It’s Frogs v. Wogs

France looked rather tired tonight, although they were still much better than a very shady Portugeuse team. I counted no less than six yellows that should have been given for “simulation”, as the Portos were going down untouched in the box every time a ball came within eight feet of them. I did enjoy the way in which Ronaldo was roundly booed every time he touched the ball from start to finish, it’s clear that he is the villain of this World Cup.

This will be a repeat of the Euro 2000 final, which France won when Trezeguet scored in extra time. However, I don’t think France can do it a second time because Lippi is a much better manager than Domenech. You could see the difference between the two managers rather clearly by comparing the way in which the Italians continued to push forward and finished off the last two minutes of the extra time with how France sat on a one-goal lead for an entire half. As happened in Korea, they nearly came to grief at the end with an ill-timed combination of blunders; had it not been for a poorly timed offsides run by Pauleta, they would have found themselves in extra time as well.

Domenech’s worst move was substituting Louis Saha for Thierry Henry with five minutes left. Instead of putting in David Trezeguet, a serviceable striker from a little club called Juventus of which you may have heard, he puts in Saha who is already on a yellow! Naturally, being a striker called into defensive duty, Saha commits a stupid foul, picks up a yellow and is out for the final. Brilliant… but good for the Azzurri.

The French do have the experience, but the Italians not only want it more, they need it more considering what they have waiting for them upon their return home. More than half of the national team players may not even be in Serie A next year, so winning the World Cup is the only way they’ll be able to separate themselves from the Moggi scandal and the madness that is calcio today. But then, Zizou and Henry have already shown that it is dangerous to count them out, so it should be an entertaining game regardless of how it ends up.

UPDATE: By the way, I forgot to mention one thing. You may not have noticed it, but Zinedine Zidane demonstrated again why he is one of the coolest men on the planet. After the England game, the Portuguese keeper Ricardo said that he had seen fear in the eyes of the England players before the penalty kicks started. (This was entirely credible, given how the entire English nation was dreading the possibility even before the game started.) Now, understand that a player taking penalties almost never looks at the goalkeeper in order to avoid giving him a clue as to where he’s going to put the ball.

But Zidane, after placing the ball on the spot, took one step back then deliberately looked up and met Ricardo’s eyes. It was as if he asked the question: “Do you see any fear here, my little friend? I don’t think so.” One step, bang, and despite Ricardo making a great move on the ball, it was in the back of the net.

I love Zidane. Not only is he a world champion and the author of the most unconsciously arrogant statement in sporting history, but he constantly demonstrates that all-too-rare mixture of grace, class and skill. Enjoy his last international game on Sunday, in victory or defeat he will long be remembered as one of the great ones.

No such animal

In which an amusing link is brought to our attention:

Sarah believes one of the emotional flaws of Alpha women is that beneath their corporate armour, they are riddled with low self-esteem, which makes them more vulnerable when the gamma man turns on them.

‘Many successful women have low self-worth which they are always trying to over-compensate for in their career,’ she says. ‘They strive to be successful because deep down they never feel quite good enough, so they are easy to undermine, especially in a domestic situation.

That’s a concise explanation of why Alpha women simply don’t exist. The Alpha Male isn’t Alpha because he’s successful, he’s simply dominant by nature. This may make him successful in some environments or it may create problems that cause him to fail completely in others. Success can certainly be related to social dominance but they are two entirely different concepts that are not necessarily connected.

This story is particularly amusing because of the circuitous manner in which it reveals the obvious – “Alpha” women, like all women, want Alpha males. This demonstrates their fundamental lack of dominance, or else they would not eventually find themselves craving domination and the abdication of responsibility it entails. It is interesting, however, that a few people are beginning to recognize that the friction between high-income women and low-income men is not primarily the insecurity of the men, but rather, the refusal of these Beta women to accept the Gamma males as they are and have always been.

On a tangential note, one silly thing about these social dynamic discussions is that everyone tends to discuss Alpha status as if it is something that can be sought, or even should be sought. (I still remember somebody’s amusing fantasy of the “stealth Alpha”, that’s about as credible as the Alpha Woman.) But fundamentally, social dominance can no more be synthesized than intelligence or musical ability; the military probably does the best job of creating a functional facsimile, but as anyone who has ever hired a military officer knows, that facsimile doesn’t hold up very well outside the environment for which it was developed.

A taste of NRO’s own medicine

Jonah Goldberg complains about the media poohbahs:

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll has suggested that the Republican attack on the New York Times is a cleverly anti-Semitic campaign because “many members of the president’s base consider ‘New York’ to be a nifty code word for ‘Jewish.’”

Considering how Joel Mowbray and other NROniks like to whine that “neocon” is a nifty code word for “Jewish” and that everyone insufficiently enthusiastic about neoconservative plans to invade and forcibly install democracy in [insert country name here] are therefore anti-Semites, this strikes me as a rather strange point. In fact, I think everyone should feel free to make use of the tactic.

Seeing as the original Patriarchs were all Jewish, it is obvious that “Patriarchy” is a nifty code word for “Jews”, so therefore feminism is nothing but a particularly ugly face of anti-Semitism and all feminists hate Jews. Shame on you, Amanda! For shame, Lauren and Zuzu!

The first thing we do is kill all the architects

Fred hits the target again:

It is curious. Ancient Rome had little disposable income, and ancient Greece less. Building a Parthenon required great effort, as did the Gothic cathedrals. Yet they were built, and statues carved, and fountains made to play in the downtowns. Emperors built these things to glorify themselves, rich men to impress. Whatever the motive, they were built and adorned their times.

Today, with resources thousands of times greater, with bulldozers, steel, and unlimited money, we build little but square boxes and freeways. Our civilization is become a sprawling eyesore.

What is there to say? Small-hearted, short-sighted people build ugly monuments, or perhaps monuments to ugliness would be a better description. Indeed, the poverty of late 20th century art leads one to wonder if it is even possible for a godless, hedonistic society to produce great art. One has to see the new Guthrie to believe it, in fact, it is all but impossible to view so much as a picture without bursting into derisive laughter.

Sounds good to me

Italian Football Federation prosecutor Stefano Palazzi requested that champions Juventus should be sent down to Italy’s third division, and that AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio all be relegated to Serie B.

I think that’s a bit harsh on Fiorentina, which is struggling to make its way back from bankruptcy, but it won’t matter much for Milan since next year was looking difficult without Sheva anyhow. Gilardino It’s not as if Berlusconi is going to permit them to languish in Serie B for long.

Lazio deserves to be sent down simply for being a bunch of Fascists, and by Fascist I mean the literal Mussolini-style capital-F ideology of Giovanni Gentile Fascism, I’m not using it in the modern American sense of “people I neither like nor understand”.

It’s the thought of seeing Juve play in Serie C that enchants me so. I’ll delightedly go hours out of my way to see the insufferable Torino giants playing on patchy fields surrounded by rickety wooden stands that only hold 5,000 people. It’s just so fitting that their uniforms resemble prisonwear.

Busting these teams down is essentially just a mammoth fine. Neither Qaddafi’s son nor Berlusconi is going to stop playing top salaries, so both teams will be back on top of Serie A in the time it takes to play through the necessary season(s) and get promoted. But it has to be done, and if nothing else, the sting of the humiliation should last for some time.