A politi

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

And so, here we are: on the day of a World Cup that, even in an age of per­ma­nent hy­per­bole and in­fi­nite su­perla­tive, feels cos­mi­cally un­know­ably vast.

The pop­u­lar metaphor is of a trav­el­ling cir­cus, but the World Cup has long since over­grown that. To its mil­lions of ad­her­ents, a sort of foot­balling su­per­nova: an as­ton­ish­ing nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non that glows with white for a few short weeks, mes­meris­ing us with rich colours and oth­er­worldly shapes, be­fore col­laps­ing in on it­self and dis­ap­pear­ing from sky as quickly as it emerged.

To its de­trac­tors, on the other hand, World Cup is more of a gi­ant, dis­eased squid: cov­ered in welts and ax­ons and suc­tion and par­a­sites, chang­ing colour ac­cord­ing to mood, trail­ing ten­ta­cles and de­tri­tus and slime and sed­i­ment wher­ever it goes, set­tling in a habi­tat ev­ery four years to feed and suckle much as it can be­fore abruptly mov­ing leav­ing fetid, inky residue trail­ing in its wake.

Squid or su­per­nova? Prob­a­bly a bit of both.

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