28 June 2009

i'm posting! for real!

so, um, yeah.

michael jackson is dead. [this was actually a techno song that came out when i was in uni a couple of decades ago; bonus points if you can find an mp3 of it.]

i don't have anything to say about it one way or the other -- i was never really into him. strange, i know. but even my mother had off the wall and dangerous, and she was so religious and strict that i had to play with the cable box so that i could watch mtv at home.

my friend fo has written a locked post in her lj about his alleged conversion to islam and what this would mean wrt funerals and stuff [technically, he can't have a strictly muslim funeral, as it's been more than 24 hours since his death] -- when she posts it in an open space, i'll get back to it.


in the interim, i'm thinking about the world cup that will be taking place in a year's time. this article in the new york times talks about the bumps and hiccups that have been going on during the dress-rehearsal confederations cup that is currently taking place in south africa -- the final, between brazil and the united states will be tonite, with the 3rd place game, between south africa and spain taking place this afternoon.

i have three major gripes about this whole thing:

firstly, the weather. the local organizing committee [loc] acquiesced to fifa's demand to have the world cup in june and july rather than in september/october. there is precedent for southern hemisphere events that normally happen in the northern hemisphere "summer" to take place in september instead of june or july [namely, both instances of the olympics in australia].

but no, danny jordaan et cie bent right over for sepp blatter and just took it. it's 10am on the day following the coldest night in cape town in almost 4 years -- the overnight low was 6 degrees C. over the past weekend, the only 2010 host cities to not have subzero temperatures have been cape town, port elizabeth and durban. i think the tourists who come next year are in for a major, major shock. they will be thinking "oh it's africa" and definitely not come dressed for the winter weather. during the united states v spain semifinal match in the confed cup, it was snowing less than an hour's drive away.

the weather aspect gets very short shrift in this new york times article, just that it was "mostly spectacular". um, no. note the venues for the confed cup: pretoria, johannesburg, rustenburg, and bloemfontein. they were largely chosen because, well, it doesn't rain in the wintertime there. [even though joburg got rain almost until the opening whistle.] if port elizabeth had met the deadline for completed stadia, there would have been constant whingeing about the weather there, and for much of the confed cup, cape town has been beaten up by gale force winds bringing almost ten inches of rain, total, in less than ten days. this does not bode well for next year. hm.

the second thing that irks me about this is the whole "ooooh, the crime" factor. this country has an insane crime rate. it's really insane. and while cape town has the highest crime rate in the country, most of the crime that ends up in the news is in joburg, as the upmarket suburbs are almost walking distance from several of the "worst" slums -- and rich south africans are really big on rubbing their wealth in everyone's face. [i don't want to say "they're asking for it", but it does help to be a bit less ostentatious.]

[it's funny to note that, while urban crime in brazil, the hosts in 2014, is on par with that of south africa, there are no such concerns about the crime situation there, as "everybody knows" that the government will either bribe the gangs into behaving or they will shoot petty criminals themselves and cull the street kids in a manner like they did before the pan am games were held in rio -- most likely, it will be a combination of the two. google "police brutality brazil" or "police murders rio" or things in that vein. the south african police force is more corrupt and far more incompetent than the brazilian police, but murdering criminals and civilians who get in the way is not really their thing. hence, the concerns about crime.]

fifa and the loc are in the process of turning this world cup into little more than a canned safari. i'm not joking. there is to be almost no contact between the players and the public unless the players go out of their way to make it happen or there are specially scripted events -- and it's also worth noting that the tourism operators are pretty much doing the exact same thing.

fifa want to stress that they are making this an "african world cup". um, no. if they wanted this to be an "african" world cup, then they should hold it in, say, nigeria or kenya. not south africa. first of all, south africans are Not Interested At All[tm] in anything happening north of the limpopo or orange rivers, with the possible exception of zimbabwe because the instability there has sent a few million zimbabweans down to this side looking for work. [and, don't look now, but most of the "jobs" in the hospitality industry related to the world cup will be going to zimbabweans. oops.]

but south africa? no. south africans seem to think that they have the monopoly on what it means to be african when... they really don't. not at all. not even by a long shot. but whatevs. south africa is about as all-encompassing of africa as the united states is all-encompassing of the americas. actually, that's a bad example, because the united states is -- although americans don't want to admit this -- far more inclusive of the rest of "the americas" than south africa is of the african continent. seriously. [for starters, you're not going to see kikongo, lingala or shona on south african television in the way that you see spanish -- and/or, depending on your location, mandarin, farsi, kreyol, or arabic -- on american television. EVER.]

but anyway -- at the stadiums for the south african domestic leagues are hordes of women who sell food the the people inside [in most south african stadia, food isn't available inside the stadium, and in those few places when/where it is, it's usually unaffordable to people who have shown up]. for the world cup? not going to happen. they cannot be within 1km of the stadium; the only people allowed to be within 1km of the stadium are sponsor vendors like mcdonalds and coca-cola.

i find this last point particularly amusing because in cape town, there is in fact a mcdonald's within 1km of the site of the stadium here [and it's been there for about a decade], and the official name of one of the stadia in johannesburg is coca-cola park -- although locals call it ellis park, because that's what it was for, oh, almost 80 years. i detect something like the whole national v reagan issue when the tourists show up.

the third point i want to bring up that amuses me is that there are those who want to ban the use of vuvuzelas during the world cup. personally, i didn't care one way or the other until people on this side started saying "oh, you're trying to do this because we're african". then i got pissed off. having seen more of africa than all but the most intrepid aid workers/diplomats/world bank/imf/un employees, the vuvuzela is not an "african" thing. it's an mzansi thing. big, big big difference, and it goes back to the whole "people equating south africa with the rest of africa" bit with a bit of "south africans, yet again, thinking they have the monopoly on 'african'", when collectively, they mock and mimic americans even more than the senegalese and cameroonians do the french. it's really annoying.

most people i know from up-continent who have had the misfortune to watch south african football on teevee have wondered how they even manage to play with the din. [it's a misfortune because the south african leagues are even worse than the domestic brazilian leagues and bolivian leagues, and roughly on par with the domestic senegalese league, despite having access to far more people and cash from which to create and run their teams.] of course, south africans will probably say they are colonialised pseudo-europeans without a hint of irony while wearing their liverpool/man u/chelsea/barça/inter jerseys. whatever.

in almost every african city in which i have lived as an adult [outside of south africa, that is], i have lived less than 2km from a football stadium. number of times i've heard vuvuzelas: 0. like i said, it's not an "african" thing. it's a "mzansi" thing. i'm not knocking the use of them, although i don't like it. i'm knocking the terminology.

but anyway, im only marginally interested in this world cup. i need it to hurry up and get done so that the government can actually start making the much needed economic reforms to get things back on track. they're afraid to do it before the world cup, because of the "social upheaval" it may cause, and honestly, many of them firmly believe that they will yank it and give it to australia or brazil or the united states anyway if things start going horribly wrong in the next 12 months. it's really tragic.

the man on the street has it right [for once]. south africa was seriously hoodwinked into this. fifa and the loc are going to try as hard as possible to keep tourists from wandering about, which means that the vaunted "tourism spend" really isn't going to happen. [there's barely anything going on in bloemfontein, kimberley, or polokwane during the summer, yet people are convinced that folks will want to party it up in the winter? are you serious?]

i, personally, need to have my money right so i can sit this one out in brazil. ugh.


Nob said...

When people say the vuvuzela is Afriacn they mean black and that the anal racist colonial counter revolutionary whites want to take them away.

Lol, the verification word is inksarse. Did you choose that Mdun?

kwerekwere said...

heh, i don't choose the verification words.

i could use some arse right now, though. i'm about due. oh wait, i said that i was keeping my sex life in my other blogs. lol

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