Letters to the editor

Stop generalising about Americans

Stop generalising about Americans

Dear Editor,
I am intrigued by Mr. Cusak's comments in his letter to the editor ["Slovak Spectator is asinine and imperialistic" Vol. 7 No. 10, March 12 - 18]. First is the remark that we Americans say, "saaaaaakur". I was brought up watching football on Galavision (perhaps it would be more appropriate to say "fútbol"), so please avoid the blanket generalisation.
Second, the comment about the foreign footbal stars being "true sporting heroes who have transcended social, political and geographical barriers to be in Slovakia", much like your dig on American pronunciation, seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to a perceived cultural Pax Americana. Geographically, the American [basketball player in a previous Spectator article] and Brasilian travelled roughly the same distance to this country; the Africans, by the way, are closer. Politically, República Federativa do Brasil, as far as I remember, has long since shed military dictatorships in favour of democratic civilian rule. The Republic of Cameroon, although suffering from the after-effects of a boycotted presidential inauguration, has been a relatively stable government. Repúblique Centrafricaine has a civilian government. If anything, the American may have suffered greater political hardships, considering the presidential election debacle.
Third, the footballers' "small towns" are all actually larger than Pezinok [where the American plays]. I do not think this makes any difference, but I wanted to point this out.
Fourth, I don't think being a college graduate is a pre-requisite for European football or basketball pampering. This, I believe, comes as a result of individual skill and the financial standing of the team. Besides, I understand these footballers are pampered in their own right.
Fifth, although our domestic football league may be relatively weak (watch the forthcoming L.A. Galaxy versus Real Madrid match to see a cricket-type score), our national teams draw sell-out crowds, the working class among them. In addition, I dare add that this is one of our few sporting events that most people can still actually afford to take their families to.
Sixth, maybe, just maybe, none of the footballers were available to be interviewed, or perhaps there was a language barrier. With the exception of Cameroon, the official language of Brasil is Portuguese, and Repúblique Centrafricaine lists French. Cameroon, by the way, has both English and French as official languages, so perhaps Mr. Fall was simply indisposed at that time.
Seventh, Perhaps Mr. Lake may have been chosen as a "sports hero" not because of his passport lineage, but because he is what one calls a 'franchise' player. Take him away and Pezinok would likely become instantly mediocre. Furthermore, Mr. Lake appears to be down-to-earth and is a wonderful team player. As for the footballers Mr. Cusack so emphatically endorsed, I have had the pleasure of watching two - Gomes and Fall - in action on the pitch. They are indeed fine athletes. However, I do know that one of them has a reputation as an enfant terrible and has been traded from several Slovak and Czech teams as a result.
Finally, a single article cannot demonstrate interest in "cosying up to middle-class American cultural imperialists". This is a hasty generalisation. Furthermore, I have a feeling that the editor-in-chief, Tom Nicholson, is Canadian (excuse me, Canaaaaaadian). So, do you mean American as in North American?
Sports, Mr. Cusak, truly transcend all barriers. American sports such as basketball and baseball are played across the globe, often at levels exceeding that found in the States. If you wish to call us "cultural imperialists", then ridicule us for how Britney Spears will soon unfortunately come to rule the world; and yes, make fun of us - I'll gladly join in with you. However, do not make sweeping generalisations about Americans, and leave the athletes, Mr. Lake included, alone.

Paul Kim

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