- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2006

Patriotic sport

“[I]f soccer were a traditional American game … commentators would be excoriating it as politically retrograde. Around the world, soccer fans are far more explicitly nationalist, uneducated, working class and reactionary (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) than those of any American sport other than professional wrestling. …

“While hooliganism has ebbed since 1989, when 94 fans died in a stampede at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, and no country has invaded a soccer rival since the … Futbol War between El Salvador and Honduras that cost about 2,000 lives, the level of off-field violence remains wholly alien to American sports.

“To the common people of Europe, whose ancient nation-states are being dissolved by immigration, economic globalization and the Eurocrats of Brussels, soccer provides a rare outlet for expressing their love of country. Unfortunately, in the minds of the ruling caste of Europe, the linkage of national pride and soccer hooliganism only reinforces their belief that all people of quality disdain patriotism.”

— Steve Sailer, writing on “One World Cup,” in the July 17 edition of “The American Conservative”

Ken Lay, R.I.P.

“All deaths are sad, and some are shocking and sad. Ken Lay’s this week was both, though I don’t suppose it should have been a shock.

“Putting aside all judgments and conclusions, all umbrage, outrage and indignation, and all debates on who was most responsible for the Enron scandal — putting all those weighty and legitimate concerns aside — isn’t it obvious that Ken Lay died of a broken heart? We forget that people do, or at least I forget, but they do.

“His life was broken and would never be healed. Or if it was to be healed it would happen while he was imprisoned, for the rest of his life, with four walls to look at. All was wreckage around him. He died, of a massive coronary. But that can be another way of saying broken heart.

“Is this Shakespearean in the sense of being towering and tragic? I don’t know. I think it’s primal and human. And I think if we were more regularly conscious of the fact that death through sadness happens we’d be better to each other. …

“We are human beings, and to each other we are not fully knowable. There’s a lot of mystery in life. The life force can leave before we even know it’s withdrawing.”

— Peggy Noonan, writing on “On Finding Peace,” yesterday in the Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

Jingo man?

“From the outset, it’s clear that ‘Superman Returns’ takes a number of liberties with the legend of the Man of Steel. …

“Superman certainly isn’t who he used to be. As everyone knows, from his very inception, Superman always fought for ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way.’ But in this new version, he fights for ‘Truth, Justice … and All That Stuff.’ How inspiring. …

“According to reports in the New York Post, the screenwriters of the film wanted to avoid ‘outdated jingoism.’ One of them commented, ‘I don’t think “the American way” means what it meant in 1945.’ The other noted, ‘He’s not just for Metropolis and not just for America.’ Apparently, he’s a new Superman for the global age.”

— Carol Platt Liebau, writing on “Swallowing the Kryptonite,” Wednesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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