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Who cares about a bunch of misogynist jocks tossing a ball around? Football is commodified nationalism that excludes more than half the population.
Tags: World Cup 2010
Bread and circuses...
I'm just about to have some Dandelion tea (I don't do caffeine) and watch NZ versus someone else. Later I'll watch North Korea versus Brazil. I predict four- one to the Koreans because they're communists.
"If I cannot enjoy football, then I don't want to be part of your revolution"
Well said E.G. What Puritanism. Things are bad; in the meantime, lets drop anything enjoyable? If football is presently used by corporate interests, then the solution is to reclaim football for our own purposes - if the economy is run by corporate interests, we don't argue for its abolition. Perhaps the saddest fact of all is that whilst support for football seems unabated, obesity is increasingly on the rise. It's lamentable that women are not included to the same extent, but the problem is precisely one of inclusion - football is not an inherently patriachal institution, right?
As far as nationalism goes, it is true that events like this perpertuate it - not the old form of nationalism of course, but the one that's been absorbed by capitalism, is now a product into which one buys. Nationalism is a marketing technique at the World Cup, and has been thoroughly internationalized - England will be sponsored by numerous (maybe predominantly) non-English brands. Everyone knows that there is no deeper meaning behind it, but that it is still a convenient form of organization and something that one can buy into.
But I think it's international in a more benign sense too. If it was purely about England, nobody would get much excited. People do watch for a wide variety of teams and players, and of those they don't, they harbour no ill will. Ordinary people, as Orwell described, will support England and approach the World Cup like this. As I said, it's nationalism, but in a very watered down sense (in it's wider context, it's still displacement e.g. Cameron will cut services, but he'll do it with an England flag flying over No. 10!, perpetuating the idea of a "national will", "national interest" etc. but I don't think it's the main problem). It's internationalist in a weak manner, too though - a meet up every four years, a few games of football. It's just not worth worrying about that much politically.
Laurie needs to go to Hamburg and watch FC Sankt Pauli play or failing that Cadiz. It would change her opinion of football fans.
Your expression "quasi-xenophobia" is perfect.
And what of the prostitutes shipped in to service the workers who made your shiny computer and other electronic gadgets? What does that tell us about you, your prejudices and hypocrisy?
This article made me actually throw up in my mouth a little.
"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."
What an awful, awful piece of journalism.
The thrust of the article is to dislike things that aren't perfect, so lets forget about democracy, socialism, feminisms, families, communities, policing, the NHS blah blah blah.
Football is amazingly good fun, brings people together, and actually encourages a healthy sense of sportsship which can develop understanding among people as opposed to 'xenophbia' (really? REALLY?)
You've just equated World Cup with Football hooliganism, which is a fundamental category mistake on your behalf
I started playing footy when I was about two. I used to play in the street all the time when I was a kid in Liverpool. I still play now and still score and I'm 50 years old. There's nothing quite like smacking a header into the back of the net. There's nothing quite like the World Cup. Get back to yer knitting and fetch us a beer from the fridge.
I don't like football culture in many many ways. The murder of Eudy Simalane says more about why than I ever could.
But I don't taint all football players with the same 'misogynist' brush. I prefer to think there is some hope that they do not all hate women.
I am drawn to Laurie Penny's writing; I think it is excellent and incisive.
But some of the terminology is lazy and generalised and this does not help the feminist cause in my view.
Get a life, you silly girl. Or more constructively, put the kettle on for hubby so that he can watch the game in peace.
YOU ARE ALL SO UNEDUCATED AND BLISSFULLY IGNORANT.
EVERY ONE WHO'S COMMENTED SOMETHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THIS ARTICLE, OR LAURIE, IS OBVIOUSLY STUPID.
THIS ARTICLE IS GREAT; I WISH MORE PEOPLE THOUGHT LIKE THIS/HAD THE GUTS TO WRITE THIS, BECAUSE EVERYTHING THAT IS ACTUALLY RIGHT, AND HONEST, AND DECENT (i.e. gender equal, not racist, not classist, not homophobic, and understands wider political issues) ALWAYS GETS BOMBARDED WITH THESE MINDLESS, BLINDED, 'NATIONALIST', SEXIST, WOMAN-FEARING (feminist fearing) DRIVEL.
YOU'RE ALL WELCOME TO SMOTHER YOURSELVES IN THE STUPIDITY OF FOOTBALL, AND WASTE AWAY, IN YOUR WORTHLESS LIVES.
I can't wait to move country and be rid of you all.
Quiet riot girl: I think that's a very fair criticism. I've been rather more nervous than I realised about starting this column, and the last couple of posts have slipped slightly into lazy ranting, whilst making points that I believe are valid.
Being a child of my time, I always want to improve, so if you have any more specific suggestions please do email me - laurie dot penny at gmail dot com. Likewise anyone else with (constructive) criticism to offer, I'm always grateful for hints and tips.
[trolls: this is not an invitation to send me pictures of your undoubtedly lovely bottoms or detailed proposals for my future rape. Those get dull after a while].
don't just despise the World Cup:
Kick Out World Cup Poverty
"War on Want, with its South Africa partner the Anti-Eviction Campaign - is urging Britons to support its campaign for an end to evictions and the denial of public services."
Sign call to the SA High Commission:
Totally agree! Whilst the braindead, ignorant public are being distracted by a round leather ball bouncing about, the world elite are planning our demise.
Whilst I agree many footballers are over-paid, that the business of football has become beholden to commercial exploitation and over-exposure I'm not sure how something as abstract as a simple game is to blame for that. The personalities and characteristics of the players are not necessarily a concern either, for those who are after all drawn to it as an entertainment spectacle.
The rest of the article meanders into predictably depressing cliches and angry rebel-without-a-cause generalisations. Not all football fans are "boozy borderline mysoginists", nor is giving support to your home nation in any way akin to snarling flag-waving jack-booted heil-fives. Such lazy stereotyping is also offensive.
This is a poor incoherent article which struggles for anything more meaningful than expressions of disgust at football and all it, in Laurie Penny's assumptions, stands for. Sprinkle on top some general abhorrence at anybody aligning themselves with any kind of patriotism (I'm not particularly patriotic btw) and men in general, and you've a good summary.
The 'humour' on twitter has made a turn for the racist and sexist since the competition started. It's shit what a few men running round after a ball will bring out in people.
"Laurie Penny's article is so vitriolic, so full of negativity and anger, so devoid of optimism..."
Crush, kill, destroy!
Laurie has a miserablist style that I find entertaining, and she makes good points. It would be nice if people who commented here engaged with her arguments instead of coming out with humourless personal attacks.
I'm living in the Third World and most locals I talk to here are so keen on the World Cup even if they have no team competing. It's a great chance for them to challenge the West.Good on them.
This Penny is obviously an American wannabe with her talk of "jocks" and
tossing the ball.
Despise? You need to get a more relaxed life. Enjoy a friendly gathering with the rest of the world.
Madam Miaow wrote: It would be nice if people who commented here engaged with her arguments instead of coming out with humourless personal attacks.
Why shouldn't people be humourless in their personal attacks on someone who has violently insulted the beautiful world game. If people feel so slighted by Penny's article then why shouldn't they criticize her in an non-humourous manner.
Let's face it you have critised other people in non-humourous way.
Laurie - here's my tip. Preaching to the converted changes nothing. Offering sound arguments which don't rely on overt misandry and shock-jock tactics might. Know your audience.
Madam Miaow is absolutely correct in her assertion that people should display humour when they are insulting the writer of the article. Mr. Divine you are absolutely wrong when you say that Madam Miaow should display humour when she she addressing people who have insulted laurie. What Madam Miaow has to say is serious and MUST BE accepted.
Laurie correctly asserts that football produces 'boozy, borderline misogynist pseudo-nationalism' (and this) 'is the last thing Britain needs to help foster a badly-needed sense of community.' it is quite obvious that if football didn't exist people would not drink to excess.
To Vajj, uneducated and ignorant are words you use but sadly represent,she basically give feminist a bad name and you give the first two content!
Like i said before plz evolve!
totally. There are nationalistic idiots up here, who I'm sure would be doing the same if Scotland got into the cup. But it is nowhere on the scale of the mass nationalistic hysteria I witnessed down south.
I was getting told to f*ck off back to Scotland, wear a dress and eat haggis in a ludicrous "och aye the noo" voice if I didn't support England. I hate the fact that so many people can't see the football as a game, to many people it seems the English football team IS England.
I have Honduras in my work sweep. Lets all vote for Honduras! Jokes aside, I also find that people who are insulting Laurie are not displaying enough humour in their personal attacks. I think you should, as Madam Miaow argues, be more humus in your insults.
And I agree with A Sane Person and Laurie that soccer association football leads to booze which in turn leads to borderline misogynist pseudo(not real) nationalism. And of course provides a community with a bad sense of itself.
>And what of the prostitutes shipped in to service the fans?
>What does that tell us about football?
Nothing. It tells more about some journalists who deceive and part of a public who is willing to be deceived.
You see, there was much fury about these prostitutes in the previous Cup in Germany, four years ago. When it was actually investigated, the discovery was that the whole thing was completely made up. There was no army of prostitutes shipped to serve the spectators.
This strikes me as a rant from a posh liberal who does not understand and in facts hates the pastimes of the working class.
Oh come on, some of the comments have been pretty funny.
This article reads like Sixth Form politics at it's worst.
Some people must live pretty joyless existences reading these comments.
Jod, you have a bad case of feminist fear. Do you even know what feminism is? Do you even know WHY we still exist today? 100 women a week JUST in this country get raped by a male, 10 are murdered in JUST this country from a male partner or ex parter. Women still get paid less on average FACT. Women do not make up much of the government FACT. 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse FACT. The rape conviction rate is UNDER 6% FACT, and women in THIS country are being genitally mutilated FACT.
You silly little girl, go and read and start aspiring to bigger things than Glamour magazine. I feel so sorry for you. :)
Oh Jod, forgot to mention; failing you can't read, you could just try to OPEN YOUR EYES to these true brutalities Laurie's trying to highlight in her article.
Also, the feminism movement isn't just about women, it's about the struggle for gender equality; that is, the genders 'masculine' and 'feminine'...you know the latter that isn't allowed in football culture because you'll be called a PUSSY or FAG or something. Yes, it's about trying to abolish homophobia too (you know, that thing that football embodies, and often promotes)
You give women a bad name, and I am not coming back on here, because you and most of the other 'people' on here make me morbidly depressed.
"I can't wait to move country and be rid of you all."
Please don't make it Spain. Alot of people like football here and won't take kindly to being told they're stupid. You list some good reasons why feminism exists but the above simplistic attack on sportsmen is probably not very useful.
Sexist, racist, classist, nationalist, capitalist, elitist, homophobic AND counter-revolutionary?
Lazy, lazy, lazy. Grow up, Laurie.
If you want to be a proper journalist, rather than a play-journalist, quit the petulant knee-jerking. Drop the show-off sixth formers' long words (Orwell had no time for the wooden jargon you revel in.) Stop trying to cram everything you see into the lazy pigeon-holes of undergraduate sociology 101.
Some football fans murdered a lesbian, and some are EDL, so ALL football fans are racist murderers? That sort of bent logic would get a real reporter a libel writ - or fired.
Fall out of love with the sound of your own boring voice.
Start scrutinising the detail of the world. Speak to real people. Aim for a little more nuance. Be a little less angry, a little more inquisitive and a little more curious about Other Human Beings and the shades of grey...
Va j j: Don't despair! The sisterhood (Madam Miaow, HarpyMarx, A Sane Person and probably Laurie Penny) are with you 110%.
Don't forget that it's a game of two halves. What you have to say is 110% correct for the first half but what you have to remember is that football is a funny game and not the best team necessarily win especially if the opposing team comes on strong in the wet and slippery second half.
Yes don't go to Spain .. it's football mad. If you want to get completely away from football try St Helena or Alcatraz.
''I am not coming back on here, because you and most of the other 'people' on here make me morbidly depressed.''
I have a feeling you already were.
"raped... murdered ... paid less ... do not make up much of the government ... domestic abuse ... rape conviction rate ... genitally mutilated... you could just try to OPEN YOUR EYES to these true brutalities Laurie's trying to highlight in her article."
Which article? This one's about football.
Squatters in South Africa were all being cleared out of there homes in time for the World Cup. The games are having a really detrimental effect on the very poor. I've posted the story with pictures on The Sauce: http://atthesauce.blogspot.com/2010/06/world-cup-cheer-on-south-african-...
"Not only people who are geographically remote and isolated are excluded from team sports. The socially isolated as well. As Penny Red points out, the argument that sport is a form of social integration only works for those who are in some way already integrated."
Yes, I was inaccurate. There are also other groups who are categorically excluded from participation and enjoyment of football. Like the brain-dead, for instance.
Not that you are brain-dead if you don't like football. I don't think anyone *has to* like football. But I don't see why, if you don't like football, it is worth it to go to such rants of humourless negativity as Penny did.
I have the experience that as a factor helping integration to society, football starts to work on a very, very basic level, much earlier than many other activities.
For instance, when talking about integration of immigrants, a popular thing is to organize situations where people make (suitably vegetarian, halal, organic, non-GMO and otherwise universally acceptable) food together and eat it. But I claim that these activities are mostly preaching to the converted. They are attended by multiculturalism cult members, not the people who'd really need to learn something about their neighbours.
Football is not like that. It's the same game for everyone.
I noticed this some years ago when the neighbourhood's little Somalian girl, who her parents made to wear a black robe covering everything from head to toes, and who I never saw talking to or playing with anyone else, suddenly turned out to be kicking the ball with the other kids on the lawn. I admit, doing a good kick was hard with the niqab, but at least she could be one of the group here, although in other things she could not. And niqab gives a whole new dimension to body feints.
If this was you having fun just to wind us guys up then mission accomplished! But if not it is horribly, horribly sad & you have my deepest sympathies.
WHOOOO! YEAH! Let's celebrate our own ignorance and sneer at those who don't share our views!
I'm sure you spent many hours researching this article by spending time and getting to know football fans rather than relying on your own ingrained prejudice.
For any lads on here, its blatantly obvious this Laurie person has absolutely no banter whatsoever. She may even be the Bantichrist herself. God help us lads.
Prove me wrong Laurie. Go and watch the match with a pint (instead of a fag and presumably, gin.), and then tell me it isnt a magnificent sport.
May the Banter be with you.
"Then there's the uncomfortable fact that the World Cup is only and always about men"
You ought to do some research before opening your mouth dear!
some of this reminds me of the early days of Penny Red . oh those were the days. It kind of puts things into perspective a good dose of free for all blogism at an early age. 72 goals for you is great. Did you see the South African goal .. wasn't it something else?
One reason I enjoy the New Statesman is that it publishes articles like this and, by and large, the readers' comments are amusing, well written and literate. Who cares about football when so many people express interesting opinions so well?
South Africa should never gotten the World Cup.
They couldnt organize a piss up in a brewery, FACT.
Very late on this one but I feel I have to comment.
So the behaviour by a few footballers who have mistreated women makes them all "misogynist jocks" does it? Oh that's fair.
That's a bit like saying that because a handful of Muslims dream of jihad all Muslims are swivel eyed terrorists!
This is preety much a liberal leftist demonstrating snobbish distain for the tastes of the working class masses.
Football, booze and England fans, it's all misogynist, racist, nationalist etc etc.
The liberal left despises the working classes as much as the right-wing do, but for different reasons.
And footballers are loathed as much by the Left as much as the Right. The Right hate footballers because they see them as undeserving "oiks" earning six figure salaries. The Left loath footballers for being working class and wealthy and thus guilty of "abandoning" their "values" and being rich whilst other working class people are struggling to make ends meet.
Why is the media having a gushing looove in over South Africa for Gawds sake ? they are going into overdrive, warp factor 9, it must be whitle liberal guilt.
If say the World Cup was set in Israel, would it be a such a gush fest by the press and media ? somehow I doubt it, it would be an anti semitic rant.
A feminist woman is not gonna care about a sport?.
Also i love how you mention that "there are most important things to worry about"...Like distracting yourself is not possible under feminist ideals.
Please white feminist enlighten us in what do you do for fun?
Reading some Andrea Dworkin?. That sounds like a real blast, that surely cant compare to the low basic entertaintment of the poor plebe.
Watched the opening ceremony of the World Cup .
It was like the movie Zulu.
All that was missing was Michael Caine and Stanley Baker.
Abdul: Yeah, why did they get it, when all they did was build all the stadiums and go ahead and successfully (thus far) host it?
They couldn't organize their stamp collection let alone a World Cup...er...hmm.
Laurie Penny is a contributing editor to the New Statesman.