Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The World Cup of ... Humo(u)r

The current World Cup has proven that the United States is better than England in soccer, but the English may retain their traditional advantage in the wit department.

The Guardian's World Cup Daily podcast is an engaging mix of information, silliness, hard-headed analysis, blunt speaking, reporting, and jokes that American sports journalism would never allow.

My favorite quips have come from Barry Glendenning (who's Irish, actually). One was a comment on Landon Donovan's odd behavior when he dropped to his knees and looked skyward before a penalty kick:
"But he’s American. He was probably praying to the Lord Jesus."
Imagine the politico-religious explosion that would result if anyone said that in America.

And here's Glendenning on Uruguay's celebrated but distant soccer history, most of which, he said, came “before Sky invented football in 1992.” Few in American journalism would take ESPN's name in vain in such fashion.

Glendenning also offers blunter assessments of players and teams than is usual in the U.S. On one of England's starters and the team's chances: " ... the mistakes I think John Terry will make throughout the tournament. I don't rate John Terry as an international defender. ... [England] just don't have the spine."

And here's Barney Ronay's pre-World Cup assessment of England's chances:
"What kind of message would it send to the world if England did win the World Cup? ... Have a bloated, overinflated league ... have a rubbish coaching structure, don't look after your youngsters, get a foreign manager in, and you, too, can be the best in the world. I mean, it just seems wrong that England would win the World Cup."
And the show's host, James Richardson, on advertising-fueled jingoism, "this deluge of crap adverts telling us that this is `we.'" And the references to various teams as "rubbish" or "shocking," a degree of bluntness that would be welcome when appropriate but will never cross the lips of any American sports commentator who might, if roused to a passion, allow that an American team may have disappointed high expectations.
In late-breaking listening to podcasts from early in the World Cup, the sex jokes are getting a bit old. And then was a remark about Japan's lack of offense that, perhaps especially understandably, would never pass an American's lips:
"Their scoring columns have more zeroes than the the attack on Pearl Harbo(u)r."
© Peter Rozovsky 201

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Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

The problem was that our key player Wayne Rooney was so used to playing alongside Portugese, Brazilian, Ecuadorian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Argentinian, French and Dutch players for his club, that the shock of playing with Englishmen was too much for him.

June 29, 2010  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

It gets weirder...


June 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uriah, one of the Guardian's commentators said apropos of the English national team that English football is like the economy. England, he says, puts on a brilliant league for everyone else but can't produce anything of its own.

June 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

P. à D.:

One wonders what songs about England's team or France's would be like.

June 29, 2010  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Inexcusable, I know...

June 30, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No bouncy little ditties about North Korea's team, I suppose.

June 30, 2010  

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