“The Rest Is, Indeed, Horseshit,” Pt. 2

Two main events since we last checked in on nplusonemag around the internet.

First we should mention the continued interest in Jeff Blum’s comprehensive World Cup Preview. Quickly adjudged the perfect primer for “ignorant Americans like me who still want to enjoy the event” (in the words of one admirer), it was “still good for a chortle” (in the words of another) even as the tournament advanced and its predictions proved largely incorrect. The mighty L Magazine, in an article about the intellectuals and Cristiano Ronaldo’s hair, cited Blum’s vehement anti-Ronaldo stance (“There are only two acceptable reasons for liking Ronaldo,” in the opinion of Blum, “either you find him sexually attractive, or you are Portuguese”) in particular. Commenters defended Ronaldo and lashed out against Blum. “I like Portugal, so Jeff Blum can go stuff it,” George Wurst wrote.  “Also, he must be feeling pretty stupid now criticizing the Swiss team.” Blum had predicted that Switzerland would “lose in a dull, cowardly manner,” and instead the first thing they did was shock favorite Spain with a 1-0 win. However they proceeded to lose to Chile and tie Honduras in, in fact, a dull and cowardly manner, as per Blum.

International readers found Blum’s piece less chortle-worthy, unfortunately. An Italian fan, whose squad Blum criticized for its overly defensive play (“they didn’t deserve to win last time around and play cynical, joyless soccer,” wrote Blum), asked “Why Mr. Jeff Blum believes that on soccer matter he can be such a racist idiot?” Meanwhile a fan from Athens wrote in to express his annoyance at Blum’s dismissal of the Greek team. (The entry for Greece read, in its entirety: “While compiling this preview, I forgot about Greece and had to look them up when I realized I was one country short.”) “That’s it?!??” wrote our Greek reader:

I don’t know if Jeff Blum is a regular reporter that works in n+1, but as it is obvious here, he does a poor job to say the least. He can’t degrade a team like that. I understand that he tried to be humorous but I think he failed. I was a subscriber but now I will consider it to stop since I can’t obviously waste my time in low quality articles.

Be this as it may, Greece eventually lost to South Korea, 2-0, and did not advance to the second round. And we only have one subscriber in Greece, as it happens, and this wasn’t him.

The following email, however, scared the pants off us:

I believe you have combined two Brazilian players who, are in fact, different players entirely. Ronaldinho didn’t get fat and start to suck. It was Ronaldo who got fat and sucked. Both player were considered the best in the world by many during their respective primes.

Had the estimable Blum, in his rush to describe all 32 teams before kick-off, confused Ronaldo and Ronaldinho and brought shame to our magazine for all time? We repaired to the internet. We soon found an article with the headline

and felt much better. It turns out both Ronaldo and Ronaldinho (“Little Ronaldo”) got fat and sucked, and then got skinnier, and then were left off the Brazilian team. The similarities end there.

The other piece making headlines for n+1 in the past weeks was “On Your Marx,” originally published in Issue 8, in which the editors examine the effects of the financial crisis on neoliberal economic doctrine. “With luck,” the editors opined, “the next intellectual consequence of the crisis will be to pry the lid off Marx’s tomb, since it is only from a Marxian standpoint that the recent credit bubble can be understood in terms of the structural problems it affected to solve as well as those it has created.”

“On Your Marx” was big on Twitter and Tumblr, but did receive one hostile response, from Michael Michalko, the acclaimed author of several books on creative problem-solving, who wrote in an email:

Just read “On Your Marx.” What you people should do is stop striving to be intellectuals and go out and get a real job in the real world. Once you actually produce something and get your hands dirty, then maybe what you say will be worth reading. What you write now isn’t worth dribble. Live in the real world.

We agree that people ought to live in the real world. We didn’t know there was another.

Image: Mr. Ed, the talking horse, with Wilbur.


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