin, no Newton, and no Francis Crick. Baffling.

Sadly for all the good bits there were as many if not more bad bits. I could quite happily have left all the brainless text messaging bits on the cutting room floor, as it was essentially saying that post industrial revolution Britain is obsessed with badly spelt text messages about nothing.

The music was also all over the place. The classical was ruined by Rowen Atkinson clowning around, and while they had the sense to include the Stones, the Beatles, and a bit of Floyd, they also spent ages on that most dreadful of American imports - rap. Painful, to say the least, and a truly bizarre way to portray Britain. Rap isn't our culture, it had no place in the ceremony.

All in all I'd give it a 5/10. It needed more focus on the intelligent aspects of British culture, and much, much less on the brainless. 
 
Contrary to Phil's opinion above...I loved the Mr Bean section. He's as much a part of our culture as Bond is, and I think everyone is in agreement that the Bond sketch was also...epic.

Some bits were a bit naff, but on the whole, I rather enjoyed the opening ceremony. Though I'd have liked Brian May to do the solo to Bohemian Rhapsody rather than that stupid rapper singing...but oh well.
 
I have avoided all the 'lympic crap, water shortage due to expected demand being met prior to the commencement ;0)
 
I was hoping that you would end with some praise for Danny Boyle. He got it spot on. It could easily have been some glam-affair, but he celebrated everything British from the culturally relevant past. Well done.
Andy Gait
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+Phil Baxter So it's OK to have the Stones playing a British take on American blues, but not Dizzy doing his British take on American rap?  
 
I thought the ceremony was very entertaining. I think it represented how we Brits like to see ourselves very well. Quite what the international audience made of some of the more parochial elements is anyone's guess!
 
While we are at tenuous bashing of an excellent show. The lady who invented Mary Poppins came from Australia. Surprised someone hasn't brought that one out.... cough +Phil Baxter
 
Am I the only one who dislikes that our country seems to be obsessed with using David Beckham as our go to man? Offence to him but are there not more aspiring people to use?
 
Wonderful post. However you must give warning when using terms like mustachioed Lothario , reading that early in the morning on little sleep may cause uncontrollable snickering. 
 
I am deeply saddened that Sir Tim Berners-Lee accepted to collaborate with this evil corporation of money making that are the "olympic games" (R) (TM) (C) ...
 
The main problem with our country is not we cant do something. But the people who can don't often get the chance. Schools teach engineering is a low skilled dirty job. You go to Germany outside many homes. Is a small name plate saying doctor so and so, but also engineer so and so. Often next door to each other. It was engineers that made Britain great and not actors etc.
 
A very short survey among my German friends has shown that you don't have to go as far as India to find quite a lot of people who have no clue who Simon Cowell is (this included myself until some minutes ago, when I looked up that name on Wikipedia). -- I hope that makes you feel a bit better. :)
 
Could not have have agreed with you more. And I am glad that Danny Boyle decided to give Sir Tim a spotlight. Too many noteworthy people go unnoticed in this time and age.
 
Apparently the NBC commentators said "No, we have no idea who Sir Tim Berners-Lee is either. Maybe someone could Google him". Almost ironic. If the Americans understood that concept.
 
I see nothing intrinsically wrong in what  Simon Cowell do for a living. I'm sure that many (if not the majority) love it. But it would be terrible if that was the only type of entertainment available on TV.

Frankly, I'm more worried about the cable channels which at times provides edutainment (history, technology, etc), but most of the time spews out crap which I have no interest in.
 
+Rob Hannaford Like him or not, he is one of our most famous sportsman, and to be fair, he didn't have that much to do. 
 
Would have been good if there was some mention of Alan Turing too.
 
I was thrilled to see Sir Tim Berners Lee, for some reason I thought he was not alive
 
"He defines the terms seedy, untrustworthy, shoddy, short-term, exploitative, corrupt and dull"

Do you know him well enough to say that Robert? As far as I can tell Simon Cowell is pretty much the same as he was in his teens, when he was a good friend and schoolmate. Which is to say frank, brutally honest, truthful, dependable, generous and distressingly in touch with popular culture. Si Cowell is a long way from the depiction we see in the media.

I didn't see the ceremony, I don't even have a TV, but I'm pleased Sir Tim was included. I do know who he is, pretty much everyone I know knows who he is. But then I probably just move in the right circles ;)
 
Thank-you +Robert Llewellyn that is one of the best summaries of my feelings on the subject. I'll assume you've seen the views of one Conservative MP...
Danny Boyle was absolute right to put our achievements to the front with pride, rather than going for bread and circuses.
Just look at what we can achieve.
 
+Hamilton Kulchetscki widout sir berners lee gates and jobs would be half as succesful u wouldnt be posting that thing an the world wouldt have a global network and widout a global network it would ............ thats upto u to imgine how the worl would be widout internet
 
About twelve years ago I read Lee's book on how the WWW came to be. I recommend it to anyone interested in anything Internet.
 
Did anyone notice that there was no notice given to the millions of colonial subjects on whose backs the empire was built?
 
+Robert Llewellyn nicely said. Getting to met and hangout with Sir Tim Berners-Lee was definitely one for my bucket list. He is a superstar and I wish more people know what he did for us all. How can we judge the impact the WWW has had on our lives and will continue to do so. How many inventions have had such a wide reach? Was chuffed to bits when I saw the Olympic opening ceremony last night, and yes was watching it live on Youtube from Uganda. As I got to say to to him. Thank you! Now Just need to meet Vint Cerf, Nelson Mandela, Dali Lama, Stephen Fry.. Linus Torvalds and my thank you list can reduce a smidgen more.
 
@Richard Gay as I sat in my house in the middle of the night that is what struck my mind PLUS the ecological debt that Britain has not bothered to pay for the excess CO2 as exemplified by the chimneys as part of industrialization
 
richard gay really could mean dick gay
 
How could they not know of Sir Tim Berners-Lee? Heathens!

Oh, wait. I'm a geek, that's why.
 
Shooting the messenger is never the answer, I've never met Cowell, but I don't think he deserves to be demonised.

Yes it was nice to see some substance for a change and you need to tune in to National Geographic the History Channel or documentaries, but all tv is not bad. People WANT to be distracted, their form of distraction might be pale into insignificance compared to yours, but that's entertainment!

Ps the chap who wrote about American Rap!!? Dizzy Rascal is British and your obvious distaste for rap doesn't allow you to know the distinction between UK rap and US rap,..... just sayin'

He was born in Bow I think, a stone throw from the venue in East London totally relevant and representative of the growth within British popular music.
 
Fantastic post. I could not have said that any better. Have to say that I knew who Sir Tim was but then I am considered a geek by my children. I did use the Internet before it became the www and believe me it was a huge leap forward.
 
Absolutely. We as a society need to venerate those who serve to make the world a better place, not those who serve as a bad example.
Ian Cox
 
You won't believe this, but one Tory MP has already criticised Danny Boyle's opening ceremony for being too leftish. (Obviously he's never seen a Boyle film.) The PM's office has told him to shut up. Must be at least one Cowell fan in the Tory party. It's the Liberals that are keeping Tories in check, but they get no credit for it.
 
Wait... Former US vice-president Al Gore said he invented the Internet.:-)
 
Well done sir... it was a great revelation and glad Sir Tim was elevated on a world stage at least once....
 
Maybe he did but the Internet and the WWW are not the same. The Internet existed before the WWW and what most people refer to as the Internet is the WWW. Before WWW it was mostly text based using tools like Gopher and browser called Lynx. Painful.
 
BTW, was there any mention or picture of Alan Turing, British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist, during the opening ceremonies? Turing is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. His 'turning machine' anticipated the creation of computers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing

As many will recall, Alan Turing would almost certainly have run for Britain in the last London Olympics in 1948, had it not been for an injury.

From Wikipedia entry:

On 10 September 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated." In May 2012 a private member's bill was out before the House of Lords which would grant Turing a statutory pardon if enacted. It was turned down.

Seems like this bill should have be enacted before the Olympics and some tribute to Mr. Turing during the ceremonies, may be a picture on the desk or the computer screen that Tim was using, would have gone a lone way to straightening of the record and making amends for his incredible work and contributions to society.

Shouldn't this bill be passed expeditiously now during the Olympics with people on the Internet using the power of World Wide Web to affect change? This would be apropos and fitting.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-18988608

After all, the Internet and World Wide Web were built on the shoulders of several pioneers who came before whose work helped paved the way. 
 
Painful? I rather think waiting on bloated web pages with huge flash files on the front door to load is painful. Waiting on ad banners from a dozen different servers to load on a front door is painful. Innocent people accidentally clicking on phishing links and downloading trojans is painful. Having to battle a constant onslaught of bots attempting to enter your mail servers and ssh with every user name / pw in the dictionary is painful.

Text, gopher, lynx... surfing the net with ftp. Those were the good ole days.
 
He invented html. That's great and all, but father of the internet is an egotistical leap imo. He didn't invent tcpip. Or dns. Or smtp. Our tons of other free and open technologies that had already taken over most of the world before most of the rest of cerns network mess was dropped. "The internet" was already much bigger than html before the supposed father invented it, and it was already free and certainly not going in the direction of tv considering it was being pushed by colleges completely free.
 
And a fabulous addition to the Opening Ceremony! Just one of many very special elements of Danny Boyle's show.
 
They said he invented the WWW and not the Internet....which we all know was done by Al Gore ;-)
 
Some background information that may be useful on the Internet and World Wide Web to put things in perspective.

Quick overview of Internet history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet

There are several recognized fathers, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn chief among them, for the Internet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vint_Cerf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Kahn

The Internet, which is interconnected networks, some public and some private, uses the the TCP/IP protocol the developed, so that you can exchange information between them. Without this fundamental enabling layer of technology, you might still be on a closed network today. 

Quick overview of World Wide Web history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Web

Tim Berners-Lee and Belgian computer scientist Robert Cailliau proposed in 1990 to use hypertext "to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will"

Again, note that other individuals are involved, some of whom often did not get as much credit or recognition for their work, in this case, Robert Cailliau.

The great power of the Internet and World Wide Web as that we can now collectively shed light on all the individuals involved and recognize their work and contributions.
 
Tim Berners Lee charged nothing for his invention/finding of the world wide web.  The internet is not quite the same thing exactly. The
www. needs the internet.  I wish he had made some kind of claim to it
 - he would be as rich as Bill Gates and the British Economy would be the better for it.  I am glad he has been recognized for his acheivement.
 
Great writing. Terrific description of the State Fair Talent Show mentality the world has slipped into via mediocrity, pettiness, and idolatry. 
 
I think Tim Burners Lee is a great guy but if your going to honour him why not honour Alan Turing? Charles Babbage? without whom Tim B Lee would not of been able to do what he did and both of whom were British and had significant impacts on the world!
 
+Scott Bourne sure he made it easier than gopher and other technologies... but ease of access and availability is a natural evolution of most man made inventions... it's arguably inevitable.

The implication that the internet would have stayed obscure and difficult is naive.

Oh and what if all the text bubbles during the ceremony? Phone texting involves 0 html... smtp/e-mail involves 0 html. The entire communication aspect that the ceremonies highlighted involved... zero html. So they very celebrated communication in the information age... which all evolved independent of www.
 
vaderesque,goveyesque,,hitleresque anti freedomesque.buzz,whats this esque word this is  the buzz,  its what us limited chaps you call freedom defenders,  have deemed the land barons once again. it is easier to manipulate than educate. in this  land of manmade simplistic gratification ,it  is becoming evident( through reverse education, the net) that  these  freedon loving   simple citzens  have been sytematically dumbed down,it is cheaper to lift up a man than it is to improve society  .me , the ambasador to  the descendant of the wayward and dont be fooled my fellow chaps, there are masses of the lost and uneducated throught the world  who are at this instant searching for an intelectual census to a informed decsion. googgling and binging at an madding pace  hidden ,in corners with beaten down laptops , stolen cell phones , limited spell checks, and yes pirated signals, us the  botom feeders are starting to realize this cowel-eque thing as noting other than a ploy an manipulation to remove us from freedom of thought and ?'ing  . we are becoming aware !  learnnign that man does not have all the answers    we are watching and right now searching for sir,tim/lee it seems he is still seprated from us the 90percent are so . the ones that are not granted access to the great an protectd halls of educatio. for to us he is just still a man that flipped a switch to a flow of unlimitted  information that is underatack right now as we search the net for answers ,i say not hold us the quick gratification society , the poor, and uneducated  accountabel but the systems that us me and you and the undederprivlaeged created to improve our ownselfs  centuries ago.  not to be uplifted by a sytem a branch of goverment that has gone rouge and manipulates society for its own means.  for in the end land barons , the simon cowels of america and upper upper class( are the eque as one would say) these are the ones this so called invetive  diplay at the olympics was created for .
 
Here is a recent CNET interview with Dr. Vint Cerf, someone who was there at the beginning, that may shed some light on Internet history, and some of the perceptions and core assumptions being made on this thread. His last comment in the article is worth noting. http://goo.gl/0TFlZ
 
+Justin King But its' the web revolution that has changed everything, not texting or email. The web is the first time in human history that the average person has a voice on an equal playing field with the largest corporation or government. The web, more than the printing press, makes information available to a global audience instantly.
 
As an American, I truly enjoyed the opening ceremony especially the segments on British history. I hope to some day visit your beautiful country.
 
+Steven Streight I was merely pointing out that the ceremony emphasized texting and email... neither of which were impacted by html.
 
I am the Chief Professor of Crytozoologist of Kinsasha University in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
 
I think the argument of 'why didn't we acknowledge this guy or that guy' is a bit of an endless cycle..

At the end of the day, as much as a lot of people probably don't like it, the London Olympics is a commercial, worldwide opportunity to market Great Britain (or maybe, more so, London). The more obscure the references, the less impact or interest they will have to the rest of the world; Sir TBL would, in fairness, probably be the limit of obscurity when you consider the audience of the ceremony. Yeah we all seem to know who he was but look at the title of the post. People who don't know who he is are hardly going to be that fussed about reading hundreds of comments on it. There's got to be a huge amount of people - a number completely engulfing those who do - that don't know who he is.

I think, considering all of the boxes he had to tick from a political, national and international point of view, Danny Boyle did a magnificent job of ensuring that there was something for everyone*.

*You can't please everyone...
 
+Steven Streight this is what I find most interesting: where you say "web revolution" I say "internet revolution". The internet is much much bigger than html.
 
Boy....you can tell who the annoying know-it-all guys are on this thread....
 
Well said sir, with a minimum of verbiage accorded to such luminaries as your-fine-self.
 
Great post,ppl really didn't know Tim . Two thumps for the brits . . .
 
+Justin King +Steven Streight I would say the Web has had a more impact than the Internet. The Internet did not hit mainstream until the Web. But let's face it, they are both interelated and important and we don't need to split hairs, IMHO.
 
I was awed when the house lifted brought a tear to my eye.
 
The only issue with Danny Boyle is he panders to the lowest common denominator, his poverty porn of slumdog kind of put me off.
 
+Justin King its not so much the HTML aspects that Tim developed but the HTTP protocol he developed.

All web traffic uses HTTP(s) protocol regardless of serving up HTML et al.
 
The irony of saying rap(it wasn't rap it was grime) isn't British culture but praising the inclusion of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Who of course imported American blues, rock and roll, RnB and psychedelia 
 
Great post Robert. No doubt there are mutual feelings. Im eagerly awaiting the second coming of the collapse of the Simon Cowell empire. Its amusing to hear of another who uses a loose approximation of 90%, which is enough to capture attention and provoke concern without sounding like a gross exaggeration, while taking into account that there will always be a total of 10% that are not necessarily pro support, but consistent of those that really wouldnt care a toss.
 
It was definitely a refreshing change of pace. This guy from the States learned a few things last night from Mr. Boyle's presentation of Great Britain's great past.
 
Interesting. I immediately knew who Tim Berners Lee is, but I had no idea who Simon Cowell is. I guess that makes me extra-odd?
 
Speaking as a Kiwi living in a Latin Culture I can say that it's refreshing to see the ceremony offering a brief cultural
 
I actually feel better about myself as I didn't know who Simon Cowell was before reading this. hmmm maybe there is some hope for me.
 
I'm proud to say I don't know who Simon Cowell is. Just googled him and it seems he's some kind of TV personality.
 
...history of Britain. Let's not forget that it's Great Britain and not just England so some of the great Scottish Engineers would not have gone amiss. Also nice to see the representation of the emerging mixed generation that England (and the world is becoming). The Olympics is about celebrating greatness in an atmosphere of fair play competition and not about blind nationalism. Let's enjoy the coming together of so many in a competition of peace and try to avoid the fact that yes the flash commercial glamour has corrupted what the Games were initially reinvented to serve.
 
The best part was when they played Chamillionare's We bring the Stars out
 
Very, very well put. I thought the opening ceremony helped restore a little faith in what was otherwise starting to look like nothing but an excercise in corporate greed.
 
Loved the entire ceremony, and as an American I am embarrassed for the stupidity of my nation. Sorry from an American in Florida in the moronic US.
 
Was a great show of course it had to cater to all the bilion people watching it a full on walk by of Engineers might have not allowed them to have the Chelsea Pensioners or the people representing the Windrush or the suffragette movement (some at least related to the original Ladies).

 It was a brief dip in to British culture, but made so many Brits Proud in points and I am amazed how many overseas friends said wow that was amazing and how many said it got them emotionally even had them crying!  It was great that it was not the typical lets launch rockets in the air and show off but say hey welcome to the Uk let us say something about us. 
 The Mr Bean piece so many around the world knew him and found hilarious don't forget not all the Viewers speak English or French so to have a Silent interlude was brilliant same with the James Bond and the Queen section both said look at the great music conductors and musicians we have but also look at our comedians. Look at our amazing buildings and culture look at our film heritage and look we can send our selves up..
 While we demonstrated in short bursts many of the different British singers and bands we allowed young choirs who for me were simply amazing both for Jerusalem and the National Anthem  when we could have had Celebrities galore we said no this is about the volunteers and the youth. Same for the Torch at the end dam that was truly amazing ending :D
 
I completely agree +Robert Llewellyn... Being Scottish, I quite often overhear and discuss the state of the union... hearing both pro and against views. It's a hot (and a bit prickly!) topic due to our upcoming referendum in a couple years time.

It was a treat for me too that I think every Briton that watched the opening ceremony last night would have had some sort of a positive reaction at some point... it appealed on so many levels, history, music, technology in a truly stunning performance by an absolutely ginormous crowd of 15000 performers. It's hard not to be impressed. (http://www.london2012.com/spectators/ceremonies/opening-ceremony/performers/)

I loved it and it was fabulous to see so many of our talented musicians, sportsmen and inventors get recognition in something that we'll probably talk about for many generations.

Today, I'm very proud to be British.
 
Andrew Konietzky: have you ever heard the old, old saying, "love it or leave it?"
 
Due to the brilliance of Danny Boyle's vision for the opening ceremony, I actually watched the tv for the first time in years... I didn't channel hop and I enjoyed what I was seeing... I was glued to it, feeling proud and patriotic, as I thought, look at what we have done and what we can do... None of the "Simon Cowells" in this world can do that.
 
I think many people in the UK found the opening ceremony a great mix of history, popular culture and inspirational icons. I think Danny Boyle got it just about spot on. I would have preferred Elbow to the Arctic Monkeys and the Balrog should have been alongside he who cannot be named - no not David Cameron. Talking of Tories btw, the ceremony was far from pleasing to the MP Aidan Burley whose mid-cermony tweet read thus: "Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!" . He's @AidanBurleyMP if you want to reply :-)
 
This piece does Tim a disservice. There is a greater power in anonimity.Good for him that he created a gift, gave it to the world and went back to work.
 
I can't understand why some folks thought the opening ceremony was leftish. I just saw it as a brief glimpse of Great Britain's history and certain poignant moments were picked out as showcases. If they are not happy with it, then they are not happy with their nation's history.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen more references to science and technology. Having folks text each other and post status updates might be culturally familiar to this generation but there's so many wonderful scientists that have made astounding discoveries that could have been given some limelight! Alexander Flemming, John Logie Baird, Alan Turing, Alexander Graham Bell, Robert Stevenson...
 
Best post I've seen in a long time.  Thank you.
 
So very elequently put Robert and for those who did not change the channel, that is the significance of quality; job well done Mr Boyle.
 
+David Nield I quite enjoyed Gopher and Lynx and ftp thank you very much. Those days of the internet, and BBS days before it, are fond memories for me. Back when it was all in the name of learning and before Media, Money and private interests were meddling with it.
 
+Art Pennington The web is not the internet. The internet is a mesh like connection of computers on which the web runs. I don't mean to belittle Sir Lee's work as he gave us the most popular internet app. It's easy to misplace these,but the internet is a different ball game.
 
Unfortunately Robert, you are right about the appaling standards set by TV and yet the blame does not lie with the people making the content. Not even with Simon Cowell. I can't say I like him, but I admire his success and the way he manages to hold on to it. Yes, the powers-that-be behind the scenes, and in his case in front of them, set the TV agenda to preserve and increase market share and to maximise profit (or justify license fee).

However, it is the British (note the iPhone dictionary gave me three options there when I mistakenly typed Brotish - I could have picked all three and been equally correct) public who watch, support and buy into the rubbish that gets put out. Without the support of literally millions of people, the TV execs would have to up their game, and find more intelligent ways to entertain us.

They won't though, because sadly the majority of the public would prefer to see Amanda Holden's tits spilling over her dress as she introduces the latest no-hoper on Britain's Got Talentless Nobodies than a documentary on the man who enabled them to find cheap holidays online and share their every waking thought on Twitter.

Perhaps it will change, but each generation seems to value knowledge less and less. Maybe because there is so much information at their fingertips and they have mistaken that for wisdom.

Good on Danny for not shying away from some true history, but don't expect to see anything like that on any mainstream media channel again until Britain next hosts the Olympics. And then you just have to hope they don't give the job to whoever is writing Eastenders at the time. 
 
Very well said +Robert Llewellyn! Totally agree.
 
LOVE IT and totally agree!
 
Overall I enjoyed the opening ceremony. I liked Rowan and did not think he spoilt the classical part. The music soundtrack was poor in places and if you going to use the sex pistols at least have the balls to use  'fascist regime.'
It was better than I expected but sadly they have to include Beckham and Paul McCartney. Maybe a lot of other more interesting people just declined to take part.
I would have liked a bit more or real English cultural differences. If they are going to show cricket on a lawn at least have the beer swilling spectators as part.
I have lived away from the UK for a while now and the things which make me English are independence of thought, beer, cheese, salad cream, Jaffa cakes,  being rowdy and enjoying life, honesty and openness.
Considering the constraints it was a job well done and it had a bit for everyone. 
 
Self important egotistical maniacs need to stop and realize that the entire world is not hanging on their every word. It bores me to see so many threads taken over by Dilberts snorting about how stupid everyone else is for not seeing things the way they do...get over yourself and grow up chuck! The ceremony was amazing but you're obviously not important enough to be involved and have your oh-so-important opinion taken into account...or maybe they were so busy they forgot....that'll be it!
 
Re Cowell: don't (only) blame the producers of these shows/formats. It's the viewers/consumers who create the demand (put up with the crap) who are really responsible.
If nobody watched it - they wouldn't make it.
 
Simon Cowell and his ilk have no power over me; I have a bookcase and I'm not afraid to use it.
 
+Phil Baxter +Charles Ross When commenting on the good and bad bits of Fridays show how could you not mention Paul McCartney? (of course the mind does blot out painful experiences) 
Personally I loved the show - apart from that bit. As some twit-wit pointed out, if they wanted people to leave they could have just dimmed the lights and made an announcement.
 
+Heather Mohieddeen  I didn't mention the poor old realistically haired muso out of kindness, like when a drunk Uncle wets himself at a wedding, you just don't want to remind him, or yourself, of the event. Tragic.
 
I am not a fan of Paul and would very much like him to just retire however for most of the world the only thing they associate with English music is the Beatles. I asked a colleague the other day to name one other English band of the 60's and she could not.
Outside of the UK music gets mixed up. I was listening to an ABBA song the other day and the radio announcer claims they were from the UK 
It was just sad he was the last thing on the menu. I did notice though that if you pause the t.v. at the wrong moment Paul looks more like an old woman than a man.
 
ok I'm a bit late on this one, Fantastic post, missed the opening ceremony (was on at 5am here in AUS), but i think it was very nice that Sir Tim Berners Lee was in there, I am also not a fan of those singalong shows, nothing more then glorified karaoke to me only difference is you are sober.

I am also have a keen interest in history especially electronic/IT history, recently posted a story on here about Dr Jim Blinn, it makes me incredibly sad that people's idea of who invented what is distorted and abused, how many have actually thanked these pioneers, how many have asked for interviews with these people?, none.

It is a very sad world indeed.
Benjamin Osaka - Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, The Who, The Animals, ok older bands, but still strong and still awesome :)
 
How I agree with everything you said Robert, especially about the sewage that spews out of the TV screen in the name of entertainment, and I do mean the so-called reality , talent, cookery and all the other game shows that people watch, and to my astonishment praise as entertainment.  It is beyond my understanding, as I know many people who are quite brainy and normal in most ways except for their addiction to Big Brother etc, etc. and definitely yes, Danny Boyle for PM. Love him xxx
 
Spot on, sadly! It was a master stroke to include Sir Tim. But there again, the whole opening ceremony was brilliantly conceived and executed.
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