The World Cup is good for two things: One, one of the few opportunities for American women to ogle elite soccer players’ sexy-ass physiques. Two, an excuse for DC’s nonprofit office workers to watch the game and get lit at 9 AM on a Thursday morning.
There’s nothing like police brutality and obscene violence to peek my interest in what I’m sure would otherwise be the most boring event on television right now. But if I’m honest with myself, I just as tired of hearing about the political controversy surrounding these big sporting events as I am of seeing score updates on my news feed. How many reports does Amnesty International need to write before police decide to lay off the tear gas and rubber bullets, especially when everyone is watching? Do the Brazilian police not care that the rest of the world is watching them shoot people in the face? Or do they want to outwardly project this macho over-militarization and not realize that it’s actually making the violence worse?
Anyway, go..USA? Nationalism!
The last one I watched was actually the Women’s World Cup in 1999 — yeah, the one where Brandi Chastain threw off her shirt and celebrated after helping the U.S. team defeat China. Being an impressionable 12-year-old (it was also my Spice Girls phase, which hasn’t really gone away), I decided to try out for my school’s soccer team. I wanted to be like Mia Hamm and Briana Scurry. Unfortunately, inspiration wasn’t enough to get me on the team. After that my interest in the men and women’s World Cup waned. I haven’t paid attention to the actual games since. Don’t get me wrong, I like soccer — erm, football — but I find the deep passion and intensity of soccer lovers everywhere to be even more amusing. Now, whenever I hear about the World Cup, I’m reminded of college a few years ago and a roommate’s (an international student from Africa) spirited goal scream whenever her favorite team scored.
I do not care about the World Cup, let alone soccer—I mean, football. The political aspect is actually pretty intriguing to me, especially since the Black Bloc anarchists are a feature in the protests and skirmishes. It is hard to tell the actual extent to which they actively provoke confrontations (here is a somewhat neutral piece on their history and tactics). While they seem to represent a small segment of the protesters, I think their participation underscores the political-social significance of the World Cup: the Brazilian government has been taxing the shit out of its citizens….for the benefit of cronies.
Um. World Cup. We’re talking about Quidditch here, right?