Fans, Non-Fans, & Football Hooligans

FDGB-Pokal, 1. FC Lok Leipzig - Dynamo Schwerin, AusschreitungenIn a secular democracy such as ours, politics and religion are sort of like sports: you can ignore them for the most part and be a non-fan, like my friend Aaron Haspel, or you can be a fan, like me, who roots for the home team and never misses a game. Do I wanna see my team win? Yes! Big time. Am I willing to do anything to see to it that they win? No. Can I live with the fact that my team isn’t going to win all the time? Yes. Can I listen to criticism of my team without freaking out? Yes. Am I, at times, disappointed with my team’s performance? Yes. Do I think that the people rooting for the other side are evil monsters? No. Do I think they’re deluded idiots? No.

If you’re an ideologue, your answers to questions of this stamp are not like mine. And therein lies the difference between an ideologue and a fan. Like football hooligans, ideologues view anyone who’s not rooting for their team with suspicion. If you’re not with them, you’re against them. And anyone who’s against them is evil (or stupid). This includes, I hasten to add, not only those fans who are actively cheering for another team, but also non-fans, like my friend Aaron, who really don’t have a dog in the race. So far as the ideologue is concerned, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

I was raised to believe that apathetic citizens like Aaron were a clear and present danger to the Open Society. We had to find a way to engage these people, these non-fans, and turn them into fans, or all would soon be lost. I no longer subscribe to this silly view. Fans and non-fans aren’t the problem. It’s the football hooligans. They’re the problem. An Open Society such as ours which consisted of, say, 40% fans, 40% non-fans, and 10% football hooligans, could probably function, and function well, more or less indefinitely. But what if something traumatic happens, something polarizing, something which radicalizes a lot of the fans? What if half the fans morph into football hooligans? Is that a sustainable situation? Can it work? I seriously doubt it. My guess is that an Open Society with that many football hooligans in it won’t be open for long.

—John Faithful Hamer, The Myth of the Fuckbuddy (2017)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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