Further Thoughts on the US Right and the World Cup

Tom Mendelsohn

usa1 300x199 Further Thoughts on the US Right and the World CupIt looks like I inadvertently started a fight with my last blog on soccer and America. I honestly didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers, except perhaps amongst the neo-con dingbats with silly theories on the game.

Nevertheless, a quick scan of the comments below the original post will show feathers amply ruffled, so I feel as though I should clarify my points a little. To be clear, the only criticism I was making of anything concerned the ludicrous overreaction from certain commentators on the American Far Right. They were saying daft things.

A lot of the people in the comments, however, especially the aggrieved ones, assumed I was saying things that I wasn’t.

Here are some things I wasn’t saying:

  1. All Americans hate soccer. They don’t. They have more registered players than any other country: 18m of the blighters, and they’re breeding – all the kids are doing it.
  2. All Americans should love soccer. I don’t think anyone has to love soccer. Individual Americans are no more obliged to love the game than anyone else, and plenty of people the world over hate it with consuming passion. Honestly, if you’re an American and you want to hate soccer, go for your life. I’m not going to judge you, and there are plenty of good reasons for it – just don’t use the crazy reasons given by our bemsirched rightwingers, because those reasons are dumb, as previously discussed. By all means hate the low scoring, or the fact that draws happen too often or whatever else. Just don’t lazily call it socialist because you hate the French and they’ve been known to kick a ball.
  3. American sports are bad. I wasn’t having a go at the American sporting way. I quite like some of your games, and the ones I don’t I’m happy to ignore. I’m not saying that any of them is objectively better or worse than soccer. They’re different, and you’re welcome to them. Even if baseball is manifestly inferior to cricket.
  4. America is bad. I like America. It’s done a lot for us. Its people are nice. I don’t think it’s an evil empire. I do believe that the hard right goes too far, but I don’t despise the place for that.
  5. America either did or didn’t save our asses in WW1 or WW2. I didn’t mention anything about the war, but for the record, we wouldn’t be speaking German whether you’d helped out or not.

I hope that clears things up. It probably won’t.

Photo Credit: Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images

  • Adam J

    No need to apologize Tom. Your writing speaks for itself. It’s entertaining, educational and well-written, which is more than I can say for many US journalists, unfortunately.

    Those that are used to reading terse and cliched copy in the papers here in the US may not appreciate good writing. Rest assured, though that the truly educated community can decipher the good from the bad in an author’s writing.

    Your writing, sir, is truly good and it should be filled with passion. If people don’t like your views, they should go elsewhere, instead of posting derogatory comments. I think that Constructive criticism needs to be taught as a class in liberal arts schools here in the US.

    Best of luck and thanks for enlightening us with your well-written views.

  • Tom Mendelsohn

    Thanks! The cheque’s in the post.

  • sandra350

    ’sokay, John. I’m an American and agreed with every word you wrote. The rightwing nutjobs here really have no clue about football (“soccer”), they say absolutely hilarious things about it, and of course the only history they know is WWII. Of course, they really don’t know anything about WWII – all they think they know is that the US singlehandedly won the whole thing and saved the entire planet from a global takeover by the Nazis. That’s their version of history. The Russians defeating nearly 80% of German armies is one of those inconvenient facts they ignore. 70 years later and it’s the only thing they talk about when it comes to world history.

  • DAEsch

    Glenn Beck and co. are a bunch of raving nut jobs. However, the whole “football is socialist” bit has a more interesting history to it than just the mere ravings of right wing nut jobs. In the first golden age of American football which ended with the Great Depression, most professional sides were associated with factories – e.g. Bethlehem Steel, J&P Coats, etc., many of the players were Scots or northern English immigrants and ardent trade unionists. When the great Red Scare broke out after the Russian Revolution, things associated with hard-core trade unionist furriners – like football – got active opposition from the Establishment of the time. One of several reasons why football, despite a promising start as late as the 1920’s, never caught on in the USA.

  • pixie_n_dixie

    Tom, no offense taken (offence?) because whilst I like the game (my kid played; we went to college and pro games in Atlanta and watched our Chiefs defeat Man U whilst we drank beer with our lady friends)…
    but cricket?
    Beck does not speak for America any more than anyone else does or ever did. If we don’t allow our politicians and bureaucrats to speak for us (or Cardinals, bishops, preachers, rabbis, and, I suppose, imams, as well) don’t ever think that the rest of these nits speak for us.
    Certainly not the teevee and radio and newspaper writers, either.
    Things are chaotic enough without pretending that some nit talks for us.

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