A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

sexta-feira, maio 31, 2002

If only all correspondances between myself and article-readers were like this. This is the conclusion to the guy who was trying to justify the Shah. WARNING: this one is long

As I expected, you completely missed (or ignored) the point of my
letter. Like so many of your friends on the left, you assume that those who disagree with you are ignorant, uninformed or both. Unless you're a
professional student, like those that you cite as the 'voice of the people'
in Korea, my adult years likely match all of your years, including those you spent in diapers. (FYI, I hold a Masters Degree, though it is technical rather than grievance-oriented, so if you insist on continuing to claim intellectual superiority, you'll have to base in on something other than educational achievements.)

I'm well aware of the history surrounding Mohammad Mossadegh, etc.
The Shah was a despot, but there are depots all over the world. You
yourself apparently would like to see South Korea join hands with that
second generation hall-of-fame psycho dictator, Kim Chong-il. I'm sure Mr. Kim would be happy to hold democratic elections as soon as a deal can be worked out. Also, are you really so sure that in the aftermath of the Korean War South Koreans would rather the U.S. had left?

The point is this: if the rationale you cite for many rooting
against the U.S. team were reasonable, then there should be people around the world rooting against Spain, Belgium, England, Russia, Japan, etc. Hell, we'd run out of teams to root FOR! (Who do you think Koreans have a bigger grievance with, Japan or the U.S.? Just wondering. You'll note that the countries agreed to co-host the event, so it seems some people understand the difference between sports and politics. Of course, on the left we've gone from "the personal is the political" to "everything is political.)

Had my family emigrated to this country 60 years later than it did,
I'm sure there'd be a lot of Irishmen like me in your crowd who'd still be
angry about the "Irish need not apply" signs that were so common in this country. Did you know that the first Irish in this country were hired to do jobs (e.g., loading and unloading ships) that slave owners wouldn't allow their slaves to do? Too dangerous. A dead slave was costly. A dead Irishman could be replaced for free. Rather than pass that grievance on from generation to generation, my family did what believe, and what I can only hope, most imigrants today are doing: becoming Americans.

Soccer in America is curious thing. It's lack of popularity and our
country's relative lack of achievement, tend to make many focus their
interest elsewhere around the world. For new imigrants, their interest in
soccer also allows them to maintain a connection to the 'old country'. This is all for the good. When the U.S. played Honduras last fall, I was there rooting for my team, as were tens of thousands of Hondurans some likely citizens of the U.S. That most were rooting for their 'old country' was fine. When I went to see the U.S. play Uraguay this spring, I'm guessing many of those same fans were there, and -- I saw it with my own eyes -- they were rooting for the good 'ole U. S. of A. You might like to think that the only fans of the U.S. national team are your 'White European Opressors' but it just ain't so. In fact, my co-worker was there with her family. She's from Japan, and she and her family were rooting for the U.S. Who should have a bigger grievance with the U.S. than Japan?

My response

think the first thing you must distinguish to understand my article is the
distinction between immigrants and descendants of immigrants. I never claimed that Latinos (in this sense, I speak of Americans of Hispanic descent) or other people who are descended from immigrants (such as yourself) would root against the United States; I merely argued that many of the current immigrants themselves will probably not be rooting for the American side. I am not an immigrant myself, I am Latino, and I will be rooting for the States to advance. Does this somehow disprove my article? Not at all. My article concentrated on immigrants and I never claimed otherwise.

One thing I have noticed in my young years (and yes, I am young but that doesn't somehow make you superior to me, or vice versa) is that
international soccer for Americans becomes a vehicle to celebrate their
"ethnicity." I'll assume that you'll be proud of the Irish squad and will
probably follow them more closely than, say, Slovenia, due to your Irish
heritage. But when the side of the old country meets the US, most of these people will cheer for the Americans, though probably less so that usual. This is possible simply because these people are already assimilated Americans. Most immigrants, though, are not assimilated and therefore will less likely cheer for the American side because they still have many ties to the country. As they stay longer in their country (and especially their children), their allegiance to their old country will become largely symbolic--and their soccer fanaticism.

This is not a pedagogy of "the White European Oppressor"; it's the process in becoming American. I am well aware of the Irish history in the States and am also confident that they had the same ambivalency towards the States when they came (are you aware of the San Patricio Brigade that fought against the Americans in the Mexican-American War). I am also confident that with due time, all immigrant groups that currently root against the States will cheer for the American squad.

Yes, yes, yes. I agree with each and every word you said. Thank
you so much for taking the time to discuss this with me. I have been more than a little 'provocative' (read: combative but hopefully not insulting) in my correspondence, and as a result I'm sure the force of my arguement suffered (read: I sure I wasn't as right as I thought I was). One of my favorite expressions for myself is "often wrong, but never in doubt."

Probably the main reason I wrote to you in the first place was a
similar article I read by a gentleman named Jonah Fontella. I tried to make a point similar to yours to him, to wit, just because you root for {fill in your country of origin} doesn't mean you have to root AGAINST the U.S.

I've been a fan of soccer for 34 years, and watching the U.S. play
'away' to Honduras in the nation's capital was depressing, but I had no
problem with the Hondurans/Honduran-Americans who were rooting for their home country. On the other hand, had the crowd actually been made up of Salvadorans, Mexicans, etc. rooting against the U.S. I would have been less understanding. That is what made me so happy when I saw so many Latinos rooting for the U.S. against Uraguay!

Believe me, I reasonably well informed about the history of our
country's involvement in Latin America (though I've never heard of the San Patricio Brigade -- thanks for that one, I can't wait to read about it) and elsewhere around the world. There's a lot there not to be proud of, but on the other hand, I believe our county's record stacks up pretty well with respect to other world and regional powers. We've made many mistakes and done many wrong things, but we've also held close the ideals that the country was based on. I belive that most often our misdeeds are based on ill-considered but good intentions, and I believe that we are making progress towards better judgement in these issues.

One of my favorite examples of what I see as our good intentions is
to examine the fate of our enemies in WWII. We actively championed the rise of Japan and Germany into world economic powers, and by and large the images of 'Japs' and 'Krauts' is a thing of the past in this country. There are, of course, counter examples so I can only say that I don't claim perfection for our country. Humans are imperfect, and human institutions only multiply the flaws.

Latinos (as well as many others) have suffered greatly from the
paternalistic racism that hopefully is dieing away in this country. It will
be young people like yourselves, through your achievments in life, that will kill all but the most stubborn vestages of that racism in this country, and what is left will simply serve as a reminder of the shameful face of the past.

And after all of this, MY main point is a hope that all Americans
who love soccer will rally behind our home team. It would be sad for me if something I enjoy so much were also something that divided us for reasons unrelated to the game. (From a selfish point of view, I also hope that the fields I see filled with Latinos boys will produce the 'number 10' of the future for the U.S., or the outside backs that we so deperately need!)

Of course, soccer in general, and the World Cup in particular
produces little more than a collective yawn from most Americans, and
honestly, that's a good reason for people around the world to root against 'America'. Here's to that changing soon.

BTW, how 'bout Senegal!?! They looked great up against France. Maybe there's hope for the U.S. to advance after all! And I'll be rooting for Mexico and Costa Rica on the basis of all the criticism I hear about the quality of play in CONCACAF. If two or three of the CONCACAF teams advance, maybe the criticism will let up, and there'll be less talk about taking away one of the spots and giving it Europe so that one more tiny country there can make it in.

My response to his response of my response...

I have enjoyed tremendously our continuing dialogue regarding soccer. Yes, you were provocative in your responses but not insulting, which has been a relief; most of the letters I have received have been little more than excuses to bash on immigrants and prove that they will be the downfall of this country. We both know that soccer is much more complex than that and can be a unifier in this country. And it will some day.

And yes, how about Senegal?!? I hope this shows soccer-blase America that the sport truly is global and offers something for everyone. And I was not aware that FIFA wanted to take away a slot from CONCACAF; how dare they! If anything, Senegal's victory should prove that more slots should be taken away from Europe or South America and distributed to a region with less slots such as Asia or Africa. I hope you enjoy the Cup and thank you once again for your comments.

quinta-feira, maio 30, 2002

More asbestos, more asbestos! This one is particularly articulate, unlike some of the others

The problem with Sagastizado's rationale is that the most zealatrous supporters of the USian National Team are people like me who would
prefer the US Government not have conducted various actions (Guatemaulya 53, Chile 73, etc.).

He is aligning himself with the Ugly Ethnocentric Americans he loathes who also could care less about what happens at the highest level of
the most important sport on earth. Payback is only effective if it registers with the intended recipient. In this regard, the expatriate community in this country is pissing in the wind.

We, the Zealots, also understand the sociopolitical proxy which Football represents. We realize that all of the United States' cultural, technical, economic, socio-political, and military dominance would be eclipsed by orders of magnitude should the US gain respect at the highest level in Football.

Rooting against the US National Soccer Team will only continue to propagate the paradigm loathed by immigrants and Patriots alike.

For that reason alone, on the Big Karma Wheel, the Soccer Gawdz will bestow upon the USian Nats a sprinkling of positive karma. Will it redress our use of Nuclear Weapons on civlians? No. Will it redress the assasination of our own elected President in 1963? No. But the USian Nats will take all the karma they can get. They are trying to bring the United States well and truly in to the community of nations.
The USian Nats do not represent the Government of the United States, they represent the People of the United States, in spite of 98% of those
People being ignorant of the team laboring on their behalf.

Mr. Sagastizado like all immigrants who root against the United States, especially the ANIMALS (and that's a fair description) who patronize the LA Coliseum for Tricolor matches, wish to propagate a double standard: the people of their homeland are allowed to treat Football
as a proxy for sociopolitical anxieties, and they equate defeat of the United States with a socio-political victory. And yet they refuse to
acknowledge the right of the USian people to enjoy the same privelege. It does not matter that only 2% or less of the USian population wish to enjoy that privelege. As a citizen of humanity, a citizen of the planet, and a (sometimes) proud citizen of the United States, I am insulted by the double standard which denies me the privelege of the treating Football as a sociopolitical proxy to redress the karma deficit perpetrated on the International stage by my government. My existence and though patterns invalidate any argument to perpetuate the double standard, and I am not alone; the passion of
the Zealots has been on display for 6 years now in MLS supporters sections around the country, and at US National Team games since 1995. The immigrants in this country would be wise to reassess their continued dissing of USian passport holders who understand the meaning of Football as a sport, and the meaning of Football as a
socio-political proxy. A day may come when their world is turned upside down by USian success at the highest level. I'm not very
confident that it's going to occurr in the next two weeks. But it may very well happen in our lifetimes.

If Mr. Sagastizado does not wish to promote the "Globalization" of the USian Nation and the USian People, then what is he doing here besides earning a living? I have no respect for any one with Football knowledge and Socio-Political awareness who roots against the United States in Futbol.

Good luck to your favorite side in the World Wide One.

Thank you for your greatly written analysis and especially your non-geocentric referencing to your home side. You are correct in stating that die-hard soccer fans such as yourself are fully aware of the sociopolitical side of soccer to a much greater degree than immigrants (and "patriots") give credit. I am also glad to see that you understand why the immigrants would boo the States, justified or not. Most of the responses I have received so far have not been able to put it in its context--I'm assuming because most of them have not been from true soccer fans such as yourself. Thank you once again for an informative response; I learned much from it and hope that you took something good from my article also.
Not so nice is the next one (and neither am I, for that matter...

I read, with amusement, your attempt ("In World Cup, Why U.S. Immigrants Don't Cheer for the USA") to make noble the cause of immigrants that root against the U.S. National team. Presumably all Latinos will also be rooting against Spain -- or perhaps Latinos view Spanish treatment of their former colonies with nostalgia. Just as Iranians in this country are so glad that the Shah is gone and the benevolent Ayatollahs are in charge...
Face it, the knee-jerk reaction of many Latinos and other immigrants to root against the U.S. National team is nothing but unvarnished bigotry. Latinos and other minorities demean themselves when the fail to acknowledge that, like people everywhere, they are susceptible to the darker side of
human nature.
Ironically, the people with the most legitimate reason to root for
"Anyone But America" are also those with the most trivial complaint -- the Koreans. (Perhaps you assume that South Koreans wish the U.S. had left them to the tender mercies of the psycho father and son team in North Korea, but I'll ignore that possibility.) The Korean's beef with U.S. National sports teams stems from...here's the punch line...SPORTS! What a novel concept!
BTW, I was at the recent friendly at RFK between the U.S. team and Uruguay, and most of the Latinos that I saw at that game --and they were probably at least half the crowd -- were rooting for the U.S. These, of course, are 'Regular Joes', rather than those like you who are obviously products of the grievance industry that is so prolific on our college campuses.
So rather than Buchanan and Lalas, it is you that needs to lighten
up. Anyone who not only doesn't root for the home team, but in fact
actively, openly and obsessively roots against it, should expect some heat. Again ironically, America is probably the place in the world where the heat is the mildest. I'd love to see you try your act in the parts of the world where World Cup passions run wide and deep.

P.S. Based on your article, I'm reasonably sure what your plans for
"bettering this nation" involve. Before you draw up the blueprints, you
might want to give some thought to what those who came before you did in this cause. As an exercise, I wish you could come with me to Mexico City while I announced to the government there that I wished to become a Mexican citizen.

My response...

I'm glad to have amused you because you yourself also amused me with your understanding of world political events and how it might influence the feelings that people in general and immigrants in particular might have towards the states. Your attempt to pass off the Shah of Iran as somehow acceptable is laughable, especially in the context of how the Shah got to power (1953 U.S.-orchestrated coup of democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh) and what he did with it. With South Koreans, you obviously have forgotten that maybe the Korans are angry about the DMZ zone that the States have insisted on patrolling for the past half-century despite South Korea's wishes. Don't forget that earlier in the year, the American government frowned upon South Korea's reunification talks with the North. Maybe this explains the massive student protests earlier this year in South Korea and editorials against this American arrogance in the American Korean press?

And since you seem to know more enlightened Latinos that are different from this "product of the grievance industry that is so prolific on our college campuses", I'll leave it to them to tell you about the various attempts at American imperialism in Latin America. It's not unvarnished bigotry; it's legitimate reasons to boo. And while I do agree with you that those who boo should be able to face the heat, it should go both ways. Fans of the American side are shocked (shocked!) when they discover that people might not want to root for this side. Immigrant fans welcome opposition and come out in full force. That in itself explains why the United States can't buy fans for their matches Statewide.
I wasn't able to respond to this one since I somehow lost the return address...

This may be a simplistic answer, but it really isn't all that complicated
an idea. If it's so great in your "home" country, PLEASE pack up and
leave! Go back! There's no one here who will miss you.

I'm a first generation immigrant here in the U.S., my parents immigrated
from the Philippines, and I honor their hard work and sacrifice by
supporting this country. My parents came here hoping to be given the
chance, just a chance, for a better life and this country provided that

Bless Alexi Lalas for having the guts to say what was on his mind. Shame on those immigrants who do come here for the work, the education, the financial benefits and then spit on the flag and the country.

Maybe he's unaware that the Philippines was a colony of the States and that his parents had it easier in coming to the States due to special visa grants for Filipinos?
One more...
I just read your article on line about recent immigrants rooting against the American soccer team. You're absolutely right that many native-born American soccer fans consider the immigrants' lack of support
for the American team to be tantamount to treason. I certainly understand why a recent immigrant from, say, Mexico, would prefer to root for his country of origin as against his adopted country, but to root for the United States to lose other matches against other countries is, to many of us, simply incomprehensible. Your article did a good job explaining some of the reasons why this attitude exists, and even though I don't agree with them at least they're logical in a
twisted sort of way.

My question to you is, is there anything that can be done to counteract this problem? Soccer is at best a niche sport in the United States and will have a hard time growing unless we can get new immigrants, particularly from Mexico and other Latin American countries, to support the American game. My feeling is that up to this point at least, immigrants after a generation or so either maintain their connection to
soccer exclusively through their country of origin, or they become more assimilated into American mainstream sports culture and simply stop following soccer altogether. The American national team and Major
League Soccer very rarely seem to attract this potential fan. This is a big problem for the development of soccer in this country.

You seem to have some understanding of these dynamics. Do you have any suggestions as to what I, as a supporter of American soccer, can do to make things better?

My response to this query...

Thank you for your response and I am glad you liked the article. I am glad to see that, while not agreeing with the reaction of the immigrants towards the American side, that you prefer to see the reportage of my article as a challenge to be met rather than an opportunity to bash immigrants like so many readers have done. I think that immigrants will eventually start following the American side as their own children start joining the red, white, and blue squad. People seem to forget that these are immigrants and that all immigrants never truly assimilated; it was their children who did. That said, I would advise you (I'm not sure if you're just a lay fan or actively involved in soccer) to reach out to the children of these soccer-mad immigrants. Most children of immigrants who play soccer are usually put in immigrant-only leagues, which (as you no doubt perceived) will put them on a track away from assimilating into the American soccer community. By letting the parents know of the benefits of joining the American soccer experiment, these immigrants will start to follow the American side. It will be slow, but I am convinced that such an approach will gain far more followers for the American squad than there currently exists. Thank you once again for your remarks.
I'm actually getting emotionally drained from responding to so many letters. Is a 23-year-old freelancer supposed to inspire so much controversy?
I will have explanations and actual life stuff later. In the meanwhile, many, many responses to my soccer article to Pacific News Service...and they're still rolling in! They will be broken up by lines...
I read your article about immigrants, etc as nauseam.

Pure garbage.

These ungrateful bastards represent what is wrong with the corrupt U.S. Immigration policy that is the result of pandering whores like Bush or Gore. These people should go home.......where their hearts and souls never left.

Cheap labor is a hoax....over population of uneducated, unskilled cowards who leave their faltering country behind is not what the U. S. needs. As a taxpayer, I join the millions who are tired of paying the bills of these folks who have hijacked programs set up for black Americans. Time for that sleaze ball Vicente' Fox to call these people home.

My response...

Thank you for your comments, although I'm not sure why you turned it into a diatribe against Mexico; after all, it was a Salvadoran I interviewed.

Person's response back...

The thrust of my "diatribe" is aptly directed at Latin America immigrants, primarily from Mexico. I am not anti-Mexican, having helped a number of them become citizens. It is the latest wave of anti-American immigrants that are here for the handouts, by the millions..abandoning their own country. Thank you for your response.
I'd like to comment on some of yours:

...rooting against the American soccer team symbolizes resistance to being absorbed into a country (We would say..rooting for the American soccer team symbolizes
>acceptance to being welcomed into the greatest country in the world) You resist everything American; our language, our culture, so it is only natural for you to feel "absorbed" and resist it...but you take the money. There's no resistance to our countries money is there?

...rooting against the U.S. -- immigrants have an outlet to express both frustration with their new home and pride in their old country. (We would say..rooting for the U.S. --- citizens have an outlet to express both pride in their country and a lack of allegiance to any country of our ancestors) I could care less about my homelands of Germany, Poland and Italy. Mexican immigrants will never understand that and until they do, they will never, ever feel welcomed.

My response...

Thank you for your comments, although please do not limit them to specifically Mexicans (after all, the immigrant I interviewed was Salvadoran). And I do not "resist" anything American; I merely reported on what I have seen (for better or worse) in the immigrant communities of today.

Their response to my response...

Sorry, but I only see "differences" in people (white, black, Mexican, Salvadoran, etc), when they openly profess them. Thanks for your response
A nice one for a change...

We here in Detroit enjoyed your article regarding the social aspects of this years futbol tournament. Keep up the good work. We found you while surfing through the web-site of "Sam's Army". I'm guessing you are aware that they are the States' largest soccer fan club. They seem to enjoy presenting a balanced viewpoint. You can check them out at: http://www.sams-army.com Even though I'm a gringo, we will be getting up early and staying up late to check out athletes who can jump like Michael Jordan, move like Barry Sanders, and coordinate like Tiger Woods. Hope your team plays well enough to make you proud!
Not so nice...

You are a liar.

I was at that world cup match in Pasadena, the Illegal Aliens who comprise the majority of Mexicans in the Southwest did much more than cheer for the Tricolores,
they threw cans, bottles, and trash at the US team and spat upon those close enough to reach.

The some 13 Million criminals who have invaded this country don't seek some outlet for frustration or connection to their "home country" they have no
intention of assimilating into US culture, they seek only to use the United States as an ATM with free education and health care for themselves and their
children, while the US citizens and legal immigrants pick up the tab. They don't cheer for the US because first and foremost
they are Mexicans, not Americans and have no desire to be otherwise.

Try a little truth instead of just spewing multi-cultural crap...Amigo.

My response...

Buddy boy,

Two points:

1. Wasn't a World Cup match; it was a Gold Cup match
2. The match was played in the LA Coliseum, not Pasadena

Get your "truths" right before you accuse me of anything. Makes you seem like the crap-spewer instead of me.
I read your article on the Internet about why Latino soccer fans boo the United States during soccer contests with Latin American teams, and concluded that you need to see more of these athletic contests. If you’d do this, you’d see this goes far deeper than athletic favoritism.

What I saw in 1998 at the L.A. Coliseum when I attended a US Mexico soccer match (Mexico 1-0), convinced me that the U.S. needs to rethink its immigration policies. I saw the overwhelmingly predominant group of Latino fans hurl plastic bottles filled with water at the U.S. soccer team, splashing and bouncing at their feet. This was followed by avalanches of water and beer-filled cups, lemons, giant empty boxes, more water, more plastic and a few glass bottles, plus mountains of garbage that covered the U.S. team like an ugly blanket. I saw fathers instruct their sons how to urinate into plastic cups and hurl them at the Gringo athletes. All this was accompanied by choruses of words screamed in Spanish. All this infantilism & disloyalty followed loud booing by Mexican fans, presumably future citizens, when the American National Anthem was played, while hundreds more of these “fans” displayed American Flags, - -upside-down.

These disgraceful anti-American outbursts went far beyond a soccer game and convinced me that fool-proof ways must be found to determine one’s allegiance to this country before they’re ever allowed to become U.S. citizens.

My response...

Thank you for your comments,

I agree with you that the soccer matches go much farther than athletic favoritism; in fact, that was the crux of my argument. Saying that does not mean that I endorse the sometimes-ugly displays of it (as you accurately noted in the 1998 match) but that said, I would not go as far as to take the measures you would take to ensure that things like this do not happen again. After all, the fans do keep this anti-Americanism in expressions like sporting events (and it even happens with “Americans” as fan hatred towards wrestling star Kurt Angle attests)—and that’s much better than having these immigrants marauding around constantly spouting these anti-American sentiments. And while I do agree with you that we must make sure that future immigrants become good Americans, we must also allow Americans (whether current or future) in general to express distrust towards this country once in a while. Thank you once again.
Although I agree with many of the things you have said in your recent article, I find myself torn, quite often frustrated with the mentality of US-immigrants in this country when it comes to its support. This form of duality when it comes to loyalty is as much annoying as it is disturbing. As a an American of Guatemalan and Mexican heritage (and strongly associated with them), I see no reason why it is not possible to support both the mother country and the new adopted country with similar amounts of fervor. Immigrants choose to live here for the opportunities that are available to them, and to raise families here with an overall better quality of life. To continuously blame the United States for the social, economical, and political climates of their (previous) home countries is preposterous. It is simply wrong.

One way to start away from this destuctive road (in my opinion) is to follow the examples set by immigrants of the past to begin with: to integrate elements of their society, their identity into the American one. Why must soccer not be included in those? Frankly, I support Guatemala, almost as much as the US, and I will also be rooting for Mexico, Costa Rica, and the US in this world Cup. I see nothing wrong with immigrants choosing to root for THEIR team when they play the US, but they should support the US when they play other opponents. This is THEIR country. They are acting to improve it. Why not act by helping to make this country a world champion? It would be just as much their accomplishment as any true red-blooded American. These same people are the ones who stay away from MLS in droves. Consider how successful soccer in this country would be if the immigrant population chose to embrace it here. They do not need to shed their identity in order to share this most wonderful passion with others, and to be truthful, Americans have long been deprived of the meaning and passion of the game. In effect, by isolating the American public from it, they are contributing to and exacerbating the original problem which you cite as your reason why immigrants don't cheer for the US in the first place. US-immigrants and would-be American citizens have a duty to this country to integrate the US into the World Community just as much as the US has a duty to integrate these same into American society. I can't think of anything more that encompasses the entire world with such passion as soccer.

My response...

Thank you for your comments. I completely agree with you when you posit soccer as a unifying factor for this nation. And I do believe that as the children of these immigrants grow, they will expand the ranks of the American side. But major steps must be taken by both Americans and immigrants to make this a reality.

Take municipal soccer leagues. I'm not sure how it is back East, but in Los Angeles parks are crammed every weekend with soccer matches--of immigrant soccer leagues. And not just Latino immigrants--I've seen Somalian teams, Iranian teams, and many other nationalities. But I've never seen much of a recruitment effort on behalf of MLS or AYSO to tap into this soccer-crazed vein. Things are improving (such as teams like the LA Galaxy getting foreign stars that would appeal to their fan base) but I think this is a project in the making. Thank you once again for your remarks.
"At its essence, rooting against the American soccer team symbolizes resistance to being absorbed into a country whose populace and government do not always do
the right thing -- especially against the immigrants and their home countries. And when the booing is over, soccer-loving immigrants -- relieved of any anti-American sentiments and proud that the motherland has won -- return to bettering this nation."

You are out of your fucking mind my friend. These anti- American immigrants (if here illegally) should be tossed out of the country on their ass.

These are people who throw batteries at the US players and boo the US National Anthem. Your glossing this over and suggetsion that this behavior is somehow healthy is
disturbing. What the hell is Latin American studies anyway? The study of why everyone wants to get out of their hell holes and come leach off Uncle Sam?

My response...

Thank you for your remarks. It's not just "these anti-American immigrants" who boo the hell out of American sports representations; check out the WWF's Kurt Angle, a bona fide Olympic gold medalist who is booed mercilessly precisely because of his patriotic credentials.

As for your critique of my major...no, you're mistaking my major with Chicano studies. Latin American Studies examines how Uncle Sam turned the region into a hell hole.
Interesting article, but don't you think comparing Alexi Lalas to Patrick Buchanan is a bit of a stretch. After all, Alexi was part of the team that the 'healthy venting' was aimed at, and Buchanan is a right wing demagogue. Do you think you would be very happy after 100,000 people booed you?

My response...

Thank you for your remark. Yes, I should have made the distinction between Buchanan and Lalas since they are obviously not of the same meter. Lalas did have good reason to be angry (although I still maintain that his comments were a bit overdramatic) while Buchanan just used a sport he probably cares nothing about for his own needs. Thank you once again.
And to close on a nice note...

I appreciated and enjoyed your submission on why immigrants root against the U.S. but came away perplexed. As the son of a Dutch immigrant I've never rooted against the U.S. when they play anyone except the Dutch. Even then I'm more neutral and celebrating life when the two play. Knowing that my families assimilation is much easier for various reasons I note the difference for Mexican or Iranian immigrants. However I find it disturbing that immigrants would root against the U.S. soccer team all of the time and hope/wish that you are mistaken. Finally I'm confused as to why South Koreans would be so against U.S. foreign policy. Comparing their history and economic growth with their bretheren to the north would lead me to believe they don't have the same animosity as Mexican or Iranian immigrants. Granted I may be guilty of having my head in the sand but feel you may be off-base on this point. Again, thanks for writing this piece!

My response...

am glad that you enjoyed my article. One of my best friends is also the son of Dutch immigrants (my note: aint' that right, MV?) and is crushed that the Orange didn't make it into the Cup this year.

When I stated that immigrants want to see the United States lose all of the time in soccer, that might have been a bit of an overgeneralization. Soccer fans are notoriously provincial and will root for a neighboring country if their own country is not playing. For example, my main teams are Mexico and the United States, but I will also be cheering for the Costa Rican and South American clubs due to the hemispheric relationship with me. So your average Mexican immigrant would most likely cheer for the U.S. if they played a European side. But if the American squad faces any team from the Western Hemisphere, they'd most likely root for the opposing side. It's a complex issue within the complex world of sports that really deserves more analysis than my article.

Finally, South Korean animosity towards the States has always been latent due to the American military presence in the DMZ zone. Tensions have also been rising due to the American opposition of South Korea's reunification talks with North Korea. This stance by the Bush administration has led to massive student protests and angry words from South Korean officials. And the Winter Olympics/Jay Leno anecdote that I referred to in my article really inflamed passions (in fact, a South Korean civic organization is considering to sue Leno and NBC for defamation of character). The final straw (one I didn't mention in my article) was perceived pressure by American activists to ban the eating of dog meat during the Cup. Many South Koreans find this to be cultural imperialism and an intrusion. I hope this might give you some idea of why some South Koreans might be angry with the United States. Once again, thank you for your response.
Way more where those came from, but I figured I should give Uds. a break from me. I'm sure there's going to be plenty more where from those came from.
I am back.

Anyone reading this probably knows that I recently published an article regarding soccer and its sociopolitical significance to immigrants. I have been receiving so many emails, that I decided to resume this blog project just to post them. I might start retelling my life story here, but for the meanwhile, I will post emails that I have received with my responses. Some are good emails and I respond in kind. Others are ridiculous and I respond in sarcastic kind. I will post all of them at a later time, but let's start the fun with one of my all-time favorites emails...

I read your article about why Latin American immigrants to the USA cheer against the USA. Because of "payback". Payback for what? For taking them out of poverty and providing with a life that so few people in this world can only dream of? "Payback" for allowing you people to sneak in here and smuggle tens of billions of dollars out of our economy every year? "Payback" for our citizens vacationing in Mexico and spending money there? Why don;t you Hispanicks demand Spain repay you for all the gold they stole? Now do you see why you Hispanicks are not wanted here??? All you people do is hate the uSA and sneak in here with an attitude that we owe you. And it isn;t
just Mexicans, it's ALL Hispanick groups.That we are the reason why you people are poor. No other immigrants act that way. they are very loyal to us for allowing them to come here and prosper.

The problem isn;'t "payback", the problem is you people are tremendously loyal to the former great Spansih Empire, and therefore must see the USA/UK/"Anglos" as the rivals. And macho Hispanick pride will not allow Hispanicks to be outdone by their rivals on the world stage. And so you people feel humiliated and that humiliation turns into hatred. Of course you can;t say that's the real reason why you Hispanicks hate the USA, so you come up with guises such as "payback". Maybe you can write an article explaing the blind love, devotion and loyalty Mexicnas and all other Latin Americans have for the spanish. The same peopel that destroyed your wonderful Aztec society and culture, stole all your gold and left you people in abject poverty so you have to sneak into other countries.

My response...

Your assumptions about "Hispanick" culture are hilarious considering you can't even spell the word right. Go take some grammar lessons, then let's talk.

sexta-feira, maio 17, 2002

Lone Gentleman by Pablo Neruda

The gay young men and the love-sick girls,
and the abandoned widows suffering in sleepless delirium,
and the young pregnant wives of thirty hours,
and the raucous cats that cruise my garden in the shadows,
like a necklace of pulsating oysters of sex
surround my lonely residence,
like enemies lined up against my soul,
like conspirators in bedroom clothes
who exchange long deep kisses to order.

The radiant summer leads to lovers
in predictable melancholic regiments,
made of fat and skinny, sad and happy pairings:
under the elegant coconut palms, near the ocean and the moon,
goes an endless movement of trousers and dresses,
a whisper of silk stockings being caressed,
and women’s breasts that sparkle like eyes.

The little employee, after it all,
after the week’s boredom, and novels read by night in bed,
has definitively seduced the girl next door,
and carried her away to a run-down movie house
where the heroes are studs or princes mad with passion,
and strokes her legs covered with soft down
with his moist and ardent hands that smell of cigarettes.

The seducer’s afternoons and married peoples’ nights
come together like the sheets and bury me,
and the hours after lunch when the young male students
and the young girl students, and the priests, masturbate,
and the creatures fornicate outright,
and the bees smell of blood, and the flies madly buzz,
and boy and girl cousins play oddly together,
and doctors stare in fury at the young patient’s husband,
and the morning hours in which the professor, as if to pass the time,
performs his marriage duties, and breakfasts,
and moreover, the adulterers, who love each other truly
on beds as high and deep as ocean liners:
finally, eternally surrounding me
is a gigantic forest breathing and tangled
with gigantic flowers like mouths with teeth
and black roots in the shape of hooves and shoes.

domingo, maio 05, 2002

I started this blog right about the time that I met !. I actually started it much earlier, but technological negligence on my part had made me forget all about it.

I had fun posting my various thoughts and rants. Ultimately, it served me no real purpose since my memories are kept away in my gray matter forever. Instead, this served as a place for friends to learn what was going on in my life.

But as the saying goes, all things must pass, all good things must come to an end, the heart is meant to be broken...you get the idea. Therefore, this is the last blog I will post.

Reason being? ! broke up with me. Actually, she broke up with me about two weeks ago but today I received word that it truly was final. There are no hard feelings on either part. But nevertheless, this blog will also end with her.

Who knows? Maybe one day in the future , I will start posting again. If I do, I will make sure to let fellow readers know. But I seriously doubt it. If you people really want to know what's going on in my life, give this brother a call or an email.

I'm not one to say really eloquent closing words (I save that for the bulk of my speeches and articles), so I will end with a simple request to all of you. There is one word in this request that some of you might not know; it's in Brazilian Portuguese so go look it up. And here is the request:

If we're ever to part ways permanently, please remember me with saudade because God knows I will.

sexta-feira, maio 03, 2002

A funny thing happened on the way to Haines...

As I was walking through the massive Parking Lot #3 structure, I noticed a bumper sticker that said "I (heart) Jerez, Zacatecas." We're all here! I proceeded to leave the following note inside the car (there window was open the tiniest bit):

Greetings from a fellow UCLA jerezano! My mom's from El Cargadero; my father is from Jomulquillo. Where are you from?

I left my UCLA address and will post any correspondance from the jerezano (or /a) in the future.

Preparing to take my Portuguese test. Eu penso que vou ter uma prova boa mas quereria que nao tinha que ir tanto a aula.

quinta-feira, maio 02, 2002

! will be coming this weekend to the Southland. We shall meet. Under what context and where I cannot say.

I'd like to take this moment to say that I am incredibly spoiled. I finally got around to reading the comic book that my cousin SD distributes as a member of PCUN. My God, this is the stuff that they teach in Chicano Studies classes as being history--happening today as we speak! Reading it made me realize that the entire Mexican world isn't living my life. Of course, I am humble enough to have already known this, but sometimes you need a kick in the ass to knock some urgency in you.

quarta-feira, maio 01, 2002

I have been experiencing some really bad dreams these past couple of weeks. They're not nightmares by any means but nevertheless freak me out because of the situations that I encounter. Hope they don't last too long--or at least if they are countered with good dreams. After all (to paraphrase Job) how can we expect good without bad and bad without good?