So what exactly can one expect to see in this new space? An abundance of compelling original video content along with insightful commentary that will more often than not be presented in a glaringly honest fashion. The spirit of this site is really all about original thought and embracing the complicated mess that is the world of sports.
While a topic like skateboarding might be the first to come to mind when you hear a mention of VICE and sports, what we’re doing with this space leaps far beyond that. We will be covering all the major sports along with the unique and unusual that you’ve come to expect from VICE.
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China has never had much luck promoting football. You don’t often see it played on the streets, in backyards, or schoolyards. Yet there are growing grassroots football sub-cultures developing in unexpected places. We travel with one of Beijing’s most prestigious independent teams to a Naxi village in the rural southwest to see what happens when old and new China mix on the pitch.
Sometimes, we need to be reminded that the world is a fundamentally absurd and silly place; that while there are people out there who command a lot of power and money, those people aren’t generally smarter or less goofy than you or me. For instance, there must have been a moment when there was a presentation, probably in some sleek conference room, about what events should be thrown in honor of the Super Bowl coming to New York City. One of the slides that appeared on the hi-def flatscreen read something like:
THROW A BIG STREET FAIR IN TIMES SQUARE IN LATE JANUARY? INVITE ALL THE BRANDS! (SUSAN PLEASE REWRITE TO MAKE IT SOUND BETTER THX)
And with that, or something like it, the Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered by GMC came into being.
A press release has described the Super Bowl Boulevard as “a series of football-themed experiences that will take over Times Square the week before the big game. Stop by a live concert, snap a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, or race down a specially made toboggan. [sic]” Another way to think of it, via Business Insider, is as a “garish branded hellscape… placed on top of the preexisting garish branded hellscape that is Times Square.” Having wandered around the Boulevard for a couple of hours in the freezing cold on Wednesday night, I can confirm that it is indeed both “football-themed” and “garish.” But calling it a “hellscape” is maybe being a bit unfriendly to the giant, multinational corporations responsible for it. They just want you to have a good time! Look, they brought the Rockettes in to do this:
They also built these giant Roman numerals, which rose from the ground like a heathen idol after an elaborate ceremony that involved not only the Rockettes, but also the Boys Choir of Harlem, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell, and the cast of the musical Jersey Boys:
Oh, did I mention Kevin Bacon’s band, the Bacon Brothers (best known for their hit “Wait, Kevin Bacon Is in a Band? Huh. OK, Good for Him I Guess”) played on Wednesday night? Kevin started off on the bongos:
There are two types of Super Bowl viewers: those who actually watch the football, and those who spend the game cramming their mouths full of whatever delicious greasy grub is at hand. Super Bowl food is an event in itself, the most gluttonous day on the American finger food calendar. On this day, the fried concoctions, dips, and booze we all love scores a real touchdown (that’s a football reference), but after the coin toss in MetLife stadium, no one is going to be bothered to head out into the polar vortex to source wings, pizza, beer, or White Castle—thank God, then, for takeout. And on this decadent day of edible indulgence, one’s hands must be cleaned and ready for licking—no nail soiled, no manicure overlooked.
For our own Super Bowl experience, we wanted nails that matched the caliber of our food. That meant nails with team-specific designs and nails that went perfectly with the food we’re digging into. So we put together this photo shoot—if you’re in New York for the game, it doubles as a visual guide to sourcing all of the libations and refreshments you’ll need come game day.
The Super Bowl Is a Web of Greed, Lawsuits, and Lies
The Super Bowl is a long, exceptionally polished television advertisement for the corporate state we live under that’s watched by over 100 million people. It ostensibly exists because of a football game, but the annual event has grown over the years into a kind of modern variety show that features singing and dancing during the halftime show, comedy sketches during the commercials, and gruesome blood sport during the actual game. America!
That’s the way most people experience the Super Bowl—as something that, like the Academy Awards and war, happens on TV. But the big game is also a kind of traveling circus, only instead of clowns and acrobats, the people arriving in New Jersey and New York are tourists, security experts, the 1-percenter oligarchs who can afford the ridiculous prices for luxury suites at MetLife Stadium, and actual sex slavers. The big game provides an awesome—in the old sense of “inspiring awe”—spectacle, but for anyone who has to deal with its mundane on-the-ground aspects, it’s a nightmare of greed, lies, and broken promises.