Dangers of despising the World Cup


I’m not particularly passionate about football, I’m not swept away with World Cup hysteria and I’ve always had a soft spot for radical feminist writing…but even I can tell that this article ‘Why I despise the World Cup’ is utterly ridiculous.

“I refuse to get excited about some wealthy misogynist jocks” – Hmm. A lazy generalisation, for sure. Like decrying all New Statesmen journos as self-indulgent Oxbridge wankers would be. Plus bourgeois complaints about working-class people earning too much money can be a bit unseemly.

“The fact remains, however, that there are more pressing things to worry about over the soccer season than the state of Frank Lampard’s admittedly shapely calves. This country is in crisis. Young people are in crisis, poor people are in crisis, unemployment stands at 2.5 million, the Labour movement is still leaderless and directionless, and there’s a brutal train of Tory public service cuts coming over the hill.”  – All true but following that logic all forms of entertainment must surely be condemned for distracting the masses from the political struggle!

“Of course, not everyone who displays an England flag is a fascist, but a few of the flags in circulation will undoubtedly be re-used at the upcoming EDL rally in East London, which plans to process through the same streets where Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts marched in 1936.”  – Criticising people for embracing English/British flags is such a tired cliché of leftie lunacy.

“The problem with football as commodified nationalism is that it leaves the left wing entirely undefended” – The problem with associating leftist politics with a sneery distaste for mainstream culture is that you will alienate the vast majority of the population and leave yourself vulnerable to mockery by the right.

Most of Comrade Penny’s articles seem designed to provoke outraged reactions rather than inspire sober debate. That’s fair enough from her and the New Statesman’s point of view – these polemics certainly make for good reading so will draw in the readers. But they’re hardly constructive contributions for formulating the future of the left. Plus, when I think of ‘radical left’ journalists with a burning desire to gain attention through controversy, my mind conjures up names such as Julie Burchill and Gary Bushell…


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