The London Olympics kicked off with England's largest military buildup since World War II, complete with a 16-mile electrified wall through the center of the city. Brazil's preparing for the upcoming World Cup by outfitting their police with Darth Vader armor. Russia used the Sochi Olympics as an excuse to "disappear" protesters. People like to treat sporting events as either wonderful expressions of our competitive spirit or pointless jockery, but really, these giant contests are how we burn off the energy we used to use fighting wars.
In today's podcast, Jack O'Brien and Alex Schmidt talk about Brazil's upcoming disastrous World Cup, and how soccer games routinely push millions of citizens to riot in the streets. Holding huge games like the Olympics is terrible for cities: Just ask Toronto or Athens about their rotting stadiums. Brazil expects to spend $11.5 billion prepping for the World Cup, to earn maybe $3.5 billion for their trouble. Why would the government agree to that, especially when the money dump was guaranteed to inspire rioting in the streets? Could it be that we need spectacles like this to make up for our recent lack of world wars? Throw on your headphones and click play above.