A moron speaks

9 06 2010

Behold this triumph, we found it whilst surfing the internet.

World Cup Fascism
By Dennis Hale (bio)

The FIFA World Cup TV spots, in the run-up to the opening events later this week, have been touting the ability of international football (what we dim Americans insist on calling soccer) to change the world for the better. A sport played on every inhabited continent, World Cup football has a universal appeal. It seems logical, then, to associate it with “internationalism” and the idea of everybody getting along famously. To further this impression, the FIFA ads show us soccer players of many ages and races engaged in sweaty sportsmanship, which we are led to believe can only lead to world peace.

But is this claim supportable?

For those who hope that World Cup football will bring us all together, here is (to borrow a phrase from Al Gore) an inconvenient truth: since the beginning of World Cup competition in 1930, every Cup winner has had a fascist government at some point in its history, though not always at the time of its Cup victory, with the single exception of Great Britain, which won the Cup in 1966 (in overtime, with a disputed goal, against Germany). This fascist connection is clearly not what the FIFA campaign has chosen to emphasize.

It is not enough merely to have been governed by a tyranny – no communist country has ever won the Cup, despite the best efforts of Soviet-style sports bureaus.

Apparently, only fascism is compatible with international football success.* And more often than not, the World Cup finals feature competition only between fascist or formerly fascist regimes: e.g., Argentina & Germany, or Uruguay and Brazil. In 2006, each of the countries in the final four had fascist connections: Italy, France, Germany, and Portugal. Countries that have never had fascist governments rarely make it to the finals: besides Great Britain (once), the only continuously democratic governments to compete in the final round have been Sweden (once) and Holland (twice).

The grim details are in the list below – for anyone who can explain them. I cannot. There is nothing intrinsically fascist about soccer – it’s just another game in which players move a ball back and forth across a rectangular game space. NFL-style football, with its heavy use of military metaphors (the “blitz,” the “shotgun”), body armor, and helmets, would seem to be a much better candidate. But nobody plays it except Americans and Canadians, who have never shown any serious interest in fascism.

But if you like betting on sporting events, this might be news you can use. Let’s see if the tradition continues.

1. Uruguay: ruled by the Terra regime, 1933-1938, and by military dictatorships, 1973-1985; won in 1930 (defeating Argentina) and 1950 (defeating Brazil).

2. Italy: ruled by Mussolini, 1922-1943; won in 1934 (defeating Czechoslovakia), 1938 (defeating Hungary), 1982 (defeating Germany), and 2006 (defeating France)

3. Germany: ruled by the Nazis, 1933-1945; won in 1954 (defeating Hungary), 1974 (defeating Holland), and 1990 (defeating Argentina).

4. Brazil: ruled by the Vargas regime, 1930-1945, and by military dictatorships from 1964-1982; won in 1958 (defeating Sweden), 1962 (Czechoslovakia), 1970 (Italy), 1994 (Italy again), and 2002 (Germany).

5. United Kingdom: never had a fascist regime, won in 1966, defeating Germany in overtime, with a hotly disputed goal.

6. Argentina: ruled by Juan Peron, 1945-1955, and by military dictatorships, 1976-1983; won in 1978 (defeating Holland) and 1986 (defeating Germany).

7. France: ruled by the pro-Nazi puppet regime in Vichy, 1940-1944; won in 1998 (defeating Brazil).

* I admit to a somewhat broad definition of “fascism”. But all of the regimes listed here as fascist had these traits in common: they suppressed civil liberties, abolished competitive elections, crushed or controlled labor unions, extolled violence, and drew their support from middle class voters fearful of labor radicalism and economic chaos. They were also nationalist in their appeals and, to varying degrees, anti-Semitic.

That’s an awfully long way of saying that you don’t like football. It’s obviously a crackpot article but what can you expect from a person that wrote an article called “Why Health Care is not a right“? The Jet Set may appear to hate the World Cup but at least we try to apply a little logic to the situation. 

Let’s deconstruct his argument. The main thrust of it is; Football is Fascist. This is wrong on so many levels. The Jet Set, the Hibby Boys, Low Profiler, FC United, Bangor City fans, in fact just about all football fans apart from Real Madrid , Rangers, Chelsea and Lazio ones would be mortally offended at such a concept.

The facts of his arguments are shaky at best. Only 4 out of 18 World Cups have been won by countries ruled by a dictator or junta. (Italy in 1934 and 1938, Brazil in 1970 and Argentina in 1978.).  Two of those tournaments were engineered by dictatorships to produce a glorious victory for the state (1934 and 1978) so that’s only two truly Fascist triumphs.

Only an idiot would say the Vichy regime is even partly responsible for a victory in a football tournament held 54 years after it’s collapse, that’s right FIFTY FOUR YEARS.. Only a moron would say that Uruguay’s first World Cup in 1930 was the result of a fascist dictator that came to  power three years AFTER the win. Exactly how was Lothar Matthaus the product of the Nazi period?

Silly old Jet Set, aside from the obvious cases of manipulation and gamesmanship we always assumed that the winner of the world cup possesed at least a modicum of talent. As fascist dictatorships tend to try and control things, how would they control the production of world-class sports performers and ensure that their’s were better than anybody else’s? For example Germany didn’t do as well as they thought in 1938, and that was after they’d absorbed the skilful Austrians.

The tone of the article is irritatingly dismissive, what he seems to be saying is; “Football is sooooo beneath us. As football is Fascist and we’re not football fans, we can’t be fascist”. His definition of fascism is so  wide that parts of American history could qualify America as partly fascist in outlook.

Here’s a short list, the creation of Living Space on the Western Frontier by John Wayne and the other cowboys, the McCarthy witch hunts, the denial of civil Rights to Black Americans, threats to people on strike in Reagan’s first administration, we could go on.  But America haven’t won a World Cup these examples can’t be fascist in any way. 

The article emanates from an irritating American sub-culture, the vehement anti-soccer mindset; “Soccer is Communist“, “Soccer is full of criminals,”, “Soccer is wrong plain boy, I’m off for a lyching, yeeeeeee haw!!!!!”. Basically Soccer Sucks because Soccer is like soooo Un-American.

Why do these people get so aeriated? They don’t have to like soccer, I mean football. Besides since when has it been impossible to appreciate more than one sport? Even knuckleheaded American Football has its good points.

It seems that talking bollocks is a truly international concept.

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