John Cleese from the documentary The Art of Soccer (Football) from A to Z:
John Cleese from the documentary The Art of Soccer (Football) from A to Z:
The Daily Show‘s John Oliver learns about the rich African culture at the World Cup, like their traditional hand-carved FIFA ballpoint pens. Gotta love that FIFA-only zone imposed around the stadium…
We already know that Al-Qaeda are supporting Algeria in the World Cup, perhaps explaining the reference to having failed to score against the United States so far in their latest rhetoric, as reported by AP/Yahoo News:
CAIRO – Al-Qaida’s U.S.-born spokesman warned President Barack Obama Sunday that the militant group may launch new attacks that would kill more Americans than previous ones.
In a taunting, 24 minute message that dwelled on Obama’s setbacks, including the loss of Massachusetts Senate seat to the Republicans, Adam Gadahn set out al-Qaida’s conditions for peace with the U.S., including cutting support for Israel and withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
Gadahn said that if you compared the number of dead Muslims “with the relatively small number of Americans we have killed so far, it becomes crystal-clear that we haven’t even begun to even the score,” he said, dressed in a white robe and turban.
Many of the strangest aspects of this year’s World Cup relate to team North Korea. The latest intrigue: were the throngs of “North Korean soccer fans” filling stands in the match against Brazil actually Chinese actors? The London Evening Standard writes:
Perhaps it was their identical red outfits or how their applause was directed by a “conductor” that suggested the North Koreans in the Ellis Park stadium in South Africa were no ordinary fans. FIFA officials and millions of television viewers were surprised when rows of red-clad “North Koreans” took their seats, believing the harsh regime had allowed its citizens freedom to travel.
Although they sang their national anthem loudly, the group tended only to cheer when directed by a man who stood before them like an orchestra’s conductor.
Meanwhile, another party of fans confirmed rumors they were Chinese, having obtained tickets through a Chinese sports PR agency, authorized to sell part of the North Korean allocation of 1,400 seats.
Craig Tanner, director of the disinformation documentary World Cup Soccer In Africa: Who Really Wins, says that South Africa can’t afford the World Cup and FIFA should put some of its enormous TV revenues into the country; writing for the Hamilton Spectator:
South Africa is in the throes of unprecedented euphoria following the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This should come as no surprise given the historic nature of South Africa’s hosting of an event of this magnitude, and the fact that the country will be the focal point of the world for the duration of the tournament.
That South Africa was considered to have the capacity to stage the tournament, and appears ready to do so, is plainly cause for national pride.
However, while FIFA will receive more than twice the amount of television licence fees than from the World Cup held four years ago in Germany, South Africa will not receive one cent of those revenues.
Stephen Colbert makes the English feel even worse about BP and “The Hand of Clod.” Genius stuff.
I already love soccer, but the mere fact that the likes of Glenn Beck feel threatened by its mainstream popularity in the United States makes me want to love the beautiful game even more! Dave Zirin writes for The Nation/NPR:
Every World Cup, it arrives like clockwork. As sure as the ultimate soccer spectacle brings guaranteed adrenaline and agony to fans across the United States, it also drives the right-wing noise machine utterly insane.
“It doesn’t matter how you try to sell it to us,” yipped the Prom King of new right, Glenn Beck. “It doesn’t matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn’t matter how many bars open early, it doesn’t matter how many beer commercials they run, we don’t want the World Cup, we don’t like the World Cup, we don’t like soccer, we want nothing to do with it.”
Beck’s wingnut godfather, G. Gordon Liddy also said on his radio program,
‘Whatever happened to American exceptionalism?
The South African national soccer team’s nickname “Bafana Bafana” is sometimes pejoratively renamed “Banana Banana” in SA, due to their underwhelming performances, so if they can use some good old black magic to assist them in the World Cup, it will be much needed! Report by Nicolas Brulliard for the Wall Street Journal:
JOHANNESBURG—As the second-lowest ranked team in the World Cup competition, South Africa is expected to lose its opening match Friday against Mexico. But to ensure victory, Michael Mvakali recommends a simple fix: a concoction of plants and animal limbs.
“You use the horse’s foot and the ostrich leg, you mix it with some herbs and you put it on the players, on their knees and their legs, and when they kick, even the goalkeeper can’t get hold of that ball…
One of the hottest 2010 World Cup South Africa items is vulture brains. Soccer gamblers smoke the brains in order to bring good luck to their teams of choice. Plus, smoking vulture brains is as pleasant, smooth and mellow as a filtered cigarette at sunset. The U.K.’s Metro notes:
Conservationists believe the growth of ‘muti’ magic in South Africa ahead of the World Cup has seen a surge in poaching of Cape vultures, already at risk from lack of food and poisoning.
‘The harvesting of the bird’s heads by followers of muti magic is an additional threat these birds can’t endure,’ said Mark Anderson, of BirdLife South Africa.
Steve McKean, from KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, who has been studying the decline of vultures due to muti magic, said: ‘Our research suggests that killing of vultures for so-called “traditional” use could render the Cape vulture extinct in some parts of South Africa within half a century.
In June 2010 the world’s most popular sporting event – soccer’s FIFA World Cup – will come to Africa for the first time. With less than two weeks remaining before the first match of the month-long tournament, one can practically hear the soon to be famous vuvuzelas – ubiquitous and deafening plastic horns that South Africans love to blow during the games – all the way around the world, such is the gathering media hype.
There is no doubting the overwhelming sense of excitement at large in South Africa. However, if one digs a little deeper, there are also those who question the vast sums being spent by the government of what is still a nation with millions of its citizens living in poverty.
With that in mind, in 2008 I began making the documentary film World Cup Soccer In Africa: Who Really Wins? to investigate what South Africans, across the social spectrum, believed the staging of the FIFA World Cup would mean for them personally, and for the country as a whole. The objective was to assemble a record of hopes and expectations, at that time in the country’s history – something to look back upon after the tournament was over, and in the context of actual experience (as explored in interviews to be conducted subsequently in late 2010).
There was, without exception, interest in the project expressed by everyone who was approached for an interview. The ultimate list of interviewees was essentially determined by logistics – whether they were present in a particular city on the same day that I was. For example, as luck had it, Archbishop Tutu…