SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
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
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”