Happy Friday, I’m celebrating surviving the work week with a coffee and a pain au raisin. Tonight I’ll be celebrating the end of the week and mourning England’s completely lacklustre performance against Uruguay with a pizza and a drink. This weekend I’m seeing Christelle, maybe making some cocktail cherries and reading (there are so many books I’m anxious to read at the moment!)
This week’s links, more football I’m afraid.
“The World Cup always provides spectacularly memorable drama, anticipation, tension, emotion and life-affirmingly heart-stopping pointlessness. It always requires putting to the back of your mind the sordid business and politics behind it, but Blatter has attained such squalid heights of repulsitude he’s made it harder than ever, so it’s only right all reasonable people should hate him for that.”
“The invasion was justified as an indispensable part of the struggle against al-Qaida. Well, to be fair, large swaths of Iraq have not been handed over to al-Qaida: they are now run by Isis, a group purged from al-Qaida for being too extreme. Iraq and Syria are trapped in a bloody feedback loop: the growth of Isis in Iraq helped corrupt the Syrian rebellion, and now the Syrian insurgency has fuelled the breakdown of Iraq, too.”
3) John Oliver explains Fifa and the World Cup to America.
“My pre-match research led to some perusing of the works of Andrea Pirlo, who, to my reckoning appears to be 50 per cent hirsute, smouldering, oddly cerebral seeming God-like being, partly super-powered ball-passing Robot from the Planet Woof.”
6) Alan Bennett on the basic unfairness of private schools and lots of other things besides.
“Unlike today’s ideologues, whom I would call single-minded if mind came into it at all, I have no fear of the state. I was educated at the expense of the state both at school and university. My father’s life was saved by the state as on one occasion was my own. This would be the nanny state, a sneering appellation that gets short shrift with me. Without the state I would not be standing here today. I have no time for the ideology masquerading as pragmatism that would strip the state of its benevolent functions and make them occasions for profit. And why roll back the state only to be rolled over by the corporate entities that have been allowed, nay encouraged, to take its place? I am uneasy when prisons are run for profit or health services either. The rewards of probation and the alleviation of suffering are human profits and nothing to do with balance sheets. And these days no institution is immune. In my last play the Church of England is planning to sell off Winchester Cathedral. ‘Why not?’ says a character. ‘The school is private, why shouldn’t the cathedral be also?’ And it’s a joke but it’s no longer far-fetched.”