BEIJING SNAPSHOT: As Olympics ebb, smartphone synchronicity

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BEIJING (AP) — The smartphones glowed. The irony echoed.

As a part of the closing ceremony Sunday evening for essentially the most locked-down and sequestered Olympics in human historical past, a rigorously curated crowd packed — effectively, dotted, actually — the famed Chook’s Nest stadium as a heat and humanistic present unfolded.

The present itself, headed by famed Chinese language director Zhang Yimou, pretty burst with colour and music and vitality and even pleasure. It felt disconnected from a COVID-compartmentalized Winter Video games that, regardless of its insistent theme of “Collectively for a shared future,” saved individuals aside by the hundreds — each these inside and outdoors its calibrated bubble.

Because the closing ceremony reached its denouement, one thing fascinating unfolded. It was the form of second that has turn into frequent within the post-lighter-at-the-concert period.

Earlier than the ceremony, the official crowd preppers had exhorted these in attendance to, at a sure second, take out their telephones. “When the Olympic flame is about to be extinguished,” the emcee stated, “maintain up your telephone, flip it on and sway to the music.”

And they also did, these rigorously screened representatives of a rigorously screened Video games, these people who had handed by safety screenings and swabbing of their mucous membranes and all types of different gates and portals and checkpoints to collect right here for the occasion that’s presupposed to symbolize the planet coming collectively within the spirit of excellence and amiable competitors.

In The Period of The Cellphone, humanity is negotiating a brand new relationship with itself. However as we clutch our exceptional and horrible units, be it swaying in unison in an Olympic Stadium or sitting alone and reaching throughout the ether, are we collectively however all the time aside? Or aside however all the time collectively?

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The smartphone, barely a young person in 2022, has — like many youngsters — sucked up many of the oxygen within the room. And as these Olympic trustworthy within the Chook’s Nest held their telephones skyward to turn into totems of heat and togetherness in opposition to chilly and COVID, a Chinese language music known as “You and Me” performed and the phrases “One World” have been displayed in fireworks, it was simple to marvel: Is that this now the very best connection we will hope for?

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Ted Anthony, AP’s director of recent storytelling and newsroom innovation, is the AP’s former director of Asia-Pacific information and former China information editor and is overlaying his seventh Olympics. Comply with him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/anthonyted