Monday, July 21, 2014
Reader Snedcat recently pointed me to a blog posting titled, "No, Conservatives, There Is No
Left-Wing Soccer Conspiracy" by John Pepple, author of Soccer, the Left, & the Farce of Multiculturalism.
Pepple's ruminations about the phenomenon of conservative
commentators railing against soccer raise many interesting issues, but
two stand out. Before I dive in, let me note that, contrary to Pepple, I do see
some leftists glomming on to the soccer bandwagon and trying to politicize it
(as I note in the last link). However, I do agree that the left hasn't been a major force
behind its now widespread and growng popularity in the U.S.
First, Pepple, who strikes me as a disaffected, old-fashioned leftist [Update: I may be wrong. See comment by Snedcat below.], finds zero evidence of broad left-wing support for the game or -- and I find this even more interesting -- any other sport:
Think about this. Every now and then Legal Insurrection shows a photo someone has taken of a car whose rear end is filled with leftist bumper stickers. Have you ever seen one of these cars with a soccer bumper sticker on it? Of course not. Leftists who are soccer fans are few and far between, and even when they are fans, they don't make a big political thing about it (which goes against their habit of politicizing everything, but that is their business). When I go to games, many of the cars in the parking lot have bumper stickers related to soccer on their bumpers, and they never have anything related to leftist causes, but when I go to Whole Foods (which is almost never), the bumper stickers I see in their parking lot never have anything related to soccer. [format edits]Considering what sports offer vis-a-vis the leftist idea of equality, this comes as no surprise. (But still, don't expect facts like these to cause Ann Coulter and her ilk to question their emotional associations, or do anything other than double down on their peculiar brand of patronizing cluelessness.)
Second, Pepple notes that the lukewarm reception of soccer by the left in general is despite the fact that one would think it a shoe-in, based on multiculturalist rhetoric:
... The "activists" have been inactive when it comes to advancing soccer, even though (as I spent a chapter arguing in my book) it seems to be right up their alley (especially in terms of multiculturalism). And this may be what conservatives are picking up on, that it seems perfectly natural for the left to adopt soccer, even though they mostly have not done so.This is because the "activists" aren't. They're bullies, from their style of argumentation, through their rhetorical approach, and down to their hypocrisy. Multiculturalism isn't about ending racism, but about perpetuating injustice to Western civilization through lip-service to a just cause. The lack of interest in soccer, even in terms of promoting it, is just a symptom.
Pepple has helped me see that soccer is one of those rare cultural phenomena that can show much about both its more vocal detractors and those who seem like natural allies, but who remain oddly silent about it. And I have hardly scratched the surface regarding the issues his piece brings up.
7-22-14: Added a note.