What's Real And What Isn't?

I love watching the Olympics. I love being awed by the super-human feats (while very un-super-humanly splayed out on a couch in front of the TV).

So it was disappointing, to say the least, to discover that some of what we've been watching is indeed super-human, as in — fake.

Those Chinese footprints at the opening ceremony? CGI.

And now this — that adorable little Chinese girl who sang? Let's just say she's the Chinese version of Milli Vanilli.



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Are your really surprised? Did anyone else notice that all the "shock and awe" performers (the drummers, etc.) were all men; yet, when it came time for beauty and posing, it was all women? What an insight into the Chinese culture. How wonderful to see the American men's gymnastics team come together joyfully last night, compared to the dour Chinese men who seemed to fear the wrath of the Communist government if they failed. How unfortunate for them not to seem to enjoy their success. It's like watching the old Soviet machine athletes. We may have plenty of problems with commercialism and intense training in our athletics, but what a pleasure to see athletes like Michael Phelps enjoying his experience and looking out in the audience for the people who supported him - his mom and sisters - not a government that removes athletic children from their families and claims them as their own.

Sent by Julie in Pittsburgh | 12:42 PM | 8-12-2008

My sister had just told me about the lipsynching little girl when I heard it mentioned on your show. I got on your blog when I returned to work to read the story. After viewing pictures of the girls, I think the girl whose voice was used is actually cuter than the girl who they had pretend to be singing. Even if she wasn't, it is horrible to tell a young girl she is going to sing at a huge event and at the last minute tell her she can't be seen because she is not attractive enough.

Sent by Amanda | 12:49 PM | 8-12-2008

Isn't digital television wonderful, fake fireworks, wait until February 17,2009. We will not be able to tell what's live and real or fake.

Sent by Howard J. Flint | 1:40 PM | 8-12-2008

After reading the story and looking at the pictures I don't see what the big deal is. NPR is blowing this way out of proportion. Why be so judgmental in the US and expect everyone to succumb to our ethics? If this decision was made by an Olympic office and the parents of each child agreed to it then let the Chinese run it the way they see fit! As for the Opening, I never really thought the footprints were real...WHO CARES..The show was terrific.

Sent by Robert Henderson | 1:40 PM | 8-12-2008

China used both of these girls in the most unflattering way. It doesn't take Confucius to tell you that no one can have their cake and eat it too. If they wanted a pretty face then they should have settle with her less then perfect voice. Or if they wanted the perfect voice they should have settle for the look of the average young girl.

Sent by Cerino Velmonday | 2:11 PM | 8-12-2008

Of course the parents of each child agreed to it... Do you really think they feel they could have objected?

I agree with Amanda - The big deal is that there is a little girl who will grow up always knowing that she wasn't "pretty enough" for her Country.

Sent by Metra Barton-Henry | 2:28 PM | 8-12-2008

Congratulations China! You're well on your way to adopting the hollow values of "image is everything" Western culture. File it under, Great Fall of the Great Wall.

Sent by Sean M. | 2:40 PM | 8-12-2008

This is just an indication of the extent to which the "world" has succumbed to our ethics. Be beautiful, have great teeth, and don't worry -- even if your voice isn't quite right -- we will fix it-- China should be proud to have the little girl who actually sang viewed as the face of their nation -- talented, cute as the dickens, but not quite perfect -- very, very human. Something all people and nations should strive to be.

Sent by Mike Marshall | 3:53 PM | 8-12-2008

In such a huge venue, with such complicated cuing, lip-synching may have a place in helping to make the performance work; but Pavarotti at least used his own voice ...and I never found him all that cute.
. . . Just pitiful.

Sent by Jim Lykins | 4:42 PM | 8-12-2008

Does previously shot footage of fireworks really matter? Were you entertained at home? Were those sitting in the stadium somehow robbed - they couldn't see it live from their seats anyway. The opening ceremony is a show and they used all the tricks available with today's technology to put on a good one. And yes, they put a "cuter" girl in front of the camera, oh the horror! Like that's never been done before. Bottom line folks: there are plenty of serious issues if you want to point fingers at China, business...really??

Sent by Tim Gabbert | 11:34 AM | 8-13-2008

"The reason for this is that we must put our country's interest first,"

wow, truly delusional.

"Congratulations China! You're well on your way to adopting the hollow values of "image is everything" Western culture. File it under, Great Fall of the Great Wall."

Sent by Sean M.

We share the same name, AND sense of ironic humor! lol

Sent by Sean Kinshella | 12:07 PM | 8-14-2008

I keep getting the sense that the Summer Olympics is no longer the lofty ideal it once was. The host squanders billions on architecture which doesn't come close to even reaching half of its capacity. Maybe if half of those silly and down right mediocre venues were eliminated real athletes would have the (real) audience they deserve. And the bigger question is why did China become a host in the first place...hint, human rights. Maybe Cuba will have a shot at it in the not so distant future.

Badminton, cigar rolling, anyone?

Sent by george | 2:05 PM | 8-14-2008

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