A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

World Cup Fever

My World Cup fever comes in bouts. It was at its peak a few days ago as Iran faced Portugal in a must win game, it cooled considerably after they lost, but now with the prospect of Ghana knocking out the US team, I am burning up again. Finally, an opportunity to be anti-American and not have to justify myself by saying, “ but I love the American people I just hate the government.”

Besides, living in Asia the game is everywhere. It is shown on giant screens in parking lots, at every bar and outdoor restaurant, and keep in mind that the earliest game starts at 9pm here, the latest game at 3am. Watching Iran play Portugal with about 150 people outdoors, screaming, eating and drinking could make anyone love the game.

That is the beauty of the World Cup, it allows us to look past global nuances and hide behind flags and cheer for our side. I realize that most Americans are constant patriots who pin little flags to their anchormen and women, but for those of us who live in a world that doesn’t really on jingoism as foreign policy, it is nice to be able to dumb down for a few weeks. I am normally an anti-nationalist, but the World Cup is a good excuse as any to draw up borders, hide behind a flag, and pretend that nations, flags and borders actually mean something.

Side note: I heard some guy on the daily say a few days ago that the world uses the World Cup as a metaphor for battling out age old rivalries, where as the US doesn’t need a metaphor, because they just fight real wars. I thought that sounded apt.

I don’t know much about football, so please don’t respond about how the American team is so much better than the Ghana team. I am a step away from women who pick teams based on the color of a uniform.

My allegiances fall like this:

Iran (Now that they are out, I am cheering for)
Any African team (Go Ghana and Angola!)
Any formerly colonized nation
Any third world nation
Everyone else

So as Ghana, a tiny West African nation, gets ready to knock out the biggest, most powerful nation on earth, albeit symbolically, I will be there cheering them on.

Can I get a:


Thanks for coming now goodbye U-S-A


Blogger steve said...

That's right man. Jingoism is not the way that most third world countries pursue all their foreign policy. That's just in the United States. I mean, especially not the Iranian government and their well thought out, holocaust denying pursuit of the truth.

Actually, as a side note, you know who I'm really cheering for are the Italians, French, Spanish and most of the Eastern European teams--a lovely sporting land where black players can have bananas thrown at them during club games by many members of the crowd and are greeted with monkey hoots from said crowd everytime they touch the ball. And in Italy, where Lazio's fans have a long rich history of facist behavior and fly flags at nearly every game.

10:09 AM

Blogger BZ said...

I should have seen this coming and made some kind of disclaimer. I have the misfortune of being something called an Iranian-American, which means that I am embarrassed by the actions of two governments at the same time. Let me go on the record and say that I often lose sleep on which government I loathe more. So don’t get me wrong, I was not rooting for Iran as any kind of homage to the mullah bastards that ruined my country. I was just talking shit, to get a rise out of you guys because you seemed so passionate about these games.

I have a hard time controlling my antagonisms. I am working on it. As for the racism in Europe, I said that I was rooting for every team against them as well. I see this whole tournament not as sport, because I know very little about the game, but as symbolism and metaphor. And if Angola can somehow go further than Portugal, or if Ghana can beat the States, well, that says something to me symbolically. Nothing more. Relax and good luck.

11:41 AM

Blogger BZ said...

As you can see the NSA, CIA or FBI has gotten a hold of my anti-American ramblings and has removed me from The Vapid Lemur. I have contacted the ACLU and will be forced to contribute to this blog only through the comments links, which I plan to do exhaustively.

11:44 AM

Blogger steve said...

The Europe stuff actually was just a side note, nothing to do with you.

12:19 PM

Blogger steve said...

Also, to be fair, I had no idea you were Iranian--I did make the assumption that it had something to do with pro-Iranian politics or something. Bad assumption on my part.

That said I'd have a hard time getting behind your point that US politics are any more jingoistic than virtually anyone else--chauvinism rules the day in virtually every third world country's politic system, certainly to a greater extent than even in the United States. If you're coming out against unreasoned and unobjective foreign and domestic policy, I'm with you, but your statement suggesting that the US is somehow unique (or even close to the worst) in this regard I really can't get behind that whatsoever.

12:36 PM

Blogger BZ said...

I didn’t realize people had pro-Iranian politics. (as in pro the current regime, because they are insane) I agree with you that the US is not alone in its fervent nationalism, but I think that the US (especially the current administration, but also administrations in the past and to an extent the people themselves) does tend to be self-aggrandizing to the point of its population sincerely believing that the flag of the US is somehow more important than other flags because it truly represents the moral right and ideas like freedom and justice.

For some proof that US politics are more jingoistic than virtually anyone else these days take a look at some of John Bolton’s actions at the UN, and there are also a few wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan that you may what to read up on.

Having said that, you are right, I did not mean to imply that the US is alone in using nationalism and patriotism as propaganda tools to hypnotize its population, (see China) but I do maintain that it is one of the worst. I am currently living in Malaysia and the level of nationalism here is far from anything I have ever experienced in the States. Also after two years of living in Mozambique (A country who exhibited very little nationalism whatsoever) the first thing I noticed upon coming home were the streets lined with flags. It was like being in Nazi Germany.

I suggest you take a trip outside of the US and see that on the ground most countries exhibit far less nationalism than you would think. Also take a look around you in the States and notice the bumper stickers, flags off porches, lapels, etc and I think you will be surprised.

6:49 PM


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