The right-wing Media Research Center is dusting off what, unbeknownst to me, has been a conservative World Cup meme for the entire decade: reading the media’s promotion of the event in the United States as, like everything else, another socialist plot.
This year is no different. The 2010 World Cup is set to begin in South Africa on June 11. More than just covering the month-long event, the media are already doing their best to hype it, overstating its popularity in the United States and its potential appeal to U.S. sports fans. From Time magazine dedicating an entire issue to “The Global Game,” to CBS’s helpful “The World Cup Guide for Americans,” the public is being brow-beaten to catch “World Cup Fever.”
And while soccer partisans may try (mostly unsuccessfully) to score on point-by-point comparisons to baseball or football, the most compelling argument many media outlets can muster is, “The rest of the world loves it. We should too.”
The liberal media have always been uncomfortable with “American exceptionalism” – the belief that the United States is unique among nations, a leader and a force for good. And they are no happier with America’s rejection of soccer than with its rejection of socialism.
Be sure and read the whole thing, especially the outrageous quotes from The Weekly Standard …
“Despite the heroic efforts of soccer moms, suburban liberals, and World Cup hype, soccer will never catch on as a big time sport in America. No game in which actually scoring goals is of such little importance could possibly occupy the attention of average Americans. Our country has yet to succumb to the nihilism, existentialism, and anomie that have overtaken Europe.”
… and this baffling, hole-filled bit from First Things:
“Sporting should be about breaking kids down before you start building them up. Take baseball, for example. When I was a kid, baseball was the most popular sport precisely because it was so demanding … you had to face the fear of disfigurement as well as the statistical probability of striking out. The spectacle of your failure was so public that it was like having all of your friends invited to your home to watch your dad forcing you to eat your vegetables.”
David Sessions is the founding editor of Patrol. He covers religion for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and is a graduate student in the Draper Program for Humanities and Social Thought at New York University. He can be reached at hdavidsessions at gmail dot com.
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