I, like you, have to live with the daily insults to our intelligence provided by the public relations and marketing and advertising brotherhood. Their commercials, their advertisements, their slogans, their buzzwords. Above all, with their relentless stupidity.
Of course soccer has been caught up in this brainless wordmongering. It can all be dismissed as harmless, but that’s an escape route that doesn’t work for me, as I value words. I guess I respect them. I’m never happy when they get mistakenly misused, I grind my teeth when they are deliberately used to mislead or misinform. In that sense I am a disciple of George Orwell -- his essay “Politics and the English Language,” a cautionary tale when it was published in 1946, seems even more ominous today.
Orwell was at pains to point out how governments -- and not just the totalitarian ones -- had enlisted and debased language to dress lies up as the truth.
Today we are drowned in the hype and the distortions of PR and advertising and marketing. It seems that nothing can be sold or marketed without an accompanying, and usually fatuous, catch-phrase.
I could very easily fill the rest of this column with a catalogue of these nonsensical words (people are, I believe, paid rather a lot of money to come up with them). Rather than give them publicity they don’t deserve, let me concentrate on just one, maybe two, that have invaded the American soccer world.
A year or two back I noticed that the U.S. Soccer Federation was using a slogan. It read: One nation, one team. There was soon a “One Nation, One Team” scarf available. For a price. And shirts and T-shirts, and all that stuff.
I found the slogan highly offensive. I still do. Now, I find that New York City FC has a version of it. One City, One Club.
And I feel now that enough is enough. The reason for my distaste?
I don’t know who started this “One Nation” business -- the Chicago Bears might be responsible -- but I could wish that those responsible for introducing it to soccer had a longer memory, or at least a greater awareness of history. Listen ...
Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!
I want to believe that there is no need to spell out where that frenetically shouted slogan, that aggressively threatening chant, originated. But I’m wrong. Sadly the need is there. The swastika and the goose step are the background to those words. Inevitably they corrupt the silly-clever phrases -- One Nation, One Team, and One City, One Club -- that the PR geniuses have foisted on soccer.
The blemish is easily correctable, I should think. I have total faith in the slogan-makers ability to quickly conjure up alternative banalities ... that are free of the taint of the Nuremberg Rallies.