Sunday, May 2, 2010

Oh, Bono

It's not about Politics, religion, or the economy
It's not about borders, history, trade, oil, water, gas, mineral rights, human rights or animal rights...

I realize that this being Bono's voice makes it extra-annoying, and I realize that ESPN is trying to position the World Cup to US viewers as an Olympic-style, world-uniting event (which it is), and that might be a pretty decent tactic.

But does this ad rub anyone else the wrong way, this explicit call-to-apathy, the idea that the World Cup is so wonderful (it is very, very wonderful) that it makes everyone's problems go away? Especially as they're running ads for the ESPN documentary about the political importance of the '95 Rugby World Cup during the same commercial breaks (a TV network trying to have it both ways, ring the alarm, I know). The World Cup is one of the happiest things in the world, and I will enjoy it immensely, but trying to depoliticize an event as Global as this seems odd. The histories of the nations involved and their current place in the world don't diminish the spectacle or the efforts on the field. At the very least they enrich the narrative and at best maybe some new bit of social consciousness can sneak through to the millions of people watching.

(I'm sure when ESPN is running human-interest stories instead of analyzing football for hours a day next month I will run a furious retraction)

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