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August 9, 2013 10:03 AM   Subscribe

It's amazing, isn't it? Just when you think this photo shoot has peaked — that Donovan's inert lower lip or Mathis's oddly bendy face have set an unsurpassable standard — it finds a way to top itself, in this case by dressing a hulking, be-dreadlocked defensive midfielder in Stormtrooper underleggings and a miniaturized I Love Lucy housedress and convincing him to make unhurried love to a set of stadium bleachers. If "The Boys of Soccer" were Maradona, this would be his England game. Grantland investigates the greatest sports photoshoot of all time.
posted by Ghostride The Whip (25 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is fucking magnificent; the hypothetical Bronte characters are especially meritorious.
posted by elizardbits at 10:08 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean really this is probably the most laudable thing with which the US men's soccer team has ever been associated.
posted by elizardbits at 10:12 AM on August 9, 2013


This was like some sort of real-life version of the Hawkeye Initiative, I guess?
posted by Uncle Ira at 10:15 AM on August 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Uncle Ira is spot-on. If this had been the U.S. women's team, these poses would have passed unnoticed.
posted by scody at 10:19 AM on August 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's almost like Matthias Vriens took these photos specifically for Brian Phillips to write about.
posted by cribcage at 10:20 AM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. Just... wow.

[Speechless.]
posted by alynnk at 10:28 AM on August 9, 2013


Superb.

If we can get Matthias Vriens to squeeze Wayne Rooney into a pair of leather trousers and make him flex while riding a pony, England might have a fighting chance at reaching the semis in 2014.
posted by inire at 10:37 AM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


cribcage: It's almost like Matthias Vriens took these photos specifically for Brian Phillips to write about.

If you said "Article about awkward 2002 USMNT fashion photo shoot -- " I would bet you $10,000,000 it was by Brian Phillips even before you got to, "-- with Brontë references."
posted by Rock Steady at 10:49 AM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


This just popped up in his Twitter feed. It's pretty amazing. Not Emily Bronte amazing but pretty amazing.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:20 AM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh man. Hilarious. Thanks for sharing.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:48 AM on August 9, 2013


The article's subtitle is "Reliving the most incredible photo shoot in U.S. soccer history."

"Most incredible," of course, being simply another way of saying "least credible."

This is terrific. Thanks.
posted by nickmark at 11:50 AM on August 9, 2013


a fighting chance at reaching the semis

I see what you did there.
posted by Scientist at 12:14 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


DaMarcus Beasley totally rocked it.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 12:21 PM on August 9, 2013


So, basically -- for a fashion photoshoot, male athletes were subjected to the male gaze once, just as female athletes are subjected always?

Hashtag queer studies claptrap that is basically totally true.
posted by lewedswiver at 12:42 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Remember Cobi Jones? Neither did I! He was the great face between Lalas and Donovan. That Donovan pic, man... never gets old. Love that charismatic water fountain.

And yeah... Beasley is the only one that nailed it in a "yeah... I feel that" sort of way. The rest, it's a "oh, what are you trying to do?" sort of thing.
posted by kendrak at 12:46 PM on August 9, 2013


Ghostride the whip: Is that an OJ Simpson cameo at 3 minutes in?
posted by kaibutsu at 1:51 PM on August 9, 2013


This is hilarious.
Analysis: We have arrived at the meat of the photo spread. There's so much going on here it's almost impossible to break it all down. Let's focus on Mathis's position vis-à-vis the pole and the angle of the shot. So … the pole is some kind of farm gate, right? Mathis is looking down over some kind of farm gate with his elbows all up like "Fuck you, hotshot, let's do this." So who's he threatening here? A pony? A small pig? Wilbur? Wilbur from Charlotte's Web? I'm just going to say it: There's a really good chance that this is a photo of U.S. soccer star Clint Mathis on the day he woke up, style-tousled his hair, slipped into an unbuttoned short-sleeved fashion smock, and went out to the pen to beat the living shit out of one of the most beloved characters in all of children's literature. And we've got the Wilbur's-eye view.

What I want to know is: Where did Mathis's day go after this photo was taken? Did he pick up a hockey stick and go after Eeyore? Did Mr. Toad and Mole escape OK? This is a genuinely terrifying photo. Of course, not long after this picture was taken, Mathis would wind up doing this, so it's all relative, I guess.

posted by zarq at 1:59 PM on August 9, 2013


I can't even tell, kaibutsu. Pretty damn close.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:04 PM on August 9, 2013


Obviously this piece has some creative license. For example, in real life it is Mario Balotelli who has a complicated relationship with a pig
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:04 PM on August 9, 2013


When alien archaeologists of the future compile their definitive anthology of Earth culture, I hope this article at least makes it into the bibliography.
posted by etc. at 2:55 PM on August 9, 2013


[Still speechless.]
posted by like_a_friend at 4:56 PM on August 9, 2013


Remember back in school, when the teacher would put up a weird or funny picture as a prompt for a creative writing exercise?

I think that Landon Donovan photo needs to be added to the rotation for those.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:29 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


You've really let me down, metafilter. What was it, just last week? We had that entire damn thread about 'this is what it looks like when someone does a halfass job of making guys do pinup poses!' And you didn't think to pop in and mention that this is what it looks like when someone does it for real? I'm really disappointed in you.
posted by jacalata at 11:07 PM on August 9, 2013


burbled with cold menace

A phrase worth of Wodehouse.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:34 AM on August 10, 2013


Sadly, yet again, an Italian team does better on our soil. Or rather, our concrete.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:20 AM on August 10, 2013


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