Soccer, Gay Pride, and Echoes of the Balkans' Bloody Past
Violent, intimidating, homophobic soccer enthusiasts. Those five words would have struck us as a hilarious oxymoron back in the Illinois of my childhood, where football always meant "macho" and soccer often meant "wuss."
We would have suspected a joke or a hoax if we came across the news from this last week that fans of a Serbian soccer team beat a French fan into critical condition, and that fans of the same team played a public role in intimidating organizers into canceling a gay pride march through Belgrade.
Back then, though, none of us had read Franklin Foer's How Soccer Explains The World, with its account of how the architects of ethnic cleansing mobilized soccer fans in the former Yugoslavia. In our defense, Foer's book hadn't been written yet and Yugoslavia hadn't yet been ripped to shreds.
Serbia, of course, is one of those shreds. It's its own country now with borders, a flag, a government and other trappings of stability. So it is possible to make too much of Belgrade's canceled gay pride march and the government's inability to guarantee the safety of marchers. But it's also possible to make too little of it.
There's menace -- and perhaps even echoes of the Balkans' bloody recent past -- in the rhetoric of the ultra-nationalists who mobilized to prevent the march. A BBC story featured this quote from the 29-year-old leader of a Serbian religious organization: "All those trying to promote homosexuality as normal or acceptable are the enemies of the Serbian nation. They are trying to destroy our country ... Everybody knows what will happen if the Belgrade pride goes ahead."
Asked if he was referring to violence, he simply repeated, "everybody knows what will happen."
Eight years ago, according to the BBC, Belgrade's first ever gay parade had to be abandoned half-way through due to widespread violence by an angry mob of protesters.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this competition? They stay at the top of the ladder, when everyday people may be hurt from lack .
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.