🇺🇸 World Cup Woes
Plus, 25 breathtaking places and experiences for 2023.
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🐘 2024 Republican Presidential Nomination: Trump 46, DeSantis 28, Pence 7, Cruz 3 (Harvard-Harris)
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📉 President Biden Job Approval: Approve 46, Disapprove 53 (Rasmussen Reports)
Right: Musk lets loose on mainstream news outlet, says it's 'far left brainwashing' (Fox News)
Right: New Depths of Russian Insanity as Putin’s Ukraine Debacle Continues (The Bulwark)
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Club Shooting in Colorado, Biden's Birthday, Talking Twitter
US: Gunman kills 5 at LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs before patrons confront and stop him, police say (CNN)
US: Biden, turning 80, faces questions about whether he's too old to run again (NPR)
Weather: Parts of NY dig out after potentially 'historic' snowfall (AP)
Sports: What do the odds tell us about USMNT group expectations at World Cup? (NBC Sports)
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World Cup Woes
Yesterday the FIFA World Cup got underway. The decision to award the games to host nation Qatar has been widely criticized ever since it was announced in 2010. A highly conservative and Muslim nation, there have been reports of human rights abuses in Qatar as well as discrimination against certain groups.
Reporting from the Left: “What the Hell Are We All Doing Here?”: Media Confronts Moral Dilemmas and Coverage Quirks at Qatar World Cup (Vanity Fair)
Reporting from the Right: Israel urges citizens to 'downplay' their Israeli identity at Qatar World Cup for their own 'security' (Fox News)
From The Flag: One of the most recent controversies involving the World Cup is the decision to ban beer sales from stadiums, announced Friday, just two days before games began. Those opposed to the games being held in Qatar say FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) only chose the Middle East nation due to its vast wealth. Here’s more from both sides.
Corruption, Virtue Signaling, and Nationalism on Display. Oh, and Soccer.
- While this isn’t the first time an autocratic nation hosted the World Cup, it’s a reminder of how corrupt the bidding process is.
- Once upon a time, athletes could focus on playing the game, but now they are shamed into accepting certain cultural positions.
- While globalism recedes in popularity in favor of nationalism, it’s the perfect time to embrace rooting for your country’s World Cup team.
“Soccer’s World Cup and Its Quirks” Tunku Varadarajan, Wall Street Journal Op-ed: “Seven of the 10 most populous countries won’t be represented at this world event. China and India aren’t here, neither being particularly good at soccer. Russia isn’t playing, nor Indonesia. Of the world’s most peopled places, only Brazil, Mexico and the US will take part. … Should Qatar be hosting the World Cup? FIFA’s bidding process was opaque and corrupt. Hundreds of workers died in the building of Qatar’s stadiums. Qatar’s emir isn’t the first autocrat to host the cup: Mussolini hosted in 1934, as did the Argentine junta in 1978 and (Vladimir) Putin in 2018. Since China will bid for the cup in the future, a way needs to be found to exclude unsavory regimes from hosting this, the world’s most popular sports event. Democratic Europe is soccer’s powerhouse. It should demand that no cup ever be hosted in a country that isn’t a democracy.”
“Who’d be a footballer today?” Simon Evans, Spiked: “There was a time, after all, when this stuff didn’t matter in football. It wasn’t part of the deal. … Hell, the last time England hosted and won the World Cup – in 1966… gay sex was still illegal in this country, too. … Now, though, there has been a huge culture change in football… the long march has now successfully mopped up the last few outposts of unreconstructed masculinity. … I doubt many individual players have had much of a say in this. Football has become yet another arena in which participants feel the need to visibly endorse liberal and progressive causes, in order to get along. Dissent is virtually unthinkable and even indifference to LGBT rights would be a hindrance to anyone hoping to be capped. Consequently, it has become impossible to separate sincerity from profile management in the sports industry.”
One more opinion piece from the Right: Why we need World Cup nationalism Giles Fraser, Unherd Opinion
The World Cup Is Rooted in Learning New Locales and Cultures
- Football (soccer) has a rich history in Arab states as a symbol of social and cultural advancement, even while autocrats crack down.
- Qatar’s ambassador is asking people to keep an open mind about the country and not succumb to preconceived notions.
- The tournament may highlight Qatar’s money and power – but it has also further exposed its human rights abuses.
“Why the World Cup Belongs in the Middle East” Abdullah Al-Arian, New York Times Op-ed: “The story of Arab football — like so much in the region — is tied up in the history of colonialism and the struggle against it. British and French officials introduced football as part of efforts to cultivate obedience and discipline among colonized people… In turn, local Arab elites frequently invoked their establishment of football clubs and organized competitions as a marker of social and cultural advancement in their struggles for independence. … In the decade since the Arab uprisings, many countries in the Middle East have become even more repressive, making the breathing space of football feel more urgent than ever. And yet, this is a reality that few outside of the Middle East and its diaspora communities seem to understand. To the extent that the Middle East and football are discussed in the same sentence outside of the region, it is usually in the narrative around the corrupting influence of Gulf money on the game.”
“Qatar’s Ambassador on why the Middle East deserves the opportunity to host soccer’s biggest event” Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, CNN Op-ed: “Qatar has always believed in the power of sport to drive positive change, bring people together, and build bridges of respect and cultural understanding. We know this tournament can help change misconceptions, and we want fans to travel home with a better understanding of our country, culture and region. … However, for some commentators, hosting the World Cup in Qatar will never be accepted. Preconceived and often prejudiced views about our region have flourished, and there has been little room for nuanced discussion about the complex themes that now dominate in the media. Qatar is not opposed to scrutiny – in fact we have embraced it – but too often platforms have been used to present one-sided, factually inaccurate arguments that go beyond what some other countries awarded major events have faced, despite each having their own unique set of challenges to overcome.”
One more opinion piece from the Left: Sportwashing Stains Football’s Image Editorial Board, The Guardian
Most Say They’re Unhappy With Qatar Hosting the World Cup
A poll conducted in the UK found 62% of respondents oppose the World Cup being held in Qatar due to its history of abuse against the LGBTQ population (The Guardian).
Another survey from last week found 60% are angry the World Cup is being held in Qatar, and 52% would support players refusing to play in protest (The Athletic).
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