June 13, 2012

The Polish-Russian war

It is a well-known fact that in Romania the media have a soft spot for drama and exaggeration. Sometimes when reading the morning news I have to double check with family & friends back home to make sure that the country is not on the brink of extinction or civil war. 
In Poland, however, the media are far more reserved and less dramatic, that is until the Russians and their football team are factored into editorial decisions. Then all sanity goes out the window and suddenly we are dealing with a Polish-Russian war, occupation, nationalism, historical grievance and some wounds that are too recent to close. Yes, both Poland and Russia have some hardcore fans, battles in the streets are not uncommon during the domestic season and incidents have been reported since the beginning of Euro 2012 in some Polish cities. Still, that doesn't really count as a war, and chances are, talking about it and making such a fuss will only add fuel to the fire and transform football into a pretext for other issues that don't necessarily have much in common with it. 
Earlier today, having overdosed on stories and editorials on the most ardent topic of the day, I went out to get coffee and had to fight my way through massive crowds of overweight men eating kebab and drinking beer, with their bellies exposed in the mild Warsaw sun, probably getting ready to go to war. I'd say accuracy is crucial in times like these. 
Which reminds me: Tango 12. No matter how much I liked football (this month), I have some major objections to mixing tango into it. Even if it is a tribute to the World Cup in 1978, organized in Argentina. Even if it is faster, rounder and more resistant than any other official ball. Apparently the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation has the explanation: "It's a great ball. It's got a special name, Tango. It's the dance of a couple and has a great connection to football". All it takes to make the war complete is an army of semioticians, and even then I'd still have my doubts about the symbolic meaning of tango in the complex and elaborate structures of football.
Adidas Tango 12
P.S. Who didn't see this coming?

And did anybody see this coming?

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