From the Wire — Russia, World Cup 2018

17 Jun

Russian flag

“The 2018 World Cup will be the the largest gathering of foreigners in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is a tournament that has divided opinion and prompted calls for a boycott. The issues of racism and authoritarianism have time and again featured in the discourse around Russia and the World Cup.

“Over the next month or so, it will be a time to know Russia better. The importance of this cannot be overstated, particularly at a time when propaganda-driven accounts obscure reality. It is an unusual opportunity also because the host, in its drive to host a successful World Cup, has sought to make Russia more accessible to visiting fans and journalists.

“Finally, and as always, it is a chance to learn more about the participating nations. The cultural symbolism of their presence assumes greater significance in the frenzied spectacle that is the World Cup. […dunno about that; the virtues of soccer in bringing humanity or people together is total bullshit; it’s quite clear that it does the absolute opposite, and especially at international levels, becomes an opportunity for the expression of the most virulent and violent nationalism: the “games” for our age, or to spin on another quote: “…war by other means.”]

“The following is an excerpt from the first article in a series from Russia (  analysing the socio-political issues that surround the World Cup. Over the next month, with a combination of perspectives and reporting from the ground, overlooked and underplayed themes in football will be carried to the surface on The Wire.”


“Any attempt at understanding Russian influence on the geopolitical front can’t overlook the imbalance which colours its relationship with the prosperous West. As Tony Wood ** noted (
last year, “The paradox of Russia’s recent resurgence is that, for all its refusals to fall into line with Washington’s priorities, it is still in no position to mount a frontal challenge to the West.”

Hosting a World Cup allows potential for reshaping the political narrative. This is especially key for Russia when its differences with the West are no longer ideological, even though relations are at their lowest since the end of the Cold War.

In the context of football administration, it is important to acknowledge that power still resides with the privileged nation states of the West. Interestingly, even though football is not among the most popular sports in the US, the Americans could not bring themselves to accept that they lost out to Qatar in the bidding rights for the 2022 World Cup. The ** subsequent prosecution of corrupt FIFA officials (
by federal law-enforcement bodies was not entirely motivated by a sense of justice.

But one should be careful to not overstate the World Cup’s impact, when the implications for a country’s foreign policy are considered. Hosting the World Cup allows for minor turns, which are not insignificant, but a paradigm shift is unlikely to materialise. There are other political strains in football that have appeared in Russia already.”


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The yeshiva-bochers of Waterbury

20 May

I gotta say: I wish I had had this:

Photo: Delos

25 Apr

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An “empathogen” — that’s what ecstasy is

14 Apr

And that’s what so many people I know need [don’t blame me for promoting any substance] — an “empathogen” — that’s what ecstasy is.

From VICE:

What about ecstasy and MDMA? It’s an empathogen and makes you want to hug everyone. So maybe your heightened arousal the next day is a knock-on of feeling generally closer to someone?
It’s an interesting idea, and I wonder if there’s some bonding story there. Molly makes you want to touch people and be near them—so maybe you feel like that on the descending limb [when you’re coming down from alcohol/drugs]. You’re not repelled by people, and you want to be around them. It doesn’t sound like a ridiculous concept.

Photo: Gary Winograd’s New York

14 Apr

These are knock-outs:

1 06-winogrand1-superJumboIt’s a moment for sure, when you actually materially remember the feel of a culture that’s now a piece of photoanthropology.  A little weird, but really fun too.  And the women…

8 06-winogrand11-superJumbo7 06-winogrand7-superJumbo7 06-winogrand13-superJumbo9 06-winogrand12-superJumbo8 06-winogrand14-superJumbo7 06-winogrand10-superJumbo3 06-winogrand3-superJumbo4 06-winogrand4-superJumbo6 06-winogrand6-superJumbo5 06-winogrand5-superJumbo2 06-winogrand2-superJumbo9 06-winogrand15-superJumbo9 06-winogrand16-superJumboRead and see the whole piece in the Times.

Leaving Facebook: next time consult with me.

10 Apr

I don’t have the energy, after three days of Easter revelry, to get into this in depth, but as an aside first, if there’s any case that the journalism of the Village Voice ‘s depth and quality and beauty are still going strong, and that reports of of its demise have been greatly exaggerated, it’s this article on Facebook and Zuckerberg.

Facebook_BrianStaufferBrian Stauffer

Regrets at having exposed so much on Facebook? It look you this long?  “The noble house’s drapes are drawn” wrote Nietzsche.  And this chick, all of these people, are surprised, that while they were asleep someone (namely them, just sleepwalking) created a gigantic pic/bleep (think about why we don’t call it an image or poem or piece of prose) that exposed our entire lives to everyone….leaving us with no control.

It took you this long?  Well, you know the nightmare you have where you’ve gotten on the 7 train and have no pants or underwear on, and your ex-girl’s holding them but won’t give them to you, and you start to get visibly angry so the whole car gangs up on you for being abusive to her — that’ll come true too soon if you’re not careful.



10 Apr

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…and scared away all the Greeks; this is obviously Arnavutköy, no?

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