Too-careful Chinese manage to produce joyless games

BEIJING — Sterile.
That’s the Beijing Games at halftime.
A party without music, an Italian restaurant without aroma. Sensible shoes.

Nothing wrong with any of those things. But at a celebration of the world’s best, it would be fun to have some soaring and swooping, some fun and silliness.
Athens understood it. Sydney created an unmatchable template. Even Atlanta’s derided games had Centennial Park, which, except for one explosion, was a great public square for those who wanted to be at an international happening. Barcelona was one long fiesta that may not have stopped yet.

Beijing? It’s a Communist party: The people sit together in harmony, cheer when permitted, then go home.