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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Sean Case
    October 8, 2013 @ 1:34 am

    Politics cannot interfere in football, but football (and the Olympics) can interfere in politics. Host governments are required to enforce rules against ambush marketing, for instance.


  2. jane
    October 8, 2013 @ 4:24 am

    That's more like it! A far better subject for breakfast than whether or not some old tv episodes were recovered or not. Really puts it in perspective, and the fire helps to cook my eggs.


  3. Jesse
    October 8, 2013 @ 5:05 am


  4. Ann Song
    October 8, 2013 @ 5:13 am

    We really need to just seed Qatar and Sochi with vuvuzelas. Totally effective way to actually keep people from watching. Or maybe we could all buy Theremin Mini-Kits from ThinkGeek and go play them there.


  5. Ann Song
    October 8, 2013 @ 5:25 am

    If you like that plan, I have one to end the shutdown that involves Matthew Waterhouse manacled to a wall, Block Transfer Computation, and possibly a Concorde.


  6. Theonlyspiral
    October 8, 2013 @ 7:08 am

    I HATE subsidized sporting events. All the way down to the municipal level. The idea that public money goes straight into the coffers of the already wealthy is maddening. It gets me frothing at the mouth. In term of national level sports (NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, CFL) what really needs to be said? We should not pay them a red cent to build arena’s or maintain a presence in our cities. They make plenty of money and the owners of these teams are often very wealthy with local businesses independent of sporting.

    International events are just terrible. There is no value there for anything more than business interests. As you have pointed out, the poor and disenfranchised are relocated and held to the convenience of those in charge. Local services those people need are often the first to go, in order to prevent them from gaining traction against newer and more organized oppression. To the inevitable commenters who will say that this does not happen in the west…of course it does. During the lead up to the Vancouver Olympics large groups of the homeless were rounded up and kept from wandering over to the places where the beautiful people were. Of course this is bad for the regular joe on the street as well. Most of these events end with local municipalities spending large amounts, to not recoup costs incurred. Of the last 20 years of Olympic games 3 made a profit (With one of those being dependant on trusting the numbers given to use by the Chinese government), and 4 operated at a loss. Of course if you take the additional costs to London and Vancouver for security, site conversion and transportation spending both hit the loss category as well.

    And yet people remain quiet. It’s like they’ve forgotten to be angry. They have forgotten that spending money on giving funds to businessmen while people starve should get them banging down the doors of their politician’s offices. They should be boycotting, marching and fighting. That we sit and watch millionaires play games while several blocks away you have people who don’t have anything to eat should set the blood of the masses boiling. These men put themselves and their business above politics, above the welfare of the people who pay them. Because we let them. Because we have forgotten that we have a basic moral obligation to our fellows. Because we have been given bread and circuses to placate us.

    You were wrong on one thing Phil; we’re not paying taxes to the Police State, we’re paying them to a new Roman Empire.


  7. storiteller
    October 8, 2013 @ 7:40 am

    This reminds me of a conversation I had in graduate school over the Beijing Olympics. We were supposed to give a presentation on the sustainability aspects of it and I looked specifically at the social consequences, which were quite horrific. Basically, the Chinese government was bulldozing entire neighborhoods without seeming to care at all about the residents there, leading to a number of people committing suicide out of shame and despair. But my classmates' response to my research was basically, "But the swim center is so environmentally friendly!" And these were world-class future researchers and policymakers. I was absolutely boggled by their complete, unquestioning buy-in to China's greenwashing of the whole event.

    As for this year's Olympics in Russia, I know it won't make a difference, but I'm going to purposely not watch it. I can't endorse an event that the organizing committee literally lies about the potential negative consequences to LGBTQ athletes, fans, and local community members.

    In terms of national-level sports, my favorite sports team is the Green Bay Packers. I don't really care about American football, but I do very much like that they are the only NFL team that is a non-profit actually owned by the fans and the community itself (http://www.packers.com/community/shareholders.html). As a result, they are guaranteed never to leave the city- a leverage point a lot of teams use to force cities to pay for their stadiums – and aren't nearly as profit-driven as most teams. Unfortunately, the NFL actually changed the ownership rules so that no team can follow their pattern again. Which is stupid, because the sports and communities would be far better off if they could.


  8. Daibhid C
    October 8, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    Football is holy and all encompassing. Its official policy is that it’s more important than anything else.

    The Shankly Doctrine.

    Before the 2012 Olympics, the UK government went on and on about the great sporting legacy it would leave. As far as I can tell, the legacy of the 2012 Olympics was that sports we didn't medal in were punished by having their funding cut.

    (I'm boycotting the Russian Olympics in the sense that I'm not watching the opening and closing ceremonies, which are the only bits I ever watch anyway.)


  9. othemts
    October 8, 2013 @ 11:34 am

    It's sad, because I do enjoy the World Cup and the Olympics and think they have an important cultural role as well as something that can unite disparate peoples. There's got to be a better way to stage these events than the exploitation that currently takes place.


  10. Theonlyspiral
    October 8, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    What Cultural Role? What concrete steps do they take to Unite people? That's propaganda speaking.


  11. Martin Porter
    October 8, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    The Olympics are squeaky clean compared to football.

    When was the vote to give it to Russian in 2018? November 2010, a few days after a BBC documentary on corruption in FIFA. Only one other country voted for us, bu afterwards three different counties came forward and said it was them…



  12. Bennett
    October 8, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

    The rot extends down to the grassroots level. The small town I live in venerates boys who grow up to kick an ellipsoid around a field for a living as the town's "favourite sons".

    There's no celebration of those who become engineers or health care workers or public servants. There are almost no "favourite daughters".

    It's sickening. Particularly when you’re trying to teach useful skills to the town's youth, for whom ambition outside of sport is a foreign concept.


  13. liminal fruitbat
    October 8, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

    Depends whether you count "everyone* looks at the same thing for n hours" as unity or not.

    (Alternatively there's Terry Pratchett's claim in Unseen Academicals that being in the crowd at a football game produces a transcendent state that breaks down the ego-barriers of all those present, but there are more fun ways to meditate, frankly.)

    *For a sponsor-approved value of "everyone"


  14. Matthew Blanchette
    October 8, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

    Fuck that noise! It's REAL! IT'S REAL!!! THEY'VE FOUND MORE!!! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24448063 😀

    giddily jumps up and down, whooping and hollering


  15. Kit Power
    October 9, 2013 @ 12:10 am

    I still like a description I read of a rock show (one of you will know the source, I can't remember) "It's just like a football match, only everyone's on the same side". Neatly encapsulates why I love big rock shows and pretty universally despise sports.


  16. Ross
    October 9, 2013 @ 7:08 am

    That's also why I like craps and hate poker.


  17. Martin Smitherman
    October 9, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    If there was Martial Law in London during the Olympics i didn't see any evidence of it. I was there for 4 days and it was brilliant. Was there extra security. Yes. But it only happened that the Army stepped in was because the security firm hired to provide the security failed to get their staff trained in time and had to withdraw their service leaving the Metropolitan Police to fill the void. Not willing to reduce policing levels around the country to a dangerously low level, the Army provided extra security. I was there for 4 days and saw the soldiers once at one of the lesser venues (Earls Court where the Volleyball was taking place) and outside of the venues themselves, the only time i saw the Police in any number was at Tube stations near to a venue. The rest of London was as normal as ever – well as normal as can be given it was hosting the largest sporting festival ever. Oh and i got to act like a Dalek and trundle over Westminster Bridge.


  18. othemts
    October 15, 2013 @ 10:08 am

    Participants and spectators visit other countries and meet people from around the world, find common ground, and cultural exchange occurs. It happens all the time at big international sporting events. That and the spectacle of games played by the best athletes in the world are the reasons I still love sports despite all the corporate, nationalistic, and otherwise nasty stuff that has accumulated around these events. The founder of the modern Olympic movement, Pierre de Coubertin, summed up the ideal that's worth preserving when he said:

    "To ask the people of the world to love one another are merely a form of childishness. To ask them to respect one another is not in the least utopian; but in order to respect one another, it is first necessary to know one another."

    A friend of mine wrote a series of 10 feminist reasons why she remains a sports fan despite all the bad things about sports that have been well outlined in Phil's post and in the comments. I think it's worth a read:



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