Alex has launched a wonderfully entertaining all-out assault on Brazil. I had planned on issuing a rebuttal and intend to return to the subject soon. In the meantime, I want to recommend this insightful (if somewhat meandering) post from the blogger santapelota. No country's game has been as sentimentalized as Brazil's--and santapelota does a nice job of parsing the reality of joga bonito from its hype. To be fair, the fatuous Nikeisation of Brazil's footballing image in recent years has done much to support his argument against ball-juggling, irresponsible street entertainers.
There’s a lot of happy talk about how this World Cup will aid the cause of Africa soccer. I hope that’s the case. In the meantime, I highly recommend Spiegel’s excellent piece on how the European soccer economy has sunk its tentacles into the continent. A sample of the piece's ugly findings: More than 10 years ago, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights issued a report warning that "a modern 'slave trade' is being created with young African players." In Belgium, the politician Jean-Marie Dedecker investigated 442 cases of alleged human trafficking with Nigerian players.
I suppose I should justify the existence of this blog on our site. If I were to make an insincere effort to do so, I would argue this: Writing about culture is a very sizable portion of our ambit and this is the single greatest cultural spectacle of them all—a window, therefore, into nationalism, global capitalism, our notions of leisure, and other very worthy topics.
Does content want to be free? That question about the basic economic model of Internet publishing has tormented journalism for years now. And if you read the media about media, we’re due for another turn in this great debate. The New York Times will soon start charging for online access. Conde Nast hopes the seductive powers of the iPad will revivify the circulation of its glossies, gifting them a new platform for charging readers. Recently we’ve been mulling this same basic strategic tact, and, in fact, it has a long history at TNR.
Today is a momentous day in the history of The New Republic, and in the American literary world. We are proud to announce the appearance of The Book: An Online Review. The literary pages of The New Republic have long been known as a home to high criticism and impassioned debate.
Along with Jason Zengerle and Michael Crowley, I was one of the three original contributors to The Plank. None of us considered ourselves natural bloggers. All of us would have probably preferred to be spending our time reporting a 5,000-word feature story. But the world had changed—and, for all our trepidations, it looked like a good time, and it was, especially during the long 2008 election season. Eventually, the rest of the TNR staff joined us on the blog. And then, many of these writers acquired their own blogs.
Welcome, dear readers, to the revamped TNR.com. We understand that reinvention is part of the very fabric of the internet, and so an overhaul like this is not usually regarded as an event of the same magnitude as, say, an old-fashioned print magazine relaunch. But this new site is a very big deal for us. There are plenty of Old Media haunts where the marquee writers still turn up their noses at the web. You’ll find many venerable magazines with sites that have an entirely different roster of contributors and an entirely different sensibility from print.