4 Photos From the World Cup Straight Out of a Dystopia
The soccer-fanatic nation of Brazil is hosting the World Cup, starting on June 12, and as you may have heard, the preparations aren't going so great. Millions of Brazilians have been protesting in the streets for more than a year over the superfluous spending on stadiums that'll be abandoned and probably turned into shantytowns two weeks after the games.
The government's solution? Spend even more money coming up with sci-fi-looking measures to curb the protests. The results look like some Hollywood madman took the World Cup and gave it a gritty reboot set in a dystopian future -- one where people care enough about soccer to pull stuff like this:
Rio's New Police Officers Are Modeled After RoboCop and Darth Vader
If there's anything that resonates with the World Cup spirit, it's hundreds and hundreds of cheering, excitable, weirdly dressed ... RoboCop-styled policemen.
"Dead or alive, you're sambaing with me."
Apparently anticipating that the World Cup's queue lines will be populated by goons carrying rocket launchers and flamethrowers, the Rio police force has handed out 200 sets of a 22-pound "RoboCop" outfit (their word, not ours) of protective equipment. What comes with it? For starters, special flame resistance up to 427 degrees Celsius (you know, in case this happens) and a Batman utility belt equipped with pepper spray, a stun gun, pistols, handcuffs, and, of course, a special World Cup baton. The helmet and mask are inspired by Darth Vader (seriously) to "provoke a psychological effect on the protesters" and ... make them jump down chasms while yelling "YOU'RE NOT MY DAD," we guess?
In other words, Brazil has finally caught up to the dystopian future shown in the movie Brazil from 1985:
Next: Terrifying baby masks for all doctors.
Oh, and the comparison to RoboCop isn't as gratuitous as you might think -- the outfits are also equipped with a small camera fitted to glasses inside the helmet that can capture 400 facial images per second, which are then sent to a central computer database that stores up to 13 million faces. Basically, the World Cup police will have the ability to take a picture of you and instantly send it to their headquarters to see if you're one of the criminal jackasses or just a regular old stupid jackass. Either way, someone's getting shot in the dick.
Those cops not lucky enough to be granted the RoboCop outfit won't be pushovers, either: They've been trained in jiujitsu. There will be an "unarmed juijitsu squad" patrolling the streets and fighting protesters. Yes, Brazil's authorities make all their decisions based on '80s action movies. And on that note ...
They've Set Up a James Bond Villain-esque Mission Control to Monitor Everything
That headquarters with the database of 13 million pictures that we mentioned above? In a movie, that would be some huge complex with walls lined with screens and manned by dozens of henchmen in matching jumpsuits, but let's face it: We all know that in the real world, it's probably more like some boring DMV office filled with plain-looking bureaucrats.
However, this isn't the real world. This is Brazil.
There's no way one of those computers doesn't turn that giant Christ statue into a battle zord.
Seriously, that's what the Centro de Operacoes Prefeitura do Rio de Janeiro (COR) looks like -- we're pretty sure the interior decorator responsible for this place had only worked on the inside of active volcanoes before.
The idea for the COR goes back to 2010, when Rio's mayor, Eduardo Paes, realized that the city was ill-prepared to host the World Cup and the Olympics in the coming years, what with all the problems that plague it: gang violence, heavy rain and landslides, packs of monkeys with switchblades, etc. To monitor all those things and coordinate the response from the various departments, Paes decided to build the biggest and most complex command center ever made. Not just in Brazil: in any country.
At least 15 of those screens will be focused on finding bouncing Brazilian butts at any given time.
The command center brings together 30 different departments and private contractors under one supervillain-esque roof. Seventy COR staff members keep track of the giant wall monitor broken off into grids of status graphs, meteorological reports, and live video feeds from traffic and surveillance cameras ... and yes, their jumpsuits match. They even have the power to change traffic lights to prevent traffic jams or, at some inevitable point in the future, to hinder the escape of James Bond during a dramatic chase.
They're also the leading global superpower in LAN parties.
The Stadiums Will Be Protected by Anti-Aircraft Missiles and Drones
It's well known that soccer fans can get a little rowdy and start fights with each other at the slightest provocation, presumably just as a way to stay awake while a soccer match is happening in front of them. So, it's normal for the authorities to deploy some security measures around the stadiums, like barricades, protective fences ... or, in Brazil 2014's case, fucking anti-aircraft missiles.
"Half the missiles will be pointed at the Argentines in case they try any hand bullshit."
Along with buying 34 German anti-aircraft tanks in preparation for the World Cup, the Brazilian Air Force has been petitioning the government to bend a currently standing "You're Not Allowed to Shoot Down Planes Over Populated Areas" law. Why? Because with that pesky technicality out of the way, the Air Force will be able to initiate a defense zone around all of the World Cup's stadiums and blast the shit out of any plane that might fly within a 4-nautical-mile radius. You know, in case anyone tries to pull any 9/11s during the penalty kicks, because that sounds feasible.
Whether they succeed in looping through the law or not, it doesn't really seem to matter -- the anti-aircraft guns have already been deployed around all the stadiums. Let's just hope they don't shoot down their own fleet of drones, recently purchased from Israel, that'll be flying around the stadiums performing "safety and security missions." So, yes, shooting poison darts at scalpers, probably.
Yeah. At this point, we're pretty sure Brazil's military is just taking advantage of the government's World Cup-related spending spree to renovate their arsenal for the entire next century. As if to prove that, they've also bought a bunch of unused U.S. military robots (they were probably on clearance) that will be used to search for bombs in your luggage and old underwear.
"No thongs? Very suspicious. Blow it up."
The Protests Are Getting More and More Insane
We've been talking about the crazy shit Brazil's authorities are pulling right now, but don't let us give you the impression that the protesters haven't risen up to the challenge. You might have already seen the pics of the cities crowded with protesters starting from a year ago, but just in case you don't keep up with international news that doesn't involve Justin Bieber, here you go:
Pictured: Not Carnival.
Those millions of Brazilian people are protesting for the millions of Brazilian dollars being spent on World Cup and Olympic stadiums that could've gone toward health, education, or helping people not starve to death. You know shit's serious when Brazil starts turning its back on soccer. Sure, every country experiences protests, but the Brazilians' natural effusiveness turns every demonstration into a scene from a sci-fi movie. When a bus strike was held a few weeks ago, for example, the subway and all the thousands of people pushing their way through looked like something straight out of World War Z.
And remember -- that's before the arrival of an estimated 3.7 million tourists who will undoubtedly make things suck even more (as tourists tend to do). And then you've got the indigenous tribes of Brazil starting to fight back: At a protest last week, police clashed with and subsequently tear-gassed Brazilian tribesmen equipped with bows, arrows, spears, headdresses, and the occasional grass skirt. Everything's a jug of blue body paint removed from a porn parody of Avatar.
After everything we've seen so far, we're assuming the horses are cyborgs.
And for one final time, let us remind you that this is Brazil. Protesting. Soccer. It's like Canada protesting politeness, or America protesting pizza. The impressively bleak graffiti probably says it best:
The third part of XJ's epic science-fiction novel is out now on Amazon. The first $0.99 novella can be found here, with Part 2 out here. Or leave a review and get a free copy! Poke him on Twitter and follow him on Facebook.