Friday, July 2, 2010

It’s Only A Game

I think the most hilarious idea to come out of wingnuttia of late is the idea that “soccer is a socialist sport.”

I was first introduced to this bizarre notion when I saw this item over at PostPolitics. I thought it was just the solitary musings of one of our local wackadoos but no, I started seeing the idea pop up on other blogs and websites, and I realized this must have been an idea posited by someone on Fox News or right-wing talk radio.

Usually that’s where these things start, someone like a Rush or a Hannity or O’Reilly says something incredibly stupid and it ricochets around the echo chamber and we lefties all point and laugh and then someone in the establishment news media, to show how they don't have a liberal bias, decides to take a “serious” look at the issue. And then they all jump on board because if everyone is talking about it, God help the one news outlet left behind, lest they not be seen as "serious." And this, my friends, is how a fringe idea gets mainstreamed.

So, we have a few oddballs deciding that soccer is socialist, and then we have Matthew Philbin at Newsbusters and George W. Bush’s former speechwriter Mark Thiessen writing about the anti-American and socialist nature of soccer, and I’m thinking it won’t be too long before Anderson Cooper devotes an entire AC360 episode to the topic. The latter hasn't happened yet but I suspect it's just a matter of time.

I’m not going to address the argument because I just can’t take it seriously, plus better minds than mine have already done so (Matt Yglesias points out that soccer isn’t universally popular around the world, while over at The Guardian, Michael Tomasky puts Thiessen in his place.)

The whole thing is too ludicrous to be believed. Soccer is socialist? It can't be socialist. It's a game, for crying out loud! If soccer is socialist what does that make baseball? I can’t even point my finger and laugh, which is my usual reaction to wackadoodle theories from the far right. I can only scratch my head.

What the hell is wrong with you people?

For crying out loud, I don’t give a crap about soccer but when Team USA is playing in any international competition you can bet your sweet britches I’m going to cheer us on. Hell I even watched curling during the last Olympic Games, I don’t care how socialist or gay or whatever it is. I mean my God, has politics so consumed your world that you can’t even wave the flag for American athletes representing our country on the world stage? Can you imagine if instead of celebrating the Miracle on Ice we had a bunch of conservatives mouthing off about what a commie sport ice hockey is and complaining that media coverage of the event was just a liberal conspiracy?

I'm trying to figure out where the hell this comes from. Is it anti-elitism? Is it conservative American xenophobia? Is it sour grapes because we lost? Maybe a bit of all three?

The right is starting to resemble a drunken lout, kicking sand in everyone’s face and upsetting the picnic basket holding all the sandwiches just to be an asshole. Here we should be celebrating the fact that our team at least finished first in its group and yeah it would have been nice to move on but the team played its heart out and I’m proud of them. But all the far right can see is a plot to turn America into a bunch of girlie-men and cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Seriously, you guys are off the rails.

Again, I repeat: it’s only a game, people.