June 19, 2010
The lady has been an old crone for more than half a century. So it was inevitable that some people in the profession would feel sympathy for Helen Thomas, even in her wicked quintessence. And not only merciful to her person but concerned for her lost job. Yes, Hearst pushed her, but Thomas, intuitively sensing that she would no longer be deferred to by the president or the press corps, went gently. Her wacky game was up. But this is not comedy. And Thomas’s answer to a random question—from a rabbi, it is true—about her current thoughts on Israel were deadly serious.
In Case the Germans Need Help Blaming Themselves
June 18, 2010
I wish I could read German so I could find out whether the press and soccer fans in Germany are blaming the referee after they lost to Serbia. Should Germans need any help in blaming themselves, I would be happy to step forth: Undiano the ref was a little card-happy, but was consistent. Klose's second foul was dumb and clearly cardable. He played little for Bayern last season and when he did he was poor. He might not be all that battle-ready as his slowness was visible in both of the carded fouls—both times he was a step or two behind the running man.
Best of the Web, AM Edition
June 18, 2010
Zonal Marking: Red card changes Serbia-Germany France quits early on the Domenech era FIFA solves the mystery of the "missing" North Korean players Algerian newspapers aren't optimistic about their game against England Why do English newspapers assume Americans don't care? Sid Lowe: Spain doesn't have a Plan B Some South African papers are unhappy with FIFA The 20 most disappointing players at the World Cup...so far
Is Italy Fatally Insular?
June 17, 2010
I’ve been reading Rob Hughes for many years, always with interest, but a recent piece of his in the New York Times (from his On Soccer column in the International Herald Tribune) made me wonder about the pretzel logic that can sometimes accompany political correctness. The theme of his article published on June 15 was that Germany, thanks to its multicultural team, was displaying a new vigor, while Italy, top-heavy with, well, uh, Italians, was on the skids: There seems to be a new, vibrant, powerful Germany: a side whose players are too young to fear defeat and whose diverse ethnic backgroun
I’ve Seen Brazil And It Is Germany
June 14, 2010
A curious thing has happened to Brazil and Germany over the last decade: they have become each other. After losing the 1998 final, Brazil decided–quite consciously, some insist–that jogo bonito had to become jogo para ganhar. They eventually hired Dunga, who always did play the sort of strong football, with some technical flair, usually seen in Munich and not in Rio. It’s been a long time since Brazil has had a truly magical player. Ronaldo could certainly be amazing. I once asked Rafael Márquez what it was like to try to defend against Ronaldo in his prime.
Beyond the Line
June 11, 2010
In early April, silly flags were already flapping all around Beirut. A non-resident would think that dignitaries from the entire United Nations were about to make an appearance, adding a touch of color to our city. According to numerous sources, the flags had sprouted much earlier. As early as January, my sister made sure to tell me. I don’t think any earlier than that, my mother said. People were too busy with Christmas and New Years, and in 2009, Ashura, the Shiite holiday fell at the same time—far too much going on for anyone to concentrate.
Latino Immigration and U.S. Soccer
June 10, 2010
Practically all the U.S. stars—Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore, "Oguchi" Onyewu, and Tim Howard—are the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves. But—despite an ever growing tide of immigration from soccer-frenzied Latin America, Hispanic representation on the national side has not kept pace. In fact, many have noted that at times it seems like things have been going in reverse, with the number of Hispanic players actually shrinking—from five when the cup was played on U.S.
England vs. USA
June 08, 2010
As someone who, like Luke, grew up in England and now thinks of himself as an American, I can sympathize with his decision not to watch on Saturday, out of a feeling that there's just Too Much There. I also strongly agree that America is awesome. People have an attitude of openness to possibilities, and to improving their lives, that you don't find anywhere else. There's less cynicism and poorly-disguised jealousy when good things happen to someone else. American girls are more interested than are English girls in English men—and some even play soccer.
Helen Thomas And The Rights Of Abhorrent Speech
June 07, 2010
A few years ago, I wrote about the absurdity of Helen Thomas's image as a paragon of journalistic integrity and the toughest member of the White House press corps. She made her name by being willing to endure the tedium of the stenographic role of the White House press far longer than any sentient reporter could bear.
The New Vulnerability
June 07, 2010
Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It By Richard A. Clarke and Robert K.