We, like many Americans, are a recent temporary convert to soccer, which is to say: During this month, we are obsessing over soccer, and Team USA, and then when this month is over, we'll stop thinking about soccer until it's time to qualify for the next World Cup. We don't see anything particularly wrong with this. It's a sporting event with nothing but upside; if the USA wins, we're ecstatic, and if they lose ... eh, whaddya gonna do? It's a month of sports that start at 7:30 and give everyone an excuse to sing patriotic songs at bars. (Note: The most popular song at our sports bar this weekend was not "God Bless the USA" or "This Land Is Your Land," but Team America's "America: F-ck Yeah!" Positive development, we think.) What could be wrong with that? "Plenty," say those crazy people who talk on the radio.
Yes, it appears the Glenn Becks of the world, perhaps inevitably, see the World Cup as part of some global conspiracy. Beck, actually, is the most sane about this.
"It doesn't matter how you try to sell it to us," said Beck. "It doesn't matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn't matter how many bars open early, it doesn't matter how many beer commercials they run, we don't want the World Cup, we don't like the World Cup, we don't like soccer, we want nothing to do with it."
Okay, probably wrong, sure, but certainly not crazy. (Congrats, Glenn: bar cleared!) But that opened the floodgates. As compiled by an excellent 2010 World Cup Tumblr, some of the great ones:
G. Gordon Liddy: "Whatever happened to American exceptionalism? ... This game ... originated with the South American Indians and instead of a ball, they used to use the head, the decapitated head, of an enemy warrior."
Dan Gainor: "The problem here is, soccer is designed as a poor man or poor woman's sport ... the left is pushing it in schools across the country." Soccer "is being sold" as necessary due to the "browning of America."
For the record, we've been writing about sports for awhile now, and this is probably the first time we've seen ESPN accused of perpetuating a leftist plot. We feel pretty stupid that we didn't realize the fights we saw outside the pub over the weekend were actually peacenik liberalism. That must have been why Dennis Kucinich had a black eye at work this morning.