Sometimes, the mainstream media is wrong. For example, a columnist at ESPN recently went on a posh vacation to Qatar. Surprise surprise, upon his return, he wrote a pretty bland, half-assed defense of Qatar. He had written quite movingly about the death of an Espanyol player years ago, but, like, the death of dozens of immigrant workers was brushed off as blogger chatter.
I actually wouldn’t mind to see a defense of Qatar. However, you need some stats. For example, the remittances from Qatar to Nepal (from migrant laborers) probably help out quite a bit. Also, there are probably some respectable employers in Qatar who don’t abuse the visa system. The problem is not defending Qatar. The problem is pretty shoddy journalism with vague assertions. Kudos to ESPN for taking it down.
Soccer commercials normally range from unbelievably campy to understandably understated. Often, our heroes from the field will pitch us on cleats, sports drinks, and carbonated sugar beverages. In some ads, the players dress as gladiators or jump around super futuristic black multi-level soccer fields. In most, the players just pull off a nice move in slow mo and then, boom, a close up of their cleat. In the most basic, they simply tell us to buy something. And we listen.
Did you see that? Wow. Never has Raul Albiol been made to look so…Raul Albiol. Since Ronaldinho’s elastico and Robinho’s sombrero, soccer has gone quiet on the dribbling front. Yes, Neymar has rubber legs and a bag of tricks. However, he walks a path blazed by Garrincha. Brilliance is making the difficult look simple. Genius is not doing the unexpected. It is performing the unexplainable.
The world is, in fact, a terrifying place. On the other hand, if I was paid millions of dollars a week to sit on a bench like Ricardo Kaka, I’d probably wear the shortest shorts possible too. Who would stop me? More importantly, shorter shorts=lower risk of “bench-rash.” I hope he has plenty of talcum powder.
Sometimes, the audiovisual medium says much more than mere words. I present a few short foreign films for your viewing pleasure, loosely based on soccer, but much more focused on tragedy and comedy. Analysis included, free of charge.
The Podolski puzzle. For almost a decade, the German has shined for his national team and enjoyed a few good seasons in the Bundesliga at now-relegated club Cologne. However, doubts lingered. Criticisms circled. Why did Lukas struggle and leave Bayern Munich? Was it his mentality? Is he only good as a big fish in a little pond? Was he played out of position? What, exactly is his position? And therein lies the dilemma.