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At any moment, we look upon the cultural objects not only as a reflection of our times but as a platform for expression. The musician yearns through her melodies and counter melodies; the novelist writes drunk, edits sober and broods regardless; the designer draws upon prevailing interests and toes the various lines of high, middle and low brow before settling in a space of his own. Always, it is a manifestation of the present moment, the beholder not bothering to look for beauty so much as to shoulder ugliness and make it something you can stand for more than a few seconds at a time.

In the twenty years since the 1998 FIFA World Cup, soccer, like this planet, has undergone monumental, identity-shifting changes that have placated the bored masses while at turns enthralling, inspiring and enraging the truly devout, left searching for hope amidst seas of anger and ultimately meaningless Arsenal Champions League berths. Both have inspired roughly the same number of divisive, cynical thoughts for the digital age, compressed and condensed for your basura attention span.

And yet, when the chickens come to roost, we know – or, at least, think we know – the name of the game, and whatever means we utilize to achieve our ends end up being enough to justify those ends. On Sunday, in plain sight of corrupt world dignitaries, oligarchs and protesters, as well as many millions of people who actually wanted to see the game play out for its own sake, France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.

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The setting for the World Cup’s final scene

Thread count – high

Commission – high 

Hourly rates – high

a minute of your time? forget about it

The line above is from Parquet Courts’ “Master of My Craft,” the first song from their “formal” 2012 debut, Light Up Gold. The song is a smart ass take on why anyone in their position cannot be bothered by street teams trying to peddle political ideology or social change via flyers and “quick surveys.” I know what it’s like to be in their position. Four years ago, I was also stoned, starving and making my way down M Street in Georgetown as the know-it-all with a grand, post-grad scheme. On our way back to the student apartments, we were approached by a young woman who, like one of the antagonists from Parquet Courts’ ode to slackerism, was carrying a clipboard and a pile of paper. “Wanna know what’s sexy?” she asked, her question simultaneously rhetorical and seductive. “Politics,” she said, as she handed me an informational slip from a non-profit I didn’t care to remember. A trash can was nearby. “No,” I chuckled with my friends as I balled the piece of paper up and crammed it into the trash can sitting within earshot of the young woman and her fellow street teamers. This was the same summer that I also shrugged my shoulders with the same passive indifference at the USMNT’s loss to Ghana. “Well, at least we have more money than their country,” I said reductively and offensively as I walked away from the Black Stars’ celebration. I gave soccer all the thought and consideration that I gave the woman’s curbside elevator pitch about her organization’s efforts.

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Tim Howard, a portrait

Tim Howard, a portrait

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here, and I have a novice’s degree of knowledge as to what’s happening, as well as a small amount of sentimentality for the event. This is me traversing through work, drunken weekends, and Spotify with the World Cup either in the fore or background

Monday, June 30th

I wasn’t really interested in how France – Nigeria, or Algeria versus Germany for that matter, was going to play out. It seemed inconceivable to think that the two African teams would be able to put up a fight against two European powers that were at the top of their rank. So I ignored the matches, which were mostly scoreless affairs until the final minutes. There were plenty of moments when Karim Benzema and Thomas Müller could have knocked in shots to put their opponents in utter despair but some cosmic force was unwilling to give these two teams an easy victory. France would ultimately run away with the game in the final minutes while Germany required extra time in order to advance. Based on both performances, I would say that both teams acted a little entitled throughout the entirety. It would have been interesting if Nigeria and Algeria would have scored, and I wasn’t in the middle of closing financial reports, but, alas, such is life.

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Suajaws

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here, and I have a novice’s degree of knowledge as to what’s happening, as well as a small amount of sentimentality for the event. This is me traversing through work, drunken weekends, and Spotify with the World Cup either in the fore or background

Tuesday, June 24th

Luis Suarez’s reputation as somewhat of a heel was revealed to me before I headed into the tournament with a wide-eyed freshness of the characters on each team. The Men in Blazers podcast hinted at this during their 2014 World Cup preview with references to Suarez’s previous biting incidents. I investigated this further after Suarez’s masterful, trolling performance of England where there is, in fact, a section dedicated to his previous misdeeds on the pitch. One of them occurred when he was playing in the Dutch league for a team known as Ajax where he dug his teeth into someone and received the nickname as the “Cannibal of Ajax”. This set the wheels in motion for Luis to land in Liverpool but even after a punishment for what was seen as a visceral, knee jerk reaction Suarez struck again in the English Premier League.

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Troll God, Luis Suarez

 

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here, and I have a novice’s degree of knowledge as to what’s happening, as well as a small amount of sentimentality for the event. This is me traversing through work, drunken weekends, and Spotify with the World Cup either in the fore or background

Thursday, June 19

There was a time in history when someone from England could tell you that the sun never sets on the British empire. The English who remember these times also hang portraits of Winston Churchill and like to talk a lot about Bobby Moore. These same people had the misfortune of watching Wayne Rooney, the most internationally recognizable player from their country, make a goal to equalize the game against Uruguay only to be one-upped by frequent 4chan user, Luis Suarez, in the 84th minute of the match. The dwindling minutes were a demonstration in desperation and keep away for a nation that is now depending upon Mario Balotelli to save them from the brink. The English now need a Dunkirk-like interference from another nation in order to be saved from utter destruction.

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Italo-Disco is Dead (Courtesy of the Augusta Chronicle)

 

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here, and I have a novice’s degree of knowledge as to what’s happening, as well as a small amount of sentimentality for the event. This is me traversing through work, drunken weekends, and Spotify with the World Cup either in the fore or background.

Sunday, June 15

My head was pounding as I was blaring a song called “The Dream” by Thee Oh Sees. I have been noticing that my summer song selections seem to be filled with riff heavy garage rock post-2010. It’s a far cry from the disco induced summer I endured via Daft Punk in 2013. Maybe I am experiencing an inner “Disco is Dead” moment.

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