First, sorry for what are becoming all-too routine pauses on A More Splendid Life; my own less than splendid life has this sorry habit of getting in the way. So, some fun announcements.
Second, one of the reasons it has been a bit quiet around here is because Brooks at Dirty Tackle has lost his mind and let me post up various bits and bobs on his esteemed site over the next five weeks for the World Cup. So you can see the nice, clean, North American-wide version of what I do.
Third, I did a short profile on John Doyle and his new book, The World is a Ball, in the latest issue of Toronto Life. It's not online, but if you're bored in an airport or something, you can flip through and have a read.
Fourth, what's in store for AMSL during the World Cup. Part of my Yahoo! mandate will be reporting on what's happening in Toronto in and around the tournament, so I'm going to be posting up photos as part of a World Cup diary on this site. I'll be continuing my "Blogs your Should Read for the World Cup" series throughout the games, so hope and pray that this tiny Canadian site will send you its ten regular readers. I will do everything in my power to do a daily post. Will they all be keepers? Well, no.
Fifth, am I the only one almost completely overwhelmed by the media build-up to this tournament? This is the first World Cup since I started writing about soccer, so I'm probably more attuned to the media hype than in years past. I've certainly noticed how my inbox is full of weird requests from electronics companies, century-old football associations, and on-line soccer shirt stores all wanting free publicity because, you know, we're all "friends" on the internet. This blog would look pretty funny if I decided to follow their wishes and just jam it full of all their stupid shit, which of course tempted me to do just that over the next five weeks.
But it's kind of worrying that for all the soccer writers waving lighters at the glorious future of internet journalism that the money side—the advertisers—are still under the impression that merely sending someone a link for a product with almost no relation to what the blog is about will generate a positive response. Who are the bloggers filling their sites with corporate widgets? What does a bobble-head doll have to do with I write on this website? Why do people think my name is A More Splendid Life, or that someone who writes on the internet is somehow incapable of recognizing a mass mail mad-libs for an inferior product?
As a person brought up in the neoliberal nineties, it's sort of a revelation how private companies on the whole are quite inept. Like, forget BP; why aren't more corporations investing as much as they can in clean energy research? The company that patents inexpensive, clean energy products—cars, for example—will over the next several decades make a bajillion bucks, both from government grants and as regulation slowly leans in their favour. Global warming could have been a huge crisitunity bonanza, but the secret is out—capitalism, at least these days, isn't very creative. Now the drunk frat boys who get business degrees just sort of mill around writing excel spreadsheets in between signing cheques for election donations to keep off shore oil wells going for ever and ever, amen. Either that or they call themselves a digital new social media rep and then spend the day emailing bloggers blank requests for free PR.
But I digress. The World Cup is doing this to me. Even the publications I normally turn to to escape are throwing South Africa in my face. The latest New Yorker has a great article out on the US national team, and the New York Times Sunday mag has a must-read article on Ajax's academy system. Everyone is just pumping all this rich gooey soccer writing oil into the fragile online eco-system. I promise to keep my own contributions at a daily minimum.