Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Soccer Malaise

I read an article about an hour ago (*mucho hours ago now), pretty good article, in which the author wrote of a recent "coarseness" in America generally that he found instantiated in the United Airlines passenger who was forcibly removed from a flight that he had paid for by the airline. The writer made no judgment on which was chicken and which was egg, Trump or the American people.

I get that. I see coarseness, too. I am heart and soul committed to furthering the cause of coarseness. What does this have to do with "soccer malaise"? I'm gettin' there mother-fucker, chill the fuck out. Certainly, there was the same coarseness in America's politics before 2016. Because there are Republicans. The recent strain goes back to Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009. Not slithering from rock to rock nor living in an infested swamp as do Republicans, I did not see the full extent of the coarseness, I saw just the heads of these creatures of slime until my brother-the-racist began conversating with me about the 2016 election.

I sensed, and that is the proper word, "sensed," not "saw," something else and I don't think it was a milder strain of Republican Trailer Park Fever, I think it was different. I felt an "unease"; I had the sense that, as I wrote many times under the heading, "Does America Still Work?" that we were mired, stuck, in some rut somehow and somewhere, I didn't know, and I don't know now, how or where; that we were living life in an America, and to some extent in a world, that was a bit of a Potemkin Village, a facade, a shell, that things weren't as they seemed, to that extent were not "real"; that we were afflicted with some "malaise" (See? I'm gettin' there.) and couldn't solve problems as we once could; maybe didn't even know what the "real" problems were. What I "saw" that created that "feeling," that gave me that "sense," were, off the top of my head:

-The financial crisis of 2008. We were living in a "bubble"? Our prosperity existed on the outer edge of a "bubble"? Really? Didn't know that. Until the bubble burst.

-The internet. "Free!" Yipee! Free to use, "real" "free speech." Everybody could be a newspaper writer and publisher. Nobody could control it. Not true. None of that is true. Costs some jingle, not much, something; ain't no free speech behind the Great Firewall, nor on a stupid blog in America that is blocked there, that Great Firewall firebombers hacked as recently as January, 2017! Not free speech at all. And every Maximum Leader from POTUS to the president of Egypt can simply pull a plug and disconnect his or her country's internet. Wtf. Used to be a ML wanted to do that, (s)he'd first have to get a restraining order against the New York Times, then get one against the Washington Post, it was a pain in the ass for ML's, he couldn't just PULL A FUCKING PLUG. How the fuck did that happen?

-NSA. The Snowden revelations. The FISA court. Talk about living in a Potemkin Village. We WEREN'T EVEN AWARE THERE WAS A FACADE. "That thing out front, all paper? What thing out front?" I thought the paper was on the inside, the Constitution, I thought the paper was the Constitution and that IT held up the outside. I had sort of come to count on the Constitution. Would always be there. Was the essence of America. When Snowden revealed I felt terra firma turn to sand beneath my feat. I didn't recognize this FISA court thingy as a court. not a "real court, not real-real like I had stepped into every day for thirty-something years. Used to be, you couldn't have a parallel Constitution, a shadow Constitution, couldn't conduct a parallel, shadow, "off the shelf," extra-Constitutional, FISA type thingy foreign policy. Ollie North tried that. Didn't get away with it. Got in big trouble. Now, he could do that. Now it's done every day.

-Computers (close connection here to the Internet, I know). You HAD TO HAVE A COMPUTER.
You HAD TO BE "WIRED", "CONNECTED," remember that? "You're not wired?! What are you, a fucking luddite?!" You had to be wired to be cool. Then: No we really mean it. It became a requirement in businesses, large organizations. You HAD TO USE A COMPUTER. You could not hand write a memo and give it to your secretary, you HAD TO SEND AN EMAIL. New rules. It went from a social convention "Dude, you will never get laid again in your entire fucking life," to a job requirement.

-Iphones. Why are they so goddamned expensive? Why do they keep coming out with new iterations? A telephone used to be a fucking telephone, okay? Black. Sometimes eggshell. Only red if it was a "hotline." Your telephone did one fucking thing: made calls. And you could have it in any color you wanted as long as it was black or sometimes eggshell. Cost about $40 and lasted forever unless you threw it against the wall. IT WORKED!

-Windows 8. It used to be there was only one communication device, and you only had to buy one phone in your life unless you threw it against the wall BECAUSE IT WORKED. Windows 7 WORKED. Worked extremely well, beautiful thing Windows 7. Why would you change? Why would you fix something that wasn't broken? That's what Microsoft did and WINDOWS 8 DIDN'T WORK. So they fixed something in no need of fixing, THAT WORKED, and replaced it with something that DIDN'T WORK. Made you buy it, too. "I don't want a fucking eggshell phone!" "Sir, don't be difficult, we'll have to pull you off the plane, you HAVE TO HAVE an eggshell phone. That doesn't work."

-MH370. (I know, I know! I'm gettin' there.) This was a biggy for me malaise-wise, does-the-world-still-work-wise. All the computers, all the satellites, all the radar, sonar, hand-off's, checkpoints, jackoffs, all the frigging technology AND WE LOST A FUCKING JET. Used to be, we never lost a fucking jet. The world never lost a commercial passenger aircraft with 270 people aboard AND NEVER FOUND IT in the days before "You got mail!", when you could only get phones in black (sometimes eggshell). It seemed to me, I "sensed," that we had become a Gulliver, that all of those wires and connections had ensnared us and we lay all "wired" on the ground, a pitiful, helpless giant.

-(One more) 538/The Upshot. Why did we go to "So-and-so has a 72% chance of winning"? The old way, before computer "models," POLLING, worked swell. "So-and-so has a 3.5% lead in our latest national poll (with a margin of error of +/-3.5%)"--we all got that, it meant the race was "close," "very close,"  "Man, look at that margin of error, close race, very close, real tossup." What does having a 72% chance of winning mean? "That means the race is a virtual tossup." Excuse me, Nate Silver, you frigging pencil-dick, if this coin has a 72% chance of coming up "heads" then when I "toss it up" into the air IT AIN'T A TOSSUP UP how it's gonna come down, Bunky, that's 50-50, you frigging PENCIL-DICK! FiveThirtyFake and the ShutUp fixed something that wasn't broken and replaced it with something that DIDN'T WORK!

So Barcelona lost today, 3-0 at Juve. After reading that article on coarseness I went to ESPNFC and saw that Barca had lost 3-0 at Juve. They lost to 14th-place Malaga 2-0 on April 8. Barcelona does not lose to 14th-placed teams, okay? They lost to PSG 4-0 in the Champions League in February (Barca does not lose 4-0). They have Neymar, Messi and the Cannibal. They have always had Neymar's, Messi's, and Cannibals but this year they're losing to Malaga's and PSG's. BARCA DOESN'T WORK too good this year. New manager, soon to be ex-new-manager, Luis Enrique, took something that wasn't broken, WAS FUCKING TOOLING ALONG LIKE A TREMENDOUS MACHINE and has them sputtering in some kind of rut (Comparatively. They're still second, "only" second, in La Liga and did sort of get even with PSG, 6-1).

Now Arsenal. Arsenal lost 3-0 yesterday to Child Porn. 3 nil! To CP! 16th-place CP! Arsenal has Arsene Wenger. They have ALWAYS HAD ARSENE WENGER! Arsenal ALWAYS finishes in the top four in the EPL, ALWAYS qualifies for the Champs League. They're sixth now. Arsenal has been in a season-long malaise, worse than any they have been in FOREVER. You take Arsenal and Arsene Wenger every year and pencil them in at second, third or fourth (not first, NEVER first) every year, write 'em in in ink for the Champs League every frigging year. Not this year. The old ways, the things you count on, just don't work any more! Why doesn't Arsenal work any more under Arsene Wenger? Why couldn't they and he have headed this off. They, by replacing him earlier, because this was a thing that a LOTTA people saw coming!, to a lot of people this was a LONG time coming; he, Wenger, by buying players, different players, better players, because a lot of people saw that coming! Wenger left star, Emmanuel Adebayor, after star, Samir Nasri, after star, Robin van Persie, go. Go to main competitors, Manchester City, the first two, Manchester United, the last. Never caught up with him. Kept purring along, finishing second, third, or fourth, always qualifying for the Champs League, raking in the £'s for his American owner. How long did he think he could get away with that? Why did he think HE could defy the laws of physics and invent a perpetual motion machine? There is an
ARROGANCE in Wenger, in his faith in his methods, his sole reliance on his methods, that I see having a parallel to the world's reliance on technology in the MH370 Humiliation; in the world's faith in the economic order pre-crash; that I see in 538's election "modeling" failure. Used to be, there were things you could count on always to be there, the Constitution, Arsenal in the top four...

-...Manchester United at the top, or at worst, second. They finished fifth last season and are fifth now. They are on their third manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. They cannot grab their ass with both hands. Cannot solve the Rooney Riddle, cannot solve the Roster Riddle. Suddenly they are incompetent. Will likely be playing in the Europa League next season, as they did this.

-Manchester City/Pep Guardiola. From faith in deus ex machina to deus ex Catalan. We're gonna turn East Manchester into Barcelona West. Just import the whole fucking front office and and bring the manager in as icing on the pies via Munich. Lotta people saw this comin' too. A tick-tock, tick-tock aging, perpetually injured captain, team fulcrum, defensive anchor, talismanic talisman, a stale roster ineffectually refreshed by Barca West management, an over relied upon, world class, but oft-injured
striker suddenly in the hands of an undeniably genius manager who demands "more" of the aforesaid striker, Kun Aguero, when LESS would have been more like it; who exiles an imperfect but UNBROKEN goalkeeper in favor of one who "plays with his feet," most of us getting out of that stage when we begin to walk, and who, it turns out, can't play with his feet, hands and head as well as the exile, thus FIXING SOMETHING THAT WASN'T BROKEN AND BREAKING IT!, which calls to my mind anyway Steven Sinofsky, may he rot in hell, and the Windows 8 Debacle.

So yeah, a soccer malaise, that's what I sense, that's what I feel, and those are the things I see, up there, that make me feel what I feel and sense what I sense and to express it coarsely, I HATE it.