It’s Friday again, and boy what a week.
I am exhausted. This was what us journalists like to call “an eventful week.” Come to think of it, everybody calls it that.
If you have no idea of what I’m talking about, then you really need to get off Netflix and come back to reality.
This is what you need to know:
- It’s December in Argentina, and you know what that means: The (really) warm weather finally arrives, school’s out, local TV shows go from bad to face-melting bad, people put up their Christmas decorations and the waves of looting start. “What’s that last part?” you say? Why yes, my fellow curious reader. Many Decembers ago (three, actually,) some looting was reported around the country. The Government blamed it on violent, politically-motivated groups trying to create a little chaos. So why looting? Back in 2001, when Argentina really was going down in flames, there was widespread looting all over the country and those images are still fresh in everybody’s minds. You think this is bad? This was Buenos Aires 12 years ago:
- So what happened this week? It all started in the province of Córdoba, where the provincial police decided to go on strike as they called for higher salaries and things really got out of hand. Like, The Walking Dead out of hand. It’s all explained in detail in this piece I wrote a few days ago which I strongly recommend you read to understand a little better. Fortunately the crisis was solved in less than 24 hours and the police returned to the streets to control the chaos. But once order was restored in Córdoba, underpaid police forces in several other provinces such as Catamarca, La Rioja, Neuquén, San Juan and Río Negro said: “Woa. That ‘strike’ thing works!”. So the domino effect (or “Córdoba effect”) began. La Rioja came first, although the provincial government quickly came to an agreement. Catamarca followed, with the police forces trying to take over the Government House – with the governor inside.
- At the time this column was published, the police was still protesting in the provinces mentioned above. So don’t forget to sleep next to your shotgun tonight.
- Ha! No, I’m joking. Maybe.
- Cristina was seen this week wearing an all-white dress. Mourning period is now complete.
- The results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) study have been announced, and Argentina’s report card pretty much sucked after it ranked 59th out of 65 nations tested by the OECD. I guess when it comes to math, science and reading comprehension we are not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Oh but there’s no need to be upset. Turns out everyone in the Americas is pretty dumb! Even the US is “below average“! And that’s exactly what the National Government decided to go with: everyone is dumb so it’s not our fault.
- Oh, and what do you know. The US government is apparently standing by Argentina and US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the Supreme Court to intervene, as the so-called “vulture funds” try to gain information about our country’s non-US assets. USA! USA! USA!
- WAIT. STOP EVERYTHING. While addressing the audience during a speech in Washington, US president Barack Obama said statistics show that when it comes to income inequality, the US ranks close to Argentina and Jamaica. How dare you, sir! First of all, this. And second of all, you compare us to Jamaica? The country that gave us the steelpan? I HATE the steelpan. Its flutey, dewey sweet sounds are like diabetes to my ears.
- Former South African president Nelson Mandela passed away at 95 yesterday and the world is mourning him properly today, with millions of messages from across the world thanking him for never giving up in his fight for equality. Local political leaders took to Twitter to honor Mandela’s accomplishments and along with their inspiring messages included a black and white photo of the beloved man. Except for lawmaker Elisa Carrió who went totally rogue and God knows what she tried to say.
Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich:
— Jorge M. Capitanich (@jmcapitanich) December 5, 2013
City Cabinet Chief Horacio Rodríguez Larreta
“Cuando un hombre ha hecho lo que él considera como su deber para con su pueblo y su país, puede descansar en paz”. pic.twitter.com/fpslLZUF2r — H Rodríguez Larreta (@horaciorlarreta) December 5, 2013
Frente Renovador’s Sergio Massa
— Sergio Massa (@SergioMassa) December 5, 2013
Lawmaker Elisa Carrió:
- Oh, and speaking of lawmakers Carrió, Massa and others… they were all inaugurated this week! After a swearing-in ceremony that looked like a scene out of a British show from the 60’s. There’s a lot of booing and cheering involved, because nothing says “democracy” like having hooligans in Congress yelling and telling you to go fuck yourself a few seconds before being sworn-in. Also, check little Massa Jr. at the 1:23 mark. It is unclear whether he’s telling his dad’s supporters to shut up or announcing a grim fate for the haters who are chanting against him. Whatever the case may be, I find him adorable.
- Remember the AFIP’s 20% surcharge on all credit card purchases made outside of Argentina? It is now 35%. Merry Christmas, bitch.
- A horrible storm caught us all by surprise on Monday. Sure, everyone was freaking out about the marvels of nature after witnessing the double rainbow that covered Buenos Aires. But you know what no one gave a shit about? The actual damage of the storm.
- So yeah. Go ahead and be thankful again for your fucking rainbow.
- As we all know, December is the month when the crazies come out. A driver ran over an killed a biker on the Panamericana Highway, and tried to escape. Problem is, in his effort to quickly disappear, it seems the driver never realized the motorcycle was stuck under the front of his vehicle. So pretty much every commuter with a cell phone filmed him that morning.
Once every four years, my life turns into a month-long nightmare from which there is no escape. You can’t run, you can’t hide, you can’t cover your ears and ignore the disproportionate overreaction of the football fans who every time their national team scores, jump out of their chairs, kiss their t-shirts and suddenly talk incomprehensible jargon. The World Cup is my kryptonite, an event specifically designed to concentrate everything I dislike into a nucleus of critical football mass. It’s the raison d’être for my natural-born contrarianism, the time in which I dislike footballers (and people in general) even more than I thought possible. And even though we’re still seven months away from that abominable – and unavoidable – event, its pervasive, foul stench has begun invading our personal space with ads, songs and the therapy of the obviousness, courtesy of those brilliant statesmen that are TV sports journalists, who after hours and hours of careful examination, arrive to the polemic conclusion that “it would be nice if Argentina managed to win.” And now that the Pope is Argentine and, by the grace of God (and undeniable exitismo,) we’ve all rekindled with our long-lost Catholic values, the first TV ad about the World Cup starring the Pope has finally hit our small screens, Jesus be praised. It’s just a bunch of sound bites from the Pope’s conference in Rio earlier this year, mixed with football images. Because nothing says “Jesus loves you” like hooligans, corruption and xenophobia.
- Moving? Yes. Clever? Very. Perfectly edited? Absolutely. Do I hate it? Obviously.
- WHAT! I don’t care what you think.
- Ah, finally the kind of football news that I like: bad football news. Today was the FIFA’s so-called “final draw,” in which the 32 participating teams were drawn into the eight groups of the group stage. Argentina, at least according to what the people (AKA football “experts”) around me kept discussing for hours after the event took place, has it relatively easy since it’s up against Iran, Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina, three countries I’m sure you have trouble placing on the map (OK, maybe not Iran but you have no idea where Nigeria is.)
- But while everyone was celebrating that the first round “was going to be a piece of cake,” an obscure Twitter account titled @FraudeMundial14 emerged from bottom of the Avernus to crush our dreams of football glory and scar our childhoods forever. With only nine tweets in its timeline, whoever was behind the mysterious account had tweeted the results of the draw a day before they were announced, claiming that the whole thing was rigged and that the FIFA authorities had even already decided which team was going to win next year.
Lamentamos profundamente que un deporte tan puro sea manchado por un organismo internacional que actua en funcion de intereses economicos. — Brasil 2014 Fraude (@FraudeMundial14) December 5, 2013
“We deeply regret that such a pure sport is tainted by an international organization that acts at the behest of economic interests. Brazil 2014, fraud.”
Grupo del Mundial: Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Bosnia #FifaFraude
— Brasil 2014 Fraude (@FraudeMundial14) December 5, 2013
- The shocking tweet immediately gained traction amongst football fans who were wondering how it was possible to know the results of the draw a day before it took place. They began trying different theories in order to convince themselves that the horrible soul behind this lame attempt to ruin the excitement had to be wrong: from “a tweet-modifying app” to “tweeting all the possible outcomes and then simply deleting the ones that were wrong.” Personally, I couldn’t care less. So I’ll just go ahead and agree with the creep responsible for this travesty, because the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
- Besides, some may try to ignore it all they want, but it is of public knowledge (and is now widely accepted by the Argentine population) that the outcome of the 1978 World Cup in Argentina was fixed. So is the next one fixed? Not fixed? Don’t know. Don’t care. All I’m certain of is that next year during the matches I’ll be on Netflix, enjoying the most anti-football programming possible. Gossip Girl, here I come.
Enjoy the weekend, kids.