Skip to content

Will Soccer Bring an End to American Exceptionalism?

We discussed American exceptionalism during the 2006 world cup: Soccer in German-American Relations and Soccer is for Losers?

Soccer is getting increasingly popular in the US, which some conservative Americans don't like. Is America becoming less exceptional now?

Or is it the other way round: Americans need to feel less exceptional before soccer becomes more popular and they win the world cup? A Brazilian paper translated by Watching America concludes with such a pretty loaded question:

If Americans are able to abandon the idea of being chosen by God to save the world, if these citizens are open to the fact that they are identical to all other human beings and therefore do not have a clear target or are not necessarily superior or virtuous, then could it be possible for America to someday soon join the rest of the species and celebrate the most beautiful sport of our time with the rest of the world? Or is it inconceivable that within a few decades, this country could finally win the World Cup?

Trackbacks

No Trackbacks

Comments

Display comments as Linear | Threaded

Joe Noory on :

1) Americans will not feel "less exceptional" as a result of the World Cup. Actually, what I think you mean is "more servile to European finger wagging" and not "less exceptional", but that's beside the point. To begin with, we don't seem to place nationalistic importance on sports, and actually have legitimate and acceptable ways of celebrating an affection for our country. 2) Conservatives do not hate soccer. Conservatives hate those leftists who employ a passing interest in soccer as a means by which they can distance themselves from American traditions. At the same time, a passing, quadrennial interest in metric football, you see, gives some people the excuse they need to say that they enjoy a sport, even if they otherwise think that popular sports are beneath them. What the rest of the world takes up as entertainment for many, but mainly louts, some Americans mistake to be interesting or sophisticated - at least those Americans who are not first generation immigrants from cultures where 'le foot' is played to the near exclusion of everything else. 3) why does anyone HAVE to like soccer anyway? Why would one have to pretend to like it if only to please a handful of people prone to looking for flaws in so many things native to your land that thry would also look down their noses at the sports Americans grew up with? It's a strange, persistent mood swing of a complex emanating largely from the rich part of Europe, which seems to gyrate between self-hatred and an absurd sense of superiority. The "Americans and soccer" story is just another symptom of it. One will miss nothing by ignoring it, or for that matter, much of anything else western Europeans think to be another one of their simplistic, two-dimensional "American stories". Why not get the same way about tennis of golf? Quite simply because they are sports enjoyed to a similar degree on both continents, and thus can't function as a platform for Europeans to take recreation in shoving something down our throats. You'll have to accept that it is as uninteresting as a Brazilian newspaper declaring that Americans think themselves "a chosen people", as if not only just to transpose the simplistic rhetoric of anti-semetism at the same time. I no longer bother guessing why a Brazilian editor thinks that some group of people, somewhere, not being as rapt in the interest of what he/she/it is, as some sort of grave insult, or to cover the other side of the argument, to find something menacing in the Americans TAKING interest in World Cup football. If this, is in fact "the beautiful game" that makes a participant "part of the world", then you can keep it, and all of the narrowness that comes with the culture around it - especially during baseball season. By the way, you're all welcome to enjoy that too, but no American will "form some theory about you" if you don't want to.

David on :

First, thanks for linking to Watching America. Concerning Americans and soccer, here is what the conservative commentator Glenn Beck said: “We don’t want the world cup. We don’t like the World Cup. We don’t like soccer. We don’t want anything to do with it. You can package it any way. You can spend all kinds of money. You can force it on our television sets. We will not enjoy the World Cup.” This reflects the view of the "Tea Party" - those conservatives who want to ban the teaching of science in public shool and restore the Confederacy. I watched the World Cup matches with a huge crowd at a local pub. We all had a good time and I forgot to ask whether they were all "leftists".

Pat Patterson on :

Again drawing lessons from suppositions. Most of the Tea Party attendees that I have met love soccer and have spent years carting their kids around to the various leagues and tournaments. But the kids and the parents soon lose interest when it becomes obvious that the older they get the level of competition passes them by. But since many of the people with kids who liked soccer weren't in boozers with David they just weren't cool enough for him to notice.

Joe Noory on :

"We"? I didn't say "we" in any fashion that implied all of us. It's a sport, and you manage to work in the Tea Party Movement. Why am I not surprised by this magical inability you have to get off of your own fetishes and actually look at the subject at hand. A more appropriate question would be, "can Americans bring an end to violent [url=http://www.football-hooligans.org/]ultras[/url]?" While not our problem, it at least seems slightly cogent by comparison to your thoroughly conditioned Pavlovian Glenn Beck tirade. Can you tell me, off hand, why Glenn Beck, or anyone would HAVE to like the World Cup, or any sport for that matter? Do we need to mouth the words to please some kid inside you, and those wrapped up in this notion, who was picked last to play ball? Your tack makes about as much sense as someone bullying you into "loving" WWF wrestling for reasons of, say, "social cohesion". You're an adult. You don't need to like it, and you don't need to like it in the exact same way I'm entitled not to like any other sport, or not like some vapid global monocultural game, or not like your affection for it - which I doubt you would have some enthusiams for if it wasn't ideologically useful.

David on :

Get a grip, man! It's a sport and it doesn't matter to me if you hate it. I love watching just about every sport ... except NASCAR.

Pat Patterson on :

But you did manage to call Joe a racist and those who don't have any use for soccer the same. Getting happy feet?

David on :

Where did I call Joe a racist? Why don't you let him speak for himself?

Pat Patterson on :

Since you rarely make any distinctions between different conservative philosophies what can I assume from "This reflects the view of the "Tea Party" - those conservatives who want to ban the teaching of science in public shool and restore the Confederacy."

David on :

So a criticism of Glenn Beck and his idiot followers is a personal attack on Joe? What a crock... I can't envision Joe waving placards equating Obama with Hitler, a Tea Party favorite.

Joe Noory on :

Spare me the evasions. I said nothing about an attack on my person, nor does Glenn Beck have "followers" in the sense that you're trying, in your own intellectually vapid manner, to imply as though they are some sort of cult violating social norms. They are called readers and listeners, and absent your narrow outlook, people who don't agree with something are not going to make the world spin in reverse if they read things they don't agree with. I know that gives you a lot of comfort to think that it should be that way, but I would chalk up that extremism to the type of political discourse you've indulged in.

Kevin Sampson on :

Are we to assume that you watch Formula 1?

Pat Patterson on :

I know I do though I have a slight preferece for LMGP.

Joe Noory on :

Who cares? He could like Greyhound racing and that rigged Jai Alai that they play up there in New England for all I care. What does it matter?

Pat Patterson on :

Since doubt you could offer one link to a Tea Party group that advocated a restoration of the Confederacy or banning science from classrooms the your comment was exactly as I described. A blanket insult of all conservatives over the fact that one guy doesn't like soccer, obviously not alone, as MLS is still on life support when it comes to attendance. But like all other periods in the US whenever soccer seems to make headway it always falls back for its players and supporters from our most recent immigrants. Of course that is even a bit iffy as whenever there is a match between a club team from Mexico and the LA Galaxy there will be more fans for the former in the stands and less of the latter. While the second genertion stays home and plays hoops or lifts weghts to bulk up enough to play football. And the obsevation that whenever the arguement turns against you the first point you make is to fall back and either suggest your opponent is racist or simply charge him so. As to the placards he only groups to do that in the last years where either from the left or followers of Lyndon LaRouche who has supported the Democrats.

David on :

For the past week there has been a national conversation about racism in the Tea Party after the Iowa Tea Party (NOT the LaRouche cult) put up a billboard comparing Obama to Hitler. But, of course, Pat would never condemn this. This is what Mark WIlliams, founder of the Tea Party Express, said about President Obama on CNN: he is an "Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug". Then last week Williams posted a mock letter from the NAACP to Abe Lincoln which included this: ""We Colored People have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!" I linked to Eugene Robinson's column from today on the sidebar here. Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize for his eloquence and he calls out the Tea Party for "that ugly, racially charged rhetoric has been part of the movement's stock in trade all along." Just for once, I challenge Pat to read Robinson's piece and comment on it.

Pat Patterson on :

I'll gladly condemn Robinson just as soon as David condemns ANSWER for the original Bush=Hitler posters or even more recently when the CBC claimed as a matter of fact that members had been spit upon without no once shred of evidence? Or is that a when did you stop beating your wife question? Shabby!

Joe Noory on :

That's interesting. All you can see in the president is the color of his skin. What I see is a man in over his head who should have had a staff purge/reshuffling 3 months ago. A populist from the left who wormed his way in as a centerist, someone inhabiting an ideological camp struggling between the notion of de-facto nationalization of private assets and cronyism... Wanting to nationalized the dispesing of medical treatment as their first impulse. Telling a population that they're being generous by giving some back from what they've confiscated from you. Being more in love with the figure in power than any of their ideas (if you can find any.) Actually there are quite a few telling parallels between any modern leftist and a fascist.

Joe Noory on :

Joerg, you realize that the only citations you have for this "thesis" about conservatives are three Soros funded propaganda operations: "Media Metters", "Think Progress" (calling it "The Right-Wing War Against Soccer", as if not liking something is "a war"), and a writer linking Think Progress and Media Matters. Tell me something: if a wife asks her husband "does this outlet make my ass look big?", and he basically says nothing, is he suddenly going out of his way to be "at war" with her? People going out of their way to try to find evil in the idea that there are people who don't like their favorite sport, and finding ideology in it... okay. Does disagreeing with them imply that there's a: [i]"The Right-Wing War Against Soccer"[/i] Seriously. Where is YOUR judgement when it comes to picking real stories and real news? Not only is it only a sport, and not a particularly interesting one at that, but I'm sure there is a sufficient number of Germans who also don't like it. If those douchebag politcal hacks at "think progress" and Media Matters" (whom David think are [i]not politival[/i] when they write headlines like "The Right-Wing War Against Soccer",) ...would send a few of German non-fans of humanoid-foozball that kind of message, see what you get first. It should be rather interesting.

Pat Patterson on :

I think that David, for some unknown reason, wishes that Americans paid just as much attention to soccer as the Europeans. You know the English fans who shout the the French would be speaking "Kraut" if it wasn't for the English. Or that the most North African team of France refused to sing the French national anthem. We're just nuanced enough to make monkey sounds whenever a black player steps on to field or go on strike when the manager suggests they aren't trying hard enough. http://www.city-journal.org/2010/eon0720td.html

Zyme on :

good morning - nice article :)

Joe Noory on :

All you really need to do to understand the motives behind the "hatred of American exceptionalism" buzz, (or stale stock tirage no. 42-87952/b,) is to substitute the word [i]excationalism[/i] with [i]uniquesness[/i], which is what it means. As the same [i]haterz[/i] to discuss their own culture of origin, and they instantly become a lot less timid with the superlatives, and sometimes immediately indulge in insults directed at this imaginary "rest of the world" thing they have in their heads.

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
CAPTCHA

Form options