Hey, the World Cup has started!
Yup, they’re playing futbol down in Brazil, in all of those glitzy new stadiums that the Brazilians, desperate for more positive “emerging world leader”-type news coverage, have spent billions to build even though the country is beset by horrible, grinding poverty, terrible crime, and other awful societal afflictions. Maybe all of those poor people will forget about their empty bellies and cardboard shanty homes while FIFA bigwigs limo around town and futbol fans from around the world show up in their colored wigs and toot their horns and chant their chants while men run around in shorts, kick a ball, and then fake injuries whenever they plausibly can.
I think soccer is boring — in fact, dreadfully, painfully boring — but I don’t begrudge people who think the World Cup is the greatest events in sports, period. Isn’t it interesting, though, that the prevailing political view that nationalism is dangerous gets thrown out the window come World Cup time? The ardent boosters of the EU will argue for just about every form of economic and political integration, but even the most suicidal EU bureaucrat wouldn’t dare argue that France, Italy, the Netherlands, et al., shouldn’t field national teams and try to beat the pants off each other when the World Cup rolls around. Even Ghana is getting into the spirit and guaranteeing they won’t lose to Team USA.
Could the World Cup be exposing that the anti-nationalism one-worlders are, at bottom, a bunch of hypocrites? If so, it’s doing something worthwhile — even if those guys do look kind of pathetic in their shorts and knee socks.