An acquaintance of mine, whose opinions I generally respect, once said that snobbery is a vice, but a very minor one. I am not so sure.
Like many phenomena, snobbery is easier to recognise than to define. The definition of a snob in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is inadequate. The Penguin English Dictionary does much better. It defines a snob as ‘Someone who tends to patronize or avoid those regarded as social inferiors; someone who blatantly attempts to cultivate or imitate those admired as social superiors; someone who has an air of smug superiority in matters of knowledge or taste.’ The same dictionary defines ‘inverted snob’ as one ‘who sneers indiscriminately at people and things associated with wealth and high society.’ One possible derivation of the word snob is from the Latin sine nobilitate, without nobility. more>>>
The obsession stems from Sport being sublimated War. The ancient Greeks created the Olympics with all the skills related to war such as Javelins or wrestling.
While people now have a strong aversion to war and killing, they still feel all the obsession with it and treat it similar to military victory or defeat. Social values such as politeness or terseness are relevant to military success (see how much trouble the Soviets got into in Afghanistan when they didn't control the behavior of their soldiers). War remains a rough test of a society. If it cannot survive wars, is it a society worth sacrificing for? Most people would answer no and hope to pour their effort into something more permanent and preserving of their self-esteem.
Sports are temporary and pale reflections of those same struggles but far less bloody. France has suffered so badly from the lass few centuries of wars that they devote their energies away from war to other endeavors but never disconnected that from the basic test of a society. For all of French pacifism, much of French society seems incongruously militarized. French cooks are trained in Brigades, schools have all the bureaucracy of a regiment (with people standing at the position of attention), and expectations of solidarity. It is a society in need of a non-economic test. Sport is close enough to war to do but bloodless enough to be acceptable.
Mr Dalrymple needs a good editor to cut out the tedium, the tiredness, the hohum of his articles. How old is he? Ninety-five?
1 Jul 2010 Lobban
Well, yes, it's true that the players are grossly overpaid and often tediously stupid (with the worst abetted in their stupidity by the equally cretinous tabloid press who publicise their awesomely terrible private lives) and the leagues are ludicrously wealthy and the world cup is a monument to corruption, myopia and a particularly vulgar kind of egotism. I concede all that. I confess it, even. But yet the beauty of football when played well is a thing of hypnotic, exultant, pure joy. But still I think I can recognise an ugly building, or a good one, and a good book, or a decent painting: the triviality of football is evident, but on the field (and apart from its grotesque adornments) it can be glorious. Football and civilisation aren't mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, thank you at least for keeping it to yourself. Oh, wait...
1 Jul 2010 Louis
1 Jul 2010 John Borstlap
Contempt for football is not snobbery at all. This sports hysteria is all about projection of identity, dissolving in the mob, sharing emotions bigger than one can experience oneself, etc. etc. It is primitive through and through, so contempt is the only sensible reaction to it. But as one of the comments rightfully states, it is also sublimation of war... so maybe it is OK to let the masses have their occasional emotional outlet. Mr Dalrymple takes it much too seriously, and should not feel 'guilty' about his 'snobbery'.
I've never played "football' (which is actually soccer) and I've never watched a complete game, but only because I don't watch much telly and we don't have good teams in New Zealand. But it's a wonderful sport, and a thrilling specatacle. I envy those who really understand and appreciate it. Sneering at football really is snobbery, not because football is important (whatever that means) but because it separates the snob from the most complete display of skill, aggression, and artistry followed, or accompanied by exhiliration and despair. The snob prefers his own pallid world to all the colour and vibrancy of football. Nurse! Please take Mr Dalrymple's pulse!
1 Jul 2010 Naomi Beth Wakan
Mr. Dalrymple scores again. That man is rare in that he cuts through prejudices to see things clearly. For myself, I can't see why one shouldn't support and praise the best team. Support it because it is a union of well-trained players who work together to produce what could be considered a work of art, and not just because it belongs to the country where you were born. Football, like any other activity, can display the intensity of concentration plus skill that together can personify a form of beauty. Why can't it be admired as such,irrespective of what flag may be waving for it. May the best team (in the sense of the most talented) win.
There is actually an excellent case to be made for banning football outright as an enemy of civilization. One does not see this kind of proletarian uncouthness at chess and many other games, so it cannot be inevitable.
1 Jul 2010 Danai
I saw an interview with Jeaneane Garafalo (spelling?) and she showed so much contempt for others who are not liberal. I thought someone should tell her, You look down on people too much. You should not despise people.
Some people like western liberals don't recognize contempt from non westerners. They don't want to believe it exists. But it does. When they do acknowledge it, they pretend it does not matter. But it does. The French soccer team despises France and the French.
1 Jul 2010 aron
"It is also true that if you compare the faces of the English football team of, say, the 1950s with those of the team today, you will see the decline in civility of English society as a whole."
A magnificent article with more truth about society and sport today than can be found in the tens of thousands of horus wasted on both subjects in the media! The truth is that even before our modern real time television transmission of all kinds of events and the World Cup no matter where they take place, the infantile snobbery and exaggerated patriotism of the fans trumped any human considerations.
In the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, two Danish teenage girls won a bronze and a silver medal. All of Denmark hailed them as heroines and great patriots. Hitler sent them a congratulatory telegram which so flattered them that both of them became eager exponents of friendly relations with the New Germany and during the war, fraternized openly with German occupation troops.
In the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, Denmark's Greco-Roman wrestling champion Abraham Kurland, a member of the HaKoah Jewish Sports fraternity won a silver medal that won scant attention but all those professionals in tis sport predicted that he would easily win GOLD in the 1936 Olympics. Kurland did not participate - as a Jewish athlete he knew that the 1936 games violated every ethical precept that the initiators of the Olympic Games had established and hoped for in the first games in1896.
His decision relieved the Danish Olympic Committee who were fearful that Kurland might win the Gold Medal and "embarrass Denmark " Of course,this is what Jesse Owens did. Kurland and his brother fled Denmark in 1943 to Sweden along with almost the entire Jewish community. They returned at the end of the war and continued their sports activities in many matches which they won but by the 1948 games they were both "too old" to have a chance.
I plan to write a longer account of this incident in a future issue of NER.
I'd like to set the record straight. I think there is some blatant racism and sheer lazy thinking in this article that smacks of a very European mindset.
Why does Mr. Dalrymple assume that the players are temperamental youths? Perhaps the issue is, as unbelievable as this must sound considering that the coach is an elderly white male, with management. Various accusations have been levelled against the coach that beg explanation. He has allowed perceived personal insults to limit his squad, allegedly used astrological signs to exclude members and, famously, proposed to his girlfriend shortly after failing at his job at the last major tournament(Euro 2008). The manager of the French team is incompetent. The players are professionals who, by and large, seem to treat their livelihoods with the respect that it deserves. Playing in a tournament after a tiring season cannot necessarily be fun, no matter what school children think.
There seems to be a lot of stereotyping and lazy thinking going on in this article and in France.
Just think, without the hundreds of millions of sports fans in this world, i.e., lesser-people, it makes it much easier for Dalrymple to feel more superior. After all, the job of writing, blathering non-stop as one's living, requires a certain sense of self-importance, since their are few other talents these people possess. Erps, now I'm being a snob. Dalrymple's "dash" ( - ) on his tombstone will be defined by his snobbish superiority: 1949 - 2049. Dash = "I was superior than all sports fans, just ask me." And then the viewer of his tombstone will walk by going. "Oh." An entire life devoted to writing and uttering "wind."
1 Jul 2010 Henry Engler
Only the French could turn a World Cup defeat into a national identity crisis.
Better that they watch football, than they engage in acts of violence and terror.
Perhaps there should be an ongoing, never- ending World Cup which serves in William James formulation as a 'moral alternative to war'.
1 Jul 2010 Leopold Bloom
Full of wind and piss, says one of James Joyce's characters.
A good example of Sir Theodore's (for surely he is a knight of the realm?) snobbery is this sentence:
This is particularly pertinent at the moment, because the greatest sporting event in the world by far, the football (soccer) World Cup, is taking place in South Africa as I write this.
Presumably he is addressing, like a schoolmaster, a predominantly American audience, who have to be "told" from on high that the World Cup is more important than (by implication) something called, moronically, the "World Series." The fact that the WC is indeed the world's most important sporting event does not mitigate the boundless pomposity of this post-prandial expulsion of air. (If I may be permitted to parody for a moment the pompous crap on display in this article.)
But the snobbery is at its most insidious in these two phrases: "a player called Anelka" and "a player called Thierry Henry".
Ah, what contempt can be packed into so simple a word as "called". The Americans have a president called Obama? The French have a president called Sarkozy?
How to reduce a human being to a thing.
And as someone else has commented: what on earth can a face from the fifties tell us about the moral character (or lack of it) beneath the mask presented to the camera. Does Eisenhower look more noble than Obama? Or Nixon more noble than Biden?
The French National Team was lacking one of the most impotant things in sports: leadership. If there is a comparisson to be made between the French National Team and France as a country that is leadership.
I don't think national teams at the world cup reflect what's going on at their own countrys.
1 Jul 2010 Brian
The snob wrote:
"One prominent white in the team, a spectacularly ugly and thuggish-looking man..."
I suppose that suffering disfigurement in a car accident at the age of two will do that to you, but does that make it fair game as both a target and defense of snobbery?
1 Jul 2010 blindboy
Let us wallow in shallow self serving analysis! The usual Dalrympian ploy! The admission of snobbery, after all, is thoroughly justified when such a comprehensive case for the inferiority of others can be assembled from factoids, prejudice and personal opinion.
But I don't suppose I should be too outraged since, as far as I can judge, there is no identifiable group in modern society, nor even a social trend, of which Dalrymple actually approves. Aaaah the wondrous view from the intellectual and moral heights!
1 Jul 2010 kishke
I think it's a great article. What could be dumber than identifying with sports teams, nearly all of which are composed of highly-paid mercenaries.
1 Jul 2010 Daz
The author confuses snobbery with bigotry and pomposity, both of which he displays in generous measure.
Excellent article - what I have come to expect - although I must note that the particularly ugly French footballer was at least partially disfigured in a childhood auto accident, the thought of which ruins some of the fun...
2 Jul 2010 Naved
Ridiculous is how i would define some of the parts of the article. i get your psychological insights into the elements of snobbery, but comeon speak and quote instances which you are entirely in the now of.
Anelka's response to the coach didn't stem out from some innate snobbery of the self where the player is bigger than the nation.
any body who has layed football and can imagine and empathise with the players know that it is the coach which plays the fundamental role in getting the team ready. The French coach is a foolish snob, and ask anyone in the football fraternity and by that i mean people genuinelyinterested inthe game, unlike people looking out for a piece on football and rant out their self concocted philosophies to a like minded audience.
If you are looking for snobbery, leave the players alone, look at the coach, the nations process of selecting a coach, etc etc................
and please get on a field where football is played, try to understand that there is more to the game than meets the eye of the wanna be spectator or fan................................
Even though I assume that the last sentence of the article is intended as humorous, it does seem a little silly to suggest that a person who is passionate about football is therefore a thug. Dr. Daniels is sensitive to the use of such suggesto falsi (or so his writing would suggest).
Bil Gilbert wrote a wonderful article in Sports Illustrated in, I think, 1972, titled "Notes From a Troubled Time." Gilbert drew a distinction between High Sport (exploding scoreboards, $$$$, World Cup fandom, etc.), True Sport (sport at a high but not essentially commercial level - great athletes demonstrating Sport as Art on the field, at any level), and sport-as-participation, which offers everyone the opportunity to explore his/her "edges" and experience the joy of expanding awareness. While I love Mr. Dalrymple's articles, I think he might find new philosophical insights into the nature of sport if he were to watch the wonderful DVD set, History of Soccer. Much depends on the attitude with which the game is played - Brasil dominated until many of its players left for Europe in pursuit of better contracts. Brasil then abandoned the Game of Art for a kind of Game of Results, using brutal tactics to win by any means. The results weren't pretty - fans were disgusted, and Brasil sank from the top tier. Same thing happened to Argentina. The lesson? Wherever we see contractive values in sports (greed, ego, emotional self-indulgence), we find a loss of joy. And, whenever we find expansion (fair play, the Game of Art, selflessness), we find inspiration - and results. Sports is life on the practice field; its values reflect those taught by the spiritual teachings of the ages. Like life, it has the potential to serve as a channel for great joy - or disappointment and sorrow, depending on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
2 Jul 2010 Jack Moskowitz
It's about time someone used the word "stupid" for those morons ("fans"). I cringe whenever I see someone wearing a replica of an athlete's unform, complete with the athlete's name and number on the back, as if the wearer is the athlete himself, a pardonable fantasy, perhaps, for a dim 11-year-old, but not for a grown man.
You left out the apostrophe in "two days hard trek"; it is a possessive construction.
2 Jul 2010 lals87
Zidane is of Algerian descent, not Maghrebian.
2 Jul 2010 Mayo Adams
Thank you, Mr. Dalrymple.
3 Jul 2010 LitProf
Well, I'm a snob about writing, and any essay that starts off by quoting the dictionary on the meaning of its key word is immediately suspect to me. That's Freshman English stuff, not worthy of professional writing. Here's an idea, Mr. Dalrymple--get better at what you do.
To the last commenter: yes, Zidane is of Algerian descent, and Algeria is in the Maghreb (the three western-most countries of north Africa, which share an Arab-Berber mix of population), hence Zidane is of Maghrebian descent. Bete.
3 Jul 2010 Gilbert
This article is so imbued with toxic snobbery that I feel like taking it outside on the end of a stick. But worse, it is arrogantly ignorant snobbery .. ignorant of the nature of sport and its role as a social activity involving tradition, aesthetics, aspiration, achievement, the development of talent, skill and cooperation and a form of drama, different from but as powerful as any in the "finer arts". It embodies both the best and worst of society because it is a deeply human activity and reflects all that humans are. It can be crass, overly violent, self important and indulgent to stupidity because humans can be all those things. But it can also be beautiful, subtle, thrilling and so many other things, as millions of people today and down through history will attest. You say that "when bread is assured, circuses fill the mind", when so many of the most fervent lovers of a sport like football do not necessarily have their "bread" assured. But that is not enough for you, you wish to also rob their lives of a source of engagement, colour and drama because you can tell from their faces (and presumably the bumps on their heads) that they are too crude to deserve such pleasures. You are truly a snob of the worst kind.
3 Jul 2010 Ed
Usual tendentious droning from Dalrymple. Using lots of semi-colons where full-stops will do doesn't mean you're a great stylist.
As for the substance of the article, what have we got exactly? A nice anecdote about Tibetan monks. The insinuation that the reason that Gourcuff (not blond) was ostracised was because he was white and nice, unsupported by facts. The observation that Franck Ribery is very ugly, conveniently mirroring his evident moral baseness (he's a Muslim convert). The idea that Zidane is smart just because he looks smart, when in fact, despite his good bone structure, the French see him as closer to Beckham than Cantona in the eloquent footballer stakes.
And of course the revelation that TD dislikes football.
3 Jul 2010 Ed
Also, I think it's not Maghrebian but Maghrebi. Saying Maghrebian is like saying Englishian.
This is for sure the worst part about the world cup: all these "great minds" coming out of the woodworks and thinking they're so interesting for not enjoying a sport. Football, like pretty much anything in life, has many beautiful and ugly aspects and, as anything that is loved by many people, counts a lot of morons and a lot of decent, intelligent people amongst its fans.
In my opinion, the true mark of a lack of insight is not one's enthousiasm for a particular recreational activy but one's belief in such enthousiasm as a measurement of the (intellectual) worth of a person.
Snobbishness arise from fear of death.You can find out sobbishness all over the world in some countries where caste system is predominated just like India their snobbishness you can see very clearly.White people are very proud of their intelligent,,eugenics movement is the roots of western culture has long and unsavory history with deep roots in their psyche.Till I think this tendency arise from fear of death.It will remain in mankind forever.no one can erase it from psyche of mankind.
4 Jul 2010 Hugh
I'm in accord with the main thrust of this article.
I was very active in sports at one time, and had a great admiration for the professional athletes of bygone days (The days before really big money ruled the games).
Today, I'm reminded of the Roman Circuses. "Let's stimulate the masses with some blood to keep their minds off the real problems."
Still, sports are huge, the fans are numerous, and nothing will change until the circus is exposed for the capitalist venture it really is. A group of people playing a pickup game is far more real and interesting than any professional sports spectacular.
4 Jul 2010 Graphite
The World Series being named after sponsoring newspaper The World is an urban myth.
The World was around at the time of the first championship but was involved to no greater an extent than reporting the scores, to no greater or lesser extent than other papers.
Major League Baseball designates its winners as "World Champions" – as opposed to "World Series winners". Banners proclaiming the years of past winners are prominently displayed at the grounds. Incidentally, the Lakers basketball team of Los Angeles recently won the NBA competition and were instantly declared "World Champions". Strange that in a sport which actually has an official World Championship.
This is born of the same arrogance that sees the United States Olympic team refuse to dip its flag as it passes the official podium during the opening ceremony.
My thoughts exactly. The TV channel in Australia showing the World Cup usually has a range of quality films, but they have been dumped for hour upon hour of soccer waffle. The mindless repetition of promotions for the station's coverage is like torture by heavy metal rock, as used by the American military in the Middle East.
4 Jul 2010 df atkinson
the comment about the non-white make up of the french soccer team coming from someone in the states where the nba teams are moslty afro-american is a little out of place
4 Jul 2010 j. p. ward
In a humorous BBC program, "2.6 Children" some years ago the husbund Ben (I think he was called) made an ironical remark about some hobby or interest or other of his wife. "Oh, yes", she said "it's not like football of course. Twentytwo grown men kicking a leather bag around which is filled with air." I detested, and avoided by subterfuge, sport at school (70 years ago) and I often asked myself why I so detested it. After a lifetime of thought, on and off, I had a flashback one winter's day while walking home in the rain. It was of a small boy, in knee length trousers, coated but hatless and gloveless standing with his father on a windy rainy sleety day in November 1937 watching a local football match in a small Scottish town. "Ah, that's why", I thought.
4 Jul 2010 Shotdsherrif
Your forthrightness about your snobbery is admirable. But when combined with the utter ignorance of the subject you are writing about, it comes off as a ham-fisted device.
You really have no idea, apparently not taking the time to adequately research, the reasons for the French teams failure and the roots of the domestic crisis it caused in France.
Let me give you one fact. Almost every single player in that squad - and yes, including all the dark ones who seemed to so irritate your imagination - is a consummate professional playing at the very top of his chosen field and thoroughly respected by the European league team owners, trainers and fanbases they play for. This pseudo-anti-colonial resentment you suggest is a figment of your ignorance.
The reason this team imploded on the field and created such a stir off of it has more to do with the laughably preposterous machinations that took place within the French Football Federation in the last few years and which led to one Raymond Domenech being allowed to keep his job as French Team Manager years after French Team Players had lost all respect for him. And yes, that INCLUDES many white players as well. (Educate yourself; Google Bixente Lizarau)
I respect your writing Dalrymple. But you're lunging at shadows inside your oqn head with this piece.
4 Jul 2010 Roger Strong
Quite agree-here in New Zealand we seem to be sliding down the same slope. Here it's all about rugby which many people think is the most popular sport (and subject) in the whole world! A recent poll also shows that a particlularly tedious sopa opera has been voted as voted as being the most important thing ever done on local TV.
I think some of this comes from the current attitude that everything is as valid and imprtant as anything else-depite it being so obviously untrue.
I also live in New Zealand, born here in 1945. I'd dispute your assertion about rugby. As someone who vividly remembers the 1956 series v South Africa and attended the fourth test at Eden Park, I can assure you that rugby holds nowhere near the place in New Zealand society that it once did. Because of television, it may be in our faces to a greater extent but it's been losing ground for years and next year's World Cup could be its last hurrah.
In Billy Crystal's movie City Slickers, one of the characters, when chipped by a woman about his devotion to baseball, replies that when things between himself and his father became strained in his teenage years, baseball was one line of communication that remained open and was something that held them together. I'm sure that situation has been repeated many millions of times in all corners of the world. It happened in my teenage years when it became obvious that I couldn't be bothered applying myself enough to get to university and it continued into my father's later years when he got a great kick out of being introduced to personalties from the world of horse racing.
There's plenty wrong with sport, especially soccer, and the higher you go the 'wronger' it becomes. But its wrongs are substantially outweighed by its good points and getting all worked up about your national team every four years strikes me as fairly harmless.
4 Jul 2010 roddy6667
Spectator sports are no better than porn. You are not doing anything. You are just watching somebody else have a good time.
5 Jul 2010 Drain 52
Looking down on others or their actions isn't necessarily snobbery. The snob may actually be correct in his assessment that his manners are smoother, his language more refined, etc. than someone else's. The snobbery part enters when he thinks he's intrinsically a superior human being or has accomplished something worthwhile the cruder person wouldn't have given the same opportunities.
So Dalrymple's conclusion that people who make (in this case) sports the mainspring of their existence are stupid could be just plain good sense. Certainly of the hundreds of millions of soccer fans some are smarter than Dalrymple; there might even be a few geniuses. But when it comes to intelligence and living for soccer, Dalrymple could scorn them without being a snob.
5 Jul 2010 Damon
roddy says: "Spectator sports are no better than porn. You are not doing anything. You are just watching somebody else have a good time."
What a spectacularly idiotic thing to say. By this definition watching an orchestra or band playing, sitting on the coast to watch the sea, watching people dance beautifully .. etc etc are no better than porn. What a sad, joyless existence you must have.
5 Jul 2010 A Banerjie
"Colonialism was experienced as snobbery incarnate, institutionalised disdain, and therefore disliked intensely by those who experienced it." Really Mr. Dalrymple! Nations have been colonized and they have fought to gain their freedom from imperialists only because they "intensely disliked" their snobbish masters. Wow, that is the most creative justification of colonialism if I have ever come across one. Well done Mr. Dalrymple! (BTW, I was so "impressed" with your definition that I didn't bother to read the rest of your article which was supposedly about soccer!)
5 Jul 2010 George
France football and the world cup.
First comment is regarding colonialism. Western invadors went into less civilized nations and introduced law and order to them. Most of these nations' quality of life declined after independence from the colonial occupations. These kinds of THINKING will never be common in any publications as the routine hostility to "bad" western colonialists.
Second comment is the obsession of the world with sport. It is so common to tell people not discuss politics or religion. Therefore, People wave very few option to talk about, thus sport becomes their obsession.
Third comment, France and its success in 1998 world cup, and failure in 2910? For a small country as France, it is a major evidence of their ability and high expectation that they were succsessful in 1998, and their disappointment for their failure in 2010. The world cup is amajor event in the world that Americans can even understand.
Again it is so great for Lew Rockwell, one of our best American citizen that this country produced to have allowed such an article to appear on his site as most of his readers will simply by pass it?
France is in a transition at this period of time. Colonialism does have a damage on the psychy for generations . This is their first demonstration of open hostility towards each other, in front of the world.. Eight years is not that long a time to revert things. Its good that this has come to the surface and let them sift their way out of the mess by themselves. Give them another 5/6 yrs and the world will see a definite change for the better not just in football but also in society and politics......because resentments are also a result of hostility towards current legal statutes and political process.
5 Jul 2010 Alvaro
@Leopoldo the president of the United States is not American, and his name is Barry. He is, indeed, "called Obama".
5 Jul 2010 john
Darymple is a philosophical genius, pure and simple. As an American, I wish I could claim him as one of ours.
6 Jul 2010 David W.
john said: "Dalrymple is a philosophical genius, pure and simple. As an American, I wish I could claim him as one of ours".
When I stopped laughing I realised that maybe you were serious. As an admirer of many things American, please tell me your country is not in such a feeble intellectual condition that it requires lightweights like Dalrymple to bolster it. But .. you were joking weren't you?
6 Jul 2010 Brian D
A Banerjiewrote '..... your article which was supposedly about soccer!
This article, like all Mr Dalrymple's writings, was about Mr Dalrymple.
6 Jul 2010 Dan
I lived for a while near a major Australian football stadium and had to endure weekend throngs in full regalia parading past my house yelling idiocies at top volume. Once, watering my garden after a match, I gave into my urge and, in response to the chant of 'We won! We won!', shouted 'Who cares?!' The way the gang of 30 or so assorted kids, dads and grannies in striped scarves stopped and looked at me in malevolent confusion made me scurry indoors. Mr Dalrymple should have no compunction at all about suspecting the presence of stupidity here; as if the vuvuzela wasn't sufficient proof.
6 Jul 2010 David W.
@Dan .. how terrible it is that some "kids, dads and grannies" should get the same enjoyment from football that millions of others around the world have done for generations. How amusing that they can send you scurrying indoors with a look. How ignorant that you should assume you are more intelligent than all sports lovers, many of whom, on the evidence of your comments, would make a complete fool of you in any discussion on pretty much anything.
7 Jul 2010 John W
"feeble intellectual condition" Response: Gordon Brown. But, really David W, your comments must actually be a form of dry British humor. After all you couldn't possibly actually write those comments, which are simply dripping with snobbish disdain for the little people, after just reading an article about snobbery. Ya gotta be kiddin'. Even a prissy Brit isn't that stupid.
But I can't resist a final parting shot at "football," or soccer if you will. Sports are a form of non-lethal mental and physical competition. It's a test of strategy, reaction, patience, endurance and lot of other good and worthy qualities. Can it thus be a "beautiful game?" Bwahaha. The "rest of the world" should go to the Royal Ballet for art and beauty, not to a sport stadium.
And how can anyone enjoy a "game" that ends in a 0-0 tie, no matter how "beautiful" it is? We Yanks just chuckle at the very concept, Kissing your sister isn't an adequate analogy for the sheer waste and futility of such a result. Oh, and how many times are games, small ones and big ones, decided by a clear and obvious error on the part of the referee, e.g. Slovenia-USA, England-Germany, Argentina-Mexico, Uruguay-Ghana, etc. And one referee is expected to manage a field larger than a U.S. football field? What's with that!?! And the never-flagged holding around the penalty box? Imagine if the journeyman center guarding Shaquille O'Neill was able apply a bearhug under the basket!?!
One could go on, but the distortions and inequities embedded in the came are legion. And all that is magnified by the FIFA culture that resists any changes. Just imagine, if you will, that obstruction in the box was henceforth enforced. The outcome would likely be higher scores and more exciting demonstrations of actual skill. Maybe even the Yanks might give the game a second thought. Oh, wait, that would bring forth the scorn of the self-important snobs like David W. Can't have that!
Or am I being a snob in my attitude towards the world's favorite sport? Well then, nevermind...
7 Jul 2010 David W
@John W .. wrong in so many ways. My point was that I admire the US's own abilities too much to think that it is in need of somebody like Dalrymple. I think that's very plain if you read my comment again. So you have taken the exact opposite meaning to what I wrote. In your initial comment it is you who is implying that the US is deficient, not me.
I am not British, so that's just an assumption based on your complete misreading of my earlier post.. I won't take offense. Your accusation of snobbery is also based on that misreading so I'll let it pass too.
Your attack on soccer is spirited, if unoriginal, but I prefer Rugby Union myself. I'll leave it to any soccer fans hanging around here to reply if they wish, and I have no doubt that every point you make has an adequate counter argument.
As to your final question.. no I don't think you're being a snob, just overly defensive about an attack that never existed. Relax.
8 Jul 2010 David W.
@John W. PS: as you'll note from my comment immediately above yours on the 6th, I am on the side of the sports fan. I've been a lover of sport all my life, especially team sports of all kinds, and I abhor the snobbery of those who disdain it in ignorance. So I think we're largely on the same side here.
9 Jul 2010 Joseph B. Stahl
Utterly marvelous. Thank you, Mr. Dalrymple.
12 Jul 2010 Connie Stanson
Hello Kindra, it is so nice to hear from you. Yes we are snobs to a point. We I become aware of my snobbery I pray to Father God to help me to understand why I feel that way and ask him to help me with the issue. It works! I have always felt you were a sweet person with allot of brains. you are a thinker and that is great. Always stay that way my friend. God Bless You and Yours.
12 Jul 2010 Michel Meyer
Soccer: to atone for nationalism, vent it or prevent it?
13 Jul 2010 Philippe Defechereux
Hello, Mr. Dalrymple:
Your article about snobbery and the French football team is a gem. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. You might have added one extra dimension: the French are known for being the most snobbish people in the world, so the injury to their ego was doubled up. [Disclaimer: I am a "francophone", but from Belgium, a country without much distinction, except its food. I moved early to New York and have long been a proud American].
Now football (soccer) is not a snobbish sport; au contraire, it is a proletarian sport, to such an extent that players like Pele, Maradona and Zidane can come from the poorest layer of society and become world stars. I believe that accounts for a lot of its global popularity.
What would be the world's most snobbish mass-appeal sport? Consider the planet's second most popular sport, Formula 1 racing (the US being the only developed country where it is barely known), there you would find snobbery at its core.
Formula 1 is the elite of all car racing series; Formula 1 cars are the most technologically advanced of any other types (basically F-16's driving upside-down); they race in 19 different countries every year, from Europe to Asia, Canada and Latin America. Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault and many other major brands compete fiercely for the World Championship. Each Grand Prix attracts an average of 120 million global viewers, for a total cumulative audience of 2.2 billion/year. Compare that to the provincial once-a-yea "Superbowl."
Given this kind of audience, the revenues are astronomical and the team budgets up to $100 million/year. Accordingly, the drivers are global stars and the best can earn as much as Tiger Woods pre-Thanksgiving '09.
The consequence of all the above is that Formula 1, entertaining as it is to watch for a racing fan like me, is the most snobbish sport in the world. F1 teams and drivers look down on any other racing formula, live in their own bubble, and make their own rules. They rarely mix with their fans and tend to nest in Monaco or Switzerland.
So, if you are planning to write "snobbery, the Sequel," I suggest you have a look at F1 as the paramount sport example. With the greatest respect.