Please don't make classical into the soccer of music
This morning's New York Times obituary for soccer star Giorgio Chinaglia brought back memories of the Cosmos, the superstar-laden team that dominated the old North American Soccer league in the late 1970s. That was the only time that I, avid sports fan that I am, followed soccer* on any regular basis. Oh, I get into the World Cup somewhat, especially when the U.S. side is involved. But that's about it. Nothing against soccer, it's just never captured my fancy.
Does that make me just another anti-global, ignorant American, incapable of appreciating the subtle (i.e., European) beauties of a nothing-nothing game...er, nil-nil match? I'm sure some would say so; in fact, I've been told so. And a quick google of "Americans don't like soccer" will pull up numerous commentaries with smart, pundit-style reasoning as to why I'm denying myself such pleasure. Soccer's for kids (or so we unenlightened Yanks see it), soccer's for girls (ditto), it's too foreign for us, there's not enough scoring for Americans' notoriously short attention spans (which is one of those insults that gets lobbed but never proved) — something for everyone!
Well, as Yogi Berra (my kind of sports hero) would say, if Americans don't want to get into soccer, nothing's going to stop them. It's just the way it is. And if other countries don't want to do baseball or football (of the helmet-and-shoulder-pads persuasion), I won't get on their case about it. For not only do I take a libertarian, laissez-faire, each to his/her own attitude about the entertainments of others. I've also discovered the hard way over the years that insulting people is an unsuccessful strategy for getting them to see the superior wisdom of your point of view.
Now for the age-old NEPR classical blog question: What does this have to do with classical music? Basically this: If you want to make sure that a non-classical listener will dislike classical even more, let him know how classical is so much better than the crappy music he likes. You can add what a typical undereducated American this makes him. And if you have a mind to do so, how he's being duped by the corporate culture-makers, abetted by a complicit media. Take it from me — it works every time.
*I call it soccer, which is the most common American term for the game. I would not criticize anyone who preferred to call it football.