Read international crime fiction instead, World Cup fans

World Cup fans, don’t fear hours of emptiness. Take up a work by an international crime fiction author. It’s the perfect replacement for your lost fix – and it’s a lot better for your soul, too.

Here’s why. As the World Cup unfolded over the last month, newspapers all over the globe were filled with articles in which journalists extrapolated from aspects of the play and team-make up of various countries to draw lessons about the politics and sociology of those same nations.

Thus we learned that the Germans were successful not because their coach is a very smart tactician, but because they were multiethnic. We found that England’s loss was rooted in the shameless cash-fest of their football league, rather than the coach’s inability to counter German tactics and the evidence that the team’s players (who’re also pretty multiethnic) are simply a notch dumber than those of many other countries. Finally we thrilled to discover that there’s hope for the future of Spain, even if the country’s high court ruled this week that Catalans can’t refer to themselves as a “nation.” There were Catalans on the team that won in the final, the newspaper wrote, and so everything in Espana is /chévere/ (as the Spanish say when they’re feeling good) after all.

Naturally all this is the result of feeble journalistic maneuvering and the need to come up with enough “theme” stories to keep editors from questioning the expense of sending a reporter to South Africa to write about things which are free on everybody’s television set.

The popularity of crime fiction with an international setting, however, has been in its ability to provide a window into a society in an entertaining format. Like football. Only real (even if it is fiction.)

Read the rest of this post on my blog The Man of Twists and Turns.

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