The State of the Union

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The US is not going to the World Cup. As a sportswriter, anybody with half a brain can vomit out a finger-pointing op-ed in, like, fifteen minutes. But can they do so in style?

And with a key flow chart that makes sense of things?

I’ve turned my sports writing towards reported journalism, in case you missed it. The reason is simple: after so many years of scribbling on soccer, I can smell and loathe to see the same old tautologies and platitudes in my own writing. Blame the coach or the players! Or both???!!! Or neither but rather luck??!?!?!

Yet the soccer writing world has a huge hole in it. One year, Brian Phillips was making subtle jokes about the NYT for his writings at Grantland. Now, he is penning features for NYT Opinion. Often, the best writers – like Brian – perfectly capture your own sentiments about a situation. They hold up a mirror and tell you what is going on better than you yourself could.

I am not Brian. Not even close. Thus, here is a snarky bit of assholery: a flow chart of how you the fan can/do blame for the USMNT failure and why it’s a load of shit.

In the world of fiction, we are in an era of a “return to sincerity.” In journalism and politics, we probably need a “return to kindness” to combat the corrosive effects of Trump. Who could lead this movement? (Touches nose with right index finger)

“Not it.”

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