Culture Briefs

Soccer invasion

David Beckham is an aging athlete who plays a game that Americans don’t care about and is married to some bird of no talent and even less brain who used to be a pop star. They are Brits, and they have come over here to expectations of the kind that accompanied General Burgoyne back in 1777. … But for some reason, the Brits keep coming back, trying to conquer America. …

“The Brits have nothing to tell America about either sports or rock. We’ve got Babe Ruth, Joe Louis, Michael Jordan … and on and on. They have … David Beckham, who plays soccer. … As for rock … everything the Brits know, they learned from Chuck Berry. …

Mr. Beckham is supposed to do what the great Pele, before him, could not. That is, get Americans excited about soccer as a spectator sport. …

“Soccer may collect a few scraps from the table of American sports. There are fans who will watch anything where they keep score. And the Beckhams’ celebrity may draw a few people to a few stadiums. … But celebrity these days has a pretty short half-life. It won’t be long before the Beckham phenomenon is deader than Diana. Meanwhile, Auburn/Alabama, Red Sox/Yankees, Carolina/Duke … these things — these American things — will endure.”

Geoffrey Norman, writing on “British Invasion,” Tuesday at NationalReview.com

European cash

“It was strange enough to visit Europe a decade ago and use money that almost always carried the faces of artists and writers rather than political leaders. In France, as everywhere else in Europe, there was little consensus on who should be regarded as a hero and who as a villain. De Gaulle? No. Charlemagne? No. Robespierre? Certainly not. Nobody, however, objected to Rene Descartes — so there he was.

“But even Descartes goes too far for unified Europe. If Descartes, why not Immanuel Kant? What about Leonardo da Vinci? …

“So the designers of the euro settled for architectural images: doors, windows, bridges, etc. Pretty empty.

“My own theory was that the currency should celebrate the only people who would be recognized as heroes by all Europeans: George C. Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley and the other U.S. liberators and reconstructors of Europe.

“I’ve tested the idea on probably 200 Europeans over the years, and the reaction has been unanimous: Nobody liked it.”

David Frum, writing on “A tour of France’s historic gas stations,” July 7 in the National Post

‘Crude propaganda’

“Everyone should see ‘Sicko.’ Here is a crude propaganda film in behalf of a Communist future which has buried so many innocent victims no one really has a count. Its propaganda technique is as crude as a government travelogue for the regime of Pol Pot. Actually, there is a travelogue for Fidel Castro, complete with a visit to a Potemkin hospital. Moore doesn’t mention that Cuba is a police state, that it has a dual health care system … which could not provide any of the technologies it makes available without the greedy U.S. capitalists who made their creation possible.

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