Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Sun Never Sweats On The British Empire

This is a big weekend for Anglophiles. Our cousins across the sea can feel a little better about themselves as America is obsessed with the Brits, at least for one weekend. Idiots waited in line for the sale of the final Harry Potter book last night at midnight. Then tonight, David Beckham made his debut with the LA Galaxy in an exhibition game against Chelsea. Finally, the British Open is in full swing, with Spaniard Sergio Garcia leading an international field. One would think that Britain is the world power once again like they haven't been since their Queen was named Victoria. But let's look closely at these three events taking place.

Harry Potter is unquestionably a literary phenomenon, selling 325 million copies before last night. But let's remember, it's a children's book. I am very supportive of people reading to their kids, and if the chillrins like Harry Pothead, then I say read it to the little brats. But if your life is so empty that you need to wait in line at midnight at the start of a weekend for a kiddie book, then you are messed up. It's not like you'll be the first one to see a movie. And at over 700 pages you won't finish it all that quickly either. This is for the kiddies. Read them a chapter each night and by the time school starts you will both know whether he lives or dies. Skipping ahead makes you a total and complete loser.

Speaking of losers, anyone excited over David Beckham's debut in an exhibition game meets that criteria. Now, I'm not the kind of anti-soccer (and yes, it's soccer, not football - this is America) zealot that mocks this minor sport. It's just that there is so much wrong with this picture. Let's start with the fact that in America, only Denny Green thinks exhibitions are important. Next, Beckham is 32 years old and definitely on the downside of his career. He sat out most of the game with an injury that looks to hobble him for most of the MLS season. And he's making about $50 million a year, something I can't comprehend being supported by his team's revenue stream. Finally, for good or bad, Americans generally don't give a damn about soccer. By the way, Beckham's Galaxy lost. It wouldn't have taken a psychic to predict the score, 1-0. Note to David Beckham: Pele was a much better player than you. He came to a bigger market. And he still couldn't sell soccer to the USA. If he couldn't then you won't.

I need to make a small aside regarding Beckham's overrated wife Victoria, aka Posh Spice. The Spice Girls were musically untalented and not that hot. Her reality TV show looks to be The Simple Life if it weren't on a farm. Unless she claws some bimbo's eyes out in the first episode, it won't last three months.

Finally, let's look at the British Open. This is the one British import that is all that it's cracked up to be. First played in 1860, it has more tradition than any major sporting tournament or event. While Sergio Garcia may be a runaway winner, Steve Stricker posted a -7 (64) today to lurk three strokes behind. And don't forget that Tiger Woods (a far more dominant athelete than Beckham) is conceivably still in the hunt at eight strokes back. You want international competition? The top 15 players hail from nine different countries.

As far as international intrigue, I'll grant Britain one out of three this weekend.


Anonymous Henry said...

Birthday party, Sunday, for the newest grandson, 1. Two events occurred that relate to this post.

1. Cousin Matt, 13, brought his copy of the new Harry Potter book. (He's already was half-way through the book.) His was one of the first copies, but he never waited in line. Dad ordered the book from I enjoyed one of the movies but like best the idea of an unemployed single mother creating a fortune out of her vivid imagination. That's quite unlike "the real estate novelist" in Billy Joel's "The Piano Man."

2. My son and daughter, in their mid 30s, still play organized soccer. At the party, they laughed about Beckham, regarding him as washed up, and pointed out that not even Pele could ignite American passion for the sport. Neither son nor daughter cares greatly about professional soccer and the sport's popularity; they just like to play the game.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Leo Pusateri said...

My kid got the book (not at midnight, but the next day at Wally World, for a substantially lesser wait time (like 5 minutes at the till)...

But he read the whole thing in one sitting (took him around 5 hours).

6:40 PM  

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