If there’s one thing that the last few days have proven, it’s that the world loves Sepp Blatter. And by winning yet another term as FIFA president, we all get to love him in our own special way for four more years.
Prince Ali, the man who challenged Blatter in the election with a platform of transparency and reform, gave us a glimpse of what FIFA would might have been like under his rule… and it was super boring. Then, after he prattled on with his underwhelming niceties, Blatter took the stage and regaled us with his slimy combination of grandfatherly charm, despotic villainy, and mockable absurdity. As usual, it was pure entertainment — enchanting his base of voters and repulsing all others, thus satisfying everyone as only Sepp Blatter can.
So with his victory, the third world nations keep their supposed champion — the man who gives them the same cut of the profits and same voting power as the big boys — and first world nations get a continuation of their favorite emotional state: idle outrage.
Oppositional leaders within football like UEFA president Michel Platini, FA chairman Greg Dyke and USSF president Sunil Gulati get to continue to make themselves look good by preaching to the choir and grandstanding against Blatter, grabbing headlines for their virtuousness with empty threats of seismic action along the way. Meanwhile, the media and fans of warring affiliations get to unite on their only patch of common ground and express a satisfying rage by shaking digital fists at Blatter every moment he continues to exist in a position of unshakable power.
Just look at the top sports stories for the New York Times, a news organization that serves a country that supposedly doesn’t care about soccer. They’re not about Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, the Champions League final or the Premier League season, or even the NBA finals or anything about the NFL. They’re all about Sepp Blatter and his mesmerizingly evil FIFA empire. Every last one of them. We simply can’t get enough of his awfulness.
— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT) May 29, 2015
None of this is really news, either. No one has been punished yet. It’s just further confirmation of what we’ve known to be true for the better part of two decades. It’s affirmation theater.
In an age when roughly 40% of all internet articles are the result of someone trawling for the most vile and obscure tweets they can find and then compiling them into handy, mob-inciting packages, Sepp Blatter is a godsend. Outrage and the feeling of self-satisfaction that accompanies it are what we want and Blatter constantly quenches that thirst. He is the embodiment of all that is wrong with FIFA, and in many ways, the world, thus giving us the easiest of targets for our anger and blame.
If boring, well intentioned Prince Ali had won, just think of all those pages that would have gone unviewed and jokes that would have been left unmade.
Sepp Blatter isn’t the FIFA president that football needs, but he is the FIFA president that appeals to our basest desires. So here’s to four more years of slowing down to gawk at the mangled wreckage.