180 words about the "2020" Tokyo Olympics
Miraitowa's moving castle
A cool orb of glittering drones hovers in the Tokyo night sky. Unaware drivers and pedestrians in the area might think it extraterrestrial. The U.S. commentators on the TV broadcast: “This is a moment for the world to see. A vision of togetherness.” A video performance of “Imagine” plays, Keith Urban’s and John Legend’s plasticine faces melting in extreme close-up into the blown-out white void behind them. They smile as they croon; their tongues want to lick their lips. Japanese children dance like robots on the ground below. As games are played, masks are taken off and put back on at increasingly abstract intervals. A gymnast stumbles, stops what she’s doing, a nation shrieks at itself. Humans traverse water in unnatural ways; Rowdy Gaines’ voice — pitched in perpetual fever — strains above the splashing and thrashing: “And NOW you can let out the breath because Ledecky WILL win the gold and EVERYTHING dies and we’re all just COSMIC VOMIT.” This is the 2020 Olympics, in the year 2021, on NBC. We’ve got our goggles in our mouths and there’s an ad for Arby’s.