Saturday, June 19, 2010

Please Stop "Trying to Wake People Up in North America"

Marisa at Making Sense of Jihad (who was married 18 days ago, so belated best wishes) has a dose of reality for the soccer-obsessed among us. And by "us" I mean us, the historic American nation.

I don't hate soccer. My kids played soccer in the weekend youth leagues that are ubiquitous here in Northern Virginia, as they are in suburbs from Sea to Shining Sea. I played it myself waaaaay back in High School, when it was far from common on these shores. Back then, soccer had an exotic foreign flavor, and that was the secret of its attraction for some of us.

Soccer's foreignness is still the secret of its attraction for some people, most definitely including those commentators who every four years take the occasion of the World Cup to berate Americans for their disinterest in 'the world's game.' It's not that they love soccer so much as they despise and feel superior to those of their fellow citizens - the vast majority of them - who are instinctively suspicious of anything foreign.

It's the same way with the metric system. Busybodies have been browbeating the American private and public sectors to get metricated for as long as they've been badgering us about soccer. But except for the popularity of the two-liter bottle and the 9mm cartridge, metrication has been a total bust in America. A 100 percent failure, or whatever the equivalent of "100 percent" may be in the metric system.

I don't object to either playing soccer or using the metric system, you understand, but I object to people promoting anything to Americans simply because it's popular in the rest of the world. I'm reasonably familiar with the rest of the world, having visited fifty-some foreign countries on business and having lived in a couple, and I like it just fine. But I see no reason whatsoever to import foreign practices to America just because they are foreign. And I see through those people who would do so.

It's called American Exceptionalism, and people have been noticing it for a long time. A foreigner described it best, and that was back in 1833.


The Snake's Mommy said...

What a refreshing post. Thank you. Were I a total mercenary, and by total I mean a *percentage* of 100 (to answer your question), I'd be racing about job hunting, flouting my 15 years' residence in South Africa. Meantime, I filter out all news that contains "World Cup" in the title and wait for the parade of people suddenly addressing me in Afrikaans to move on to the next fad.

TSB said...

Thanks. You're right, all we can do is filter the news until the parade has passed on. Personally, I'm avoiding NPR.