Darke vs. Johnson: The Fight for America’s Ears

Over at The A.V. Club, Rowan Keiser has a solid post about how things have changed (and not changed) for men’s soccer in the United States – with an emphasis on who we’ve been listening to when we watch it on television:

If you flipped on ABC or ESPN for a World Cup match this year or in 2010, you were almost certainly greeted by an announcer with an English accent. For the four World Cups prior, between 1994 and 2006, ESPN had used American voices like O’Brien—but the decision to change announcers wasn’t merely an aesthetic one. The networks took sides in an ongoing war over the nature of American soccer, where announcing is one of biggest battlegrounds about whether the sport should be Europeanized “football” or reflect a home-grown American soccer. It’s a conflict that encompasses media culture, fan culture, and even the overall philosophy of U.S. Soccer’s attempts to improve the national team.

Read the rest, then come back here. For my money, Ian Darke puts the rest of the ESPN World Cup announcers to shame when it comes to play-by-play (and the less said about Gus Johnson’s efforts to this point, the better). I don’t watch enough (read: any) MLS to know if there are any home-grown announcers up to the task yet, but I do hope that 4 years from now, when the World Cup is on Fox, we hear from some talented American voices.* Or at least some other voices that have more to contribute than just a smart-sounding accent.

* Can a voice be talented? Also, anybody think Gus is capable of getting good at this by 2018? He was atrocious in that Atletico/Real Madrid game a couple months ago.

The Lost-and-Found Legacy of Barbara Ringer

Amanda Levendowski at The Atlantic put together a great story about a woman who should be much better-known:

I came across a quote a few weeks ago—one that so perfectly encapsulates the outdatedness and skepticism surrounding copyright law—that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen before: “The 1976 Copyright Act is a good 1950 copyright law.”

It was attributed to someone I didn’t know: Barbara Ringer.

She was one of only a few women in her graduating class at Columbia Law School back in 1949. Just after graduation, she took a position with the Copyright Office as an examiner, where she determined the registrability of applicants’ submitted works. When she wasn’t busy working her way up through nearly every position at the Copyright Office, Ringer was drafting the Universal Copyright Convention, attending international copyright conferences, and teaching at Georgetown Law Center as the university’s first woman adjunct professor of law.

She conducted empirical research. She published her work in law journals. She even wrote the article about copyright law for the Fifteenth Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

And then I realized that I did know her. We all sort of know her: She was one of the lead architects of the 1976 Copyright Act. I went to law school to become a copyright lawyer. I had read her copyright law. I’d taken classes about her copyright law. I’d even written about her copyright law. And yet, I had never heard a word about her.

Has the World Cup really been that good? [link]

International football is actually all about glory. There’s money in it for Sepp Blatter and his mates at FIFA but it’s not a serious business like European club football; livelihoods and futures don’t depend on the result. Why try to grind out a nil-nil draw and win on penalties when the whole world is watching? Why not try to score more goals than the other team?

I’d have been predisposed to enjoy Nick Hornby’s World Cup sum-up anyway, and then he went ahead and declared Belgium/USA “probably the best World Cup match of the 21st century”.

A Quest for the Secret Origins of Lost Video-Game Levels [link]

Heidi Kemps of the Atlantic with a nice remembrance of a) the pre-internet world of video game rumors; b) how some mysterious prototype Sonic the Hedgehog levels surfaced in the late ’90s; and c) what it’s like for an adult to talk to one of her childhood heroes.

Razr Burn: My Month With 2004’s Most Exciting Phone [link]

Gizmodo’s Ashley Feinberg’s experiment with a 10-year-old must-have cell phone:

In July of 2004, Motorola debuted the Razr V3, one of the most iconic cellphones of all time. Exactly 10 years later, I shed my iPhone for a month to experience the world where apps don’t exist and T9 reigns king. Maybe I did it for the nostalgia. Maybe I did it because I hate myself just a little bit. Either way, one thing is certain: Using 2004’s hottest phone in 2014 is hell.

iPhone or Android: it’s time to choose your religion [link]

The Verge lays out something that grows more frustrating every day -giant corporations forcing their customers into a very stark choice. These devices come with incredible user-friendly benefits, but consumers can’t take advantage of those benefits without going all-in on one ecosystem. It’s getting ugly and, even as these operating systems grow more impressive, it’s only getting uglier.

The Lion King and the Doritos Taco Loco: both 20 years old

Jezebel‘s Lindy West looks back at The Lion King. It’s a great read. A brief excerpt to whet your appetite:

They all gather around this big rock with a lion at the top. This krazy baboon climbs up there and hugs the lion like they are old bros, which probably would not happen. Then this woman-lion is like look over here, baboon, I’ve got a baby! And baboon is like JACKPOT! So the baboon rubs some jam on the baby and then throws dirt in its face, and then he dangles the baby off the edge of the rock with some Michael Jackson blanket-head realness. You know, LIKE THEY DO IN AFRICA.

Time makes fools of us all.