Japan’s Keisuke Honda (2nd R) scores against Cameroon yesterday
Liberal David Zirin says that the American Far Right, e.g. Glenn Beck and G. Gordon Liddy, don’t like soccer because it is a game popular abroad and they are racists and nativists.
Among adults, the sport is also growing because people from Latin America, Africa, and the West Indies have brought their love of the beautiful game to an increasingly multicultural United States. As sports journalist Simon Kuper wrote very adroitly in his book Soccer Against the Enemy, “When we say Americans don’t play soccer we are thinking of the big white people who live in the suburbs. Tens of millions of Hispanic Americans [and other nationalities] do play, and watch and read about soccer.” In other words, Beck rejects soccer because his idealized “real America” – in all its monochromatic glory – rejects it as well. To be clear, I know a lot of folks who can’t stand soccer. It’s simply a matter of taste. But for Beck it’s a lot more than, “Gee. It’s kind of boring.” Instead it’s, “Look out whitey! Felipe Melo’s gonna get your mama!”
Ace responds with a far superior analysis. Americans don’t follow soccer because:
It is a low scoring game. (And we Americans are into fast and frequent gratification).
Our best athletes play football, baseball, and basketball. Who wants to watch low quality performers?
It requires an investment in time and attention to understand the point of any sport, and Americans are already otherwise fully invested.
And, leftie fashionistas like soccer, so we don’t.
I watched small portions of some World Cup matches recently. I would add:
Soccer just looks strange. It really is foot ball. Watching people chasing a ball around, using only their feet, is a lot like watching a ball game played by some other species which unfortunately lacks hands and arms. I get an “I’m watching some kind of Special Olympics ballgame” feeling and start looking around for a cup to place my donation in.
Compared to American football, soccer is an exercise in pacifism. They just don’t tackle people. Americans like our own football because we like violence. We like to see people deliberately running into other people, hitting them, and knocking them down. We also like really big muscular guys. Americans would rather watch a bunch of 300+ lb. linemen crushing people than watch a bunch of slender fellows in short pants and high stockings running lithely over the grass.
Ace is right that soccer is also burdened with politics and symbolism. Americans know that our Obama-voting suburban elite deliberately has replaced American-style football in its own schools with multicultural, politically correct, non-violent soccer. The replacement of football by soccer is a metonymy for the community of fashion’s rejection of “hard, isolate, stoic” traditional American culture in favor of a less decidedly masculine internationalist alternative. New Canaan and Brookline are saying to the rest of America: “We don’t want to be provincial ruffians like you. We want to be Italian or Brazilian.”
Finally, soccer games are accompanied by what Dan Nosowitz aptly describes as the “grating, stab-your-ears-with-a-pencil drone of the vuvuzela,” an obnoxious plastic horn which was apparently first adopted by the Zulus of South Africa to replace their dreaded iklwa.