Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Life Imitating Art?

Well, sort of. The events at the Olympic opening ceremonies in China appear to have imitated Terry Pratchett's fantasy book Maskerade:

A 7-year-old Chinese girl was not good-looking enough for the Olympics opening ceremony, so another little girl with a pixie smile lip-synched "Ode to the Motherland," a ceremony official said — the latest example of the lengths Beijing took for a perfect start to the Summer Games.

If you are unfamiliar with Pratchett's funny science-fiction-cum-fantasy books you are in for a treat. The Maskerade might not be a bad one to begin with. It's a story about the opera (and, as usual for Pratchett, also a story about us ridiculous human beings). A young witch (never mind that part for the purposes of this post) called Agnes has a wonderful voice and wants to become an opera singer. Her voice qualifies her but her body does not, being too hefty. Thus, Perdita (as Agnes wishes to be called) sings from the wings while a pretty little thing lip-syncs on the stage.

Of course neither role is much fun. One woman doesn't sing well enough, the other doesn't look cute enough. Now apply that storyline to reality and replace grown women with little girls. Two of them got their dreams squashed there.

But of course the final result was fantastic. In both senses of the term.