Tuesday, June 20, 2006

desperately seeking superiority

I must rub up against the "Ugly American" stereotype on a fairly regular basis, especially in the current era of mistrust. American exceptionalism is such a ridiculous cross to bear, yet so throughly ingrained it can prejudice both sides. I've always felt sorry for US soccer fans, caught in a culture war they don't understand against the cartoonish juggernaut of American football fandom. Of course, there's only Canada playing our football, while the rest of the world plays their football. Despite limited successes (baseball in Japan, basketball in China), even cricket is more widespread than the games popular in the US. Which is why I get into fits of mixed laughter and horror watching US fans here in Europe for the World Cup trying to taunt the other teams. One story had fans trying to think of an inoffensive taunt against the Czech. They came up with 'your food sucks!' Weak. Far better was the drunken Dot-Commer in Slate's coverage of the US-Italy game: it was a brutal game, with one American player bloodied by an elbow to the face and a noticeable skew in the refs' calls towards Italia. So the irate US fan says:
"If it wasn't for the [expletive] U.S. in 1945, do you [expletive] know what language you would be [expletive] speaking right now?"
Of course, this is the classic American nationalist complaint towards the French. Here it is absurd, for the answer is: ummm...Italian?

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