You turn on the TV to watch the first game of the World Cup. The first person you see is...
It's the opening match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup--Germany vs. Costa Rica. ESPN's broadcast of the first of 64 games kicks off with a standard animated opening, switches to a wide shot of the fans in Munich's Allianz Arena, and then cuts directly to a shot of... me. Smack-dab in the center of the frame--the first discernable face of the entire Copa Mundial--is yours truly. Next to me is my friend Bernie, genius buyer-of-tickets-a-year-ahead-of-time.
Here are the opening 30 seconds of the broadcast:
What. Are. The odds.
While it's not a lingering shot, there's no mistaking... the size of my head. It's twice the cubic volume of anyone else's. Look at it! It's going to cause an eclipse.
The question at hand is this: why did the producers focus on me of all people, when there were 66,000 other fans to choose from? Indeed, where were all the ladies in the crowd? What was ESPN thinking? Integral to every soccer broadcast is the gratuitous shot of the alluring female fan in facepaint and very little clothing, cheering her team on. When this is shown, viewers in cafes and pubs the world over have a transcendant, multicultural, boundary-crossing moment together. They utter verbal confirmations in their respective languages. They miraculously gain an immediate understanding of her nation's history, culture, architectural innovations, and water quality. Some will even derive the unemployment rate and purchasing power parity. So every time a broadcast cuts to a fan of the fairer sex, citizens around the world are brought closer together... but ESPN chose to focus on me instead. Because of this decision, small-scale wars are being waged in Third World countries as we speak, involving black-market, second-hand firearms. In the middle of a war-torn street, a baby is left abandoned by its mother. It is wearing a newspaper.
The only logical conclusion to draw from all this is that ESPN's decision to spotlight me with the opening shot of the World Cup was clearly motivated by the support of their parent company--Disney--for the activites of illegal arms trading and baby-abandoning. You heard it here first.