american notes

United States

Drunk on America

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With international soccer, there's a sense of national pride that warps everything, repurposes it in the hue of national flag, and makes everyone go crazy. Not that we really needed another reason to think we're proud, but now our soccer team doesn't suck, so we can spend an afternoon getting drunk on Bud and thoughts that we're the best.

Mexico – USA: We Are Quasi-Live-Blogging This

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Come and hang out around, say, 3:55 pm Eastern, for a sort-of-live blog of the USA-Mexico game. This isn't going to be the kind of live blog where I print the team sheets and, you know, write a lot of "things" designed to "help" the fan who isn't watching the match. This is going to be more like an occasionally-updating commentary track.

Jason Davis

America and England Should Stick to Their Own Cultural Institutions, Complains Writer for British GQ

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Jason Davis says most of what needs to be said about Andrew Hankinson's crypto-snide piece on the Sons of Ben for British GQ. Hankinson's piece somehow manages to sensationalize American supporter culture as out-of-control and scary ("There is no visible police presence today on the railway platforms.

Darkeness Before Dawn

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I was thinking about a huge post on English and American soccer culture, ESPN, Ian Darke, Hicks and Gillett, the Red Sox, barristers in powdered wigs, Steve McQueen in a Mini Cooper, teenaged Beatles, and Bristol Rovers fans lying down in Leadbelly's graveyard, but the concept got too unwieldy: Make a list of the places where American culture and English culture intersect, even one that includes only the most striking or the weirdest or the most iconic vertices, and pretty soon you wind up with a galaxy instead of a blog post, and you spend an hour debating whether Edmund Burke gets photographic sidebar representation.

Manchester United

Soccer Fans and the Super Bowl

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It's Super Bowl weekend here in the United States and football is on my mind. I grew up in Los Angeles, a city without an NFL team. In fact I've never lived in a city with an NFL team. When I'm asked what team I support I run through a brief flow chart, and this year I'm backing the Pack.

Arsenal-Man Utd: Survive the Second Half

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Struggling to sit through the second half of Arsenal-Man Utd? Desperately trying to protect your sanity on the streaming edge of the gulf of the abyss? Then why not read Austin Kelley's terrific history of standing in the Wall Street Journal, which explores a question I've been wanting to see answered for some time: Why do European fans prefer to stand during games and Americans prefer to sit?

Champions League

London Calling

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I wouldn't say that my hearing is shot, but it's not what it once was too much Clash, in too many enclosed spaces, at too young an age so I can't turn up the TV as loud as I would like. Or rather, I could, but I don't want to disturb my neighbors, if they happen to be around. The walls of this rather cheap and rather shabby (but, I must say, scrupulously clean) Bloomsbury hotel are quite thin, and like almost all Americans, I have a visceral anxiety about being, even potentially, cast in the role of Ugly American.

Fox Soccer Wins the Rights to the Champions League

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Fox Soccer has outbid ESPN and won the Champions League broadcast rights for North America.  I'm...not sure how I feel about this. The roaring waves of my basic fear of ESPN are crashing against the rock of my basic sense that they do a better job broadcasting soccer matches than FSC. On the one hand, [.

Don't Miss

The FIFA World Rankings: A Global Return to Reason

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The new FIFA World Rankings are out, and I think they might be just what the world needs to take its mind off the fact that "money" is apparently no longer a good idea. Take America, for instance. Yesterday, this country was hurting. A man walking down the street wore the tight-mouthed, care-eaten look of [.

England 2 - 0 USA: Shut Up and Tread on Me

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Wait...what? Where am I? How long has the match been over? I watched the whole thing...I think; I know I turned it on in time for the national anthems at Wembley; only just now I sort of came back to myself and noticed that the TV was showing a commercial for discount mufflers. How long [...]

David Beckham’s Moderately Exciting 70-Yard Goal

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You've seen it already, I'm sure, but then, that's part of the point: David Beckham's 70-yard goal against Kansas City last Saturday night wasn't so much a moment in a soccer game as it was a discrete highlight clip, destined to be scrubbed of its situation and played out of context, endlessly. It aced the [.

The Rest

Reenchanting the World

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Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that part of the Americans' genius was their taming of the human pursuit of greatness. Their art was moderate, their religion egalitarian, and their guiding spirit was thoroughly anti-nobility. Their only stab at greatness was in the commercial world. "The Americans," Tocqueville wrote, "put something heroic into their way of trading.

Soccer, America, and the Emblematic Woman

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"Soccer is the elusive, almost illusive woman you have taught yourself not to chase."

Me, right now, before I change my mind.

I've identified three problems with the American soccer missionaries.

1. Rarely so rarely have they been converted from Our Sports.

A Brief History of Nous

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Did you know that Sir Alex Ferguson still doubts his tactical nous? The headline leaves no room for doubt: "Sir Alex Ferguson: I still doubt my tactical nous". I find this sad. Sir Alex would seem to have it all: a long record of championships, a range of expensive outerwear, a ruddy Glaswegian complexion, a knighthood but if you can't trust in your own nous, what is it all worth, really?

Morning in America

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I have always been an early riser, but for a long time that meant only, or mostly, work: wake up, shower and dress, ingest the life-giving caffeinated fluids, and get some writing done before the rest of the world can start plucking at my sleeve. It's an M.O. that has served me well. The more I get done in the rising day, the earlier I can ease off the gas pedal, and the more completely I can relax in the evenings: sit back with a drink and watch some basketball or baseball whatever sport happens to be on with a wholly vacuous, nearly flatlining brain.

On Restraint

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LeBron James was going to sign with the Clippers. I was sure of it. Living in a city that prided itself on its basketball knowledge, I could not have been happier to defend my foolhardy (and completely non-researched) claim. I filled the microbreweries with my pomp and unbridled opinion, joyfully educating any local who dared to question my theory.

Today in World Geography

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Spotted in the AP preview of tonight's Sounders-Chivas USA match:

The US is playing Honduras, not Hungary, obviously, but hey as long as it's not Costa Rica, right?

Related posts:

  1. The FIFA World Rankings: A Global Return to Reason

Cries of Agony, Convulsions of Hope

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The New York Times has a piece this morning on the phenomenon of basketball players crying out as they shoot the ball in order to convince the referee that they've been fouled. According to the author and the players interviewed in the piece, the roar of pain is so effective at drawing foul calls that [.

What the Dust Mites Would Say, If They Could Only Speak

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Ourr kinngdom is strronng. All wwe ssee...all wwe ssurvvey...is ourrs. Ourrs! Ffrom the enndless, unnddulating pplains, to the mmighty and ppitiless wwhite mmounntains, wwhich onnly ourr unrremmittinng llabbors ccould have tamedd, ourr ddominnion is perrffect. Ourr humann skkinn farrms conntinue to pproduce pplentifful quanntities of swweet, nnurturrinng ddead skkin cells.