15 June 2006

Bellicose footballers

Today's A.Word.A.Day is theomania, defined as "[t]he belief that one is God or specially chosen by God on a mission".  It made me think of Bush, who prays and asks his god for guidance before ordering overseas invasions of countries of no threat to the U.S.A.  I hope the military isn't as full of mindless theomaniacs as the White House.

I'm no soccer fan, but in related news I noticed a disturbing AP story about a comment made by a player on the U.S.A. team regarding his attitude toward the upcoming match against Italy:

[U.S.A. player Eddie] Johnson was asked whether he was comparing a sporting event to a war.

"Yeah," he responded.  "Whenever you put your jersey on and you look at your crest and the national anthem's going on, and you're playing against a different country, it's like you do or die, it's survival of the [fittest] over 90 minutes-plus.  We're going to go out there and do whatever we've got to do, make tackles, do the things when the referee's not looking . . . to get three points."

Aside from his obvious willingness to play dirty and his stupidity in calling attention to it beforehand, it's the player's knee-jerk nationalism that bothers me.  It seems likely that the comment was made in protest of Italy's recent decision to start pulling troops out of Iraq this month, which must be seen as an affront to his fragile ego.  I'd be glad to see the U.S.A. win against a soccer powerhouse like Italy—though I can't be bothered to care much—but ignorant comments by someone who should be an American ambassador are embarrassing.  I can only hope that people worldwide realize that many or most Americans disagree with these us-versus-them attitudes.


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