The Corner

Kick in the Pants

“I’m rooting for North Korea” in the World Cup, writes Michael Elliott in Time. His back-page essay describes his experience of growing up in Liverpool and watching an underdog Nork team play well in 1966. “So this year, I’ll be cheering the North once again.”

Elliott apparently lives in a moral vacuum. Soccer always has had a political dimension. We know this because Time tells us so: The sub-head of another article in the same issue says that “soccer has long been a political statement.” Elliott admits that “the hereditary dictatorship in Pyongyang is one of the world’s most repressive regimes, cruel and heartless.” But then he waxes nostalgic about something called chollima, which is apparently Korean for a “can-do spirit.” He seems either not to know or not to care that a successful soccer performance by the Norks would enhance the prestige of tyrants–and at a moment of unusually high tensions with South Korea, in the wake of a naval atrocity that killed 46 South Korean sailors (in an incident that has attracted only a fraction of the attention now focused on Israel for the Gaza-flotilla fiasco).

I’ve got nothing against the individual North Korean players. Although they’ve surely been indoctrinated by the minions of Kim Jong Il, they’ve also traveled the world. A few of them may even suspect that their rulers are evil.

Elliott shouldn’t cheer for them to win. He should cheer for them to defect.

John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

Most Popular

PC Culture

‘White Women’ Becomes a Disparaging Term

Using “white men” as a putdown is no longer extreme enough for the Left. Now it is moving on to doing the same for “white women.” How rapidly this transpired. It was less than two years ago that the approximately 98.7 percent of white women working in media who were openly rooting for Hillary Clinton ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Beatification of Beto

The media’s treatment of Texas Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke wasn’t the most egregiously unfair coverage of the past year -- that would be the treatment of Brett Kavanaugh -- but it ranks among 2018’s most annoying. The endless glowing profiles of O’Rourke in every publication from Vanity Fair to ... Read More
Elections

The Odds Are Slim to Nunes

When the history of the 2018 midterms is written, there will be a chapter on missed opportunities for Democrats. Some may wonder if they should have spent so much money supporting Beto O’Rourke in Texas, or whether Heidi Heitkamp was doomed from the start in North Dakota. One painful question for progressives ... Read More