Olympics: A Glorious Ritual

Pageantry and pomp, tear sand cheers, and, as ever, magic in the moment

Astonishing how the joy and skepticism worked together, that we could be wary of feelings of unabashed celebration and clasp them nonetheless. Why in a world of real troubles should the heart leap up at the spectacle of 125 trumpeters trumpeting, 960 voices choiring, 1,065 high school girls (count 'em) drilling in the sun? A magic show. People turned into flags. A band became a map of the United States, and the map sang America the Beautiful. Why didn't 84 pianists in...

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