Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Current Events’

Money, morals and Mayweather

May 19, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Sports besides Tennis 1 Comment →

Anyone who cares about boxing knows that a number of its participants have criminal pasts—and, for that matter, criminal presents and criminal futures. In Mayweather’s case, the news of his latest assault and concomitant jail sentence was sometimes treated as yet one more episode in a colorful life. A few months after the sentence came down, HBO called Mayweather “one of boxing’s most intriguing and controversial figures” and broadcast “Floyd Mayweather: Speaking Out,” an interview conducted by Michael Eric Dyson, the scholar known for his analysis of African-American culture and politics.

“I’m pretty sure Martin Luther King been in jail,” Mayweather said, rather nonsensically. “I’m pretty sure Malcolm X been in jail.”

At one point, Dyson suggested that Mayweather’s critics were jealous and possibly racist. He asked, “Do you think people have a real resentment of your success as a black man who’s flashy, making it rain, and they look at their own lives and see that they’re not doing nearly as well as you?”

What should we do with athletes like Mayweather, who commit particularly disturbing crimes? In boxing, the answer, traditionally, has been: as long as they are not currently incarcerated, let them fight.

Read The Best Defense by Kelefa Sanneh in the New Yorker.

Manny Vs Money: The “Fight of the Century”?

May 04, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Sports besides Tennis No Comments →


Manny (Pacquiao) himself has always seemed generous and open-hearted, just happy to be where he is. It’s a long way from living on the streets after your drunken father ate your dog. During the stare-off with his opponent he could not stop smiling. Addressing his fans, he told them not to worry because he was doing the fighting, not them. Very considerate of him. I wonder if he was aware that he was speaking epic hero language: I will carry this burden for you. Maybe he is aware of it, having written and sung that song (covered on TV by Jimmy Kimmell, who has always treated Pacquiao with great respect, never mocking his English the way we do).

But the “Fight of the Century” wasn’t about being a good human being, it was all about money and hype. I like the boxing scholar who said a “fight of the century” must have a social dimension: Lewis vs Schmeling, in which a black man was fighting for the free world against Nazism; Ali vs Frazier, after Ali had taken a stand against the Vietnam War. There was no social import here: Mayweather was not making a statement on the riots in Baltimore or the death of black men in police custody. This fight was purely about money.

Read our column now at

Mazel tov, Your Highness

May 02, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Sports besides Tennis 2 Comments →

The second we checked into Budapest, the BBC reported that England’s new royal baby has arrived and she’s a girl. Mazel tov! Given the timing of the birth–breaking into the latest non-news on the upcoming Pacquiao-Mayweather match–and given that Manny Pacquiao named his daughter “Queen Elizabeth”, Kate and Wills should call their baby “Dionesia”.

Beat him, Pac-Man.

April 29, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Sports besides Tennis No Comments →

Photo from BBC Sport

We don’t like boxing, and generally what a Manny Pacquiao bout means to us is that road traffic will be very light on the Sunday morning (Manila time) it’s on so we can go to Binondo, Divisoria and Quiapo. We think Manny Pacquiao entering politics is a daffy idea. We’re not interested in his affairs or the romantic life of his mother. But every time we see reports on the upcoming Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, we want Manny Pacquiao to beat Mayweather’s ass like a drum. We want Manny to pulverize him. Do it, Pac-Man.


The Jinx is the creepiest TV show we’ve seen this year, and it’s a documentary.

April 24, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Crime, Current Events, Monsters, Television No Comments →

A dismembered body is discovered in Galveston, Texas, wrapped in trash bags. It is missing a head. The dead person is identified as Morris Black, resident of a run-down boarding house. Police find clues in the trash bags and blood in the house. They arrest Black’s neighbor, a middle-aged mute woman named Dorothy Ciner. Who, it turns out, is neither mute nor a woman.

Why was Robert Durst, scion of a New York real estate empire, living in a crummy boarding house pretending to be a mute woman? It was not the first time he was in such close proximity to a corpse. Twenty years earlier his young wife Kathie, a medical student, disappeared and was never seen again. Ten years earlier his best friend Susan Berman was shot dead in her house in Beverly Hills. In both cases Durst had not been treated as a suspect.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.

The invisible army of Filipino migrant workers in American warzones

April 20, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events No Comments →

Over the past decade, contractors and subcontractors have earned billions of dollars providing half a million Asian migrant workers, primarily from India, Nepal, and the Philippines, to perform the menial tasks in American war zones that soldiers will no longer do: cooking, cleaning, laundry, construction, and base security. Employing these workers—an invisible support army with no domestic political constituency—has allowed Washington to keep troop numbers and casualty figures artificially low. Over the years, prompted by worker unrest and some media attention, conditions for workers have somewhat improved on the bases. But the very first phase of their exploitation—the manner in which they were recruited—has not changed, and they continue to be hired through the same extortionary system that supplies labor to the Gulf countries.

Read The Men in the Middle at Dissent, via 3QD.