Yesterday’s Olympic opening ceremony was a hallucinatory ode to western history, questionable British music, a giant baby, David Beckham’s body, and — amid the athletic sprawl — one of the greatest geeks of all time.
During one strange portion of the ceremony that honored technology’s role in turning us into phone-gazing status zombies, the action abruptly broke away to a 57-year-old Brit at a table with an antique NeXT computer and monitor. He clearly was not on any judo team. And then, in French and English he was introduced — “Ladies and gentlemen, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.” The crowd roared like a javelin just went through Hitler in effigy. They were cheering for a guy who created the web, not some gorgeous Danish sprinter — a computer scientist! A nerd! And still, a world hero. It was one of the few moments in the ceremony that gave me chills, as I watched a bootleg BBC stream based on technology the man had created over two decades ago.
“This is for everyone,” Sir Berners-Lee tweeted from the middle of the stadium — a message that was retweeted over 10 thousand times within minutes.