Ben Wallace-Wells

Is Maradona's Madness Working?
June 29, 2010

As the World Cup began, Diego Maradona was a figure of absurdity and fun—a perverse and lunatic figure, his ego as bloated as his abdomen. On the sidelines, bearded and animated as he was during his days of cocaine and Castro, he wore two huge wristwatches at once. He forced his hotel to rebuild his suite to include a bidet. He had lost, in qualifying, to Bolivia, and favored an absurd strategy that committed everything to attack, a sugared-up video game kind of football.

The Death Lovers
June 29, 2010

This terrific history of, and manifesto against, bullfighting was written by the French art historian Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier. She falls squarely in

The Sixties Strike Back
June 19, 2010

Of all the advantages that England seemed to enjoy at the outset of their lifeless 0-0 draw with Algeria, perhaps none looked so dramatic on television as their vast handsomeness advantage. On the sideline there was David Beckham, of course, the only man alive who can make a mohawk look upstanding, and the coach Fabio Capello, who looked terrific and commanding--gorgeous light grey suit, charcoal shirt, black tie, and spectacles so impeccably designed they seem likely to inspire a line of kitchenware.

Mexican Revolution
June 10, 2010

For American soccer fans during the last twenty years, there has been nothing more irritating than Mexican soccer. The problem has been less the rivalry than the condescension. We have been subjected to a stream of anti-Yanqui propaganda—how much more stylistic the Mexican national team is than the American, how much less reliant on athleticism, how much more elegant and refined.

Heart of Darkness
March 08, 2010

In the spring of 1899, a thin, bespectacled French army colonel named Arsene Klobb began making his way eastward from a colonial outpost in Mali. He w