Even Amateur Porn Isn't Safe

Amateur porn has always been the original "reality" show.  Real people having real sex.  Often for little or no money -- just the thrill of appearing on camera at their most carnal.

A news report out yesterday (you can read it here) features reality star/pro-wrestler/amateur porn star Razor Rizzoti (aka Maxxx Loadz -- brilliantly ridiculous) and his slow rise to fame in those respective worlds.  Porn-wise, he's been in over 20 Homegrown Video features.

Amateur porn fans know of Homegrown.  It has the longest amateur porn series known to man.  One has to wonder, however, just how amateur amateur can be when a reality star (he's been on Extreme Forensics so you know he's serious) has wormed his way into it.

Reality "stars" (often in their own mind and in the words of a mass media that doesn't understand politics well enough to cover it) have invaded every aspect of our lives.  Porn makes sense, but -- my God -- is nothing sacred?  I don't care about these people who go from reality show to reality show, famous for nothing more than a screwed up name and a personality that would never fly in a fictional show. 

I haven't followed Homegrown Video in years.  I used to review its films, and have generally enjoyed them for what they are.  I had great contacts with employees there and the "head" of it.  I even interviewed some of the people.  Seeing that it is not immune to the allure of these cheap seat stars makes me question a lot of what I liked about that industry.  Standard porn was always a capitalistic endeavor, which makes such pandering easily understandable.  Reality stars turning to porn seems concomitant to everything standard porn stands for.  Amateur porn, however, always felt different.  Yes, there was money to be made (and money was made), and something like Homegrown is far different from mom and dad shooting a movie and distributing it on Naughty Bids, but I ask again: Is nothing sacred?

Homegrown, as amateur as its amateur movies are, is still a huge business, and associating itself with a reality slab o' flesh is natural in some obscene way.  I just expected more from it.  It's hippie-vibe is forever lost with the addition of Loadz.  After all, what could be less free-spirited than a guy who has been on something called Jerseylicious?


The Cold Tower of Despair

"Victims.  Aren't we all?"  That's what the Crow asked.  It's a great quote, as I think it hits right to the heart of victimhood status here in America.  People used to have pride in things like family (unfounded), nationality (same thing) and accomplishments (one thing people should have pride in).  Some took pride in their values and morals.  Again, commendable, though those things tend to be far too fluid to take any real sense of pride in ... unless you are a samurai or something. 

Now we take pride in being a victim.  We wear the crown of staples like a badge of courage.  Not a survivor.  Survivor implies strength.  Victim.  You can blame all your woes on it.  You are a victim of sexual assault, therefore you sexually assault.  You are a victim of your mother beating you, therefore you beat your kids.  You are a victim of addiction to Twinkies, therefore you shoot gay people.  Claim "victim" and you can wash your hands of everything. 

It is highly convenient.  It is highly coveted.  Who can be the greatest victim.  All eyes turn to the fallen.  I remember back when I worked in the factory.  A woman had just been diagnosed with cancer.  She was pretty stoic about it.  Family history said the odds were in her favor for catching that bus.  A co-worker who heard her talking about this decided to one-up her.  (Keep in mind, the newly crowned carrier of the Big C was not talking to this woman or claiming victim status.)  She said, and while this is not a direct quote, it is close enough, "That's nothing.  I slipped on ice a few years ago and broke my leg in two places."

Victims don't even know how to distinguish their true victim status.

Everyone wants to be a bigger victim than the last.  Everyone wants to use their status as an excuse.  "You can't blame me.  I'm a victim.  I'm not responsible for my actions.  I'm a victim."

It's not that I don't have sympathy.  I do.  I'm not a heartless machine.  I just can't believe that people not only can't distinguish real tragedy from minor inconvenience (cancer is a far bigger problem than a broken leg), but that they also take the status they claim to so hate and turn it into a crutch for every woe they have.

Survivors are to be commended.  Survivors that take their victimhood and turn it into inspiration or even revenge (the rapist who shoots her attacker, for instance) should be applauded. 

All of this stems from someone who told me the other day that the reason she keeps making bad decisions is because she is a "victim" of a one-parent family. 

Months ago, maybe a year ago, a boy was burned alive over a video game.  He survived.  He's going through therapy both mental and physical.  He looked remarkably well given his situation.  He was a victim of greed.  He has become a survivor.  I saw an interview with him.  It was short.  I don't remember a word he said, but not one single sentence was anywhere near as stupid as what that woman said to me.  Not one.  In fact, I doubt he would ever utter something so stupid.

What I've discovered, in my dealings with these victims of whatever ailment they believe has wronged them, is that they had some tragedy in life and now they blame all the bad decisions they make on it.  The only people who buy it?  Other so-called victims.  The survivors see through that shit like it is the finest crystal. 

Victimhood isn't a get out of jail free card.  It is a stepping stone to how you are going to live the rest of your life.  You'll either be a survivor of whatever life has dealt you, or you'll be a victim of it forever.  It will be your call and your call only.  

And lest anyone think I am downplaying real tragedy (or even perceived tragedy, because in the end, all that really matters is the perception), I'm not.  I understand that bad shit happens.  People are dealt rotten deals, and it can be crippling.  I'm attacking the idea that people should continue to embrace these things and give them power.  What they should do is conquer them and destroy them.  If you don't get that ... well, you may be a victim.


Punishment Junkie

While the East Coast is thrown around by a snowstorm like a drunk teen at a college frat party, I get up after having some very pleasant dreams.

Of course, I waken to a world on the West Coast where rain has become a staple.  Not complaining about that; I like it.  Sometimes, however, I miss the absolute blizzards that shut the world down and make mayors wring their hands in terror.

I had been waking up to headaches on a nearly daily basis for weeks, if not months now, and yesterday I thought I had pinpointed it.  Every time I woke up the first thought that came to mind was, "It's my fucking pillow."

Usually when falling asleep, I put my head down between two pillows.  Don't know why I do this.  Maybe it's because it mimics the warm feeling of a woman's breasts.  Hell, I don't know.  As I was thinking about it yesterday I realized it probably had to do with neck support.  And then I saw this commercial for a Sobakawa Cloud Pillow.

I didn't care about any of the mumbo jumbo being spouted forth on the commercial.  I didn't buy the claims that it was 300 years in the making.  Nor did I believe there over 10 million microbeads in it.  After all, was I going to count that?  Hell no.  What intrigued me was its shape.  It looked exactly like what I was envisioning as being the cure to my morning headaches.  (That and less stress.)

My daughter convinced me to get it, and I tried it out last night.  I had read some negative things online, such as the noise of the microbeads shifting being distracting (I'm a light sleeper, and they did not bother me one bit).  I also read that it gets "hot."  I also did not find that to be true.  What I found was no headache.

It's too early to tell if this was a fluke or a placebo affect.  (Which, according to what I heard on NPR last week, is stronger than we ever suspected.)  All I know is that I woke up without a headache, though it was still Monday and I would like nothing more than to not be doing what I'm doing today.

Though I'm still not too sure I'd want to be on the East Coast.


The Cold Fingers of Death

Last night I tried to post a piece on me touching Aleister Crowley's helmet ... something I should not have done according to the placard that was beside it.

My computer went nut butters and I wasn't able to post it at all. 

I'm not one to believe in the occult, though I understand its allure and power, but I did find it ironic that the entire post was about me touching something Crowley used to wear, something I wasn't supposed to touch, and then that post pretty much disappeared into the nether of the Internet.

If you don't know who Crowley is, you can easily look him up.  They don't make people like him anymore.  The Beatles were influenced by him.  He's made appearances in video games.  His books were mandatory reading for lots of disenfranchised youth.  He was The Great Beast.  The Unholy Roller.  The Dope Fiend.

Personally, I can understand the appeal, but I never put much stock into it.  Fascinating?  You bet?  A piece of culture that doesn't exist anymore?  Not that I can find.  A real conduit into the unknown?  No.  Only the unknown of our minds.

What was odd was writing this piece about this great helmet that one of his ladies made for him and how I felt about touching history ... and then due to the uncertainty of the Internet it isn't able to be posted, edited or even found.  Those believers in the the physical rather than mental powers of magic and certain occult-think would look to that as proof.  I think serious scholars of such things, however, would use that to exemplify the very real power the occult has upon the mind.  (After all, I don't think I'm alone in thinking that is where the real power always resides.)  

The power of symbols, the occult (using the commonly understood definition), and other such things is how it can affect those who accept them on face value.  Their power does not necessarily reside in them.  It is manifested by those who believe.  It has nothing to do with real magic or the occult and everything to do with humans and their unending ability to attribute magical powers upon things.  It is why religion works. 

Religious types often label the same type of thinking they have that is attributed to a different "god" or belief system as "the occult."  In America, anything that falls outside of the big box religions is often "occult" in nature.  This makes people who believe these things to become easily exploitable.  An effective occultist, such as Crowley (and, of course, the ultimate bad daddy Anton LaVey) knows this and uses this to his or her advantage.  And what an advantage it is!  You are loved!  You are hated!  You are feared!  You are worshipped!  You have followers who will do anything for you, and people who want you dead.  It think it's fairly easy to see the appeal of that.

I found it somewhat ironic that while writing about Crowley and my touching of a helmet that I should have kept my hands off of, my posting totally disappeared.  At no time did I think it was due to Crowley's influence from beyond the grave. 

I don't attribute any supernatural powers to people like Crowley.  I just think they are great manipulators and sometimes blatant exploiters.  What makes them fascinating to me is not how they do it, but the people who let themselves be exploited.  What drives them?  What do they see in people like Crowley?  Why do they love him or fear him?  It's a great sociological experiment that goes to show just how weak our minds are.  I tend to think that the more you believe in things that can't be proven (like religion or ghosts -- and I admit a fascination/skepticism about things like that), the more you leave yourself open to all kinds of "magical thinking."  I am interested in the idea of ghosts.  I don't look at them as supernatural beings, but rather a form of energy.  I understand I can't prove this, and nor has it been proven to my satisfaction, so I remain somewhat skeptical, unlike, say, I am about the sun coming up every morning.  I believe that will happen.  Science and experience says it's a safe bet I'll wake up to the sun rise.  By remaining skeptical I believe I protect myself from falling into a rut where I start to believe ever magical idea thrown my way, be it miracles or the power of Satan.  I don't think others have it that easy because they embrace things without much thought or input from reality.  That may feel people with a sense of relief or a feeling of power, but it does little to prevent them from being easily exploited.
There is no Crowley lingering around in the shadows these days.  I find that kind of sad, actually.  People haven't become any less believing, so it says to me that people have started accepting the "natural order" of magical thinking (big box religion) moreso than ever before.  In the past, the occult was part of our landscape.  You don't see that much anymore.  There are no more "personalities" to latch onto.  There is simply religion and the rest of the world.  I don't care either way, as I have no problem with people believing what they want to, but I do think it makes our culture a little less interesting.  Perhaps the closest we've come to that is Marilyn Manson or the lesser-known Boyd Rice back in the day.  (I happen to think Rice is more fascinating than Manson, but you can't argue Manson's cultural appeal.  Rice requires more of an intellectual examination from the masses, and our masses aren't into that at all.  Manson is easily digested, and that works in his favor, though I think most of the public at large just finds him shocking and thinks little of the occult aspect of his work.)

I think Crowley's time, which wasn't all that long ago, would have been fascinating to live in.  The public was less jaded, more willing to examine the unknown.  Now all we seem to care about is Facebook and inane postings, or deals at the mall.   That child-like wonder at the world around has been reduced to a Google search.  The occult is nothing more than black clothes at Hot Topic or some heavy eyeliner.  We have lost our ability to generate true rebel figures.  CNN doesn't cover people like Rice.  It covers those idiotic flash mobs that people seem to think are really special.  ("Oh look!  People are singing in the mall!  How crazy!")

Maybe this will all change someday, and another occult figure will stomp his way to the forefront of culture.  Until that happens, we still have the memory and words of Crowley ...  and his apparent ability to destroy the Internet from beyond the grave.


A Danger to Society

I think the highest compliment one can receive is that they are a "danger to society."  When you look at society in its vast arena of dysfunction, is there any greater thing to be other than a threat?

I look around and I see the liars, the thieves, the two-faced, the back-stabbers, the do-gooders with egos, the clueless running the various shows, the people who wear victimhood like a crown, the people whose fifteen minutes is based on their lack of intelligence, the greedy, the bottom feeders, the chum, the blissfully ignorant, the woefully inept, the people who think they know best, the people who know nothing, the lizard people, the snobs, the people who can't run their own lives but are more than happy to tell you how to run yours, the half-truths, the vapidly elite, the people who can only consume, the holier-than-thou, the ones who fear every devil but themselves, those who lack a moral compass, those who don't know what that means, the kings, the queens, the rulers, the happily ruled.  In other words: the people who surround you every day.  Not all of them, but enough of them to give you pause.

If you have a shred of morality, a millimeter of integrity -- how can you be anything but a danger?

I see it every day.  In my "real" life.  In my "work" life.  I see people who treat each other like caged animals.  There is no understanding.  No compassion.  No empathy.  No shared situation.  It is greed.  It is fear.  It is directionless hate.  It is a loaded gun (safety off) and placed in the hands of a spastic LSD tossback who sees everything as a threat.  They only understand hurt, anger, fury and disrespect when it is finally tossed their way.  And when they get it, they don't like it.  Not one bit.  No, Sir.  Not one bit at all.

Again, how is being a danger to that not admirable?

I'm not perfect.  I would never attempt to be.  But what I do attempt is to be the kind of person who treats others with the respect they've earned from me.  The kind of guy who can look at himself in the mirror and feel not only good about the choices I've made, but that I've also really thought about the choices I've made and how they affect others.  I want to lay my head down at night thinking I've done the right thing.

My "right thing" can be motivated by many things.  Fear.  Greed.  Rage.  Altruism.  Compassion.  Hate.  But I do my damned best to make sure it is never motivated by ignorance.  I examine what I will do and how it will affect people.  I don't pretend I live in a bubble, because I don't.  And when I see how others live their lives, I think being a danger is a great cosmic balance in their universe of choice.

The greatest danger to society isn't armed with a gun or a dirty bomb.  The rest of society just sees that as unrestrained rage, fundamentalism and extreme.  When they see that, they can dismiss it.  They can say, "That won't happen to me."  No.  The greatest danger isn't armed with any weapon but the truth and a willingness to say it.  And if they don't say it at the time, they act on it so that it can later be seen ... often when it's too late for anyone to react.  A danger like that gets into people's heads.  It can't be ignored.  It cuts to the bone and twists. 

I raise my cup of coffee to you folks, the dangers to the world of complacency, moral pits, and the mask wearers.  Keep up the good work.  Keep spitting out the truth.  Keep being a danger.  It beats being one of them.


A Bitter Point of Rage

There are two phrases I hope to hear less of this upcoming year.  (To wish them to go away is just too much.  I'm not starry-eyed optimist.  I know they won't disappear.)  I hear them far too often, and have actually been guilty of using them once or twice myself.  When I do slip, I end up burning myself on the stove as punishment for such a lazy transgression.  I have learned my lesson.

The first phrase, and this has actually sneaked into the mainstream news once or twice happens to be: "It is what it is."  If there is a more nebulous, jaw-droppingly drool-worthy phrase out there, I don't know of it.  (Thankfully.)  It is what it is is the vocal equivalent of throwing your hands in the air, shrugging your shoulders and saying, "I don't get it.  I don't want to get it.  To try and figure it out, let alone vocalize it is too much, so I will simply say 'it is what it is' and let you figure it out and argue it if you must."  I have usually heard this phrase uttered when the topic at hand is negative or depressing in some way.

"Oh, that sucks that your mother died."

"It is what it is."

Weak and pathetic.  People have so lost their ability to verbally express what is on their minds that they have resorted to saying the equivalent of "a car is a car" -- only with less detail. 

(As a way of having fun with this, a friend told me the other week that he had to get some lab work done.  I responded with a heartfelt, "Wow.  That doesn't sound fun.  You seem kind of upset about it.  How serious is it?"  His response was, "It is what it is, I guess."  This struck me as odd, so I responded in kind with, "Oh, that's true.  I hope you don't have an STD."  Vague meet random.  Shake and kiss.)

The other phrase is: "I'm just saying."  This is often used as an apology for some opinion or fact that is thrown out there that someone may possibly disagree with.  We have, as a society, become so weird about actually having opinions on anything, that an apology of some sort often seems necessary lest you offend some dolt.  Trust me, I know you're "just saying" it.  I just heard you say it.  You don't have to apologize for voicing an opinion or stating a fact ... even if you think I would be uncomfortable with it.  It's okay.

I've been guilty of the latter more than the former (with the shit I say, I often am offering an apology).  Being fascinated with culture and language causes me to examine these things, though.  Why we use what we use, and why things happen to catch on in a certain way.  And once they do catch on, why do they go away at some point? 

I believe that once you hear these phrases enough, you catch them like a cold, which in turns spreads them.  Verbal viruses that hatch in the brain and spread whenever the mouth is opened. 

Anyone have their own pet peeve phrases they'd like to throw out there?  I know it's hard to stop saying them once you do, but at some point you have to lose the virus.


Revisiting the Manuscript: The Human Chokehold

Being in a bad mood due to work going so far fucking South that it wasn't even funny, I decided to work on the manuscript.  It's an evil, nasty piece of work that often fucks with my head.  Writing last night, I thought back to some of the research I did, and a video I found.

The manuscript, as many know, deals with the very powerful mixture of sex and violence.  Fairly unapologetic.  Quickly spiraling out of control.  Doing research for it has been less than pleasant.  The video was part of that.

If you get easily disturbed, I'd recommend you go read some blog that details a the trials and tribulations of a happy family of five "just trying to live life one day at a time."  Otherwise, you might have nightmares.

The video is shot in a hotel room.  I can't make out the details of the city visible through the window in the background.  It is dark and the shades are mostly drawn, though it looks like the room is on the upper floors.  The camera is stationary.

A chair stands in the room.  Standing on this chair is a female who is nude except for the hood over her head.  It is hard to make out details of her body, but my guess would put her at middle age ... just like the guy standing next to her.

There is a noose around her neck. 

The noose is attached to a point somewhere above her head.  There is little slack in the rope.

The man has his hands between the woman's legs.  He is masturbating her.  The moans say she is enjoying it.  Though, if you've ever heard a woman moan there is sometimes no way to discern pleasure from pain and fear.

Then she utters the magic word.  I believe it was, "Now!"

The man yanks the chair away.  Her hands go to her neck.  She is swinging.  Her breath is cut off by the noose.  Her legs bend back at the knees.  The only sounds are the strains of the rope and that of her body trying to breathe.  It's a losing battle, as is her attempt to loosen the noose.

The man, who had gotten out of the way of her swinging body to watch with fascination in the background, moves in to grab her.  The video ends.  Her face unseen.  Outcome unknown (I assume she lived because I highly doubt this was her first time in front of the wheel so to speak).

The video was not erotic to me.  It was research.  It wasn't even what I was researching at the time.  (I believe I was actually looking up the amount of deaths by erotic asphyxiation every year that could actually be categorized as such and what their common factors were -- how many were solo based on how many had a partner present and so on.  It is those little touches that give a manuscript its realism.)  The images stuck in my mind, though, and I knew I would use them.  I would most likely not have a happy ending like this one (presumably) had.  My scene would end far, far worse.

Writing is my escape from the problems of the day.  It's my way to get all the little stories out of my head.  When finally deciding to write this one, you may remember that it was born out of several different things (a missing girl in Eureka, a twisted snuff scene, the idea that people often put a lot of faith in people and gave them all kinds of power all while playing with things they don't truly understand).  Oddly enough, it is not really motivated by anger, but when I'm angry, I work on it.  Therefore, it has an edge.

I like the idea that writing can be just as dangerous as film.  Maybe even moreso, because it gets in your head.  It stays there.  You fill in the blanks.  You personalize it.  You make it yours, and you can't get rid of it so easily. 

You most likely never saw the video I described.  I imagine you won't forget it for a while.  You pictured the hood being a certain color (I never mentioned it).  The carpet, too.  You filled in the missing furniture.  You decided on the lighting.  You decided on the ethnicity of the participants.  You decided if the man was bald or had a full head of hair.  You imagined the woman's breast size.  What her nipples looked like.  You determined what, if anything, the man was wearing. 

You created all of that in your head.  I had zero to do with it.  You recreated the video.  And while you may have found what I wrote to be disturbing (or erotic if you're one of those fun people), you are the one who made it so.  I gave you the canvas, and you painted it.  That's something writing can do so much better than film.  Film can hint at things, too, but the details are still overwhelming.  Film manipulates.  Writing creates.

The next time you're in a hotel room, remember this.  Think about what went on there.  Maybe this video will come back to you.  Maybe something else will.  If I did my job correctly, these images I helped you create will hit you at the most unexpected of times.  It may or may not have bothered you, but that is of less concern to me than the fact that you participated.  Because if your mind did it once, it can do it again.  That idea is in there now, and like LSD, it will find a home and roost.  It may never show its choking face again.

And then again ... the next time you are masturbating in the relative safety of your bed ... it may come back.

Happy holidays.


Do Not Look Behind the Curtains

WikiLeaks.  Just the name alone is enough to cause diplomats to shit the bed.  For news hounds like myself it is the cause of multiple newspaper articles (I think I read between three and five articles yesterday alone in the Times-Standard, and that paper sucks).

War footage.  Secret communications.  National security.  Rape.  These are all things that are mentioned when WikiLeaks inevitably pops up in the news.  Less mentioned is government transparency, the freedom that information brings, and the exact nature of what constitutes a threat.

Any government that is, for all intents and purposes, put in place by the public (through elections) should be transparent.  Look at it this way: If you hire a babysitter, shouldn't you be able to use any means within your power to make sure the babysitter isn't harming your child?  As a citizen in a representative republic, I want to know that my government isn't engaged in digging mass graves and burying people alive in them.

National security and the security of the men and women in the armed forces (or spies) is important, but so is the security of the American people.  I want to know if my government is acting in such a way that could bring harm upon my country and myself.  And if they are, I want them ousted.

It has been said that Julian Assange (WikiLeaks' driving force) has an agenda to bring down America.  If the information exposed is faked, then I would agree.  If, however, it is real (and I have not heard complaints that it is faked -- and if it was I doubt the governments of the world would be so up in arms), then he is merely exposing the fact that the Emperor has no clothes.  And to be honest, not everything he has exposed paints America in a negative light.  Not bombing the shit out of Iran while the rest of the Middle East is begging for that very action shows we aren't exactly the monsters everyone claims Assange is making us out to be.

Governments should not be allowed to operate in secret.  I recognize the need to guard many facts, and I understand that.  But policies should not be made behind closed doors.  Murderous acts and war crimes should not be covered up.  And most importantly, the American people should not be lied to about those things.  Assange has essentially said, "If you won't tell the truth, I will."  Here's the kicker ... even if our government was more open, nobody would care.

This material has been released, much of it has been available for a while.  (I spent hours about six months ago pouring over 9/11 text and pager message transcripts.)  The American public doesn't care about the dangerous behavior its government is engaged in.  Dancing With the Stars is important.  Trying to obtain biometric information on diplomats and murder is not.

This, of course, is not a partisan issue, either.  Both sides of the fence are pissed at this guy, and that can only be good.  They are scared, too, and they should be.  Our elected officials should be scared every day of their lives.  They should fear the public's wrath.  They should consider their actions and the harm they could cause currently and in the future.  If WikiLeaks helps that process along, I'm all for it.  Unfortunately, the issue has been skewed and the government is, once again, off the hook.

Assange, from everything I can see, is not anti-American.  He's anti-secrecy.  He's anti-lying.  He's against governments taking advantage of their populations and populations throughout the world.  He's just made the mistake of picking on the world's super power, but I've always had this theory: You're only as strong as your opponents.  In this case, Assange is a fucking giant.


Rock the Qatar

In the news this week there were a few constant themes that played out: the economy is recovering at a snail's pace, WikiLeaks is still crapping in a lot of people's Corn Flakes, and Qatar (not a skin disease) is hosting the 2022 World Cup.  The only thing that was surprising was the 2022 World Cup announcement.

Qatar, a Muslim nation with a love of soccer (the real football), is a bit of a surprise to anyone who follows these things.  The summers average around 104 degrees, and the country has promised to build open air, air conditioned stadiums.  Oh yeah, and they will be carbon neutral.  A feat that sounds impressive, but may be nothing more than a pipe dream. 

America, in its bid, promised to sell a record five million tickets.  Five million tickets.  To soccer.  In America.


Of course, fans of the Beautiful Game were immediately lamenting the fact that women wouldn't be allowed in the stadiums, and that they wouldn't be able to quaff an overpriced beer.  Neither of those things are serious worries, but extremists have come out of the woodwork stating that Qatar would be replaced with a caliphate and that players would be kidnapped.

Yeah, that could be an issue.

The countries that were bidding for the 2022 World Cup were Australia, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Mexico, Indonesia and Qatar.  If you hear that little song in your head that includes the line "one of these things is not like the others," you are not alone. (Mexico and Indonesia had to cancel their bids.)

Initially, when hearing that Qatar won the bid, I thought, FIFA has gone batshit motherfucking insane.  South Africa makes more sense in hindsight.  Qatar has a population just under two million people.  That's three million less than what the US promised to sell in tickets.  What was FIFA thinking?

Quite simply, beyond the business aspect of it (Qatar has the oil), FIFA wanted the Middle East to host a World Cup.  It's the first Arab nation to do so.  It's not a horrible idea, and it's not an idea without merit, but realistically speaking, how many fans are going to be motivated to travel to a country where extremists are threatening action?  They'll sell tickets, of course, but not as many as the other countries would have ... including South Korea.

2022 is a long way off.  A lot can change in that time.  Qatar could get those stadiums up and functioning, and in twelve years we may be wondering why we were surprised by this move in the first place.  One thing that won't change in that time, though, is the number of fans of the game in America.  FIFA had hopes that America would be a soccer powerhouse and bring new fans to the table.  By naming Qatar as the 2022 host, FIFA has nearly guaranteed that won't happen.