-- is utterly beyond me. Only someone who has absolutely no idea what's happening in Beijing -- who hasn't bothered talking to locals, many of whom say the Olympics are a hassle and are in fact not burned at any stake -- can write something like that. If a blogger off the block said that, no one would bother. Reynolds, on the other hand, works for BBC, which makes this article utterly appalling.
In a state which has no God, the Olympics has been a religion - together with its own cathedrals, rituals, and sacred flames. Everyone in China was meant to be a worshipper. If you didn't believe in the Games, you were dismissed as a heretic.
It gets stranger from there... a cataloging of national leaders ("The King and Queen of Sweden sat a bit further back - democratically wearing their official Olympic accreditation round their necks") followed by this observation:
The biggest cheer of the entire night came when David Beckham rose up from the 2012 bus (if ever China decides to hold elections, Beckham might have a reasonable chance of getting a seat on the Chinese Politburo).
Uh... really, James Reynolds, were you actually there? Or did you catch it on the tube from your favorite English pub?
And then this: "Then came the final moment of a decade of work. The Olympic flame (always known here as the 'sacred flame') was put out."
"Sacred flame" is a Chinese thing, huh? It's not called the sacred flame because, say, that's what it's always been called, from the days it was lit by a High Priestess in Athens?
The reaction to the post has been, well... invisible. As of 9:18 p.m. Beijing time, there have been 67 comments -- this is over a two-day period -- and all of them look like this:
Xujun Eberlein, a notable blogger and author, linked to Reynolds's abomination from her blog, Inside-Out China, with four words: "This one is hilarious."
One way of putting it, I guess.
How does Reynolds's blog post end? Oh but with a bang! Never mind ridiculous and ill-conceived...
A billion people will now have to find something else to believe in.