Weekend Reading Roundup (Violent Underpinnings Edition)

You’ll have to excuse me for being short-and-sweet here today. You see, I’ve spent the past two hours in a “debate” on Twitter with those who took offense to a taken-literally “I’d still give a Sarah Palin GMILF van-gangbang video a few minutes if her friends were chanting ‘Drill Baby Drill’ while quadteaming her” post inspired by having to wake up and see Her Highness on my tellie.


America’s in a bad place when people don’t have the reading comprehension necessary to detect exaggerated hyperbole. Or whatever it’s called.

You know what else was in a bad place? Spanish matador Julio Aparicio‘s face:

Battle of Bull Run

Battle of Bull Run

Caught that pic on the front of the NY Daily News coming home from a shore wedding last night (Congrats Jeannine and Michael!). Trying to figure out whether it’s frameworthy considering that watching a bullfight as a wee lad was among the most life-shaking experiences of my life not involving a speeding car.

So anyway, onto noteworthy stories …

— Like former Philly mayoral candidate Rep. Bob Brady calling it “humiliating” that Pres. Obama flew over Pa. instead of landing for some pre-primary stumping for Arlen.

— City D.A. Seth Williams having his office retrofitted with a long-overdue conviction-rate-monitoring system.

Tens of thousands gather in Trenton to call Gov. Chris Christie out for what he’s become: A bully. (Yes, the millionaire’s tax is a big deal, but save the “do it for the children” angle. It’s tacky.)

— Of Rand Paul’s perceived-as-Tea-Party-victory win last Tuesday, Frank Rich writes, “The Tea Party is a right-wing populist movement with a specific ideology. It resides in the aging white base of the Republican Party and wants to purge that party of leaders who veer from its dogma. But divisive as the Tea Party may be within the G.O.P., it’s hardly good news for President Obama and the Democrats either.”

— And, in keeping with the excellent media-wide pre-World Cup coverage trend, Sports Illustrated has a photo spread of The Beautiful Game being played across the globe with features on Didier Drogba

Few 21st-century athletes are as familiar with the transcendent power of soccer as Didier Yves Drogba Tébily, 32, United Nations goodwill ambassador, reigning African Player of the Year, three-time Premier League champion. It isn’t just that the feared striker has turned Ivory Coast into a fashionable dark horse for the 2010 World Cup, the first to be held in Africa. How many sportsmen have helped end their nation’s civil war? “When you’re a leader like Didier, people think maybe he can be a politician someday,” says his Chelsea and Ivory Coast teammate Salomon Kalou. “If he decides to, he will be a great one. People listen when he’s talking.

… the psycho-societal shift of Brazilian futbol

These days, if you’re looking for the Beautiful Game of short passes and midfield maestros—o jogo bonito, as coined by Pelé himself—it’s being played by Spain. “If we win this year, it’s going to be the victory of the non-beautiful game: power, not technique,” laments Marcos Motta, a Rio-based lawyer who represents several top players and clubs. “And that’s a problem. In Brazil it’s not just about winning. It’s about how we win.”
Style matters, in other words. But like everything else in Brazilian soccer, that notion is up for debate, a never-ending argument that rages in bars and houses and workplaces all over a soccer-addled country.

… and, my personal favorite from the U.S. National Team, Clint Dempsey

When Clinton Drew Dempsey, the U.S.’s most inventive and unpredictable soccer player, joined the national team in 2004, then coach Bruce Arena summarized his primary asset in three words: “He tries s—.” It’s an approach common in Latin America, where kids often learn the game on the streets, and rare among U.S. players, who are channeled into organized soccer from an early age. Dempsey’s style is self-taught, intuitive, like a jazzman’s. “It’s a little bit of Pete Maravich,” says U.S. coach Bob Bradley. “Clint’s capable of making an attacking play that’s a little different, that can create an advantage, that can lead to a goal. To have a player who can come up with something different at the right time, that’s still such a special part of soccer.”

Congrats to Inter Milan for their well-deserved UEFA Final victory over Bayern Munich yesterday. And, let’s go Argentina or Netherlands. Hoist that trophy on July 11 so one of my Vegas future bets hits!

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