Sunday, June 11, 2006

State-preoccupied media

Dear non-athlete sportscasters (& John McCain),

I know you've got a tough job. You've been assigned to cover a sport you barely understand. So of course you've seized upon one of the few aspects which is familiar to you: Flags.

Yes, the teams come from different countries. Good job. And it's your job to find some dramatic angle to make the game more emotionally significant for the viewers. So tying the games to international political tensions seems an obvious move. It's also complete bullshit.

For the same reason the Olympics is a good thing, the World Cup is also a good thing: Athletes care only about the game. It's not that they set aside international differences, it's that they don't matter.

So leave the Iranian guys alone. They're not thinking "If I drop this corner just right, the world will accept my homeland's aspirations of acquiring atomic weapons". Nor are they thinking "I shall slide tackle this guy because the representative from his district has been particularly vocal in supporting the UN's meddling in our nuclear program".

Since those of you who are the worst offenders are non-athletes, I can understand why you don't get this. But please stop. It's silly.