Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ann Coulter and American Exceptionalism

In case you missed it, Ann Coulter wrote a scathing article about a week ago about the sport of Soccer. (Or, as it's correctly called everywhere else, Football) She received plenty of criticism for the article, and rightfully so. The article is terribly researched, and it reads like it was written in Greg Gutfeld's constant sarcastic idiocy.

I'm not a soccer fan. Not at all. I enjoy watching the World Cup every four years, but that's it. However, the article she wrote isn't just silly, it's completely incorrect. It would be funny if it was satire. Take a look.

In the very first paragraph, she rails against soccer for not focusing on individual achievements enough. 
Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer. In a real sport, players fumble passes, throw bricks and drop fly balls -- all in front of a crowd. 
That sentence alone should make those who think of Coulter as a "brilliant mind" reconsider. Has she never seen a penalty kick? Did she see Ronaldo's cross to keep Portugal momentarily alive against the US? It was a beautiful pass, and anyone watching or listening understood immediately who was responsible for that remarkable play. Ronaldo. Players miss the nets, score on their own goals, etc. There are just as many individual moments in soccer as there are in American football, basketball, baseball, etc.

Regardless, criticizing a SPORT because it's not individualized enough is laughable at best, downright mentally incompetent at worst. Sports are designed to teach people to work together for a common goal, not to make one person shine above the rest. Children learn to cooperate, how to accept failure, and how to deal with failure in front of their peers from playing team sports. This one quote--the first sentence of her argument, nonetheless-- is everything that's wrong with the belief of American exceptionalism. Soccer isn't as big in America, so it must be terrible, because America is the best!

Her second point was even worse.
 Liberal moms like soccer because it's a sport in which athletic talent finds so little expression that girls can play with boys. No serious sport is co-ed, even at the kindergarten level. 
 Idiotic is too nice of a word. When I was little, I played tee-ball. The games were in the middle of the day during the week, so the coaches were all moms, not dads. And guess what? Some of the people on my team were GIRLS. But, you know, it's not like Baseball is considered one of America's oldest pastimes or anything. The reason boys and girls play TOGETHER on some kindergarten level sports teams isn't because the talent level is similar (trust me, it's not) it's because the POINT OF THE SPORT is to cooperate. Teaching children to cooperate with both girls and boys at a young age will only help them adjust easier when they are meeting new people on a daily basis.
No other "sport" ends in as many scoreless ties as soccer. This was an actual marquee sign by the freeway in Long Beach, California, about a World Cup game last week: "2nd period, 11 minutes left, score: 0:0." Two hours later, another World Cup game was on the same screen: "1st period, 8 minutes left, score: 0:0."
Either she's completely making this up, or whoever was updating that marquee sign in Long Beach knows nothing about soccer. They play halfs, not periods. They also count UP, not down. So rather than saying "11 minutes left in the second period" the sign would really say that the score was 0-0 in the 79th minute, because that means there's 11 minutes left in the game. There are less goals in soccer than other sports, but this makes each scoring opportunity very exciting. I think she made this up thinking it added humor to the piece. Sigh.
The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport.
This is completely and utterly false. That is a solid reason to watch Fox News, though.
You can't use your hands in soccer. (Thus eliminating the danger of having to catch a fly ball.) What sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs.
Yet another example of someone who's supposed to be "brilliant" misleading a ton of her readers. What ACTUALLY separates humans from other species is our brain. It's considerably more complicated and developed than other species, and it allows us to work together to succeed in the Animal Kingdom. Think about it. We can't survive a night in the cold, we are nowhere close to as strong as many animals, yet humans have managed to reach the top of the food chain. It's not because we have thumbs, sorry. It's because humans can cooperate to eliminate a threat, while animals only do it on a very minute level.
I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer. The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO's "Girls," light-rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton. The number of New York Times articles claiming soccer is "catching on" is exceeded only by the ones pretending women's basketball is fascinating. 
She just keeps listing things she doesn't like and pretending that it's a liberal agenda. Light-rails, AKA cheap, public transportation, are fantastic. This annoyed me though because nobody is force-feeding soccer or Girls or Beyonce on anyone. This is 2014 in America, I'm pretty sure the only thing being forced upon you is the NSA's over reaching. If you don't like soccer, turn the channel. It's simple.
I note that we don't have to be endlessly told how exciting football is. 
The NFL off-season was covered more than the Stanley Cup Finals on Sportscenter, so let's not pretend like American Football isn't overhyped. I love football, it's wonderful to watch, but fans in other countries love soccer MORE than Americans love football. That's not because people in other countries are morally bankrupt or stupider, it's simply a cultural difference that Ann Coulter can't seem to get her head around.
Despite being subjected to Chinese-style brainwashing in the public schools to use centimeters and Celsius, ask any American for the temperature, and he'll say something like "70 degrees." Ask how far Boston is from New York City, he'll say it's about 200 miles.
Again, this is Coulter citing American exceptionalism where it doesn't exist. Celsius actually is a lot easier to understand than Fahrenheit, as anything below 0 is freezing. Seems simpler than 32 degrees, no? Using kilometers instead of miles, again, is a cultural thing. Why are we so against people being different? Isn't this America? The world's melting pot? Can I ask any more questions?

One final complaint:
I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time. 
My great-grandfather was born here. Both were. I've watched every game of this world cup. Soccer isn't the problem. The English comment was the worst by far, though. Does Miss Coulter understand that most teenagers in other countries are capable of speaking multiple languages? Unlike in America, where we can't even speak one language correctly, speaking multiple languages is considered an asset.

Soccer's here to stay, Ann, but here's to hoping America can drop it's "Kind of smart, kind of blonde, kind of a woman" fetish and stop paying any attention to you.