Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tomgram: Tony Karon, The World in Soccer's World Cup

Starting today, the message of much of the world will be: Don't call us; we'll call you in a month. The World Cup begins and, outside the U.S., much else stops.

To mention a small desire of mine -- I've long wanted to cover some sports at Tomdispatch. (After all, like so many of us, I obsessively watch enough of it.) Now, Tony Karon has made reality of my passing dream with this "how to" which should catch the attention of World Cup fans and non-fans alike.

With the dexterity of an on-line Pelé, Karon is a man everywhere at once: He writes for, puts together the always interesting website Global Beat for journalists, and in his all-too-spare spare time, periodically writes riveting little essays at his website, Rootless Cosmopolitan (where he will also be blogging the World Cup).

Those of you who have mastered the necessary art of doing at least two things at once and can read with the TV running (and little figures running on it) might consider picking up Eduardo Galeano's singularly wonderful book, Soccer in Sun and Shadow, or try C. L. R. James' classic book on cricket and politics, Beyond a Boundary, which Karon mentions and which is worth it, even if you don't know a thing about the sport. (Or just skip them both and, for a special treat, read Galeano's inspiring newest book, Voices of Time: A Life in Stories.)

Now, whether you call it soccer or football, do your stretches and wind sprints, then relax, and, with Karon, consider the World Cup as the world itself. Tom

How to Watch the World Cup

Politics and War by Other Means
By Tony Karon

I have a pretty good idea where Osama bin Laden will be on June 14 -- and June 19, and again on June 23. Not his exact location, but it's a safe bet he'll be in front of a TV tuned in to Saudi Arabia's World Cup soccer matches with, respectively, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Spain. Legend has it that soccer is one of bin Laden's guilty pleasures. He's unlikely to miss the spectacle of the men from the land of the Prophet taking on the infidels of al-Andalus. He probably has a soft spot for Tunisia too, that country being the only one on record thus far to see one of its professional soccer players attempt to join al Qaeda's martyrs.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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