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Why the World Cup Sucks
(Another blatant act of plagiarism. Excerpts from a magazine article by Matt Taibbi [of Rolling Stone fame for his articles on Wall Street, generally, and Goldman Sachs, in particular]in the current issue of Men's Journal):

Hating soccer used to be our thing, a distinctly American trait. But every four years, more and more of us get suckered into treating it like a real sport. Here's why I'm holding out.

The American Empire has had a ban run in the past few decades. We're deep in debt to former colonial vassals in China and the Middle East, our kids are fat video-game addicts who think reality shows are culture, and we've been listening to the same classic rock for 30 years now.

Were in decline, that can't be denied, but until recently we still had one thing going for us: We didn't watch the World Cup. Now we're losing even that last bit of rugged individualism. More so-called Americans watched the last Cup final than watched that year's World Series and NBA finals. And it is extremely likely that this summer's World Cup in South Africa will again push past all but American football on the sports-rating pantheon.

Eventually the World Cup audience in America will exceed even the Superbowl audience. There are still many of us out there but we'll probably die off by the next generation. The world will not weep; we understand that. But for posterity's sake, while the rest of you watch the Greatest Sporting Event in the World unfold in South Africa this summer, here's what our dinosaur eyes will be seeing.

1 Men Wearing Capes

You think capes are only worn by super heroes and flamingly gay men of Spanish derivative? Wrong. Soccer fans wear capes. Especially soccer fans at the World Cup. They drape their national flags over their shoulders like Renaissance fashion accessories and walk around in them all day long, like extras milling around on the set of a Kenneth Branagh movie. Just as there is no socially beneficial purpose of a concealed weapon, there is no excuse, ever, for a man in a cape. And yes, soccer people, we know about the Oakland Raiders fans, and we're working on that.

2 Singing

We don't really do original team-specific songs in America. Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2" and "We Will Rock You" are the two stadium-anthem staples. But as for songs we make up specifically for a sports team, it pretty much ends with "Fly Eagles Fly," and as disturbingly Euro and soccer-like as that anthem is, we Americans encourage Philly fans to sing it often, because it keeps them from stabbing happier fans in frustration. But in soccer, since 99 percent of the time neither team is within five minutes of scoring, there's plenty of time in the stands for singing. Presented without commentary is the fact that one of the theme songs of the 2006 World Cup was an orchestral version of the Village People's "Go West."

3 Player tearing their clothes off after scoring

The old SPY magazine once did a list of the 50 most annoying things about rock music, and one of the notations involved guitarists who raise their eyebrows in shock during their solos, like they're surprised at what an awesome note they just hit. Soccer managed to bring that exact same facial expression to sports, only it added a wrinkle -- now when a player scores a goal, he drapes that stunned/surprised expression over his face, slaps his palms on his cheeks in amazement and then bolts in some random direction tearing his shirt off as if to say, "Do you believe what an awesome goal I just scored? I'm so amazed I can't even stay dressed!"

4 Diving

Diving - the practice of mugging for penalties by rolling around on the ground and wailing like a three-year-old girl after being grazed on the shin - is considered clever sportsmanship in soccer, and many key Cup matches have been decided by the practice. Imagine the ragged poverty of a sport where the only score in the whole game comes from a grown man crying. In America we consider whining like a bitch even during REAL injuries a crime against God. If there's a player who's really injured, well that's just collateral damage. Besides, when was the last time someone really got hurt in soccer? Maybe it was the guy who payed 250 million dollars for this guy:

5 David Beckham, Martyr

Look, we like the British. Their sketch-comedy shows are fantastic, and they give us a great place to park our battleships. When British supercelebrities come to America to lose their accents and make gazillions of dollars delivering sterling performances in the shitty action movies we dump on the rest of the world we usually encourage it. We know they have to come to Hollywood to make the real scratch - hell, they're still burning peat bricks in London to stay warm, the poor bastards. But we draw the line at David Beckham and that preening goofball wife of his. He can't even play any more, even before he ruptured his Achilles tendon. Did he even play a game in Los Angeles, between all those fucking Armani commercial shoots? And finally......

6 Zakumi the Anthropomorphized Leopard

In America we treat the mascot question with tremendous gravity and have the world's greatest scientists working round the clock to maintain a very high standard of mascot funniness. The World Cup, meanwhile, consistently produces the worst and most unfunny mascots in all of sports. In fact it can be argued that the all-time nadir of mascot history was reached at the 1974 Cup in Germany when the mascot was two pubescent boys in midriff-baring shirts with their arms around each other. But, hand it to the Germans, the next time they hosted a World Cup in 2006 they produced an unfriendly, stupid-looking lion named Goleo, who perhaps predictably wore no pants. The mascot for the 2010 South Africa games is an ambigendered, anthropomorphized leopard named Zakumi done in anime style with flowing green hair and green hot pants. Zakumi looks like a Japanimated import from the same horrifying cute-creepy netherworld that brought us notorious adult-scaring creatures like the Ewoks and the dwarflike Nelwyns from Willow. Between Zakumi and all the men in capes, South Africans will run away screaming into the night. Haven't these people ever seen the Phanatic?
Edited by derF on 06/08/2010 01:15
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.

Only thing I'd disagree with is the bit about mugging for penalties. Any NBA fan knows better.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
It was indeed hilarious. And I'm not particularly an NBA fan, but seeker is right.

To paraphrase Hank Williams Jr: I'm ready for some (American) football! Especially the college variety.
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