December 24, 2004


Might does not make right: "It's the jingoism, stupid!"

Although I know very little about football, I have come to the sad conclusion that the generality of Americans think of life and the world on the model of a game of football. This is probably more clearly true of those on the right portion of the political spectrum, but it may be true of most American liberals as well. To me, the main feature of a football game, on the rare occasions when I accidentally catch a couple of minutes of one, seems to be that the players try to tackle the player who is carrying the ball, or, in other words, who is trying to make a point (literally, in this case). Issues of right or wrong don't enter into it, but issues of good and evil do. One defines oneself as categorically and unconditionally good, and therefore everything and everyone that stands in one's way is evil. No reasoning and argumentation. No finding out the facts of the case. Just bullying one's way through life, without any regard for facts or logic.

So what is your analyis of Rugby? Or European boxers? Or hockey in Canada? Cross check the guy with the puck. Get the puck and hurt someone on the way. Or rudly taking the puck away from someone else for selfish reasons?

But, those Americans.
I feel you missed the point I was trying to make. I wasn't commenting on violence in sports. God knows Canadian hockey is far more violent than American football. I made it clear, though, that I have no interest in spectator sports. I am, however, very interested in politics. What I said was that Americans see politics and life itself as a football game. Canadians don't see life as a hockey game.
I had to check back and see if you responded. Thank you. I disagree, but, as an American maybe I am biased on this issue. Interesting concept though. Have a good new year.
Thanks for the new year's wishes, Gindy. It will probably be an okay year for me personally, but for the world as a whole it will probably be even worse than 2004. Unless enlightened Americans decide that enough is enough. We all have biases, as citizens of different countries, members of various cultures, adherents of sundry religions, and so on. But I don't think the reality of these biases absolves us from looking critically at our country, culture, religion, and so on, exposing its faults, and searching for remedies.
I noticed that Australians conduct business the same way they play rugby...give the ball to single player who makes a mad, suicidal dash to the goal. Just as he is about to fail catastrophically, he passes the ball to the next player, who does the same thing.

All this without the benefit of helmets or pads.
Thanks for your contribution, Ano. Perhaps madness is rife within all the countries of the Coalition of Willies.
Hmm... this really resonated with me. I've often said to people that I think I've figured out what it is that some find so appealing about George W. Bush. And that is this: He doesn't, in my opinion embody the important traits of thoughtful, introspective wisdom and sense of measured force and diplomacy crucial to leading such a powerful and complicated nation through difficult and complicated times in such a complicated world. But he would, in my opinion, make a great football coach. And people love a great football coach.
Thanks for your comment, Solomon. Dubya's acting ability, which is generally mistaken for charm and charisma, would actually qualify him to play a football coach in a movie or TV serial. One hopes that the American people, through the experience of having finally elected a "football coach" as President, will come to realize that life is not a football game.
Very Funny!
You may be right about us.....Kill theh guy with the ball!
Bush is no coach...He's a cheerleader!
It seems to me that you’re just a little negative. You seem to be lacking in the empathy dept. I did not vote for (ding dong) Bush and I hate organized sports of all kinds. You could say that im not a typical American but what is typical? Are you saying that all Canadians think like you? Are all Canadians followers not able to speak out or Do you just sit on high passing judgment on things you only understand through your eyes and mind.

Not all Americans are cold and head strong we all do not plod through life oblivious to compassion or understanding.

Your Blog shows that people’s idea of international can not be stereo typed.
Start judging your self before you judge others.
Happy New Year from the Big Bad USA.
Thanks for your comment, Buford, even though it came this close to violating the blog's rules. If I may ask you to re-read the text of my post, I did not say that all Americans are football enthusiasts (I know the majority are not), or that they all voted for Bush (I know half of them didn't, or possibly more than half, taking account of the apparently fraudulent nature of the last two elections). What I did say was that most Americans talk and act as if life and politics were a football game. What I mean by that is that they don't seem to comprehend that life must be based on logic and empathy (to use your word), and not on aggression. Based on the comments I have received on this post, it seems to me that many of your compatriots agree with this assessment. Many people (not just me) see this as a fundamental flaw in the American character, which is, at the moment, threatening the future of the planet itself. There are millions of very good people in the US, and they are the very people who are deeply worried about the type of phenomena I have described. And most of them don't waste their time attacking those who try to point out what is wrong with America. Instead, they concentrate more and more on getting rid of the evil that has taken hold of it.
While I may not personally agree with your opinion of Americans taking an agressive stance on their viewpoints of life, I can certainly understand where that feeling may come from. However, where I believe you have failed is not in your political analysis but rather in your analysis of the game of football. You admit that you are not familiar with the sport and thus the association of it with barbaric agression. Football played correctly (as with most sports) is more like chess then anything else (with regards to the coaching). Preperation. studying, and strategy are the keys. No big deal though. I think people still understand what your are trying to say by comparing America to the "stereotypical" football.
Thanks for your comment, Drew. I am glad you see the political point of the post. Some other people didn't quite get it, and I had to explain it to them. If you refer to the comments I wrote in answer to them, you will see that I wasn't really referring to the aggressive/violent aspect of football. As I said to one reader, hockey is, I think, a lot more violent (I don't watch hockey, either, though!) I do see and agree with your point that there is much more to football than force. The fact that a team wins depends, as you say, on preparation, strategy, and so on. That is fine for football, or any other game for that matter. The point I was making was that such a mentality is fine for a game, but not for life or politics. The fact that someone is more prepared or has a better strategy does not mean he/she is right. That was the point I wanted to make, but your comment has helped me clarify it a bit more for myself.
So, its a win at all costs without regards to method sort of thing. I would say that makes sense. I really do like your analogy. People arent debating whether tackling the player would be the right thing to do, they just do it for their desire to win. Again, I still am not sure about its application to America (difficult for me to see from the inside i guess) but I do like the analogy.
Thanks again, Drew. I just changed the post's title to convey its point a little better. As you say, it's very hard to see ourselves as others see us. That probably applies to every group or nation.
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