Good Week For
Football, a.k.a. soccer to “real” football fans. This World Cup has been called the best in history so far and has turned all predictions squarely on their head. Half the big teams were crushed from the onset, including World Cup 2010 winners Spain, and the underdog South American teams have been the ones to beat from the beginning (the less said about the poor Brazilians the better). All of the games have been memorable and unpredictable, with insanely good goals in the opening and closing minutes, along with plenty of controversies from Suarez’s most memed bite that sent him home to a hero’s welcome (maybe not so much for his team with their defeat in his wake), to dives and penalties that had people across the world screaming at their TV screens.
The beautiful game has finally even taken Vancity by storm. Since it’s rare to meet anyone in Vancouver who’s actually from here, on big game days you can spot a sea of colours clashing on Granville or on “Little Italy” Commercial Drive, which is presumably a bit quieter these days considering the Blues were shockingly knocked out in the group stages when they bit off more than they could chew with Uruguay (the world will never get enough of these bite puns either.)
While most Canadians seem bemused and disinterested in equal measure towards the games, it’s great to see a growing number of fans getting in on the action and catching World Cup fever, especially thanks to the rising popularity of Vancouver’s own Whitecaps FC in the MLS, who have stepped their game up with an impressive 8-game winning streak recently. Even our cousins south of the border are catching on, with the game against Portugal ranking the highest for any soccer game telecast in the U.S., and reaching more viewers than events like the N.B.A. finals or the World Series. More Americans also streamed the USA vs. Germany match online than this year’s Super Bowl, and broke the Twitter record for the most tweets by delighted fans. Result!
Anything can happen before the final this weekend and that’s what we (and FIFA, who are laughing in their football boots) are banking on. And with news that Canada is to bid for the World Cup in 2026, there’s only one word to describe it….GOOOOAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!
The problem is that we set ourselves up to be tested as animals, apparently, thanks to Facebook’s data use policy that says users’ information can be used in any which way they like, including messing with our emotions [sic]. Don’t they know we’re fragile as it is with all of those incessant updates we have to keep up with, and relationship status highs and lows. You’re a cruel lover, Facebook – status: It’s complicated!
As part of a study on “emotional contagion” – which sounds like the inception of World War Z – in 2012, Facebook decided to have a laugh at our expense and manipulate their algorithm to highlight negative or positive posts on our news feeds, to see how it affected our mood. So, if you saw those sickeningly cute animal shares with a million likes, or a sad picture tugging at your heart-strings that your “like” will somehow benefit but, deep down, you know you’re just a lazy social media activist whose actions don’t mean a thing, and then feeling guilty for Facebook making you feel like a bad person…then you were probably a victim.
Facebook fans went crazy – on their news feeds, of course, where else? – for being so easily manipulated, with a new campaign called 99 Days of Freedom created in reaction, encouraging us to log off for 99 days to see if it makes us any happier. How would we survive?!
The ugly truth is that, nowadays, with those targeted ads creeping us out with their evil marketing genius, we’re used to the mind control and will happily play our puppet role in Facebook’s march towards world domination, one more like at a time. Ethics? Who needs ‘em when the most ridiculous ‘Suarez bit my finger’ meme gets the viral video treatment, right at our fingertips?