|from Christopher Gaffney's Geostadia|
It may seem a strange moment for me to remind you of Brazil's women's team. The CBF has never done right by the women's team. They are still here nevertheless as embodiments of everything FIFA resents. The impure spectacle, the spectacle of intense skill and joy that takes us all by surprise every time we see it because we consume it through a system determined to forget every sick pass, every goal or supernatural save. A system that can't hold onto her joy - for that kid of joy is a poison to its system. So a women's club will win its national title before an all but empty stadium. A player might grow her hair long and indulge a manager's impulse to put her in a uniform so tight it doesn't allow her to move her arms. But she knows it won't work. She remains an irritant to the apparatus. A grain of sand, a splinter.
Perhaps this is why FIFA wants women to play their World Cup on plastic. Or why we forget that people have organized international tournaments for women (e.g Mexico, 1970) - at a time when supposedly nobody cared - and these games drew massive audiences (e.g. Estadio Azteca, 110,000). I can hardly get myself wound up about the "failure" of women's soccer. I like to think of the dogged failure of the women's game to attract as a sign. It is an unspectacular spectacle, an impure spectacle of the lowest order.
|From a PRI story, "The Struggle for Equality in Brazil"|
Demonstrators in Brazil are telling us what we already know: we need to hate these systems back - properly, and in numbers. It is not enough to want a "better" World Cup, just as it not enough to want the state to be more efficient in the ways that it strips our educational, health care and transportation systems for parts, to build higher fences and thicker walls.
There is a lot of good writing about what is happening in Brazil right now. I recommend Christopher Gaffney's blog Geostadia, from which I pulled the photo at the top of this post. It's a smart starting place for the English-language reader. Check out this post on Social Text too.