Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup Domination & Entertaining the Empire:
One Aim Changes Everything

"Our situation is like a football match. The superpower countries are the players, and we are just the ball to be kicked around."

- A young Pakistani civilian,
North Waziristan

The Great Game is indeed alive and kicking. This summer's World Cup tournament is providing yet another way for the United States to project its power across the globe, though not as a result of the American national team's action on the pitch.

Rather, this year, the subjugation will be televised.

While the presence of U.S. Marine Corps recruiting advertisements at each and every commercial break is perhaps mundane at this point, far more surprising is the frequent, scripted announcement by various British and Scottish play-by-play commentators on ESPN that "we'd like to welcome our men and women in uniform, serving in over 175 countries and territories, watching today's 2010 FIFA World Cup match on AFN, the American Forces Network." Other various comments have also been made about how proud the ESPN color men are of the American troops, what a fine job they are doing, and that the commentators are "glad to have them with us" and "sincerely hope [the soldiers] are enjoying the broadcast."

Beyond the surreal fact that announcers from the UK, like Adrian Healey, Martin Tyler, and Ian Darke, are eagerly praising American soldiers and sailors during the broadcast as their own ("our brave men and women..."), how can the rest be said with a straight face or without the most shameful sense of hypocrisy? That there are US troops stationed in over 175 countries around the world is a stunning fact in itself - although well-known by now if you've been paying attention at all for the past decade. At this point, there's probably an 'App' for that.