PhilistineNorm uses the word twice in this post, and accurately, and targeted at someone who utterly deserves it, Terry Eagleton.
The passage he cites from Eagleton, which would make anyone familiar with dumb lefty writing groan immediately (and I know Norm is familiar with many varieties of dumb lefty writing, and I consider myself familiar with some varieties as well):
If every rightwing thinktank came up with a scheme to distract the populace from political injustice and compensate them for lives of hard labour, the solution in each case would be the same: football. No finer way of resolving the problems of capitalism has been dreamed up, bar socialism. And in the tussle between them, football is several light years ahead.Aha! The World Cup is the opium of the masses!
I will say it is serving as not a bad substitute for me, especially having just finished seeing Switzerland amazingly defeat European Cup champion Spain. No doubt if I knew how miserable my life is, undistracted by football, I'd be standing on the front lines with Terry Eagleton! Actually, probably not, as he has always seemed a very silly man.
Of course as Norm points out, Eagleton cannot write total blather and in the end:
It sounds from Eagleton's account, all his qualifying asides notwithstanding, that along with other sports football may be something that for those who love it improves the world and their lives; rather than their enjoyment of it standing in the way of utopia. You know, rather like Mozart, or Austen, or Chekhov, or Hitchcock.Indeed!
And I agree with Norm that:
In any case, football and the other great sports loved by so many will be seeing off cultural criticism of this kind for a good long time to come, and that is something to be celebrated.For after all, we will always have puritanical fools among us who know what is better for me than I do.
Norm has some fun in his post as he implicitly points out that this lefty trope rarely involves criticizing people for reading Chekhov. It's an observation I recall first reading in one of Christopher Lasch's book, but I think it is quite accurate; in general, sports audiences have a much deeper appreciation of what they are seeing on the field than those who are at a play, opera, or movie.
So philistine lefties! Go after the arts, not sports!