Darth Blatter

As briefly as possible, what’s just insane about FIFA.

Darth Blatter

FIFA and its surrounding scandals push the limits of hyperbole.

You can’t make this stuff up.

José Hawilla forfeited $151 million dollars, 25 million of which he had already been paid. Paul Allen could walk into the Seahawks locker room with 500 pounds of PEDs, call Roger Goodell ten different gay slurs, and give every official a new car and not get fined that much.

When we’re talking about money of that magnitude, and about the world’s most popular sport, and about unbelievably powerful people, sense and reason dissipate.

We’re talking about the people who control the Beautiful Game and use corrupt bargains to place the world’s biggest international tournament in Sochi (and the Olympics showed us what a bad idea that is) and Qatar (where it’s so hot the tournament can’t be played in the summer). The World Cup’s 2018 and 2022 locations are so bad we’ll forget about burdening the nation of Brazil with it in 2014, when the world’s most soccer-addicted country protested against holding it’s biggest tournament, and where they built a new stadium in the rainforest to hold just a handful of games.

And what makes it all that much more mind-bending is that everyone knew this was all going on. Everyone just accepted that FIFA, the governing body of the world’s most important sport, was one of the most corrupt organizations in the world. And the guy that kept getting re-elected to lead this organization, Sepp Blatter, was known by all to be the cartoon villain at the head of this evil league of international gentlemen.

Just imagine if someone learned, in one day, everything about soccer, and then was told about the corruption of FIFA and Sepp Blatter. They would, with great urgency, call someone in power to let them know what they discovered, or at least to find out what was being done about Blatter. That poor person would promptly receive a shrug of the shoulders. If we translated this into Star Wars, I think it would work like a slightly edited version of that part in Revenge of the Sith where Anakin tells Mace Windu he thinks Palpatine is a Sith Lord and Mace incredulously replies, “A Sith Lord? Are you sure?”

Anakin Skywalker: I think Chancellor Palpatine is a Sith Lord.

Mace Windu: No duh Anakin. Everyone knows that.

Anakin: What? The Council knows?

Windu: Yeah the Council knows. The Senate knows. Padmé knows. Watto knows. Jar Jar knows. Literally everyone but you knows that Palpatine is a Sith Lord.

Anakin: Then why hasn’t anyone done something?

Windu: Well we can’t really prove it.

Anakin: But you know?

Windu: Yeah. I mean it was a little strange that a senator from the New Zealand of the galaxy took over after a suspect vote of no confidence in Valorum’s leadership all while his nation was getting bullied by the Trade Federation’s Roger-Roger and Hammerstein. And that the bureaucrats who ran the show stayed around after he was in office. And that an indigenous screw-up who ruined the first film for half the audience convinced the Senate, a notoriously slow-acting group, to quickly grant emergency powers to Palpatine. And that the Separatists managed to put up a good fight against the Republic, despite us having better soldiers, weapons, equipment, and telekinetic, future-seeing ninjas as generals.

Anakin: Yeah, now that you mention it, I’m not really sure how he knew Padmé was in trouble. And he knew a lot about this mysterious Sith Lord named Plagueis. Are you going to do something about it now?

Windu: I guess. I’ll go confront him with Kit Fisto, Saesee Tiin, and Eeth Koth.

Anakin: And you’re sure they won’t get killed like punks when Palpatine uses the most basic saber moves imaginable, leaving you to fight a Sith Lord on your own? You’re sure you shouldn’t wait for someone else to come help?

Windu: Nah. Ride or die, Anakin.

We all know this is a big deal. A really big deal. And somehow, we’ve all just learned to accept it.

And let’s not make any mistakes about how important Blatter’s position is. Despite the fact that this video exists, Blatter and his position are no laughing matter. Anything that someone named Prince Ali runs for can’t be something to sneeze at. Yeah I know there are a lot of princes out there, but when you have a royal title in front of your name, you’re a big deal. And you could probably do all sorts of awesome stuff without having to deal with the headache of running a global sports body of governance. And yet, someone named Prince Ali was the leading contender to take Blatter’s position from him.

Like I said, you can’t make this stuff up.

What most interests me now is seeing what changes in the wake of these findings and further investigations, and with someone other than Blatter heading up the Galactic Empire. And we have reason to believe that there may be grounds for change, as Blatter’s resignation is not without reason. Obviously he knew he was corrupt all along, so why would he wait until after winning re-election to resign? There must have been some sort of legal finding that meant certain doom for him, which could mean that investigators are onto something big. But questions about where this will go still remain.

First and foremost, will things change at all?

I’m hesitant to speculate, but I’d have to say I don’t think so. I think corruption kind of comes with the global sports territory. This corruption is so massive and thorough that I find it hard to think that things will change anytime soon. As much as I’d love to believe that something can be worked out to move the World Cup from Qatar, and as much as I’d like to think that a new regime could end corruption, pick good places for the tournament, and continue to address the many issues that face soccer and the places where it is played, I kind of think business will go on as usual. And I think that mostly because the world loves soccer so much that no organization can make them stop. People will play and watch soccer no matter which Dark Jedi run the show.

I also want to know what this will mean for American sports fans and the growth of soccer in America. It’s obvious that this issue isn’t taking the place of importance that it maybe should in America. Just think if these kinds of things were happening in the NFL. Actually stop thinking about it, because it’s incomprehensible. As it is, we think Roger Goodell is evil. Papi calls him Fidel Goodell. We don’t like him, mostly because we just think he’s bad at his job. Can you imagine if he was heading up something that was corrupt in the line of 10 figures and violated human rights on a level above domestic violence? Americans have done a remarkable job of going on unaffected by these findings, and I don’t know if that says more about how much progress soccer still has to make or how much these finding don’t ultimately matter to the rest of the world. It’s possible that American’s still don’t really care about soccer, but it’s also possible that the world is really that immune to the evil of FIFA.

Maybe all of this is the beginning of the end for corruption in soccer. Maybe it’s all a blip on the radar. Maybe it will affect American soccer and maybe it won’t. I don’t know how big a deal this really is. Maybe in five years we will see this as the definitive moment in a great change in world football, and maybe we’ll have forgotten about it. I’m interested to see.

What I do know is that there are over a thousand people dead right now as a result of trying to build stadiums in the desert of Qatar. And there are millions of dollars in the pockets of FIFA officials as a result of putting the tournament there.

And that, my friends, is the work of the Dark Side.

Soli Deo Gloria

– Peter

My Man Mesut

Mesut Ozil

I shall endeavor to explain why I have a man-crush on Mesut Özil.

But first, so as to avoid confusion and belay bewilderment, let me give a brief and not nearly sufficient definition of man-crush.

Let’s get this on the table: there is a homoerotic element to a man-crush. This is just a fact of human existence. As my religious studies professor says: “Everyone’s a little gay.” However, homosexuality is a separate thing from a man-crush; I would argue they are mutually exclusive. There is an admiration for physical qualities, but it is hardly contained in that. In fact admiration is probably the word for it. That admiration comes from a desire to display the same attributes of that person (which is why so many men have a man-crush on Aragorn). I don’t know, Freud would have a very different explanation, but suffice to say it’s an admiration of someone that feels stronger than, “Oh, hey, that guy’s pretty cool” and there is, too an extent, a physical attraction involved.

I have a man-crush on Mesut Özil, the German attacking midfielder who currently plays for Arsenal, who just a few hours ago helped his team through to the finals of the FA Cup, providing a beautiful assist to Alexis Sanchez.


Well first of all I find him intriguing. Non-Germanic German-citizens are interesting to me, and there’s something fascinating about people who don’t look like your typical Hans or Siegfried speaking perfectly normal German *cough* like the German-born player Jurgen included on the national team instead of Landon Donavan *cough*. Being the son of Turkish immigrants (of which there are many in Germany) makes him a great combination because he’s Middle Eastern (always intriguing) but also German, and just being a footballer for Germany makes you a likely candidate for man-crushes.

His play on the pitch is beautiful. Calm and assured in possession, his finesse makes him seem untouchable at times. He glides above the ball, seeking out teammates, making top shelf passes look routine. Crafty touches here and there free up teammates, making chances out of seemingly nothing. He handles dead-ball opportunities, sending in deadly free-kicks and corners with his golden left foot. He changes the game offensively, and does so with deftness. So much so that I don’t even mind that he doesn’t care about playing defense. I just like watching him play soccer.

And yes, there is some element of physical attraction. But I can’t explain what it is. Again, this is why a man-crush is separate from homosexuality. I would imagine a gay man could tell you he likes another man’s muscular body, Umahis handsome rugged face, his flowing hair, etc.  much like I know how I could usually describe the beautiful features of a woman (although describing faces is so bogus. There is no formula for what makes an attractive face, let alone a good way to describe it). So yeah, I can’t say for sure what I find handsome about Özil, and it’s important to note that physical features are not the basis for a man-crush. I will say though that there is a common theme in three of my man-crushes (Özil, rapper JGivens, and my friend Ross), and that is big eyes. That might just be a coincidence. However, in Özil’s case, the big eyes also contribute to the fact that he looks a lot like Uma Thurman, and since I’m a fan of Uma, that could play into all of this (seriously, Özil looks a lot like a younger Uma).

I’d like whatever I write on this blog to have some sort of meaning beyond spouting personal confessions, and while I hope this article will make you a fan of Mesut Özil as a footballer if not for his handsome appearance, I’d hate to leave you feeling like so what?

So here’s something: why are man-crushes so common in heterosexual men? Follow up question: to what extent does our society still exhibit and/or endorse Platonic/Socratic love among men?

Because I feel like there is a lot at work that cause this kind of homosexual admiration. The first being, like my professor says, “Everyone’s a little gay.” Because I think we all know that this is, to varying extents, true. How does that affect our perception of being defined as homosexual, heterosexual, or bi-sexual? What does it mean to be born one way or the other? Where do we draw lines? I’m not making an argument in any direction; I’m just saying that, in a day and age when homosexuality is such an important issue, it might be worth-while to consider how heterosexual men can admire physical attributes of other men.

But as for Platonic/Socratic love in men: is this still around? Do we still have this profound love that does not move us to sexual action? I think it’s very rare, almost non-existent, at least not like in the old days (not the old old days when Greek and Roman men would caress each other and such, but like the sorta old days when Christianity said no-go to the homo and took the physicality out of it). Brotherhood still certainly exists, particularly in sports and (as always) in the military, but does this love of fellow man still happen? Perhaps it does, and I suppose we would have to get tricky with definitions to categorize friendship, comradeship, brotherhood, erotic love, and Socratic/Platonic love, but I think it is largely gone and I have a quick theory. Bear with me here, then I’ll let you go:

I think the exaltation of the individual in modern society – one of the most important developments in western history – has played a role in diminishing this in contemporary masculinity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the caesarindividual, but it comes at a price. Consider this: is there anyone out there who could inspire you to cast aside self-regard and go above and beyond what you thought possible beyond family members or significant others? Probably not. But back in the day, a single man could inspire others to greatness just by his mere presence, and I think it’s because the man exhibited some sort of ideal. In ancient Rome, Julius Caesar was the ultimate example of strength and Roman glory, and as a result, according to Plutarch, “such was the affection which Caesar inspired in his soldiers, and such was their devotion to him, that they who under other leaders were nothing above the common, became under him invincible and capable of meeting the utmost danger with a courage which nothing could resist.” Plutarch gives an amazing example of this devotion:

“For instance, in Britain the Romans met the natives in a marshy spot, and a band of Caesar’s men found themselves entrapped among the Britons. One of the Romans took the lead, hewed right and left among the islanders, beat them off, and rescued his comrades. Then he plunged into the stream that ran by, swam it, waded through the mud of the swamp, and reached the place where the general was watching. However, he lost his shield, and, in deep distress, he fell at Caesar’s feet, saying: ‘General, I have lost my shield. I ask your pardon!'”

Today, people can define for themselves what is important and what they want to be. That’s a new, western development in human history. As a result, we don’t care about stuff as intensely as we used to, and because we are not driven by collective ideals in this way, we don’t have so many exemplars to venerate. Of course I am speaking generally, as there are still ideals that many people hold onto, and there are also exemplars out there. Take, for example, blue collar conservatives and Chris Kyle.

So I think Socratic/Platonic love is connected to this concept: when a man exemplifies an intensely important ideal, other men, wishing to display that ideal as well, love and admire the man profoundly.

So maybe that’s it: I see in Mesut Özil a reflection of what I want to be.

Or maybe I just see Uma Thurman.

Soli Deo Gloria

– Peter