Category Archives: World Cup (association football)

Did Goolagong’s victory help the Aborigines?

Dalrymple writes that the victory of les Bleus in the World Cup

no more solves the social problems of France than did the victory of ­Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon solve the problem of Australia’s Aborigines.

The outburst of hysterical optimism in France

is destined not to last very long — as it did not the previous time, in 1998, and as the riots in the Champs-Élysées and elsewhere indicate.

Of course, he says,

the desire for a magical or symbolic solution to intractable problems springs eternal.

The racist New York Times

Leafing through a copy of the New York newspaper the Times, Dalrymple finds France’s World Cup win described as

a victory of multiculturalism over identity politics. Not only did the victory celebrations signal what the Times called France’s embrace of multiculturalism, but it pointed out that the all-white Croatian team represented a country that was hostile to immigrants from very different cultures from its own.

This, says Dalrymple,

assumes two things, one of which proves the truth of one of modern American liberalism’s main planks, namely that racism is more difficult to eradicate from minds than one might suppose.

  • The newspaper assumed that the French team was multicultural ­because six of its players were of African descent, as if the colour of their skin and culture inevitably went together: once an African, ­always an African, presumably for genetic reasons.
  • By implying that the French victory signals some kind of cultural superiority, it ascribes to mere sporting events the ­importance that totalitarian ­régimes used to ascribe to them: we are back to the days when the Soviet Union used the victories of Tamara and Irina Press in putting the shot, throwing the javelin, etc. (it still has not been quite decided whether they were truly ­female), to suggest the superiority of the Soviet political and social system.

Tamara and Irina Press

England lost. What a relief

Dalrymple writes that he was

much relieved when Eng­land lost in the World Cup. They can usually be relied upon to lose, of course, so it was no great surprise. And as Shakespeare would have put it had they won, hark what discord follows!

A people

already given to riotous public drunkenness would have been uncontrollable — and would have taken pride in their debauchery. In Eng­land, people don’t just get drunk: they get drunk with pride.

Thank God!

Les Bleus champions du monde: des photos pour l’éternité

Dalrymple lights upon this heading in the French magazine the Point. He is reminded of

Kim Il-sung, president of North Korea for eternity.

There is, he writes,

something in the modern régime of bread and circuses that encourages such stupidity, in which a minor accomplishment counts as major and serious problems go by default.

Celebratory rioting, looting and arson

His heart swelled with patriotic relief when rioting broke out in various cities in France during the celebrations of the country’s victory.

Here, at last, was evidence that the English are not uniquely stupid and that other nations are catching up.

Some of the rioters who left the Champs-Élysées in a terrible mess

came prepared, bringing balaclavas. They smashed windows, looted stores, and attacked what in France are known as the forces of order. Nearly 300 people were arrested (more than 100 in Paris), and more than 800 cars were burned out. The fact that the forces of order felt it necessary to employ water-cannon and tear-gas suggests the problem was not on a minor scale.

But the ­reporting in the French press of these happy events, and in the Western liberal media,

was muted, to say the least. Why the reticence? Riots generally make excellent copy, none better in fact.

Macron’s display of vulgarity

Dalrymple writes:

Emmanuel Macron’s vulgar and undignified conduct in the stadium in which the World Cup victory took place was no doubt intended to demonstrate that, contrary to the impression that he has so far given his countrymen (our builder in France calls him Napoléon IV), he is a human being, possessed of the same emotions and tastes as M. Dupont as he drinks his pression on the café terrace and as les jeunes on their outings to Les Halles. It won’t work for long.

Les Halles

Repressed fascist longings of today’s Germans

Only Habermas can save them

Dalrymple writes that one of the justifications for the European Union’s drive towards what it calls ‘ever closer union’ is

the denial or reduction of national feeling.

On this view,

expression of any national patriotism leads inevitably to xenophobia, conflict, and war. Love of one’s nation is inseparable from hatred of others.

A praise-singer of this attitude is Jürgen Habermas, who,

no doubt through fear of his, or his compatriots’, inner Nazism, wants to replace attachment to nation with attachment to supranational constitutional arrangements that will presumably have to cover the entire earth, if conflict between blocs is to be avoided.

To bring this about

would require the suppression for many years of the kind of emotional loyalty displayed during the World Cup. The suppression of such loyalty except in the context of sporting competitions might, however, be very dangerous: indeed, might bring about the very dangers that it was supposed to avoid.

Dalrymple notes that the rules of the competition governing the nationality of players provide that

no player having once played for a national team may change to another, for fear that he might change for the sake of mere economic advantage, rather than from any genuine attachment to his new nationality.

Thus, says Dalrymple,

football authorities take nationality more seriously than do national authorities.

Celebratory looting and rioting

National rejoicing in France