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Morbidly Comic Soccer Nationalism at Fever Pitch

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This video was shot by an LGM field correspondent at the US-Czech Republic warm-up match in Hartford on the 25th. Unfortunately these members of the American Outlaws were too drunk to muster a sentence when the Daily Show’s John Oliver showed up to interview them, so the scene that followed did not make it into Oliver’s premiere World Cup coverage. (According to our source, another problem was that the crowd around Oliver’s film crew could not keep from laughing no matter how sternly Oliver instructed them ‘whatever you do don’t laugh or we can’t use the clip.’) Because rabid, violent, sports nationalism is just so insufferably funny.

Ilya Somin at Volokh Conspiracy has a few more points on the relationship between soccer and nationalism, and he mentions Simon Kuper’s book Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World’s Most Popular Sports Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power. However, in a humorous twist, Somin sounds surprisingly nationalistic himself in describing the jingoism associated with soccer as a foreign or international phenomena, vis a vis the more civilized American pro-sports scene.

UPDATE: As I posted this, my eight-year-old stated ponderously while watching the Argentina-Nigeria FIFA game: “You know, soccer is good for world peace. Instead of wars, just put the country’s teams against each other.” Hmm…

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