Home

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

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

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

Genoa: While Football Might Be Able to Bring People Together, the Media Keeps Trying to Drive People Apart

Comments Off on Genoa: While Football Might Be Able to Bring People Together, the Media Keeps Trying to Drive People Apart

These days, it seems that outrage—and anger—is what sells. The main(lame) stream media is all too ready to produce stories which strike fear into the hearts of normal citizens, in a bid to foster some kind of outrage. Most recently, CNN published another of their (extremely slanted) op-eds, with the headline “Trumpesque alt-right nationalism must be defeated in Europe”. The author, Guy Verhofstadt, is a former Belgian PM and president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE). In his piece, Mr. Verhofstadt writes:

 

For too long, in both the US and Europe, populists have gotten away with selling a retreat to isolationism and protectionism, wrapped up in a rose-tinted notion of absolute national sovereignty, as a solution to voter’s problems. Progressive voices must now challenge these assumptions and once again make the case for internationalism.

 

While one could argue that “internationalism” has been tried before on the Eurasian landmass in another form—which was also a transnational “union”—to disastrous results, this is not quite the kind of journalism CNN supports. For CNN, the panacea is to be found in strengthening—and not dissolving—the European Union. This is, of course, to be expected from a news organization which publishes a line like this: “The new divide in European politics is not between left and right, it is between nationalist illiberalism and pro-European liberal democracy”. While the divide is certainly not between left and right, this sentence certainly does present it as such while missing the point that nationalists need not be “illiberal” at all. In fact, nationalism may just be the one thing that can keep Europe together, given the increasing meaninglessness of the “multicultural” European Union which has enriched elites at the expense of normal citizens across the continent.

But CNN does not understand the unifying power that nationalism can provide. Indeed, in a late August Op-Ed about the tragic bridge collapse in Genoa, the headline boldly claimed that the collapse “shows what’s wrong with modern Italy”. Noting that the Morandi Bridge was badly in need of a makeover, the story quotes Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister—and “long-term EU critic”—Matteo Salvini as tweeting “If there are European constraints that prevent us from spending money to secure the schools where our children go or the motorways where our workers are traveling on, we will put the safety of Italians before everyone and everything”. While this seems to be a very valid criticism of the European Union project, the writer of the Op-Ed Silvia Marchetti was quick to dissuade readers from believing it. In the next sentence, the story follows Salvini’s quote with “But the truth is that the public funds earmarked to modernize roads or build new ones are allocated, but often never actually spent. The money is there, but we don’t know what to do with it”. Unfortunately, this type of pedantic reporting only serves to distract readers and shape their opinions.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 12.38.01 AM.png

A Typical Ad from Cnn.com. Here the goal is to encourage readers to choose the “summarize the news” option, which in reality just means a swifter form of indoctrination. As long as individuals stop relying on their own discerning analyses of the news–and instead outsource the “thinking” to CNN–then the world is in for a very dark future indeed. Image Courtesy of Cnn.com.

 

Instead of giving a fair presentation of a perspective which has validity—since the EU certainly does require states to not put their own interests first—CNN chose to further the globalist narrative (since criticizing the European Union does not fit the main(lame) stream media’s agenda). It would seem that news outlets like this would do well to learn a little bit from the football fans. In the wake of the disaster, fans of both Genoese teams came together to mourn. In a difficult time, the local identity of being Genoese—and Italian—was what brought people together, not the pan-European “identity”. If nothing else, the fans can perhaps be a model for politicians, reminding them that their most important job is representing their localities, their people, and their country. The European Union should be of a secondary concern to Italian politicians whose job is to ensure the safety and prosperity of Italian citizens, since all countries have the right to determine their own futures.

 

Screenshot_20180909-012923_Gallery.jpg

Genoa and Sampdoria Fans Together. Image Courtesy of Ultrasworld_Official’s Instagram page.