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I received a number of nasty emails about my item yesterday on why I hate the U.S. soccer team. Keep them coming.
Look, I admit my aversion to the U.S. soccer team, initially explained here, is partly irrational and partly based on the media’s Nuremberg Rally-style coverage of the American team. But please don’t tell me I shouldn’t write anything about the topic because I don’t know anything about soccer. I’ve been following international soccer for a long time and have watched most games of every World Cup since 1986. (In fact, I’m watching Portugal-Ivory Coast as I type.)
Also, we’re not analyzing the human genome here; you know good soccer when you see it and the U.S. rarely plays good soccer.
I lived in Brazil for five years and I root for its team. That’s good soccer. (Though when my team plays badly, as in Brazil’s horrific choke against France in the last Cup — I can see it, unlike many of the star-struck U.S. supporters writing me now to talk up the team’s lame performance against England.)
I’m not expecting Brazil to win — I’m an eternal pessimist about everything; also, Brazil has to get through the “Group of Death” to get to the second round, where the brutal single-elimination format makes predicting the winner pure guesswork — so you don’t need to send gloating emails if and when it is eliminated.
Just as long as the United States doesn’t win — or even worse, Argentina — I’ll be happy.
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
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”