Home

One of the Most American Acts by a US President in History Emerges from the Visit of a College Football Team

Leave a comment

Clemson University’s football team won the college football championship and were invited to the White House to celebrate with U.S. President Donald Trump. Interestingly, their visit to the White house was—for me at least, as a sport sociologist—more interesting than the victory itself. Indeed, it was the reaction to Clemson’s visit which said so much about the current state of society in the United States of America.

If we as Americans cannot recognize the good in an American President being—for once—real, then what kind of a society (and, indeed, country) are we living in? Predictably, the (lame)stream media chose to criticize the visit (just search on Google, I cannot—with good conscience—do them justice by citing them here; the picture below can suffice). The Washington Post’s passive-aggressive approach was proof enough that the media in our country has become more interested in negativity than objective reporting. The question one then asks is why all the negativity?

 

Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 1.42.26 AM.png

A Simple Google Search Reveals Articles Calling the visit “Bizarre” or criticizing Mr. Trump for being “Too Eager to Serve” fast food. Image Courtesy of Google Search.

 

After all, Donald Trump’s hosting of the Clemson team was—indeed—quite American. As he said, “If it’s American, I like it. It’s all American stuff. 300 hamburgers, many, many french [sic] fries — all of our favorite foods”. Indeed, here Mr. Trump is correct. Fast food is American.  It is what America is. As someone who has traveled to 36 of the 50 states (and lived for extended periods of time in four of them), I know that one of the things that binds America together is the ubiquity of fast food restaurants. From San Diego to Portland, Maine one can find the familiar golden arches of McDonald’s. Beyond the banal discussions of health or wealth, we must look at the sociological results of this “social fact” in the Durkheimian sense. In keeping with Durkheim, we should recognize that while this homogenization can be problematic (for many reasons, not least of which is corporate hegemony over our culture), it is also a very real form of social cohesion which connects Americans to one another whether they live in Denver CO, Austin TX, Gainesville FL, or Providence RI. Ironically, in the American context, fast food has come to be a tie which binds us as Americans; it is something which works against the divisions created by the rootlessness of postmodern society and its bizarre reliance on identity politics.

There are other reasons that Mr. Trump’s hosting of the Clemson Tigers was distinctly American. While critics of Mr. Trump viewed fast food as crude, this sentiment was not altogether novel since Alexis De Tocqueville long ago recognized that the United States was less concerned with strict social rules than Europe. Again, this was an “American” act, so to speak. Secondly, the reason fast food was on the menu was the fact that government employees (including the White House Chefs) have been furloughed during the government shutdown; this is why the U.S. President paid out of pocket (you read it right) for a meal for an American sports team. This shouldn’t be too surprising, given that—as I have taught my own students (in order to wean them off the rampant anti-Americanism present on college campuses)—the U.S. is actually one of the most generous countries in the world. According to the BBC citing a 2016 Report by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the United States is the world’s second most generous country. The statistics might have shocked my students, but they didn’t shock me. Having traveled so extensively in the US, I have seen the open hearts of many ordinary Americans who are more than willing to help rural communities devastated by tornados in the Midwest or hurricanes in the South.

 

190115094930-trump-clemson-white-house-burgers-2-exlarge-169.jpg

What is all the Fuss About? Image Courtesy Of: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/14/politics/donald-trump-clemson-food/index.html

 

Given the truly American nature of President Trump’s treatment of the Clemson University football team, it is refreshing to see sport become a way to bring Americans together following the increased politicization of sport in the country. Still, it is surprising that so many people on the internet have taken issue with the event. It is in actuality a glimmer of reality within the Baudrillardian hyper-reality that we are living in—where the symbols have become more important than what they represent—and for that we should, at least, be grateful as Americans.

 

1280px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg

The Case of the 2018 Copa Libertadores Final: A Great Example of the Colonialism of Globalism

Leave a comment

Boca_Juniors_River_Plate_philips_getty_ringer.0.jpg

All Those Who Call Themselves “Fans” Should Be Worried About the Decision to Move the Copa Libertadores Final to Spain As it is Proof that Globalism Just Represents a New Form of Colonialism. Image Courtesy Of: https://www.theringer.com/soccer/2018/11/28/18115215/boca-juniors-river-plate-copa-libertadores-postponement-violence

 

The 9 December 2018 Copa Libertadores final should never have been played outside of Argentina. It was, as Argentina’s 1978 World Cup winning coach Luis Cesar Menotti said, “an aberration”. Even though almost a month has passed since the Copa Libertadores final was moved from South America to Europe, the ridiculous nature of this odd event endures, especially as it comes in the midst of the current struggle between nationalism and globalism which is slowly developing all over the world.

 

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 3.40.54 AM.png

The Caption Shows Just How Much the LameStream Media Distorts the Reporting About Football Fans. The Picture Hardly Shows “Chaos”. Image Courtesy of: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-6426427/Boca-Juniors-v-River-Plate-rivalry-explained-Copa-Libertadores-final-ruined-violence.html

 

Indeed, the idea of moving the cup final was a typical globalist ploy: It aimed to earn more money for a small minority at the expense of the enjoyment of a large majority. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that although Spanish police had to organize the biggest security operation for a football match in the nation’s history, “the security costs were countered by a considerable windfall for the city, which local government officials put at an estimated minimum 55 million euros”. And yet, while Spain was busy making money off of the event, it was justified by Western media in the terms of the proverbial “White Man’s Burden” since the Argentinians were—according to the lamestream media—too “emotional”, “violent”, and—ultimately—“uncivilized” to host the cup final themselves.

 

One of the biggest culprits perpetuating this kind of orientalist discourse was the progressive news outlet The Washington Post, who boldly wrote that “The Madrid final capped one of the most embarrassing chapters in South American soccer, which saw its leaders unable to stage the historic match on the continent. The second leg had to be played in the Spanish capital after it was marred by fan violence in Buenos Aires two weeks ago . . . “. In a similar vein, The Guardian’s David Rieff extended the criticism of Argentine football to a wholesale criticism of Argentine society by writing that “The problem is that for all the greatness of its individual players, Argentinian football has increasingly become a metaphor for everything that is dysfunctional about Argentina”.

 

Going even further, Jonathan Wilson (also, unsurprisingly, of The Guardian) wrote a piece with the odd headline “How Argentinian football had the chance to prove it had changed – and blew it”. Wilson’s piece seems to suggest that violence is “in the DNA” of Argentina’s football, and the president of CONMEBOL [the governing body of South American football] Alejandro Dominguez is quoted as rhetorically asking “how do we not lose our DNA?” when faced with the question of how to reduce stadium violence. Of course, Mr. Wilson already indirectly claims that violence is inextricably linked to Argentinian football by saying—in the preceding paragraph—“It is easy to be seduced by the colour, the passion. The problem is that in Argentina, that tends to come with violence. The reasons are manifold and extend far beyond football”. In short, the reasons that are “manifold” and which “extend far beyond football” are those which, for Mr. Wilson, are primordial elements of Argentinian football. In a sociology classroom Mr. Wilson would be laughed at for being an essentialist—the racist and orientalist thinking which underpin Mr. Wilson’s writing are all too apparent, yet—unfortunately—the globalist media seem to turn a blind eye to the kind of journalism which cheaply feeds on outdated stereotypes when it serves their narrative; in this case, the narrative is one which supports Europe (and the wider global north) profiting from a South American club competition (set in the global south).

 

It is clear that the globalist media do not appreciate the irrationality of true fandom. Byron Stuardo Alquijay, a River Plate fan from Guatemala, told the Daily Mail that  “River Plate for me is my life, my passion. I had to sell my car to come here. I might buy another car in the future but this match will never be repeated”. Unfortunately for Mr. Alquijay, he sold his car for nothing because the match did not actually take place in Argentina. And the fact that the globalist media support the relocation of a match of this magnitude goes very far in showing just how little they actually care about the “average” football fan: the irrational, passionate, and emotional football fan.

 

97e0b55786220bc24a0b0e4d24dc61c25dde8e10.jpeg

The Irrational, Passionate, and Emotional Football Fan. Image Courtesy Of: https://www.smh.com.au/sport/soccer/pain-for-boca-and-gain-for-river-plate-in-spain-20181210-p50l8k.html

 

Brian Phillips of theringer.com did a good job of summing up the absurdity. Just before the new venue (in Madrid) was announced, Mr. Phillips wrote “If Boca’s and River’s most hardcore fans can’t attend the game, it will probably go by without a replay of Saturday’s mayhem. That will keep the players safe, at least. But taking humans out of the equation is not really a lasting substitute for trying to understand human nature”. Indeed, eliminating human beings is a very poor response to the “problem” at hand.

 

It is clear that globalization and the commodification of football has gone too far; not only is it seeking to take football away from those who make it what it is (the fans), it is also seeking to justify this theft through racist discourse which feeds on orientalist discourses of the “emotional” and “irrational” non-Westerner. Perhaps the ultimate irony of it all—even more ironic seeing as how it comes from the “tolerant” lamestream media in the West (Reuters pointed it out)—is that “a competition named in honour of the liberators of south America was […] played in the home of their former rulers”. Football fans everywhere should be ashamed at the kind of wrangling that led to Argentina’s premier football fixture being moved from Buenos Aires to Madrid. If you wouldn’t be ok with the Manchester derby being played in Japan, the Istanbul derby being played in Sao Paulo, or–**gasp**–the Spanish El Clasico being played in Doha, then I would think you shouldn’t be ok with what happened to the Copa Libertadores Final. In the new year, be sure to stand up for your country and, of course, your local team. It is, after all, one small way to resist the neo-colonialism of globalism.