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

quinta-feira, junho 06, 2002

The fun don't stop...

the real reason why us immigrants don't cheer for the us team is because they love their country they were born in, but their country doesn't love them. that is the reason they fled to live in the greatest
country in the world u.s.a.

I had no response...I didn't even know what was his point. This one, on the other hand, is long...

I wanted to respond to your piece in the Chronicle from Tuesday in the hopes that, as a promising graduate student in LAS at UCLA, you don't continue to write the flimsy claptrap you somehow managed to convince the editors of our local paper here in the Bay Area to publish. This is lowest-common-denominator journalism of the queasiest kind: an attempt to be topical and target something "negative" that really isn't. I suppose for commuters or lazy readers this kind of article is mildly amuzing -- you know, the idea that there is this World Cup and that we aren't into all of the frenzy. But why play on the basest emotions and insinuate things that you know are wrong? Why set up assumptions that are clearly not well supported throughout your piece? As a piece of journalism it barely squeaks by; the standards and expectations are far lower than in academia. Clearly you know
you could not get away with this in a refereed academic journal.

I'll be brief because I am already spending too much time on this already: I don't want to give you the benefit of even thinking you have "provoked" me.

First, who on earth accepts the premise that "many nonimmigrant Americans" think that not supporting the US team is "tantamount to treason"? Not only is this ridiculous, but it is just plain wrong and you have no way of proving this. Moreover, thinking that silly Alexi Lalas (that fine Greek immigrant himself!) and Irish-Catholic Pat Buchanan all of a sudden represent everyone is laughable and deeply flawed. Why not say that, culturally speaking, we don't have a unifying soccer tradition and that we don't see ourselves wrapped patriotically in sports --and I mean that not even during the Olympics. Certainly not like in many other parts of the world, where work schedules, sessions of government, vacations, etc., are altered every four years so that a population is galvanized around an event. For whatever reason --we don't have that kind of attachment.

Also, why not state that we aren't socialized into soccer? We don't play that well. We are at least a generation behind in skill level. We probably will not recoup that in the future. And the term "soccer Mom" notwithstanding, the only viable element that upholds any kind of meager soccer tradition are young women --and you know the kind of pull they have in our society to influence people's attention and their pocketbooks!

It strikes me that your lazy argumentation is part of some attempt to get some kind of digs in at the US. You manipulate the reader into thinking there is something negative to be found in your piece, as if the US is missing out on something and that--horror of horrors-- our own new immigrants (legal or illegal) may be turning their backs on the country that keeps them here and where, to quote that champion of democracy Alexi Lalas, they "have all the benefits of living in the United States". Who would expect these immigrants to suddenly switch their allegiance just because they work in our fields, in our offices, attend our schools? What makes you think any sane person would
do that? Why wouldn't they continue to support their own country? And, more importantly, why should we think of that as "treason"?

The truth is, your manipulative and disgusting article is rife with
inaccuracies and barely-supported information in an attempt to be cool and topical. Why not assume us readers have half a brain and can see through your shady (and shoddy) words?

Good luck on your dissertation and I hope you don't turn in this kind of work to your advisers or in your seminars.

My response...

To address your first point, I stand by my assertion that many nonimmigrant Americans view those not supporting the States as tantamount to treason. I live in Los Angeles and I've observed many people use the game I referred to in my article 4 years later that as proof that Mexicans cannot possibly assimilate into the United States. Pat Buchanan said his speech in front of a couple hundred people at the Nixon Library and he has referred to the game time and time again for his anti-immigration rhetoric in various interviews, articles, and speeches. Perhaps you and I run in different crowds, but this idea has caught on amongst more people than you would believe and that I find disturbing. Saying such a statement is not playing into "base emotions": it is the reality I have observed in debates about immigration.

My article was about the unique passion that immigrants have for soccer; it had nothing to do with why Americans are not as passionate about the sport. Why would this be relevant to my article? If Americans were as soccer-crazy as other countries, immigrants would still want their mother countries to win--and still want the United States to lose. And I do not posit the immigrants as being somehow against the United States as a whole. If you read my article closely, you'll note that I note that the immigrants--after booing their hearts out--"return to bettering this nation." I'm not sure this is negative.

One final point (I'll quote from you):

"Who would expect these immigrants to suddenly switch their allegiance just because they work in our fields, in our offices, attend our schools? What makes you think any sane person would do that? Why wouldn't they continue to support their own country? And, more importantly, why should we think of that as "treason"?"

So many people do. I can direct you to the countless emails I have received stating that these immigrants should immediately drop all their allegiances and become "Americans like previous immigrants" (their words, not mine). And they do classify it as treason. I'm not sure what type of letters it has received in the Chronicle but judging by the quality of letters I have received (yours excluded), most will probably use my article as proof that today's immigrants should be deported.

I think that your major problem with my article is that you feel that I'm casting immigrants in a bad light. Though your comments are extremely critical of my article, I must also thank you for your comments as they are the first ones to have cared about the immigrants themselves and not wished them back to Mexico. Thank you again for your remarks.
Finals are around the corner, then the deluge.