North Korea

The Dreadful French
June 17, 2010

Soccer is a dreadful game, and I mean that in the best way. There is beauty, to be sure, and we’ve seen some (well, a little) so far. But what makes the sport so desperately engaging for me, and maybe a lot of fans, is the creeping horror that can build over the course of a second half. Yes, every sport has a final period and can end on a last second field goal or three-point play or run batted in. But, I would argue, in no other is the suspense as drawn out as it is in soccer. And if you have spent years watching the United States play, then the suspense is agonizing.

June 16, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- I watched Brazil’s 2-1 win over North Korea in a bar in the hipsterish neighborhood of Melville, where my brother, nephew and I are renting a small house for two weeks. Brazil shirts abounded, as they always do. The run a distant second to South Africa’s ubiquitous shirt, but the two kits combined make yellow the dominant street color of this World Cup.  I like Brazil for all of the usual reasons -- grace, possession, elan, the inevitable jaw-dropping ball-on-a-string move or physics-defying shot.

On "Men With Balls"
June 16, 2010

Don DeLillo’s 2007 novel Point Omega begins with an anonymous man, standing in the Museum of Modern Art, watching Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho, which stretches the Hitchcock film to diurnal length, turning mere frames into emergent stories. “Suspense is trying to build,” DeLillo writes, “but the silence and stillness outlive it.” DeLillo says Point Omega was inspired by his own accidental encounter with Gordon’s work.

Why The World Cup Has Been Crap So Far
June 16, 2010

Alex takes on the important question of why the World Cup has been crap so far. Or, if you want to stick to a proposition that's not debatable, why we've seen so few goals -- just 23 in 14 games, a clear drop-off from previous Cups. I agree it would have been better to have had Croatia for Slovenia, the Czechs for Slovakia, the Russians for Greece, and anyone for Denmark -- whose utter lack of anything resembling goal-scoring ambition against Holland I had the misfortune to watch live Monday.

The Hand-Picked Supporters
June 15, 2010

A Poem by Martin Tyler and Ally McCoist -- as Commentated During the Brazil-North Korea Game (note: each of these phrases was said during the commentary in the order they appear in the poem, though not everything uttered by Tyler and McCoist is used)   The eye-catching Hong, if you can throw a coat over them, had a bit of bend and dip. He takes it into tight areas-- an absolute blinder, not pressing any panic buttons, they won't go route one, (clip it up high) pass the ball when the player wants to receive it-- in dangerous areas he's more than capable.   Maicon rolls him one, but doesn't have

The Wrong Teams
June 15, 2010

"Why," asks a friend, "is this World Cup so rubbish?" At least, he says, "Italia 90 had a good sound track going for it." And it's true: Pavarotti is better than the Vuvuzelas. But is this tournament a disappointment so far? I'm not convinced it has been. True, there's not been too much spectacular football—though Germany and Argentina have had more than their share of moments—but did anyone really expect much from, say, France? Or England? And wasn't Italy-Paraguay always likely to be a tactical affair?

Best of the Web, PM Edition
June 14, 2010

Israel's separation wall turned into giant TV screen The economics of the World Cup Meet America's Jewish players Can Dunga fine-tune Brazil's imperfections in time? Tim Vickery: How North Korea can stop Brazil The triumphant return of Special1 TV Why Holland had trouble breaking down Denmark's defense An anthology of English goalkeeping howlers

Can the Hermit Kingdom Play Another Game of their Lives?
June 14, 2010

Apart from the fact that they are extreme long shots to win tomorrow’s match against Brazil—and their unfortunate mistake in listing their striker, Kim Myong-Won, as a goalkeeper—the North Korean side remains shrouded in mystery. Placed at 105 in the global rankings by FIFA, only a handful of the country’s players have experience playing abroad.

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.

North Korean Nature Tours
May 29, 2010

One of the odder things I've heard in China is that a good number of people see North Korea as a prime tourism destination. I didn't really believe it until reading Jon Cannon's piece in the London Review of Books about Dandong, a city that straddles the border between the two countries: A lot of Chinese tourists visit Dandong simply ‘because it’s there’. It is the only major city in China actually situated on one of the country’s external borders, and the view into another country is an attraction in itself.