Noting the US Under-20 squad’s World Cup campaign couldn’t find a way onto ESPN proper compared to the Rock Paper Scissors Championships, the Guardian’s Marina Hyde takes a dim view of the hype surrounding David Beckham’s MLS unveling this Saturday (albeit, in a friendly versus Chelsea). “There is a distinct whiff of backlash here in the Los Angeles smog, and this before the Galaxy’s star signing has even made his debut,” writes Hyde, citing a review from that great Southern California newspaper, The New York Post, as evidence.
The Beckhams’ reception makes one wonder if even expat Brits are doomed to be judged by the standards of their countrymen. Although America has traditionally been seen as the country where success is celebrated enthusiastically and unabashedly, we Brits have always been accused of tall poppy syndrome, the build-’em-up-to-knock-’em-down tendency about which high achievers love to complain.Yet here, in the land that gave us celebrity culture, it is the latter rather than the former that currently prevails as far as the Beckhams are concerned. Having endured as near to saturation coverage of the couple’s arrival as you’ll ever get in a town where there are one or two other famous residents, the natives seem restless. Consider the reviews of Victoria’s TV documentary, which aired on the NBC network on Monday night. You’d struggle to describe them as mixed.
“It is an orgy of self-indulgence so out of whack with reality that you will sit there slack-jawed at the gall of these people who think we are that stupid.”
Thus spake Linda Stasi of the New York Post, who neglects to acknowledge that this is nonetheless a country currently glued in its manifold millions to The Singing Bee, a karaoke show so spectacularly moronic that you’d swear it must presage some kind of imminent species meltdown. Just as there are on our own sceptred isle, there are large sections of the American viewing public who aren’t going to trouble any Brains Trust meetings.
Right now, the Beckham injury story is running right down the very bottom of ESPN’s news bulletins – which you might view as an inroad of sorts – and he has insisted he feels no pressure to be some messiah every game. But with the Galaxy planning to work him to the bone with lucrative Asian tours and the like, their prize steer’s fitness is becoming an economic and public relations necessity.As for the sports channels, the medium for the message … well, ESPN has announced that it will have 19 cameras tracking him during Saturday’s match against Chelsea. For a network that has already branded Victoria’s documentary “the single most pointless TV show of all time”, you get the feeling that its patience will wear thin pretty quickly each time all that hardware is pointed at a glum-looking bloke watching from the stands.