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Brazil's Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 19. Juni 2014


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13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Essential reading for World Cup fans 27. Mai 2014
Von Richard A. Ellis - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I'm hardly an expert on soccer, but I thought it might be fun to follow this year's World Cup after visiting Brazil last year, just before the Confederations Cup protests. After reading this, I think I have a good idea of what the street demonstrations were all about (certainly not the 20 cent bus fare increase the mainstream US media were fixated on.) The book is much more focused on the history of Brazil and the politics of soccer than it is on the game itself. On the whole, this is justified and anyone who still thinks that soccer can be thought of separately from politics will benefit from reading Zirin.
Zirin offers a concise sketch of Brazilian history from the founding of the country under Portuguese rule, through the story of slavery, independence, the Vargas years, the military dictatorship, through the rise of Lula and Dilma Rousseff. From what I know of Brazilian history, he does a superb and accurate job and he has clearly consulted and learned from the classics in this area.
The second half of the book is more soccer-centric. Zirin will not win any fans at FIFA (or the IOC for that matter). His thesis is that recent World Cups and Olympics have been essentially what he calls "neo-liberal Trojan horses and sporting shock doctrines", taking a cue from Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine." The evidence Zirin presents is quite convincing that the corporatist agenda has been the driving factor in these spectacles.
The best part of the book, for me at least, was his discussion of the drive to eradicate the favelas and Vila Autodroma in Rio. Pure greed in action. One small consolation is that Eike Batista, a financier of the "pacification" drive, was at the time of the writing of the book "Brazil's wealthiest man," and is now essentially busted in a spectacular fall from grace.
I feel that there will be protests accompanying the upcoming World Cup, given the compromises and sell-outs that have been made to accommodate this spectacle for the wealthy. While FIFA has insisted on "FIFA- quality stadiums" the slogan of the people is "give us FIFA-quality schools."
Anyone who loves and cares for Brazil will want to read this and hopefully will pay as much attention to what may be going on outside the stadiums as to what is happening inside them.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An engaging, accessible read for sports fans AND politicos 16. Mai 2014
Von SG - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
In Brazil's Dance with the Devil, sportswriter Dave Zirin takes his trademark biting humor to Brazil for a look at the ways that World Cup and Olympic preparations are affecting ordinary Brazilians. From the stadiums to the favelas, he covers Brazil with heart00 and with the soul of a true soccer fan-- making time for conversations with favela residents and sports officials alike. A breakneck tour through five hundred years of history shows how deeply sports and politics are intertwined in Brazil, setting the stage for readers to understand how politics and profits drive sports mega-events. Whether you're a sports fan curious about why Brazilians would protest the World Cup or a political junkie who wants to understand how the "shock doctrine" operates in the realm of sports, you'll find it hard to resist this book.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Amazing examination of the Brazil's Olympics and World Cup. 24. Mai 2014
Von jimhb - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
"Brazil's Dance with the Devil" proves once again that Dave Zirin is the best sports analyst today. In the book, Zirin digs deep into Brazil's history and gives the reader a comprehensive examination of the social forces at play with the World Cup and Olympics. Zirin shows us how the legacy of imperialism, slavery, hypernationalism, corporatism , FIFA and the Olympics have intertwined and created neoliberal sporting events in which the wants and needs of the people of Brazil are squashed while the dictates of capital reign supreme.

After reading the book you will clearly understand how destroying historical sites, shredding the social safety net, gutting one of the most revered sports stadiums in the world, paramilitarism, broken promises, evictions, environmental destruction, and pure theft has led to the massive resistance we are seeing today. To Zirin (and I dream every reader) the hope lies with the resistance. Zirin ends the book with “It is their World Cup. But it is our world.” Truer words have never been written.

If you want to look past sports statistics and uncover the filth behind the games, this book is for clearly for you. Get it now!
11 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Olympic Capitalism: Bread and Circuses Without the Bread 19. Mai 2014
Von David Swanson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
The author of Brazil's Dance With the Devil, Dave Zirin, must love sports, as I do, as billions of us do, or he wouldn't keep writing about where sports have gone wrong. But, wow, have they gone wrong!

Brazil is set to host the World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016. In preparation Brazil is evicting 200,000 people from their homes, eliminating poor neighborhoods, defunding public services, investing in a militarized police and surveillance state, using slave and prison labor to build outrageous stadiums unlikely to be filled more than once, and "improving" a famous old stadium (the world's largest for 50 years) by removing over half the capacity in favor of luxury seats. Meanwhile, popular protests and graffiti carry the message: "We want 'FIFA standard' hospitals and schools!"

Brazil is just the latest in a string of nations that have chosen the glory of hosting mega sports events like the Olympics and World Cup despite the drawbacks. And Zirin makes a case that nations' governments don't see the drawbacks as drawbacks at all, that in fact they are the actual motivation. "Countries don't want these mega-events in spite of the threats to public welfare, addled construction projects, and repression they bring, but because of them." Just as a storm or a war can be used as an excuse to strip away rights and concentrate wealth, so can the storm of sporting events that, coincidentally or not, have their origins in the preparation of nations for warmaking.

Zirin notes that the modern Olympics were launched by a group of European aristocrats and generals who favored nationalism and war -- led by Pierre de Coubertin who believed sport was "an indirect preparation for war." "In sports," he said, "all the same qualities flourish which serve for warfare: indifference toward one's well being, courage, readiness for the unforeseen." The trappings of the Olympic celebration as we know it, however -- the opening ceremonies, marching athletes, Olympic torch run, etc., -- were created by the Nazis' propaganda office for the 1936 games. The World Cup, on the other hand, began in 1934 in Mussolini's Italy with a tournament rigged to guarantee an Italian win.

More worrisome than what sports prepare athletes for is what they may prepare fans for. There are great similarities between rooting for a sports team, especially a national sports team, and rooting for a national military. "As soon as the question of prestige arises," wrote George Orwell, whom Zirin quotes, "as soon as you feel that you and some larger unit will be disgraced if you lose, the most savage combative instincts are aroused." And there is prestige not just in "your" team winning, but in "your" nation hosting the grand event. Zirin spoke with people in Brazil who were of mixed minds, opposing the injustices the Olympics bring but still glad the Olympics was coming to Brazil. Zirin also quotes Brazilian politicians who seem to share the goal of national prestige.

At some point the prestige and the profits and the corruption and the commercialism seem to take over the athletics. "[T]he Olympics aren't about sport any more than the Iraq war was about democracy," Zirin writes. "The Olympics are not about athletes. And they're definitely not about bringing together the 'community of nations.' They are a neoliberal Trojan horse aimed at bringing in business and rolling back the most basic civil liberties."

And yet ... And yet ... the damn thing still is about sports, no matter what else it's about, no matter what alternative venues for sports are possible or imaginable. The fact remains that there are great athletes engaged in great sporting activities in the Olympics and the World Cup. The attraction of the circus is still real, even when we know it's at the expense of bread, rather than accompanying bread. And dangerous as the circus may be for the patriotic and militarist minded -- just as a sip of beer might be dangerous to an alcoholic -- one has the darndest time trying to find anything wrong with one's own appreciation for sports; at least I do.

The Olympics are also decidedly less militaristic -- or at least overtly militaristic -- than U.S. sports like football, baseball, and basketball, with their endless glorification of the U.S. military. "Thank you to our service men and women watching in 175 countries and keeping us safe." The Olympics is also one of the few times that people in the U.S. see people from other countries on their televisions without wars being involved.

Zirin's portrait of Brazil leaves me with similarly mixed sentiments. His research is impressive. He describes a rich and complex history. Despite all the corruption and cruelty, I can't help being attracted to a nation that won its independence without a war, abolished slavery without a war, reduces poverty by giving poor people money, denounces U.S. drone murders at the U.N., joins with Turkey to propose an agreement between the United States and Iran, joins with Russia, India, and China to resist U.S. imperialism; and on the same day this year that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission proposed ending the open internet, Brazil created the world's first internet bill of rights. For a deeply flawed place, there's a lot to like.

It's also hard to resist a group of people that pushes back against the outrages being imposed on it. When a bunch of houses in a poor Brazilian neighborhood were slated for demolition, an artist took photos of the residents, blew them up, and pasted them on the walls of the houses, finally shaming the government into letting the houses stand. That approach to injustice, much like the Pakistani artists' recent placement of an enormous photo of a drone victim in a field for U.S. drone pilots to see, has huge potential.

Now, the question is how to display the Olympics' victims to enough Olympics fans around the world so that no new nation will be able to accept this monster on the terms it has been imposing.
8 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Unofficial Collector's Program Insert for the World Cup 2014 25. Mai 2014
Von Michael K. Forbes - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
In light of the upcoming World Cup this summer when you hear about Dave Zirin's comprehensive yet compact text on Brazil, the World Cup, and the Olympics, you can't help but wonder whether Zirin is simply a radical left Cassandra who undermines our ability to simply enjoy the competition, pageantry, and performance of soccer's most significant tournament. For myself, a self described geeky intellectual The World Cup is only the only sports competition of real interest to me, it is a self-congratulatory opportunity to distance myself from my fellow Americans coarse indifference to foreign affairs. To see sports, politics, and nationalism on display in a manner perhaps more direct than the Olympics, imagine if Iran plays the US sometime this summer-what might opposing sides do with each others flags? Well he is not a Cassandra.

Zirin combines sports journalism, urban sociology, and sociopolitical commentary to craft a text that is timely yet may have long-term relevance. Dance with the Devil is a primer on varying elements which influence urban development, the meaning and application of neo-liberalism, and the brutish pragmatism of "celebratory capitalism." He presents the two aforementioned terms with an accessibility that honors this story as a case study for understanding the interaction between global capitalism and the on-the-ground affects of modern urban development.

Michael Jackson and Pele become both identifiable characters and thematic stages in his recorded journey across Brazil. Zirin's search for a statue of Michael Jackson draws our attention to the irony of a foreign body with some international standing actually seeking out the favela's as central to his vision of Brazil versus the idea that these areas are a form of visual pollution which must be pacified or cleansed to make way for FIFA style modern development. The search for Jackson's statue sets up the ongoing and opposing theme of pacification, sacrifice, and erasure in the name of some Big Picture be it the human cost of slavery in Brazil, or the more recent bulldozing of the Indigenous Cultural Center, and the vain and unnecessary facelift granted to the fabled site of the winning game of the 1958 World Cup the Maracana Stadium. Pele comes across as the the living embodiment of surface level racial optimism with a career long status as apologist for the glaring contradictions in the Brazil's racial status quo or hierarchy and the poor of Brazil's genuine access to mobility.

According to Zirin there are now more than 1000 surveillance cameras in Rio, the people's ability to demonstrate and respond to their marginalization will be policed and observed by administrations governed by former torture victims under Brazil's old military dictatorship. Again a fascinating yet troubling mix of irony, contradiction, and resilience. Zirin's goal in my view is not to halt our ability to view and enjoy soccer's most important tournament he wants an informed audience willing to abandon the myth of the purity of sport as simply an expression of fair play without real and long term costs. Will the Maracana become an open air prison once the foreign press leaves and the fans return home, giving the invisible perhaps their first and only access to this stadium?
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