Oh, how I’ve dreaded this day, among the most holy on the hipster calendar. It’s Christmas morning for Europhiles, who, as I write this, are summoning every ounce of faux passion within their eager-to-please-the-right-people beings in preparation for Day 1 of the World Cup. They’ll act like they’ve been waiting their whole lives for this moment, but in reality most have been waiting about three years, or whenever it was their collective informed them soccer (they get really pissed off when you call it that) is the new handlebar mustache.
This is particularly evident in New York creative circles, where the game’s aesthetics, Europhilic allure and fashionable otherness have made soccer the new baseball — the go-to sport of the thinking class.
Because nothing says intellectual quite like following the herd.
“It’s almost guaranteed that almost any male literary person under the age of 45 is going to be somewhat versed in soccer,” said Sean Wilsey, a writer who helped edit “The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup,” a 2006 compilation of essays by the likes of Dave Eggers and Robert Coover. As a conversation topic, it has become inevitable at book parties, in part because it is both sophisticated and safe. “Isn’t it sort of a relief to talk about the English Premier League instead of the sad state of publishing?” he added. “It’s a great default topic.”