"oranje boven!" the memorabilia reads, a curious choice of words for the runners-up in that great football festival of the world. sponsored corporate schwag, propaganda, carnival: a meme science of learning to lose well. capital seems to have lowered its standards in the vectoral age.
but this is a calculated play, no? keep the party going, stimulate the chafed teat of the economy a little longer, turn the waikiki beach of gait surfing into canals of oranje gello. as with the winners of the great trophy, our first best loser may also be used as a thickening agent with which one is able to coagulate biological flows, from the molecular to fluid audience mass.
in the logo for foot locker shoes stands the referee: figure of authority in the spaces of sport, chimera of police and judiciary patrolling the privileged layer of lex sportiva. dark-haired, male, trim, the referee in the foot locker logo casts a watchful eye not directly at you, but rather around you.
every sales clerk at foot locker retail locations — no matter the body shape, size, sex, hair colour or skin tone — wears the same uniform of the referee, for they are the authorities of athletic footwear. draped in the pure binary of black and white, their asignifying gestural barcode of alternating uniform stripes stands in sharp contrast to those other markers of inventory management proliferating in malls everywhere.
it is crisp in black and white: on the one hand an even balance between Right and Wrong and on the other a visual noise that stands out against the vivid colours of packaged spectacle or everyday playing-in-the-world. from black and white to yellow card to oranje card to progressively deeper shades of colour (…like the tall woman walking through the square near bloemenmarkt, whose auburn hair caught the slanted 18:30 sun in just such a way…) and finally to red card and the full power of Language and Law.
there are no games left for now, no opportunities remain to avenge the contingent national identity. instead, we wallow in the luxury of our own failure: foot locker authorizes this second place finish.