Why is Google Doodle marking World Cup through June?
The international search leviathan, as you have no doubt noticed, has been doing FIFA World Cup promotions on its main page since the global soccer competition began early this month.
Google has repeatedly landed in hot water over “Google Doodle” decisions that are apparently meant to be whimsical but more often come off as bizarre. Google notably failed to acknowledge Memorial Day and famously snubbed a billion or so Christians on Easter Sunday in favor of the United Farm Workers labor union. Untroubled by this history, Google has devoted its storied “Doodle” throughout this month to providing free advertising for what is essentially an international trade group: the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Why?
If you ask the question above at Google.com, you’ll get a bunch of breathless articles on World Cup news. You’ll get more or less the same thing at AskGoogle.net.
These articles are not necessarily uninteresting. The sport of international love and brotherhood has lately generated an on-the-field cannibalism episode that was totally ignored by officials. The Islamist terror group now rolling up the Levant has reportedly “hijacked World Cup hashtags in English and Arabic to share pro-ISIS content” — proving that while this reporter thought calling soccer the “official sport of terrorism” was just an over-the-top troll of soccer fans, it was in fact a letter-accurate description of the sport.
Of course, you must win the victory over yourself. You must love World Cup. That is the real purpose of the Doodle campaign: to extinguish the most precious of all human rights: the right just not to care about something Big Brother insists you take an interest in.
Just so, using Google (and ask yourself: do you have any way of finding information anymore, other than googling it?), you can find a few negative takes on the Google Doodle World Cup extravaganza. But these are the kind of false-dissent gestures Late Capitalism is willing to tolerate in order to stave off the uprising of the proletariat. At no point are you allowed to opt out of World Cup entirely.
“Google World Cup doodle scores sour note on social media” says the Kansas City Star’s Lisa Gutierrez, but her actual story is just a recitation of social controversies any red-blooded American would be ashamed to take seriously: over Brazil’s favelas and so forth. An even more grotesque gesture of non-dissent dissent is Barry Schwartz’s “Are You Getting Tired Of Google’s World Cup Doodles?” This piece turns out to be five sentences of text followed by a gallery of more than a dozen favorite World Cup doodles, advertising for the event disguised as controversy. You may be tired of World Cup, but World Cup is not tired of you.
As always, the apparent gesture at freedom is in fact another link in the chain of bondage. You can get mad about a World Cup result. You can object to a detail of World Cup advertising. What you can’t do is stand up boldly and say what Patrick Henry, Nat Turner, Anne Hutchinson, the guy with the shopping bags at Tiananmen Square, and history’s other great dissenters didn’t quite say but all meant: I just don’t give a 5h1t.