Category Archives: Foreigners

Everything You Need To Know About the 2014 World Cup

In which, for no good reason, I disparage a bunch of countries that probably have lots of nice people in them.

You guys, it’s World Cup season, which means it’s time to laugh at the rest of the world for caring so much about this event. Unlike the Olympics, which are our biennial (not biannual. That’s different.) chance to stick it to China and/or the USSR, America could not give a shit about this event. Like, it’s fun when we win, but then you have to celebrate with the kind of Americans who follow soccer, or as it’s known here in America, soccer. Because this is inevitable, let’s get all the soccer fan insults out of the way. They wear stupid scarves, inexplicably use “side” to mean “team,” “pitch” to mean “field,” “pace” to mean “speed,” “kilometer” to mean “0.621371” miles and annoyingly pluralize team names, as in “On a kilometer by kilometer basis, Brazil have the most pace on the pitch of any side.” Speak normally!

But back to the soccer. There are a lot of countries to keep track of in this tournament, so here’s a handy guide to the teams of the 2014 World Cup.

Group A

Brazil

For a country with such a rich musical tradition, somehow this is still the song I was most quickly able to associate with Brazil.

Win or lose, Brazil’s hilariously corrupt World Cup will go down in history as being hilariously corrupt, that is, unless an interesting soccer thing happens, in which case everyone will forget the billions of dollars used to construct useless stadiums across the country, including one in the middle of the Amazon that is only reachable by plane. Even if Manaus has two million people, it shouldn’t feel like you need Indiana Jones or that adventurer dude from Jumanji to get to a soccer stadium.  On the soccer side of thing, they’ve looked underwhelming so far, struggling to finish on their scoring chances and generally looking tight in front of their home crowds. (That might be the only bit of actual soccer analysis I have to give).

Mexico

Did you guys know that Mexico hates America’s soccer team? It’s true! In any case, Mexico wouldn’t even be in this tournament if it weren’t for America scoring late against Panama in qualification, so you’re welcome, Mexico. I’m sure whenever the Americans make it back to Mexico, they’ll be given their traditional welcome of a golden shower.

Croatia

Cameroon v Croatia: Group A - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

On the plus side, their uniforms double as picnic blankets when they’re not using them (the checkerboard element is taken from the Croat Coat of Arms, which is quite the tongue twister). On the downside, I’m pretty sure that every player on their team’s last name ends with ivicisevicicicic, which can be confusing.

Cameroon

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The Xenophobe’s Guide to Foreign Movies

I know, I know–two things most people hate: learning and movies with subtitles. For those of you with a Netflix account know that the streaming options run a little thin after a while. At a certain point, American Pie 6: Pie in the Sky (that one’s about them all becoming fighter Pie-lots) starts to look relatively good.

But good news, there’s a whole other genre you might not have considered (you racist): ForeignerStuff. And in that genre, plots take entirely different directions, characters act in weird, nonsensical ways, and sometimes a guy who looks like Pau Gasol throws himself in front of a moving train. It can be hard to follow sometimes because often they don’t follow the conventions of American movies, which often have things like “characters,” “characters with names” and “a plot.” But fortunately, I’m hear to provide what I’ve learned so that you can figure out what the fuck is going on if you ever decide to watch any of these things.

South Korea

Barking Dogs Never Bite, 2000

The lesson: Seoul is a gigantic, depressing hellhole

Holy shit, look at the size of this chunk of an apartment building. There’s a person in it, running. Can you see him? Of course not because it all is just this enormous building forever and everything looks the same.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 12.16.30 PM

Lady Vengeance, 2005

Fact: South Korea has some weird interpretation of Christianity that involves dressing up as Santa Claus

South Korea Sympathy For Lady Vengeance Santa Claus

When our hero, the kind-hearted Geum-Ja is released from prison, she is greeted by a Christian group, including those people. Also, someone gives her some symbolic tofu, which reminds me…

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They Do in Fact Know It’s Christmas

You may remember that in 1984, all the stars of the music world united to record a song called “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” It is the worst thing ever.

See? The worst! Did you hear that part when they were like “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you”? I mean, I guess it’s supposed to be ironic or whatever, but… I don’t know how well that comes across! In any event, some African dudes have answered the question. Yeah, I guess they do know it’s Christmas.

A group of South African musicians has recorded a response to Bob Geldof’s 1984 song. Proceeds from the new single will go towards teaching discipline, literacy and contraception at British schools.

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Russia Gives up on Democracy

Today brings another dispatch from our Russian bureau, as Vladimir Putin is on track to win yet another Russian election. And it may surprise you that there are allegations of fraud. In a Russian election! In which Putin, who was previously term-limited out of the presidency, has yet again won the presidency. I know, this must be hard to hear.

But that’s not what struck me about this article. So, with the alleged ballot stuffing, Putin’s United Russia party took about half the vote. You know who came in second, with about 20% of the vote? Take a guess. That’s right, the Communists! Their share rose from 14% in 2007 to 20% in this election cycle.

So, the Communists, riding their perennial motto of “Well, It’s Good in Theory” (which translates fairly cleanly from the Russian, actually) are not so much rising to power as holding down the fort as the only way to effectively vote “Not Putin” and/or betray dying grandparents.
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