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The World Cup Runneth Over (or, going, going, Ghana)

I am never happy to see the U.S. lose, but on the bright side the early exit of the U.S. from the final round will put soccer back into its place in American culture.  If the world truly is diverse, there's no reason why soccer should be the most popular sport everywhere, or, even that it be played everywhere. Isn't that what multiculturalism is about?
Categories > Sports

Discussions - 9 Comments

Point taken, but despite all the flack I've seen soccer take from all corners of conservative media outlets, I really don't see the point.

Do you really mean to endorse, or even affirm, multiculturalism? I get that the "isn't that what its all about" line is supposed to be ironic, but it rings pretty true!

If I find the article, I will post it, but I recently read one scholar's argument that the supposed lack of the idea of 'nature' in Eastern culture makes 'nature' seem more like a Western invention than a Western discovery (i.e., wouldn't all cultures have some idea of nature [as opposed to convention], by virtue of their contact with it, if it were as implied universal to all humans?)

What is so wrong about soccer? I would agree that the modern West has placed too much emphasis on sports and the slumber that modern man endures has this to thank in some part.

But since you DON'T LIKE multiculturalism, then perhaps soccer SHOULD dominate (just as the American right pushes - in various ways - Western-style neoliberal democracies for the whole world)?

Maybe you should really be working to PROMOTE soccer?

Translated: "Soccer: A Dear Friend to Capitalism"

Point taken Craig. But this is a multi-cultural world, meaning there are many cultures, which means many markets and many Opiates/outlets/outlet malls, Sports may have displaced religion as the opiate of the masses, and soccer may be the global opiate of the G-20. An interesting thing also happens if your life revolves around soccer, you can be a poor goat herder from Accra and proclaim victory because Ghana beat the US. You can latch unto hope and find strength in the struggle that is provided by sports.

To get multicultural about the world cup I think you have to dive into the vuvzuelas debate. did this mindless horn give us an edge by drowning out the english chants? Does it drown out all chants? Does it really drown out multiculturalism at its best, the varried ooohs, aahhs, and national languages and songs?

Technically I don't know how anyone could pick an ennemy as large as multi-culturalism to do battle with. Multi-culturalism (different cultures, choices, options, markets) is like a buffet. The idea that there is a best Platonic.

To make plays at disliking Capitalism or Multiculturalism is too bold by half, Capitalism at its best is multicultural, albeit certainly the rules of game or the underlying contract laws and conventions supplant old ways of doing things and seek a uniformity. Just because you own physical gold or harvest corn doesn't let you participate in the spot market. Indeed in the interest of efficiency, purity and transparency there are a host of rules creating uniformity.

To facilitate trade in gold as a commodity as a pure and uniform thing, as something that is by nature homogeneous throughout, or soybeans, or corn this is no small thing without conventions governing delivery, security..ext.

Indeed it is convention and law that creates homogeneity. It is a specific process, a supply chain, and similar equipment and trainning which makes one big mac the same as another. A big mac is certainly not the ideal hamburger by nature, but it is a hamburger and it fulfills an expectation.

So if by Capitalism you mean McDonalds, and if by Multiculturalism you mean all other possible hamburgers, then it is likely that the platonic ideal of a hamburger rests in the subset all others.

Even with McDonalds, you still have Wendy's, Hardy's Burger King, Red Robbin, Max and Erma's and countless places that make hamburgers not to mention smaller kitchens and backyard grills. So the hamburger is multicultural, or subject to different takes on its ideal form.

Multiculturalism then denies the existance of the best, or provides a multitude of different answers/products to the question of what is best. Competition between cultures or firms to create the best hamburger that is capitalism. Of course it is multicultural in so far as there is no agreement or ironclad way to acertain the "truth" about the best burger.

If there was competition between McDonalds this would not be multicultural because there would be rules to the game, the ideal would be standard Big Macs, produced in a certain time limit.

Multiculturalism is still debating the rules of the game.

Soccer is multi-cultural in that many cultures play it, it doesn't need much. almost any round ball will do and some way of marking off a goal. By the time you get up to the Capitalist version or the FIFA World Cup, the game is played with a fifa ball, on a marked field, with supposedly proffesional officials.

Multiculturalism has given way to homogenization, which argueably approaches the platonic ideal of soccer.

Arguably the World Cup is simply a venue for playing soccer at a high level, technically we know that the atheletes playing may not play at a peak during the games. For a variety of reasons any given match may not be the best soccer. Generally however the world agrees that it is, the dissent of course is multicultural.

Technically I think if you are capitalist and against multiculturalism then you are corporatist/legalist. That is you carve out standards, the superbowl is the best football, the Olympics the best x,y,z. The value of gold or soybeans is the spot price. The best law school is Harvard or Yale, tier1,2,3 et al. This makes for a love of rankings, the quantifiable, or that which has been quantified by a convention or rule of law.

Capitalism in this sense is commodification, everything has a price, a probability, a risk.

In this way of setting up multiculturalism, it is nothing more than the culture in a given industry, and since the UCC recognizes usage of trade for the purpose of establishing the meaning of contracts, different cultures are already baked into the mix. A dozen is both 12 or 13. Diet Coke can have some sugar in it.

That is you are against Multiculturalism because it complicates establishing objective standards. It is annoying to clean cooking utensils because a muslim customer doesn't want a pizza that came into contract with peperoni. Indeed the cultural makeup of a city will impact the usage of trade of businesses in that city. Commodities are personalized.

Multiculturalism for what ills commodification.

"I am never happy to see the U.S. lose, but on the bright side the early exit of the U.S. from the final round will put soccer back into its place in American culture."

Your post is misguided, because your above premise is incorrect. I'm presuming you mean that with the U.S. out, the World Cup no longer interests Americans, and that this low interest is soccer's "place" in American culture.

Problem is, it's not true.

The World Cup television ratings will continue to grow as the tournament progresses over the next two weeks. In 2006, they hit their peaks with the semifinals and final (a game whose ratings beat the NBA Finals and the World Series). And given that this World Cup's ratings are already significantly up from 2006 -- along with record-setting online viewing at ESPN -- it's a safe bet the raw figures will be even bigger this time around.

In other words, while we'd all have loved to see further U.S. success in the tournament, World Cup interest is not dependent on it.

The idea that soccer isn't very popular here is just off-base. MLS averages 16,000+ a game -- enough to rival attendance in the NBA and NHL. Americans bought more World Cup tickets than any country but the host. Pay attention when the big international teams visit for exhibitions over the next couple of months: They'll sell out the country's biggest football stadiums, just like they do summer after summer.

The perception that soccer isn't big here comes, more than anything, from the relative dearth of mainstream media coverage. It reminds me of the New York Times when Dale Earnhardt died: The news got buried inside the sports section somewhere, and the Times was genuinely startled to discover in subsequent days just how huge he and NASCAR were. That incident turned into a big deal in the journalism world. The "paper of record," along with many others, had been totally ignorant about the America that sat right under its upturned nose.

That's something we conservatives can relate to. Indeed, as a soccer fan, I often get a sensation that's very familiar to one I frequently get as a conservative: When it comes to the press and pundits, they can be egregiously clueless about the scope, depth and meaningfulness of this stuff, simply because it's not on their own personal radar. It winds up making me leery to trust their analytical judgment on other topics, because this stuff is an empirical, objective matter.

That's what a post like this one feels like. It's just a weird misapprehension of the sport's status. I get why some Americans don't like the game -- if it's not for you, it's not for you, and I won't bother defending my interest any more than I'll bother explaining my love of baseball. But I do find it a bit odd that so many of those same people don't recognize just how big the sport is here, that it's getting bigger, and that it's got a cultural foothold that isn't going away anytime soon.

It's not 1990. "Soccer isn't a big deal in America" just doesn't fit anymore.

Not sure that's the proper comparison. The World Cup is a spectacle, and does not happen every year. Going to the World Cup is like visiting the Taj Mahal--it's a thing to do. Perhaps one could compare it to the various sports finals, or even the NCAA tournament. What are the viewership numbers for the World Cup highlights vs. "Baseball Tonight"? There were 15 baseball games today, since it's a weekend, I bet there were well more than 240,000 fans in the stands today.

Admittedly, soccer ihas grown more popular in the U.S., but it has not cracked the big time as a spectator sport yet.

P.S. My only problem with what is called "multiculturalism:" is that, quite often, it does not take cutural diversity seriously enough. Multiculturalsm presumes (or hopes) that cultural differences can have no more importance in the world than the differences between Yankees and Red Sox fans. Perhaps there are occasional brawls, but no real wars. Given the true diversity of the world's cultures, I fear, war will always be with us, because our understandings of justice can never be reconciled.

the world series drew 42 million in 1980, that is the record i believe. then it has gone down and dropped totally off starting in 2000. in 08 only 13 million. the usa england game got 17.1 and the Ghana game got 19.4 and both those games were on at 2:30 in the afternoon. I think the NBA finals got somewhere close to those numbers in primetime.

there are two major things keeping soccer from really taking off in this country and that is the MLS is a low level league that lacks anything close to the quality of europe and if the networks decided to cover the EPL or la liga they would get killed by the time difference as people won't get up at 8am on the east coast to watch a game. Hard to enjoy the bbq and beer at that hour. The best players in the world play for the big euro leagues. I really don't think any sort of cultural idea is going to hold back the beautiful game, its more of a time zone problem.

I'm sorry to tell you that soccer is the most boring game I have ever watched besides curling. Halve the field and the width, get instant replay for the lack of decent refs and hand out a lot more penalty kicks. Watching for two hours and end in a zero to zero tie is absurd. Allow the use of hands. Are the players handicapped people? Make the different positions wear different colors like the goalies do so that new watchers have a clue what is going on. Stop the clock when a faker is lying on the ground to run out the clock. I suspect the clock issue came from third world countries that could not afford a stop watch and used a kitchen timer instead. Update this poor man's game to the 21st century and make for some more scoring opportunities or get rid of it.

That soccer is boring to you might say more about you than it does about soccer. Do you think football or basketball players should wear different colors based on their position, just for the benefit of "new watchers"?

btw - they add on time to the game for injuries

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