"Every World Cup, it arrives like clockwork," says Dave Zirin in The Nation. The sound of soccer driving the "right wing noise machine utterly insane." Zirin argues that the "far right" — specifically, conservative pundits Glenn Beck and G. Gordon Liddy — dislikes soccer not because they find it boring, but because it doesn't fit with their "monochromatic" view of what it is to be American — namely, white and middle class. Does soccer really, as Zirin suggests, provoke conservative "racism and imperial arrogance"? (Watch an al Jazeera report about FIFA's hope to unite South Africa through soccer)
No, we hate soccer because it's a kids' game: "Political ideology" has nothing to do with our dislike of soccer, says Clyde Middleton at Liberty Pundits. The reason is "soccer is viewed as a kid's game in America." U.S. sports fans like "car crashes, helmet-to-helmet jarring contact, one-pitch game-changing moments as the baseball soars into the stands, and one-punch knock-outs." You know, "adults at play," not children kicking a ball about for 90 minutes.
"Pathetic headline of the day: Why the far right hates soccer"
To the right, soccer equals an attack on American values: Hatred of soccer is part of the far right's "ongoing narrative about 'taking back America," says Patrick Slevin at The Aquarian. Why? Because soccer players occupy the same space as illegal immigrants in the minds of conservatives; that is, they are differently-colored foreigners who want to rob America of its values. Liddy's show even suggested soccer was being "sold as part of the 'browning of America.'" Can they really deny this is about racism?
"The racial undertone in talk radio vs the World Cup"
Disinterest in soccer is part of our anti-colonial heritage: America isn't alone in its "lack of enthusiasm" for soccer, says an editorial in The Washington Times. Canada, Australia and Ireland all have their own versions of football, just like America does. Our nativist sports are "part of a long tradition in countries that used to be part of the British Empire." So perhaps our disinterest in soccer is racially-tinged after all — expressions of an "anti-colonialism" that even the left can't complain about.
"It's called soccer. Deal with it"
Actually, this year even conservatives are embracing the beautiful game: Does the right really hate soccer?, asks Jay Stevens at Left in the West. I don't buy it. "The World Cup is about as popular this year as I've seen it," even among conservatives. Pundits like Beck have "picked a loser to rouse the rabble with" this time. And those like Zirin on the left trying to "drive a political wedge into our fun" aren't much better. The World Cup is "sports nirvana" no matter what your political background is.
"Does the far right hate soccer?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why is American internet so slow?
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- Here are the people who want to take a one way trip to Mars
- Sorry Belle Knox, porn still oppresses women
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
Subscribe to the Week