Socialism, Bloody Hell
I was going to dissectJohn Barnes' comment on the failure of the English team coming down to their mental incompatibility with some forms of political practice, but Thomas Mueller took the wind out of my sails by offering a similar diagnosis of the breakdown of
alien v/s predator man versus machine in the English team:
"It is difficult to have so many 'alpha males' and have them row in the same direction," said the 20-year-old.
The 20-year-old then went on to make a sociological observation about hierarchies in Native American society with which I am completely unfamiliar, and Germany extended this opponent-baiting mood to include trash talk about Argentina, their next opponents. This will be exquisite to laugh at at the end of their campaign, whenever that may be. Anyway. Co-opting social sciences into the analysis of football is sweet and proper. It is not the aim of this blog to break down the utter and total Internet wrongness of making simple distinctions between the intellectual practises of socialism and capitalism; the G20 is proving it somewhere in the US at the moment.
I merely offer up a consideration of the many things, going by John Barnes' prescription, that may have adversely affected England's performance at the World Cup. It may be true that players on the teams that have made it into the quarterfinals are fifty percent more likely to read The Guardian than members of the English team. It may be true that the Brazilians at the World Cup, rather than shrink in horror from Lula's "nuclear mission" to Iran, probably watch footage of his conference with Ahmedinejad in their hotel rooms before they go to sleep, thus ranging themselves firmly against the Anglo-American ideal of classical liberalism. It may be that when the revolution comes Frank Lampard is simply not going to give up an inch of his farmland to the collectivist mission.
The simple expedient of playing with a holding midfielder like Michael Carrick would in no way have entered them into the octet of superior community-building exemplified by the men who have stayed behind. (After all, Maradona hates Bush and loves Che. There is no way anyone could accuse him of being a selfish individualist).
The simple fact that the last 24 are full of teams who played more or less in harmony with each other, whether they lacked enthusiasm (laughably politically-sterotypable France), creative resources (Japan), stamina (North Korea -- excused from all discussions of socialism as it is far too conservative a political ideology under their present government) or good link-up players (Italy), can in no way impede the basic recognition of the fact that English footballers do not know their place.
So much for that. As for Thomas Mueller and his psychosexual assessment of who is, erm, rowing the boat (have Oxford and Cambridge started to hand out the Blue for soccer yet?), I have nothing to offer, except that like many psychosexual assessments, it has a ring of accuracy to it. I think this may be how Freudian psychoanalysis has assumed the position it has in the modern world.