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Appointing Fascists

Discussion in 'Politics and Current Affairs' started by SiempreTuna, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. SiempreTuna

    SiempreTuna Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    One of the big sport stories here in the UK (so big even I heard about it) is the appointment over the week-end of an avowed fascist to manage (=coach) Sunderland, one of the top 20 football (=soccer) teams in the UK.

    The manager, Paolo Di Canio is Italian and used to play for Lazio, the home team of Benito Mussolini who was of course, the first of the 1920s / 30s fascist leaders in Europe and inspiration and early mentor to Hitler.

    Di Canio has spoken of his fascism in interviews however he avoided using his previous management job as a political platform and I'm sure he'll be closely scrutinised for any trace of racism in his actions, so in practice this may not matter.

    Here's the thing: I genuinely don't know how I feel about this!

    On the one hand, the idea of an avowed facist leading what is apparently the 65th biggest sports franchise in the world (soccer's pretty popular outside the US) is totally repulsive.

    On the other hand, there's Di Canio's right to free speech. OK, free speech is not an absolute (even in the US - viz the sensitivity toward profanity on TV, this site etc), however I feel it's a very important principle that we should we should not infringe lightly.

    So .. should Di Canio have been appointed?

    Should he be sacked?

    Was the former Foreign Secretary (=Secretary of State) right to resign from the Sunderland board in protest at Di Canio's appointment?

    Does it matter? Ater all, it's only sport (=games =for kids :)) but then, people are pretty sensitive about what they expose their children to: surely a fascist is worse than a bit of nudity or bad language?

    EDIT: I heard last night that Di Canio denies being racist. Not quite sure how that fits with supporting an avowedly racist political philosophy, but I guess it's a bit much expecting consistency and logic from a sportsman :)

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  2. sntaylor

    sntaylor Android Expert

    I don't have much of an opinion on the actual matter but....

    Milliband was/is going to America to work for a charity so really couldn't stay on the board anyway..... If also say that exposing children to the political views of others should be a good thing not bad, it gives a point to discuss, in football the reaction and behaviour if the players both in the pitch towards the referee etc and off the pitch at night cubs etc is worst than a manager who is unlikely to express much of his opinion!
  3. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    I don't really understand why it's controversial at all. Here in the US the political views of athletes are pretty much a non-issue as long as they're not completely over the top. If the are completely over the top, then people chalk the athlete in question up as a nutjob and as long as he can play his sport well, no one cares.
  4. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    Just a note - even though we're on the internet, our site is privately owned and operated.

    Our house, our rules - everyone agreed to them when registering for posting privileges. ;)
    Frisco likes this.
  5. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    It is possible that I am the exception here, but the more and more I think of it I can't think of the political views of any professional athlete. I THINK Tiger Woods might have campaigned for Obama (though I'm probably wrong on that) but that's the only athlete I can think of who's politics I know.

    I'm a huge Phillies fan and a big baseball fan in general. Jimmy Rollins is my favorite player and I've followed him his entire career. I have no idea what political party he belongs to. I can tell you which guy on the team is good and which one's suck. I can offer opinions on who should be playing on any given day and who should be riding the pine. I have no clue as to their politics.

    Celebrities in these parts are different ball of wax. More than one celeb/performing artist have shot their careers in the foot with silly political statements that were unpopular or silly. The Dixie Chicks jump immediately to mind.
  6. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert

    I think in the context of what is happening right now I don't think people who are open fascists should be in such public positions. One wonders why he doesn't simply deny his fascist tendencies. Sunderland supporters may be bad, but they are not quite Northern League voting Lazio types. That said, Sunderland is a private company, and they can do as they like within the law.

    David Miliband was right to resign. He might be a Blairite but I have much respect for him. He was an adept foreign minister in my opinion. Think it is a shame he felt the need to resign from the opposition front benches.
  7. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    I find it absolutely fascinating that people in the UK actually care about this. Here in the US the manager of the Yankees could be a card-carrying communist and no one would care as long as the team won baseball games. The cultural difference is fascinating.
  8. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert

    You see the difference between Communism and Fascism is that communism is well meaning and based on enlightened ideals.

    Fascism is crude base nationalism, xenophobia, bigotry and sexism.

    Also I reckon it isnt as bad in the UK. In say, Estonia, I think the reaction would be worse.
  9. Gmash

    Gmash Extreme Android User

    I think you are totally wrong about that. Marge Schott was forced to sell the Cincinnati Reds because of some racist remarks and a mention of Hitler. Didn't Rush Limbaugh want to buy into an NFL team and it caused a big controversy with players saying they wouldn't play for him? I can't imagine anyone with any kind of racist tendencies being hired to coach for a major sports team in the US.
  10. ItnStln511

    ItnStln511 Android Enthusiast

    Right, why such an up roar?
  11. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    You should research the Rush story. Lots more to it.

    These days, being religious or conservative closes the doors that swing wide to let herds of leftists in.

    If you are a Mormon, apparently, you can't get elected president. If you are an atheist, ditto. If you are a self-admitted socialist, you get a vital spot in the administration

    Very unfair playing field and in my view, a bad thing for this country.
  12. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    Times have changed.

    I invite you to read about Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy. In those days, if you were called a communist, your life as you know it was essentially over. Certainly your career was done for.

    Being labeled a communist was a frightening thing and being called to testify in front of McCarthy was just about the most frightening thing you could think of. You go there to testify and before you knew it, you were done.

    Now, we have a president that put a communist in a high place of power, so I guess those labels that once frightened those of us with half a brain no longer matter. Perhaps it is cool to be a fascist or a commie.

    As an aside, Hayes and Breen made Hollywood cower. Being called a communist meant you did not write or act in Hollywood. Breen and Hays made sure your films met certain criteria and Hollywood complied because they feared government censorship.

    Not to mention the body that watched out for problematic comic books. The organization had total control over content and if you did not obey, your books would never sell.

    Interesting that to fight communism, people had to follow the rules that were in a way, communistic.
  13. saptech

    saptech Android Expert

    Players and the St. Louis community was against Rush buying the team.
  14. Gmash

    Gmash Extreme Android User

    Blah blah, I'm not going to take the bait, my point is anybody remotely controversial won't be allowed near one of these teams. There's simply too much money at stake. By the way, does everybody know that the NFL is considered a non profit and pays no taxes?.Ridiculous.:mad:
  15. SiempreTuna

    SiempreTuna Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Quite - I mentioned it merely as an example of how free speech can legitimately be limited.

    I'll take the bait :)

    To anyone from europe, the US is scarily religious. Atheist politicians are virtually unheard of on your side of the pond. I believe it's around 70 years since a president failed to name-check god in a state of the union or inauguration speech.

    Over here, Blair (who was avowedly religious - must be hoping he's wrong there or he's looking forward to an eternity in hell) lived by the maxim "we don't do religion". One thing he actually got right.

    When it comes to the separation of politics and religion, the US is way closer to the Iranian end of the spectrum than just about anywhere in europe. Kind of ironic, given you have that separation built into your constitution while most countries over here don't.

    Which I guess is why there's an extremely vocal conservative majority in the Supreme Court and you can't turn on a radio without hearing some right wing schmuck yelling inanities.

    Doubtless, it also explains why calling someone 'progressive' or 'liberal' is generally seen as an insult in the US when it would be a compliment just about anywhere else in the world.

    No. If you're an incompetent, extremist politician with no policy other than to cut taxes for your rich buddies, who expresses total contempt for half the electorate and who displays the personality and empathy of block of wood, then you can't get elected.

    Like, go figure.

    See my earlier point. Trying counting the number of openly atheist people in public office in the US. Wikipedia (OK, not the most reliable source) lists 15. Thousands of people work in the administration alone.

    You make it sound like being a socialist is a bad thing while ealier you seemed to be implying that being a christian is a good thing.

    You do realise that essentially, they're the same thing? Both can be distilled down to 'love thy neighbour' (yeah, I fail to understand how you can be a conservative and a christian, given that) - the only real difference is that one relies on unquestioning faith while the other relies on reasoned self interest.
    ElasticNinja likes this.
  16. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    You are right about Schott although she was an owner and not a player or manager. Outspoken owners tend to generate controversy and she was definitely not a very diplomatic person. On top of that I seem to recall that she was actually part of a group of owners. At the end of the day she'd been banned/suspended by the MLB a crap ton of times for her comments and the other owners didn't want her around either. Again, though this is an owner, not an athlete or manager.

    Tony LaRussa (manager of the St. Louis Cardinals for those who don't follow baseball) got a DUI and both the team and his players defended him and he kept his job. Why? Because he's a manager who wins games at the end of the day. I just looked up the details and found a report of him also publicly supporting the Arizona immigration laws saying "I'm actually a supporter of what Arizona is doing... you know if people don't fix their problems they have to take care of it themselves." He's also apparently been known to hang around Glenn Beck. I'm sure quite a few Cardinals fans are left wing liberals. None of them seem to care about LaRussa's politics.

    I can think of a few sports owners who's politics I'm familiar with and who have generated controversy because of it. I still can't think of any athletes or managers though. They obviously have political views of course, but fans don't seem to care as long as they win games.
  17. SiempreTuna

    SiempreTuna Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    That appears to be the argument most sports fans are making here, too: he wins games.

    I guess you can argue that so long as he doesn't use his position to promote his views, that's fine. The worry is that by having a fascist in such a prominent role, you normalise fascism ..

    Sure, it would seem this particular slippery slope is very, very long, but there are quite a few places where fascism - albeit under a different name and less obviously racist/anti-semitic - has made a pretty dramatic come back. It's only 11 years since Le Pen of the Front National made it through to a two way run off in the French presidential election.

    Pretty astounding, no? France coming that close to electing a neo-fascist president less than 60 years after WWII? :eek:
    ElasticNinja likes this.
  18. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    To which I say, so what? Only 50 some odd years ago communists were blacklisted in this country. Now we have some holding national office and half the country doesn't care and the other half only cares enough to make vague, toothless protests.

    I guess I don't see the wrongness of using one's position to promote one's political views even if they are unpopular. Yeah, you can end up like the Dixie Chicks who basically flushed their careers down the tubes, but I don't think they necessarily did anything wrong with voicing their opinion.
  19. SiempreTuna

    SiempreTuna Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    So the fascists were responsible for maybe 40 million deaths - say 2% of global population - in the 1930s and 40s (maybe as many as 100 million if you include the Japanese who weren't strictly speaking fascist, but had a similar philosophy).

    If you look at fascist philosophy and policies, it was unequivocally evil.

    The difference is that it's reasonably consistent to be a communist and not believe you should kill all jews, gypsies, the disabled, anyone who disagrees with you etc etc.

    It's not so consistent to be a fascist without believing those things - though Di Canio claims he's managed. Somehow.

    I find it hard to argue with that - I just feel I should :)
  20. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert

    Unfortunately in Europe the intolerant front is only getting more powerful, even if society as whole is becoming more progressive.

    In 1999 we had the far-right come to power in Austria, lest we forget. The PVV (Dutch far-right), was a supporting partner of the governing coalition in NL for a while. This is a problem that seems to be growing.
  21. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    I dunno. You could make the argument about communism as well. Now, from a philosophical perspective, the idea of equality across the board is all well and good. In reality every communist state that exists or that has ever existed has been guilty of horrendous human rights abuses and massacres. Every single one of them has flat out oppressed their opposition in just about every sense of the word. The philosophy may be good, but the reality is flat out evil.

    Again, from a philosophical point you're probably right. The reality of both is quite different.

    I guess the way I look at it is the guy wasn't appointed because of his political views. If he was, then the discussion is different. He was appointed because of his abilities. It's much different than the President picking someone for a particular position. In that case the person is very much picked for their politics first and their abilities a close second or sometimes not even a factor at all. If this guy couldn't win games it wouldn't matter what his politics were. He wouldn't get the job.
  22. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert

    Well apparently now he has retracted his views, which is good.
  23. copestag

    copestag Android Expert

    yes the ability to make him remain silent and have his opinions oppressed is much better than his opinions or feelings....... doh
  24. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User

    Oppose fascism. Oppress fascist views.
  25. copestag

    copestag Android Expert


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