Skip to Content

Getting Stupid In A Global Sense

USMNT midfielder Tyler Adams applauds after the team's 1-1 tie against Wales in the 2022 World Cup. The Distraction logo is at upper right.
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

There is a way that the Thanksgiving-week episodes of this podcast tend to go, dating back into its prehistory back at the old website. Some of this is because there are only so many things to say about The Official Holiday Of Brown And Orange Foods, but most of it is because Drew and I still very much enjoy saying those things. This most recent Thanksgiving-week episode bears that out, to the point where I feel compelled to mention here that we did not receive any promotional consideration from Trader Joe's Omnicorp for our commentary on their appetizers. We just both sincerely like their frozen puff pastry entrees that much, and apparently also love talking about this stuff that much. But.

But where most of our holiday-adjacent episodes have the same kind of loopy last-day-of-school episode that this one mostly has, they also tend to fall at times of year when everyone has agreed to more or less take it easy. Yes, there is stressful travel involved, and yes for those of us dedicated to pushing ourselves to the utmost there are feats of Xtreme Eating to conquer, but high-stakes sports stuff is generally out of the way. Even the NBA's annual Christmas bringe/re-opening day isn't quite the halfway mark of that sport's endless regular season. But this year, due to levels of power-mad fuckery and corporate cynicism that qualify as historic even by FIFA's sky-high standards, the actual World Cup is happening right now. This is not the time for a recorded-in-advance all-Funbag episode. The damn Uruguay game is on!

To be clear, we still recorded this episode a day earlier than usual. This explains my confidence that Joe Flacco would somehow wind up under center instead of American Icon Mike White for the Jets on Sunday, and uh also any other factual or pronunciation errors that might be in this episode. But there really is sports stuff happening now—the kind of dumb low-stakes NFL quarterback controversy stuff that Drew and I live for, but also some extremely consequential and cool soccer stuff that the rest of the sports world cares about just as much as we care about goofing on Zach Wilson. And so there is kind of a lot of sports in this episode by the usual holiday-episode standard.

There's the aforementioned rundown of We Need To See What Colt McCoy Can Give This Team moments, and also an appreciation of the weird low-stakes partisanship experience that the World Cup gives us all; I know in my heart that I am not, but it is a truly magical sporting event that makes you consider whether you might not be becoming A Big Saudi Arabia Guy. We also address the micro- and macro-scale scuzz and repellence of the World Cup, both specific to this event and in how the broader thing is talked about and sold. It's probably good that we got this out of the way here, so as not to accidentally bring it up at the table on Thanksgiving and offend some FIFA-loving relative. "How dare you say that about Gianni Infantino?" that notional uncle would roar. Anyway, crisis averted.

There is still a lot of the usual goofy holiday-ep stuff in this. And once we were joined by Defector accomplice and fellow renegade merch entrepreneur Noah for the back third, the familiar dumb shit took over. Our Remember A Guy segment gave me the opportunity to remember proto-Danny Dimes figure Dave Brown, and Drew and Noah the opportunity to revel in not-remembering him; the Lehman Bros. flag football team catches a stray, there. The Funbag led us into a spirited conversation of practical food-safety packaging and Greg Abbot's signature listeria cover-up. Upper Midwestern Delicacies and their attendant culture are discussed, incorrectly and not a little rudely. Together, we saluted great moments in bar bathroom graffiti, and spoke frankly as men about pet names. It took a while, and involved more substantive conversation along the way than usual, but we finally reached an appropriate level of holiday-week nonsense. Credit the magic of Thanksgiving, if you like, or whatever it is that's wrong with us. The important part, as with all holiday travel, is that we got there eventually.

If you would like to subscribe to The Distraction, you can do that at Stitcher, or through Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts. If you’d like to listen to an ad-free version of the podcast, you can do so on Stitcher Premium; a free month of Stitcher Premium can be yours if you use the promotional code “DISTRACT.” Thank you as always for your support.

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter