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I vowed not to write about the U.S. team again, but it’s really impossible not to.
First, Landon Donovan is an ass. After the game he said the referee “stole” the game by denying the goal that would have put the U.S. team up 3–2.
Yes, the referee blew the call in disallowing the goal by Maurice Edu, but the free kick on which that goal came resulted from a bad call against a Slovenian player. As the New York Times noted, “The foul that led to the free kick was another error by [the referee] Coulibaly. United States striker Jozy Altidore ran right into a Slovene defender and fell theatrically, fooling Coulibaly into blowing his whistle.”
On balance, referees generally don’t win or lose games, as I have to remind my ten-year-old every time he throws a Donovan-like tantrum after a game his baseball team loses.
Donovan also said, “My guess is there are not many teams in this tournament that could have done what we did and arguably won the game,” Donovan said. “That’s what the American spirit is all about.”
Do what? The only thing that matters is the final score, which history will record as a tie. Donovan’s remarks are equivalent to Paul Pierce’s saying in an interview after last night’s Lakers–Celtics game, “My guess is there are not many teams who could have done what we did. We were beating the Lakers by 13 points in the second half.”
Second, given that the press has been talking about how the Americans had scored an “upset draw” by tying “mighty England,” shouldn’t today’s result therefore be deemed an “upset draw” for Slovenia, the smallest country that made the Cup?
Consider these statistics, from the CIA World Factbook:
United States, population:
310,232,863 (July 2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 3
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$14.26 trillion (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 2
2,003,136 (July 2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 145
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$55.84 billion (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 87
And incidentally, “mighty” England isn’t looking so mighty at the moment. They tied Algeria.
Tragically, it appears the U.S. soccer team will likely continue to plague the Cup with its God-awful soccer. The team has a good chance of advancing to the second round if they beat Algeria, which would surely become, in the American media narrative, a Goliath vanquished by the American David.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”