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The U.S. ties two weak teams, England and Slovenia, and barely beats Algeria and not only advances to the second round but wins its group. Life really is unfair. Even worse, look at the schedule and you’ll see the U.S. could advance to the semifinals without having to play a single strong opponent.
They definitely wouldn’t have to face Spain, Brazil, Portugal or Argentina until then. Those look to be the four strongest teams, even if none of them wins (or even all necessarily advance) in the end and despite Spain’s amazing ability thus far to not score goals.
In my view, the team that deserves to win usually does (with the possible exception of the Los Angeles Lakers-Sacramento Kings playoff series of 2002 or South Korea’s ridiculous referee-sponsored advance at the same year’s World Cup. So I’ll admit, all you people now sending me gloating emails — that’s OK, I can take it as well as give it out — the U.S. deserved to advance, no matter how lousy the competition and how lamely it performed.
Still, cheering for the U.S. team at soccer is like rooting for Killers to win the Academy Award.
Mediocrity Uber Alles.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”